From Nov 2015 till April 2016 I cruised from Spain to Brazil, traveled in South and North America and finally took a luxury cruise back to Europe. Do you have to be rich to live like this? No. Do you have to be creative and flexible? Yes. In this blog I’ll share some of my experiences, so you can decide if you could live like this, too.
It started with a re-positioning cruise from Gran Canaria to Brazil in November. Via Facebook I found 12 entrepreneurs to join me on this trip; every day I offered a workshop on a different topic. They were so enthusiast that on arrival in Brazil I decided to also organize a ‘Cruise your Business’ on the way back in March. So now I had 3,5 months to spend in South and North America. This is what my trip looked like: Amsterdam – Gran Canaria – Salvador (Brazil) – Florianopolis (Brazil) – Rio de Janeiro – Buenos Aires – Miami – Toronto (Canada) – New York – Connecticut – New York – Miami – San Francisco – Miami – Salvador (Brazil) – Tenerife – Casablanca (Morocco) – Gibraltar – Barcelona – Mallorca – Amsterdam. Pictures can be found on my Instagram account. I use it as my personal photo diary.
What did I do?
One day while visiting my sister in Miami, she asked if I wanted to come walk her dog. I replied I couldn’t because I had to finish some work. She looked confused and said: “Work? But you’re on a holiday!” Even my own sister did not understand that this was not some sort of vacation: this is my life! During those 4,5 months of travel I managed to accomplish the following:
- Gave a total of 19 workshops on two transatlantic cruises.
- Gave 5 presentations to digital nomads and startups on the boat, in Brazil, Argentina and New York. Since I love to share my stories and want to do more international work, I invested in giving these free speeches and meeting awesome people.
- I finished the digital nomad book with co-author Andre Gussekloo, who was on the other side of the world: in Thailand.
- Created an online course about productivity with two other digital nomads (some free videos available by clicking the link).
- Recorded videos for my soon to be announced own e-course on how to become a digital nomad (in Dutch).
- I learned to dance tango in Buenos Aires.
- Spent quality time with friends and family (Father and sister in Miami, brother in San Francisco, Aunt and uncle in Toronto etc).
- Made new friends, helped a few locals (charity), met interesting entrepreneurs, wrote blogs and newsletters, emailed, worked, took lots of pictures, had fun.
Most people think they can’t afford to go on a trip like this. However, traveling like I do is often cheaper than staying at home. If you are smart/lucky (preferably a combination of both…) you can even make money while you are on the road, making it a sustainable lifestyle. A rough breakdown of my expenses may give you an idea of what to expect. Except for the 3 weeks on the cruise ships, I stayed mostly in Airbnb apartments and hotels and a few weeks with family. I am not a backpacker anymore, so I don’t travel low-budget. I prefer the luxury of renting an apartment or studio, with air-conditioning during the hot South American summer. Sometimes (either in an expensive city like New York, or if I prefer to be around people) I opt for a private room in somebody’s house, with use of the kitchen. I love food: I ate out in restaurants 1 or 2 times a day on average. My biggest splurge (also the most fun!) were 3 weeks of daily private tango classes in Buenos Aires. Transport is also a big cut in my budget. I prefer a quick flight instead of long bus rides. In total I made 16 flights during this trip. I wanted to visit my family in North America, but tickets from Buenos Aires were ridiculously expensive in January. My expenses were roughly:
- Flights €2,500
- Two ‘all inclusive’ re-positioning cruises, including cabin upgrade, internet plan, massages, tips etc. €1,500
- Airbnb + hotels. €2,500
- Private tango lessons €800
- Food etc. €3,200
A passive income is something many of us dream of. However, in reality it is not easy to achieve. I do sell my own (e)books online, but that income doesn’t really add up to more than a few hundred dollars. I believe that online courses can provide some passive income, but I am just starting to experiment with these. I gave some presentations (Florianopolis and Rio in Brazil, Buenos Aires and New York), but even though speaking is my biggest source of income in Europe, I did not get paid in South/North America, since nobody knows me there (yet). I prefer that they hear my story; I know that paid assignments will follow in the future. My main income in those 4,5 months resulted from the ‘cruise your business’ workshops I gave on the cruises to and from Spain-Brazil. A great deal for entrepreneurs and unexpected income for me. My income during those months exactly covered my expenses. Apart from that, I rented out my house in Holland, providing some extra income. If you own a place, you can actually make more money from renting it out and traveling than from living in it while you are working! 😉
What did I learn?
Traveling helps you to get to know yourself better and to grow as a person. My main lessons in the past months were:
- You can’t solve problems with the same tools/on the same level that created them.
- Connecting with like minded people is the key to happiness.
- Get a (spiritual) sparring partner; experience that growth can be fun.
- Take full responsibility. Apply yourself 100%. Be 100% pure and clear in your intentions.
Want to try this lifestyle?
- Read ‘the most complete guide ever’ (according to ‘Suitcase entrepreneur’ Natalie Sisson): Digital Nomads: how to Live, Work & Play around the world.
- Or the Dutch version, including my personal story of how I became a digital nomad: Handboek voor Wereldburgers.
- For Dutch speakers: Ik ben bezig een e-cursus te maken ‘hoe word ik digital nomad?’ Als je interesse hebt, meld je aan voor de Facebook groep, dan houd ik je op de hoogte.