Henk goes the extra mile or two, or 3,700, to help children

Tomorrow a Cork-based Apple employee gives up a highly paid tech job to embark on a 6,000km trek without cash, credit cards, or a backup plan.

Apple technical adviser Henk van der Klok, who has been working at the tech giant’s Hollyhill plant since 2016, leaves his desk to begin a walk through 13 countries to Jerusalem, without any form of money or support.

One of Henk’s aims is to raise funds to help abandoned children on the border of Thailand and Myanmar, who have been left orphaned by civil war.

His website, henkvanderklok.com has a special button allowing donations to be made to Acorn Overseas, a charity working to support these children.

The 32-year-old Dutchman also wants to prove both that the world is a much kinder and more hospitable place than that portrayed by TV and social media, and that by “burning your bridges and leaving yourself no way back you will find the resources to make something happen”.

The globe-trotter, who spent five years backpacking and working all over the world from 2011 until he arrived in Cork to work for Apple, is now leaving his adopted city to embark on his next adventure.

The journey is expected to last from April 28 to mid-November, bringing him through a string of countries including Belgium, France, Italy, Croatia, Albania, Greece Turkey, Cyprus, and Israel.

Before officially beginning his long journey, which will start from his hometown of Stadskanaal in his native Netherlands, Henk will fly to London to attend a motivational seminar by peak performance coach Tony Robbins, which he expects will give him “an extra boost and fire me up to get into the right can-do state of mind for my journey”.

“Then I will leave my home in Holland with no cash, no credit cards, and no back-up plan.

“I’m bringing a tent, a sleeping bag, some camping equipment and a camera,” says Henk, an enthusiastic amateur magician, who admits that he will essentially be depending on the kindness of strangers during his trek.

“Some people think I’m a freeloader, living on other people’s generosity, and I should pay for my own holidays.

“However, I’m happy to give back to anyone who helps me by providing entertainment in the form of magic shows, and by sharing my travel stories.”

A ‘Wall of Kindness’ on his website will also carry images of every person who helps Henk along the way to Jerusalem.

Anyone who wishes to can follow Henk via his website which will give an updated location for him every five minutes:

“People can follow me, almost in real time,” says Henk, who expects to reach Jerusalem in early winter.

Once he reaches his destination, he won’t be allowing any grass to grow under his feet.

From around the end of November, he will be working in Santa’s hometown — Luosto, in Lapland — as a dog-sled and snowmobile guide.

“I’m mostly doing this for the adventure, but I also want to raise money for the street children on the Thai-Burmese border, and heighten awareness of their plight.

“These children face a daily battle for food and water, something I am doing voluntarily for just six months. ” says Henk.

In recent years, he had worked at an orphanage on the Thai-Burmese border, walked from England to Rome, cycled from Netherlands to Istanbul, spent several months leading pack horses across the Canadian wilderness, and paddled the full length of the Mississippi River in a kayak in 110 days.

Follow Henk’s adventures on henkvanderklok.com

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