A Grand Tour of Europe – Celebrating and Searching for Sustainability and Community
11 April 2023

A Grand Tour of Europe – Celebrating and Searching for Sustainability and Community

Ziegler is pleased to introduce you to Patricia and Gilles Bonaert, who have embarked upon an epic ‘Grand Tour’ of Europe by e-bikes. 

With the pandemic slowing everything down, they realized they also wanted to take a step back from some of their more demanding obligations and take the time to explore things that were most important to them. 

They bought a farm, which was in need of renovation. They envisioned that this could turn into a bigger project involving four overarching values: Humanity, Art, Nature and Economy (HANE). They understood that their project would be enhanced by encountering people and visiting different places. With this in mind, they decided to start a ‘Grand Tour’ around Europe and to use sustainable transportation.

So they set out on their journey on e-bikes, covering up to 250 km in a week. And even amid some difficulties from time to time on the road, the experience is very rewarding.

“Because it’s a slow pace of travel, we can visit all these people and places that would inspire us. While you’re biking, you have a lot of ideas because you have time to think – it’s like a kind of meditation, like being in a bubble, free of all distractions. You can act as a sponge, absorbing what your surroundings have to offer. You experience this with all five of your senses,” Patricia says.

Currently coming back from Nordkap, Norway (which they reached in August) they’re traveling Europe with HANE in mind.

“These are the four pillars that we really are focusing on for reconnecting and regenerating,” Gilles said.

And this vision matches Ziegler Group’s very well, since our ‘Ziegler. Now even greener’ programme was designed to help fulfill the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. 

Patricia and Gilles reached out to Ziegler a few months ago for assistance in transporting their bikes for an overseas leg of their journey. 

That’s when Ziegler learned of the vision for their ‘Grand Tour’, and since Ziegler is very passionate about encouraging the use and development of sustainable transport, it was a perfect match for Ziegler to support their journey with our services. 

Just as Ziegler, Patricia and Gilles are discovering new ideas, concepts, and individuals, guided by the principles of authenticity, sustainability, entrepreneurship, and best practices. This corresponds with Ziegler’s own values on our current path to become an even more responsible and sustainable company.

As a result, Ziegler Group has become a partner to support them on their journey.

“It really was a very nice surprise when Ziegler decided to partner with us! The way our values aligned with Ziegler’s was truly fortuitous!” Patricia said.

Gilles has been and remains involved in Belgian companies and investments while Patricia is still involved in creating vibrant live communities in large organisations. These experiences in business and community have given them tremendous respect for what can still be learned and improved on.

You can follow their journey through the PolarSteps app which is available for iPhone and Android. Just search for ‘PatriciaBonaert’, and you can request to become a follower of their journey. 

They look forward to your comments, ideas and encouragement there!