I ❤️ Puglia

Inspiration shot May 2024

Here in the Italian countryside in my @tinytrullo, I am slowly coming back to myself. There is no better place than nature to recover from the dengue that I contracted in Curaçao in March (and the associated brain fog). It’s so beautiful here in the spring! There are flowers everywhere, I pick wild green asparagus on my land, everything is beautifully green, nature is slowly coming back to life. Just like me…

This month I also host 12 people for the ‘Workation’; working and living for a month in my village Ceglie Messapica.

Whether you have a thing for Puglia or not, have already been here or still want to visit, I hereby share my Google Maps with my favourite restaurants, cafes, beaches and other non-touristy places. In this Inspiration Shot you will also find a TinyTrullo update and other insights, inspired by Puglia.

Why I feel so at home in Puglia

It was love at first sight when I came here for the first time 4,5 years ago on a trip with my University friends. First of all because the landscape resembles the interior of my beloved Mallorca, but there is more. The legend of why the local trullo houses were built without cement really appeals to me. In the past, when the first nomads settled in Puglia, they built their modest houses by stacking local stones on top of each other in a special way. But when the landlords later took control, every settlement suddenly had to pay taxes per house. Of course the people thought that was unfair. So when they knew the tax inspector was coming, they simply took some stones out of their Trulli, causing them to collapse.

“Settlement?” they said when the tax inspector arrived. “Houses? All I see is a pile of stones…”

Then they rebuilt their Trulli and moved on with their lives.

Due to my nomadic lifestyle, I also have a ‘difficult’ relationship with the Dutch Tax Authorities, with completely different views on what it means to ‘live somewhere’…

Do you also see the analogy with my life mottos: “Work with what you have”, “Be flexible, adapt”, “Fight injustice in a creative way”, “Don’t be afraid to work hard” and “No excuses!” ?

How are the trees doing?

Many people ask how the olive trees in Puglia are doing -and specifically the beautiful 200-year-old monuments at TinyTrullo– since the deadly Xylella virus is spreading in the region. In this video I guide you around my land, explain what measures I have taken and show you how my trees are doing…

P.S. If you would like to help me save the trees (and receive 5 liters of my increasingly rare delicious pure olive oil every year): you can adopt a centuries-old olive tree!

To swim or not to swim?

For a long time I didn’t want to make a swimming pool at my trullo, because I didn’t think it was possible in such a dry area. On the other hand, all tenants want a swimming pool in the summer. And in a way they are right, because there is nothing more beautiful than jumping out of bed into your own pool in the morning and swimming laps between the olive trees. Because I also love swimming and it increases the value of my real estate, I decided to have a swimming pool built. The video below shows the progress. Hopefully we can have the first pool party with the Workation participants at the end of this month…

By the way: from June my Trullo (+swimming pool!) can be rented! There is room for 4 – 6 people. View the photos and availability on Airbnb and send me a message if you want to book directly with me for a special friend price.

Want to buy a trullo yourself?

More and more people want their own place in the sun. I get a lot of questions about buying a piece of land with trullo. I wrote a blog about my experiences on construction projects abroad, and specific tips what you should pay attention to if you want to buy a trullo.

The most important consideration is: focus on the experience, not the efficiency. Take your time, enjoy the process. In addition, make sure you have a larger budget than you think you need. Everything is more expensive and takes longer than you think, BUT… it’s totally worth it!

Italy now also has a special visa: if you can prove €28K per year income, you can come and live there for a year. Particularly interesting for digital nomads (and their families!) from outside the European Union.

Workshop alert

Digital Nomad workshop

Answers to all your questions about remote work, registration and international company setup.

Are you considering a location-independent lifestyle? Are you already on the road, or preparing to leave your home country behind?

In this (second to last!) Digital Nomad Workshop you will learn everything about the digital nomad lifestyle.

You will receive videos on the most important topics in advance. During the live online workshop you can ask questions about your specific situation and meet others.

This workshop can be the start of your new life!

Inspiration bites


Inspiring Puglia instagram accounts to follow: TinyTrullo (of course!), @drivethevibe_puglia (fun Vespa trips!), @puglia_mylove@turismoacegliemessapica,
@thebellobross (not from Puglia but hilariously funny Italian brothers).


To take my mind off the many stray dogs in Ceglie, I have recently started following a number of dogs who have learned to ‘talk’ by pressing buttons with their paws.

It gives me insights into how dogs think; sometimes surprising, often endearing.

Baby Reindeer

An incredible (true?) story about a wannabe comedian who gets stalked by Martha, a vulnerable but smart woman.

A suffocating obsession arises that threatens to destroy both their lives.

PS. Piers Morgan interviewed the real ‘Martha’; it makes you question what really happened…


I tried to find the Videoland series about our Dutch/Argentinian queen, but I couldn’t log in from Italy…

I accidentally came across this impressive and disturbing documentary about an indigenous woman in Peru who takes on a gold mining multinational that wants to steal her land and will pollute all water in the area.

Such a courageous woman!

Did you know...?

…that there is also a downside to living in the countryside? Unfortunately not everyone takes good care of their pets. Dogs are kept in a small cage or on a rope outside the house, even in the hot summer and cold winter. They are not neutered, the puppies (and also older unwanted dogs) are simply dumped alongside the road.

Giada and Francesca, two ladies who work in cafe Innamorato (= in love) on the village square, take care of dozens of dogs in addition to their work. There is no one else to do it. There is no asylum here and the government does nothing. These two heroes save so many lives! And they also pay for everything themselves, even though they are really not well off. Last year they managed to pay 20 sterilizations (about €2000!) and we haven’t even mentioned the cost of all the dog food and medication needed…

I took care of two puppies for a few weeks, for which they had already arranged an adoption in the north of Italy. The dogs are now in their forever home and seem very happy.

I want to help these ladies do even more good by making a large donation. 💰🐕

Are you in? You can make a deposit directly to the ‘Dacci una zampa’ Foundation or transfer your contribution to me at NL20 RABO 0381 0086 14, stating ‘dogs’. 🐾

I will double the amount raised!

Where is Esther?

It’s wonderful to be in my @tinytrullo for 7 weeks in a row. I had to take it very easy the first few weeks. The aftermath of dengue left me with no energy for anything. Yet at a certain point I had to start helping my book-writing-coaching clients again, who I had postponed all this time. And there were also three online writing weeks planned…

A lot of people came to visit too. My friend AnnaLiza, who helped me buy my trullo 4 years ago. One of the tree-adopting parents, Joke, took her 4 nieces on an inspiring holiday in Puglia, showing them from which olive tree they receive 5 liters of freshly pressed olive oil every year.

My assistant Jelena is here for a month. She lives in the trullo, which now also has heating and air conditioning, and helps me with the Workation. This week we have been working together for 4 years: 2 years online and the last two years we have seen each other regularly live, because Jelena comes along to most writing weeks and retreats. We are celebrating our anniversary this week with a ‘romantic dinner’ 🙂

At the end of this month I will be done with being in one place: on May 30th I will give a lecture at Nyenrode University (NL), the next day I will give a presentation at the LOGIN conference in Vilnius, Lithuania. Then I will immediately fly to Mallorca for the very last week of writing there… After a few days of visiting friends in Barcelona, I will go to Devon in the UK to participate in a retreat. Then back to Italy for 1 day to sign with the notary for the sale of the TownHouse (the last link with my ex!) and then I will be in the Netherlands (almost) all summer.

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