Snapshot: Trip to Netherlands

People often ask us what it’s like to travel all over the world, training and competing together. We thought it'd be cool show you in pictures.

Here's our 5 day trip to Hengelo, Netherlands for the FBK Drink Meeting in late May. 

This entire trip was a total of 3 weeks long, Hengelo being our first stop. When we’re away from home for this long, a lot of preparation and organization is needed in order to get ourselves out the door, through security, and on the plane. Somehow, no matter how organized we are, things still manage to get chaotic and usually the pole vault poles are to blame. 

If we’re staying within the US we ship the poles, if we’re traveling internationally we always keep them with us otherwise they get held up in customs. Keep in mind the pole bag is 17ft long and weighs about 100lb. We have to take flights with planes big enough to stow the poles. While Harry and Don flew out of Eugene, the poles wouldn’t fit on that plane so we were booked on a direct, mid-day flight from Portland to Amsterdam.

The day before our flight, we packed up the car and headed to Hayward Field to pick up the poles.

After a lot of arguing about the best way to tie the poles on the car without ripping off the bumper, we successfully completed To-Do Item #1: Leave Hayward Field with the poles.

On our way. Javelin and all.

We thought it’d be cool to get a shot of the car while driving. We were right, it was cool. 

Then we thought it’d be even cooler to get one from Bri's side. Not so cool. The plan was for Ash to steer and watch the road while Bri stuck the camera out her window to take the picture. Because Ash was intent on capturing the perfect photo, he ended up looking at his phone instead of watching the road while Bri paid attention to the road instead of what she was supposed to be doing with the camera. Slowly we started driving toward the ditch. Bri started yelling and that was the end of that. 

To-Do Item #2 (from Harry): Make it to Portland without the poles blowing off the car.

Arriving at the Portland airport. Again with the poles.

Ash had to drop off the car and get picked up by a taxi to avoid parking charges. The taxi was late picking him up, which meant he was REALLY late getting back to the airport. Although Bri had already checked in her bags and the poles (which is always a huge pain), she couldn’t check in Ash's bags because he needed to be there to show ID. Our flight was at 1:40pm and he eventually showed up at 12:38pm. When we got to the desk to check him in, the Delta assistant kept muttering under her breath, “Oh it’s so close. So close,” while she furiously typed on her keyboard. All of a sudden she let out a huge sigh of relief as the bag tags were printing. She said, “When it turns 12:40pm, the system locks down. I got your bag tags printed in time but had you been 10 seconds later, you would not have been able to get on this plane.” 

To-Do Item #3: Get ourselves and our equipment checked in on time. Just barely, but CHECK!

To-Do Item #4: Get through security and on the plane.

Harry at the airport in Amsterdam.

After a 10 hour flight, we landed in Amsterdam, collected our bags, and waited for the poles. Twenty minutes later, still no sign of them (such is our luck).

When we got to the baggage help desk they let us know that the poles did arrive in Amsterdam, but that they put them in storage because they didn’t know how to bring them up to baggage claim since they're so big. The lady then asked us, “Do you need them?” Bri stared at the lady with a bewildered look on her face and her mouth hanging open and Ashton said, “Uhhhh, Ya!”  

Two hours later, we were out of baggage claim and finally able to sit down and have our first cup of European coffee. One of our favorite things. For anyone who knows us, you know how happy this makes us. 

At meets like this, the meet organizers send a driver to pick us up and take us to the hotel. Our driver, JR, has been working as a volunteer for the FBK Games for over 30 years. The first athlete he ever picked up was Carl Lewis.

Another thing we like about Europe is their funny queen bed setup. It’s perfect for couples who’ve been married more than a year…

We always do a shake out whenever we get off the plane and since they had a bunch of turf fields right next to the hotel, we did it there. Harry in the background doing his calisthenics.

The next morning we were up at 5am so we decided to go for a walk in the small town of Delden.

There were a bunch of community gardens and miniature ponies. 

We have always said that at some point, we’re going to just pack up and move to Europe for a few years. We love the lifestyle: walking to the bakery for fresh bread in the morning, riding our bikes around town, enjoying our time more…

I mean, who wouldn’t want to live here?

The next day, we were bored so we decided to bike into town and hit up a local bakery.

We found this place, which happened to be a bakery and chocolate shop in one. Nice score.


This is the real reason we want to move to Europe…

Ash got some kind of savory pastry that they called “traditional Holland.”

Another reason that we really like Europe is because of their markets. They have a bakery right next to a produce store right next to butcher, cheese, and wine shops. It just makes so much sense.

We competed on Sunday in the FBK Drink Meeting. Ashton long jumped and ran the 100m and Brianne did the 100m hurdles. It was a great competition and tune-up for our competition in Austria the following weekend. 

The worst part of traveling is the early wake up calls the morning after competing. We, along with Harry, Don, and Paul left Hengelo around 5:30am so we could make it to Dusseldorf on time for our 8am flight to Zürich, where we had to deal with checking in the poles...again.

So that’s a typical 5 days on the road. Probably not as exciting as you would have thought, but we’re excited to show you behind the scenes from our next stop, the biggest heptathlon/decathlon in the world. The HypoMeeting in Götzis, Austria.

The Eatons

Eaton is brand and movement inspired and created by Olympic athletes Ashton Eaton & Brianne Theisen-Eaton. We live by one simple message: Endeavor. Always.