Is ‘home’ a location or a feeling?

Real Estate secrets

Inspiration shot April 2019

Whenever I hear “home is where the heart is”, I joke that “home is where the wifi is.”  ‘Home’ is more of a feeling than a certain place for me. What does home mean for you?

There was a time when I felt displaced: when I was ‘fired’ from the Netherlands for traveling too much, I was no longer allowed to be registered in my own home. I actually didn’t belong anywhere. Thanks to that push from the municipality, I discovered how rewarding and free it is to live without a permanent place of abode. In addition, renting out your house means more income, so you have to work less. ‘By accident’ I discovered a business model that I have perfected in recent years. Real estate has become more of an investment than a home. Investing can be quite challenging if you are not registered anywhere and you need to get a mortgage. In this newsletter, I’ll explain how I do it, with links to the right people, so that it might also open doors for you.

I also have a fascination for tiny houses, which I’d like to share with you. I only invest in 30m2 apartments, because I believe that this is the future of city living. Living in a small space is great, but you have to organize it efficiently. I’ll share a video tour through the smartest, most minimalist apartment I have ever seen.

There are 4 or 5 places in the world where I really feel at home. I discuss my favorites in this inspiration shot: Mallorca, Curaçao and Amsterdam.

Home in Curaçao

I have visited this Dutch Caribbean island more than 50 times since 1994 and lived there for about 7 years. I miss it sometimes. Suddenly. Just like that. I organized a writing week there last month, and I have planned another writing retreat for March 2020 in a fantastic location.

Although I have a kind of love-hate relationship with Curacao, the island always has a special place in my heart. I have written a few blogs about it; see below. Does this situation sound familiar to you?

One month on Curaçao

I will be spending the entire month of March on my beloved 'dushi korsou'. I am planning a writing retreat and some workshops.

2019 Curaçao tips

Since 1994, the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao has had a special place in my heart. Every now and then I organize workshops or retreats on the island. After my recent writing retreat in March 2019, I discovered many new places, which I will share in this blog.

Why Curaçao?

Every time my plane is about to land on this island in the Dutch Caribbean, my heart makes a little jump. For more than 2 decades I’ve had a love-hate relationship with this special island, but in the end, the love always seems to win. No matter how sure I was that I never wanted to go back, as soon as the airplane doors open, the warm, humid wind embraces me and I know I am home.

Home in Mallorca

At one point I didn’t feel great anymore about Curaçao (island politics, corruption, the way people there treat each other, animals and nature; it made me sad), so I sought out another place to live. To my surprise, I fell in love with another island. Together with my boyfriend at the time I bought an old finca (farm) in the middle of the island. Mallorca, for me, is not just the tourist areas along the coast that many people know about, but the lesser-known interior of the island – among the farmers. I love the peace, the ‘earth’ energy and the fact that people respect the land; everyone has a vegetable garden where they grow produce, you won’t find any litter along the roads. People live in the rhythm of nature, just like hundreds of years ago.
I have collected my favorite places and restaurants on Mallorca on the (Dutch) website of the finca.
Although the finca is no longer mine (I invested my share in my first apartment in Amsterdam after our breakup four years ago …), Mallorca remains one of my favorite places. Every year I organize a writing retreat there. This year it is from the 24th to the 31st of May, where I will help a group of entrepreneurs to write their book in 1 week. I still have a room left in the villa that I rented in my favorite village, so if you send me a message quickly, you can still join!

Investing in real estate

Real Estate secrets

Last week I bought two new apartments in Amsterdam! I now own four tiny apartments! Who would have thought that I would ever go into the ‘real estate’ business? I certainly didn’t. I accidentally got into it in and real estate is now my biggest – and most stable – source of income. Many people have an opinion about buying apartments in Amsterdam for renting. Funny enough, I get almost as much criticism as questions about how I do it. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. If you are interested to check out if it is something for you and would like specific tips, read this blog.

Home in Amsterdam

Real Estate secrets

Sometimes you don’t appreciate how special a city is because you spend so much time there. Amsterdam remains one of my favorite places in the world. Cycling along the canals in the spring makes me feel super happy. These are my favorite places in Centrum / West (I know these neighborhoods best because my apartments are there):
– You can find the best apple pie in the world (believe me, I’ve done a lot of research!) at Winkel 43 on the Noordermarkt.
– On Haarlemmerplein is Gezondigd (which means ‘healthy sin’), a nice little cafe with delicious banana cake (home-made, without sugar), salads, sandwiches, juices and good coffee and tea.
Small World Catering is in a side street off the (fun!) Haarlemmerstraat: you feel like you are in Australia through the multi-cultural service and the food is heavenly!
– The best brunch can be found in trendy Morgan & Mees.
– In for something adventurous? At Seoul Food (pronounced ‘Soul Food’) on Kinkerstraat they have delicious Korean snacks and meals, both for eating in and for take-away. You imagine yourself in a different world and the food is delicious.
– I prefer to go to the hip W hotel for a drink or fancy dinner. On the 6th floor, you have a beautiful view of the city; there is even a swimming pool!

My big Amsterdam secret? In the summer I swim in the canals around Prinseneiland! Watch this hilarious video (in Dutch) about a swimming ‘blind date’ with a neighbor on Prinseneiland that I met through a friend in Curaçao….

Tiny houses

I am a complete fan of the ‘Tiny house movement’. My designer helps me to design my 30m2 apartments in such a way that they feel much more spacious. Are you curious about maximizing living pleasure in minimal space? By doing things differently and smarter, this 39m2 New York apartment feels like a complete house. I hope to be able to apply these kinds of designs to my mini apartments in Amsterdam someday …

The tiny house movement is fascinating and a google search will give you lots more inspiration.

Where is Esther?

2019 Curaçao tips

After a month in Curaçao and a few days in Amsterdam, I flew on to Austria for the very first Dropshipping Bootcamp. Because I got more and more questions about how you can earn a passive income if you can’t invest in real estate, I decided to investigate drop shipping. Many people I know earn a lot of money doing it, but nobody wanted to share the details, except Shamangy. During the webinar in which I interviewed her, participants became so enthusiastic that we decided on the spot to organize a Dropshipping Bootcamp.

We thought that if you can write your book in 1 ‘focus’ week, you could also learn everything about drop shipping in 1 week. During the ‘bootcamp’ you learn how to set up your webshop, select and test products and hopefully realize the first sales. One of the participants on my cruise from Barcelona to Buenos Aires last year runs a conference hotel in Austria, so the location was easily decided, haha. Here we are, with beautiful views of the mountains, Austrian hospitality and 10 highly motivated people.
Next week I will go on another cool adventure. I will visit Jordan for the first time – visiting Petra of course – and make a camel trip through the desert: sleeping under the stars, visiting Bedouins etc. Very excited!
But now first create that Dropshipping website … 🙂 I always thought it would be very boring and technical, but it is really fun! And I am learning new online marketing techniques that can also be applied to other businesses. (P.S. from the 11th-18th August we are organizing another Dropshipping Bootcamp here in Austria!)

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