By the end of the month September 2020, I remember that I left the Netherlands for good, 5 years ago. Standing in the almost empty house that I left for the bank to sell, and staring at a backpack with all my belongings and the plane ticket to the Philippines. What happened and what did I learn?
Without a doubt starting as a nomad when you are 54 is a daring step. When I answer questions of young folks or meet beginning nomads on my journey they all have this eagerness to make it a success, but they know when they fail, there is plenty of time to re-brand themselves and get back to corporate jobs. For me, it was a now or never thing without a return ticket. I knew that when I passed the Immigration at Schiphol Airport.
I prepared for the move for nearly 3 years, selling stuff, setting up my online business. And saving every penny I could to make a head start.
What did I learn about myself?
I am a control freak, I had to learn to let that go. You cannot control ferry schedules, plane delays and weather. Once I started my MC trip through the Philippines, I drove for days in heavy rain, because that simply happens. When the water raised to high to cross I waited for it to lower and that is how my life has been ever since I left the Netherlands: Lots of waiting time: For new projects to come my way, for my business to grow, for immigration, for travel, in ports, in restaurants, for traffic, I do wait a lot. You get creative, the waiting time can be used. to either relax or do social media, connect with people or simply read a book or write in your journal.
I learned that I am not good with criticism. Being an “online exposed person” you need a thick skin to ignore the negative and jealous comments people make. I had to learn that I can never make everybody happy, but I o wish I could. I had to let go of that, together with my urge to lessen every need that comes on my path in the shape of poverty, cruelty and injustice. Which happens to be a lot when you travel the way I do, away from the tourist areas.
And that is another thing I came to resent: Tourism. I have seen what that can do with people, with nature, with infrastructure and it only serves the investors. The tourist gets to see whatever made believe they pay for and there is not much ‘Native” about the spectacle hotel chains offer. It involves a lot of oppression of the poor and hard-working employees, the country the hotel is in and the infrastructure including nature and wasteland around the area.
Not much tourist hotspots on this website, it is more about daily life and respect for those working day by day to get by. For that is what the majority of the people do in developing countries: getting by. I had to let go of my first world thinking and mentality in order to survive. For all my knowledge of empowerment projects, politics and social structures and even simple concepts of happiness and survival were useless.
How did my business develop?
I started my website long before I left. It has known many changes and my business developed with me along the journey. Advertisement revenue pays part of the bills, some donations came in, sometimes I got a sponsor deal with a hotel, especially in the Philippines, and I get by. Recently I decided to split the website into a Dutch and English website. and That has been proven very successful. I should have done that earlier on I guess. I aimed for an international market but that came with international competition. Now I aim for two markets which is more profitable. I developed products over the years and sell them. I do not believe in putting my eggs in one basket. I live a minimalistic lifestyle and I am happy.
I try several things, like working for freelance websites, finding paid jobs, selling photos, translating articles, but mostly I love working for myself. Being my own boss.
I could do better, but there is progress. I am happy with that. But if someone created a breakthrough, that would be amazing. Today the life of a blogger and YouTubers is more about algorithm than it is about content. And with the travel ban in f.e. the Philippines the best found part of this website in the search results is out of business.
What are my future plans?
I am stuck in Mexico, Immigration keeps telling me they ran out of plastic. I doubt that since the head of Immigration was replaced for corruption, I guess the lawyers with express visa go first and my patience is being tested, for I did not bride anyone, I did not hire anyone, I did it myself. Anyway, whatever the reason, I am counting down now, it could be any week now my ID card is ready and then I cannot even be bothered to process another piece of paper here. I just move. I buy my drivers license and motorcycle in a city like Veracruz or somewhere along the journey.
The long term plan still is to explore Mexico in the MC, partly together with my son and partly by myself.
How can you help?
Well, you can certainly help. Clicking on advertisement helps, donations are more than welcome for website costs and coffee. And if you plan on moving abroad, book time with me. I love to chat with you about your dreams in the hope they may come true or help you plan to make them come true in the near future.
You can join me on Social Media. Today’s algorithm is all about interaction and every interaction counts! So let’s hear it from you.
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Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher and iPhone photographer. Writer and owner of two websites
Currently, she lives in Mexico.
She is an emigration coach and works online.