From early youth, van Bentum's nomadic quest has led him to explore many shores of Earth, often under adverse conditions. Later he combined his outer with inward travel, while unfolding through his art.

These extensive travels are motivated by his strong belief that all personal and direct experience is the best teacher. The mode of his travels ranges from foot, bicycle, donkey, camel, jeep, bus, train, freighter and passenger ship to dingy, dug-out canoe, dive boat and sailboat, to jet plane, Piper Cub and helicopter.

Henri van Bentum, who speaks 6 languages, has lived and painted on the island of Ibiza; explored in the 1960's the Paleolithic cave art at Lascaux in France and at Altamira in Spain; travelled to the southern-most Ocean in the Antarctic region visiting South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; visited the ruins of Leptis Magna in Libya; led an expedition to Easter Island, and snorkeled seas of the Solomon Islands, the Spice Islands of Indonesia and in the Galapagos. He visited Machu Picchu and crossed Lake Titicaca.

The artist has survived shipwrecks off the coast of Sicily and en route to the Galapagos; painted in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and in Mexico, and lived on board the trains of Europe in a rail odyssey of twelve nations for three months. Northern journeys include the North Cape, Spitsbergen; and Iqaluit in the far north of Canada.

He lived for half a year in a restored 13th-century farmhouse in the hills of Tuscany, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. In the 1970s, van Bentum experienced life amongst the Masai people of Kenya; and was guest artist & lecturer aboard two, 4 month, around-the-world cruises of the Royal Viking Line, totaling 70 ports of call. van Bentum has lived and traveled extensively in India, including a rare visit to the Himalayan kingdom of Sikkhim.

Henri and Natasha van Bentum, Petra, 2000

van Bentum with Blackfoot friends, Calgary Stampede parade, 1959