This is the translation of the article in Veronica Magazine #42
Ellen de Dreu (53) sold her business and her possessions and traveled around the world in her campervan as a digital nomad.
Selling a business that runs very well, giving up your house to live in a campervan: did you always know that you had it in you?
No, this realisation has been slow in coming. On the outside I had a perfect life: nice house, money, friends… but for me this life was very boring. I started digging within myself: what was the matter? What did I miss? I had lost purpose and meaning; something had to change. I had already bought a campervan for the vacations and I noticed that it made me very happy.
When did you make the move?
One night I was watching a documentary on television about a family who traveled all over the world, in an oldtimer. Somebody said: ‘the most difficult part is the departure. If you really want to go, you have to set a date, or you will never leave’. I didn’t sleep that night. I thought: ‘yes, now I am going to do it. I am leaving’. Three weeks later I left the Netherlands. I was very scared, but I have learned that this is important. Fear is a signal; it is showing you what matters most. I went to Málaga, because it seemed like a good place to start. I still go there regularly.
Do you still have a life in the Netherlands?
I sold my business and gave up my house one year after I left. Now I work as a digital nomad, I am a business coach. I came back to the Netherlands because of the corona crisis: the lockdown in Spain was too complicated. Now I temporarily live in a boat house, with more possessions than I had these last few years. But it doesn’t suit me so well. I now see possessions as status symbols. My inner life has become more important. If I still have friends in the Netherlands? Sure, but now I have friends everywhere. I am not tied to one particular place.
Now that you are back in the Netherlands, do you miss your old life?
I had the business of my dreams, but I couldn’t breath, I didn’t have time to live. I built a 6-figure business in one year, but it proved to be a goal that has been handed to me by others. It didn’t make me happy. Now I have so much more freedom, and the courage to be who I truly am. I choose my own priorities. Hopefully they bring me back to a foreign country soon. My dream is to build a co-working place in nature. Buying an abandoned village and rebuilding it. The only thing digital nomads need is good WiFi. That should be possible.