“If you had to choose, would you rather be blind or deaf?” Do you remember how you answered this hypothetical question? I always chose sight. Even though I know that sound is important, and being able to have a conversation; as a writer, reader, and traveler I value my eyes the most. So it was quite a shock when I suddenly had flashes of light in my right eye a few weeks ago. I rushed to the emergency room of an Italian village hospital… It turned out that part of my retina had detached; I have permanently lost partial sight in one eye. I gained a lot of inSIGHTs from this experience, which I would like to share with you in this inspiration shot.
Sunday afternoon, out of the blue, I started seeing ‘light flashes’ in my right eye. Every time I moved my eye or head I saw this ‘lightning’; always in the same place, in the periphery of my sight. Instinctively I felt this was not OK. I messaged my doctor friends in Holland and they told me I should go to an eye doctor first thing in the morning. I went to bed at 6PM, trying not to move, not to put any pressure on my head. I was very worried, because even in the dark I saw light flashes.
Recently, many countries have launched a 'Digital Nomad Visa', a document or program that gives digital nomads, location-independent entrepreneurs, and remote workers the legal right to work remotely, while residing away from their country of permanent residence. There are currently around 50 digital nomad visas! That seems like a good development. But what do digital nomads - and especially those with a European passport, benefit from it?
To me, an airplane is a kind of 'time machine'. You enter with a certain climate, time zone, culture, and language and a little later you exit in a completely different world. Fast travel gives me a kick! But I've wanted to take it easy for a while. So when I saw this super deal on a 1st Class Interrail ticket; 3 months of unlimited travel through Europe, I bought it without thinking. In this inspiration shot I'll take you on my trip and will share some inspiration examples to reflect on your (life) journey: do you prefer fast or slow?
Iceland is amazing. The country is rough, wild, and beautiful; you genuinely feel the power of nature. But it is not easy to travel, due to the harsh weather and limited (sun)light during the winter. Iceland is quite expensive, from hotels to food to experiences. So make sure you enjoy your visit!
How patient are you? I hate it when things don't go fast enough…. Do we need to learn to be patient? Or is it heatlhy to want to speed things up? Here in Puglia, South Italy, living on a construction site, I am confronted daily with situations testing my patience. Construction workers arrive late, or much earlier than agreed, or sometimes don't come at all. Material is delivered much later than expected. Suppliers can't find the address, but don't bother to call or view the Google maps location, which I always include. My neighbor Mario, who has built my tiny house, laughs at me every time I want to do something quickly, which of course never works. He says, “Esther, you have to learn to be patient. That's how it works here.” And yes, maybe that's why I ended up in Puglia, to learn to be patient. But my drive for efficiency is being put to the test. What's more important? Efficiency, or feeling relaxed?
Working on vacation, or vacationing while working. 'Workation' is actually a combination of the words work and vacation. It is sometimes called remote working. Remote work means not working in the office; so it can also be done at home. The meaning of a workation is that you are both away from the office and away from home.
The past month has been a chaos of movements. From Amsterdam to Italy, via friends in Portugal to Miami, and with various stops back to Italy, where I am still staying in an Airbnb because my house is not ready yet. It makes me feel restless, but I know that peace will soon come; when I can finally move to my Tiny House and start decorating it. The end is in sight. In the meantime, I have daily WhatsApp contact with a friend in Hawaii who is temporarily homeless. There is a housing crisis since corona because many Americans have moved from the mainland to the islands, making both purchasing or renting a place impossible or unaffordable. My friend lives in her car and is completely in survival mode, with no hope of things getting better. Several coaching clients are about to give up their homes to travel in a motorhome and become entrepreneurs. Although that is a conscious choice for them, it also causes stress. All this makes you think. What does (at) home mean? Is home a physical place? Is it 'where the heart is'? Is it where your laptop automatically recognizes the WiFi? 😜 A few reflections for this month, so that you can determine what (at) home means to you.
Everyone enjoys watching those reality TV shows where a couple with a romantic idea emigrates to a far-off country to fix up a ruin. They often have no idea what they are getting into and sometimes don't even speak the language. And here I am, car fully loaded, on my way to Puglia, Italy... Planning to live there for the next 9 months, perhaps longer, and to supervise three construction projects. Fortunately, I already speak some Italian, but there will be plenty of challenges. My main question at the moment, however, is more personal: am I traveling towards something, or do I want to get away from something? On the one hand, I want to get away from the messy breakup in Amsterdam (unfortunately the conscious uncoupling did not turn out to be so conscious after all...) and recover on my land in Italy. But on the other hand I also really want to be THERE, surrounded by my olive trees, enjoying them as long as I can, and try to save them with all my energy and creativity. I want to build a new base, connect with the earth, and just BE. I want to create a place where others can also 'land'. Will you join me on this journey?
When I found out that the olive trees on my TinyTrullo land are infected with the deadly Xylella virus, I wrote this blog, hoping I could find a solution. Many people responded with concern, others came up with possible solutions, and some helped by adopting an olive tree. Those adoptions help to finance the various experiments.