It was a jump into the deep end when I left the Netherlands in 2015 to become a digital nomad at the age of 54. But I made it, somehow. It has not always been easy, and still, I know my fair share of worries. But I guess I can say that overall I am glad I did change my life.
But not knowing where your next penny is coming from is a scary situation, well, for me it was. I am kind of a control freak. And facing the reality of becoming homeless in the Netherlands due to unemployment, the housing crisis, and being unable to pay my mortgage was not something I looked forward to.
I always have been a good-behaving citizen that took responsibility for actions and things like that. And here I was, on the verge of running away from it all, for that is how it felt.
Leaving behind a shitload of problems to face yet another uncertain period in my life by becoming a digital nomad and trying to earn an online income.
But somehow I made it and at the moment I am doing well.
It was a long journey with steep learning curves.
I have been on the road now for over 7 years. And I think I can say I manage my finances pretty well. I live debt free, I live a minimalistic lifestyle, but I am not stingy nor need I be.
So how did I manage to make an online income?
People keep asking me how I managed to make an online income that allows me to travel. But most of the time people have a wrong perspective about my cost of living. They think it is pretty expensive. But when you travel without a house “back home” that you need to pay for, or obligations “back home”, this lifestyle of mine is pretty affordable. You would be surprised.
I can manage from an income of around 10.000-12.000 Euro/US$ per year.
Half of that income now is passive income. The other half I work for.
When I started off I decided that I had learned from my previous life: not to put all my eggs in one basket. So I spread income and risk of losing it.
At the moment my income sources are (in order of importance)
selling books through my websites
consultant for those that want to move abroad or become a digital nomad
life meetings with people and groups
a paid guest post here and there
answering questions for a share of the revenue
My business model is very vulnerable when it comes to customer behaviors, exchange rates, and banking costs. When you have a small income every penny counts, and when the Euro is as weak as it is at the moment (November 2022) I get a lot fewer Mexican Pesos for the same amount of money or more. That hurts.
But I still manage, and I can still ride my motorcycle.
I am a bit lazy and stubborn maybe.
I also must confess I am a bit stubborn and lazy. As long as I can eat, pay the bills and travel around, I do not feel the need to work more or earn more income. And I rather have someone throw some money in my direction instead of being on the interweb all day doing a cold acquisition. We all hate cold acquisition, don’t we? Either as doers or receivers of such mail, calls, and self-advertisement.
And I dislike working for a boss. I love projects with a start and end date, but working for a boss, like every day the same old same old……so not my thing anymore. Not even online. Being told what to do somehow kills my zest for work. I love jobs that challenge my creativity and honor my freedom.
Did I know I would be successful from the start?
No, I did not, when I left the Netherlands in 2015 I was scared shit. But I had nothing to lose, absolutely nothing. So why not give it a try? I did have a plan B, just in case, but never paid much attention to it. I just focussed on making enough income every month to keep me going and maybe save up a little bit for those bad weather days.
I changed my business model over the years, I ditch the dream of becoming a YouTuber, not my kind of thing, but I learned that over the years. I do not have much likability on social media. And I had to accept that. I could change probably, and dishonor myself by becoming someone I was not just to please the public, but that is not me either. So I just accepted the YouTube failure and adjusted my business model.
I split up my website leavingholland.com into this English version and a Dutch version serving solemnly Dutch-speaking people.
I created opportunities for myself to become highly findable in search results, hooked on to trends and needs from people searching the internet. And slowly it became a success.
Is this it for you? Are you happy?
Everybody always wants to know whether or not I am happy. As if moving to another country is a guarantee for happiness, or simply because people love happy endings.
I don’t know if I am happy, I often ask myself that question. I can somber a lot. My glass usually is half empty. But I am realistic enough to realize I drank the other half and I liked it enough to keep drinking.
So I guess I am happy. As happy as can be? Maybe?
As for finances? Who does not dream of winning the lottery? Of never have to worry about money ever again? I know I do. So I guess I do not have enough yet. But does it rule my life? No. It is good as it is. And as long as it does not go downward, I am satisfied with what I have accomplished.
Curious about my online offers? Or eager to talk to me about this topic or moving abroad? Check out this page