• Meet Rowan Hartsuiker- A dutch web-designer with a very special story!

June 20, 2018

In short about me

My name is Rowan Lee Hartsuiker. 30 years old. I’m a self employed webdesigner, doing freelance work for a lot of different types of worldwide clients. Originally I’m more of an illustrator and video and photo editor, but time has proven that my real connection is with digital design related work. I’m living in Breezand, a small village in Noord-Holland, Netherlands. Right in the middle of an area covered with tulip fields. 

My connection with Mongolia

I’ve been fascinated with world music for many years, and play various instruments. That’s when I discovered traditional Mongolian music when I was about 16 years old. This interest in Mongolian music became so big, that I decided to travel to Mongolia for the first time when I was 18 years old.

The second time, in 2009, I went back to Mongolia for a 6 months stay with Mongolian families. I learned a lot about life and culture in Mongolia back then. And the fascination for their traditional music stayed with me. After that long visit, of course I went back there various more times. Now, years later, I mastered the art of Mongolian throat singing and play different Mongolian instruments

There’s not a lot of foreigners who play and sing Mongolian music, so at one time there was an article written about me in a local newspaper. After that, I got it touch with a Mongolian woman who was already living for some years here in Holland. That article was written in 2010. Now, 8 years later, we are married and have two children (one step-son and one son with my wife)!

My work as a designer in a Mongolian yurt

However, music has always been “just a hobby”. I do some concerts every now and then, and I teach Mongolian throat singing techniques to people who want to learn about it in workshops I organize.

But my real profession is graphic design and webdesign related services. I’ve been working for various companies in the past years. But it was in 2014 that I decided that working in an office was no longer my thing. It was great meeting up with clients and working with team members, but I felt out of place, and needed more freedom. That’s when I decided to start my own business. What I was doing in an office for another company, I could also do from home, on my own. In 2014 I started my own business www.studiocorvus.com. Now 4 years later I’ve been working with many types of clients all over the world. I actually hardly work with local clients, but grew a nice group of worldwide clients, where most of them are situated in the USA.

Being married with a Mongolian woman, and having a deep interest in Mongolian culture, it was no difficult choice to decide and look for the possibilities to import a traditional “yurt” (originally known as a “ger”). That’s essentially a traditional Mongolian nomadic felt-tent that nomads live in. It’s a very practical single-room house. The only thing I need extra in my version of the yurt, is an internet connection. And that’s what we did. We set up a yurt on our property, and that’s where I’m working as a freelance webdesigner ever since. It’s a very flexible place for living, and working. A stove keeps me warm in winter, and in summer the walls can be fold up in summer for a nice breeze through.

Our animals

Although my work is quite modern, I always feel very close to basic life and needs. Hence my option to go with working in a yurt. But working as a freelancer from home, I finally had the option to have animals around us. It really feels natural for us.

We now have chickens, turkeys, sheep and pigs walking around our property. All of them super funny animals, each with their own character. The big boss on our property, however, is our dog Raven.

He’s a unique dutch breed called a “Saarlooswolfhond” (See this website I made for him). It’s a dutch breed established in 1935, where a  German Shepard was cross-bred with a wolf, resulting in this unique and beautiful looking breed. Apart from his beautiful looks, he’s also a very intelligent, caring and loving dog. However, my wife insists me to also share the downsides of living with this kind of dog in daily life - He’s big, strong and has very sharp nails. Be prepared to fight for your live when you visit our property ;-) - Fun aside, he’s super friendly, but he’s also a challenging dog to live with; He requires a lot of personal attention and he inherited a very strong herd-instinct from his wolf ancestors. That means he finds it very difficult to be alone for even a minute. Also he is a master in stealing food, and he can tear up your sofa in minutes, if he ever has a minute of frustration (better keep him happy, then!)

Our Unimoke and animals

In-between work, projects and spending time with our animals, there’s time for fun too (although work and animals are fun of course!). My wife grew up in the countryside of Mongolia, which is not really a bicycle-friendly area. So she never learned to cycle properly. She tried various times here in Holland (very bicycle-friendly), but she’s not a natural and can still be afraid in busy traffic. So I’ve been thinking about getting a proper bike for her for some years. Being somewhat of a gadget-freak as well, of course I tried to explore all electric-bicycle options out there. Either a three wheel cargo bike or a tandem bike could fit our purpose, I imagined. But I never found the right bike that I felt would fit our needs.

That’s when I noticed this weird looking Unimoke bike back in 2017. I always followed the ideas and progress of Urban Drivestyle closely and then finally in 2018 I felt this was indeed the bike that I was waiting for; Their double seat, the strong motor, the solid build look, the customizability (children-seat or cargo) seemed to fit perfectly. And now, after riding it for some weeks, I grew to love it even more. This bike makes it possible to avoid using our car too much, weather it’s for family visits, getting groceries or just touring around.

With the Unimoke, I can ride together with my wife, youngest son and even bring my dog as well. I think I can safely say, there’s no other ebike that makes that possible!

Future plans

I have a lot of ideas and plans for the future. Step by step I’m trying to realize those. First, it’s making my business a bigger succes. I’m trying to become as self-sufficient as possible. The Unimoke (electric bike) definitely helps with it! We’re also working on realizing a small bed & breakfast on our property, where people can rent a yurt for a night or two. Doing that we can continue to share our passion for Mongolian culture. One of our aims is to have a pair of Unimokes that are available to use for our future bed & breakfast visitors, so they can enjoy the surrounding area here!