Joep Bosman, Local Heroes founder tells the story of his sabbatical trip through Europe.
Let me start to give you background information about the conception of Local Heroes. My name is Joep Bosman and in 1992 I founded Talisman, which nowadays is the market leader in long haul, upmarket travel in the Netherlands. All the trips are tailor-made and every excursion is executed on a private basis. The first 8 years Talisman was a Malaysia specialist, but after that we ventured into other destinations and slowly conquered the world of luxury travel across the world. In 2016 I reached the point that I made myself more or less redundant in the office and decided to go on a sabbatical trip. During my Talisman years I extensively travelled the world and visited every continent on a regular basis. That is, except Europe.. I considered Talisman as a long haul specialist and more or less ignored Europe as a suitable destination. So I put my bike in my car and drove off to explore the old continent. I didn't really have a plan where to go or an idea how long. Maybe a week, maybe two weeks. The idea of just freely venturing around without a fixed plan was very appealing.
I've (...) ignored Europe as a suitable destination. So I put my bike in my car and drove off to explore the old continent. I didn't really have a plan where to go or an idea how long. Maybe a week, maybe two weeks. The idea of just freely venturing around without a fixed plan was very appealing.
My first stop was in Germany and the second stop was in Slovenia, where I immediately liked Ljubljana very much. After a couple of days I continued my trip and entered Croatia for the first time. And I really like what I saw during my bike rides. Went to a couple of islands, explored Split and after about 10 days continued my trip. Next stop was Bosnia followed by Montenegro. After a few days in Albania I crossed over to what is now North Macedonia. From there I went to Serbia, followed by Romania. Exploring all these destinations, biking around, getting lost, finding my my again. Staying in simple accommodations and eating the local food was a real joy. My son Bob flew into Timisoara and we continued our journey into Hungary. After an extensive ‘inspection’ of Budapest we decided to go back to Croatia where we would spend some more time with my daughter and her boyfriend Joost. I already visited Brac and like the island very much, so I’ve decided to go back there and rent a house.
We extensively explored the island and not only did I realize that I really like Croatia a lot, I also noticed that it was not really easy to get a real grasp of the possibilities. Organising trips was time was rather consuming and the results were not always satisfying. That is when I slowly started to think about the added value a really good agent could offer.
After my visit to Istria - which was a truly amazing place to cycle - I went home. When I got there I started to suffer from the opposite of homesickness. The German phrase Fernweh describes that state of mind very well. Also I started to realise more and more that Europe and more specifically Croatia offered a lot of possibilities to organise exclusive upmarket trips. And that was a good excuse to return to Croatia after about a month and further explore the idea of actually opening up this part of the world for Talisman clients.
In my next blog I will explain how this idea subsequently evolved into the set up of Local Heroes and the challenging venture though the Croatian bureaucracy that came with it. To be continued.