Life in captivity

Inspiration shot April 2020

Life in captivity - Inspiration shot April 2020

Who do you think are best equipped to handle the current lockdown and quarantine; people who are used to ‘captivity’, such as the elderly, refugees and people formerly in hiding, or people who are used to a lot of freedom, such as digital nomads? Strangely enough, it turns out that the latter group (which I consider myself belonging to) deals better with the current situation than some other population groups. I’d like to take you for a look behind the scenes in this inspiration shot.

By the way, did you know that I was once the ‘First Digital Nomad’ in a museum exhibition?!?

Locked up?

Life in captivity - Inspiration shot April 2020

Nelson Mandela is a quintessential example of someone who was locked up unfairly. Imprisoned for 27 years, he nevertheless spent his time constructively and had no resentment after his release. How do you make sure you don’t go crazy? And how do you stay positive? I found this beautiful blog with a quote from Nelson Mandela for every year he was imprisoned.

A lesser known, but equally incredible story is that of fellow Dutchman, Joseph Oubelkas. In his beautiful book ‘400 letters from my mother‘ he describes how he was unfairly incarcerated for 5 years under harsh conditions in a Moroccan prison. His stories, personality and lectures (we’ve met as speakers) are an inspiration to many.
“Some stayed in bed all day, refused to eat, became emaciated. Do that and you lose. Watch out, I thought, and I made a promise to myself. They can lock up my body, but they can’t have my mind. I determine my mindset 100%.”

Joseph english -Life in captivity - Inspiration shot April 2020


For my Jewish grandfather and other people in hiding during World War II, their main goal was to be invisible. These days online visibility, while you are isolated, is an advantage, especially as an entrepreneur. If you work from home now, but dream of working remotely from a beach in the future, check out this (Dutch) podcast with tips for virtual assistants who want to be more visible. Also useful for other entrepreneurs who (want to) work online. If you want to get started with this, check out my online workshop on ‘Visibility, promotion & personal branding‘.

Life in captivity - Inspiration shot April 2020

Why digital nomads handle quarantine better?

Strangely enough, our daily life doesn’t change that much. We already work online, we are used to using online collaboration tools, we are accustomed to uncertainty and a degree of discomfort, we have developed our routines and know-how to focus and stay healthy. In addition, we are used to less physical social contact with our family and friends and we are part of a global community. Read the full article that I found.

or me, the only difference is that I am staying in one place for more time. This might break a long-standing record: I haven’t been in one place for more than 6 weeks at a time for the past 15 years! Strangely enough, this situation brings me some peace. Less distraction, less time wasted, more focus. Of course, I’m looking forward to the time when I can travel again, but until then I’m trying to see it as a kind of ‘work retreat’, time to write a new book, tackle projects that have been on the back burner for a long time, like my new online ‘From idea to book’ workshops, get fit and generally just make the most of this ‘opportunity’.

Life in captivity - Inspiration shot April 2020

When travel resumes… A company in Estonia?

Although no one knows what the world will look like after Corona, you may want to live more internationally. A foreign company can fit in with that. Estonia (e-Estonia) is often mentioned as an option. But what about the possibilities, restrictions, costs, rules, tax, etc.? I interviewed two officials from Estonia and got detailed answers to the most frequently asked questions. Check out this hour-long value bomb. If you are serious about setting up your own business in Estonia: I arranged a free consultation for you with the best provider in Estonia (1Office).

Have a laugh: Work from home?

The theme of “working from home” or “remote work” offers a plethora of jokes, photos and videos. Here is a small selection:

Life in captivity - Inspiration shot April 2020
Life in captivity - Inspiration shot April 2020

“My cleaning lady now also works remotely. We call via Zoom and then she explains exactly where the vacuum cleaner and other cleaning items are. She gives directions and checks whether I have done well. She still charges the same rate as when she came to work at our house, because the results are the same, aren’t they?”

Did you know...?

… I was once a ‘museum exhibit’, lauded as the ‘first digital nomad’?
In 2015, museum Flehite in Amersfoort organized an exhibition about emigration and asked me for photos, old passports, TV interviews and other items for the exhibition in order to highlight the phenomenon of the ‘Digital Nomad’. It was surreal to walk around there and see myself as a ‘museum exhibit’… 🙂

Where is Esther?

Strangely enough, I’m starting to find some kind of pleasure in the routine here in Miami. Each morning my father and I walk around the golf course for an hour. Then I make his coffee, breakfast and give him his medicines and then I go to work: Zoom calls, emails and working on my new book. Just before lunch, I do a 20-30 minute high-intensity workout. Then I cook something tasty for lunch and we watch Dr. Phil on TV. A few times a week, I hold sessions online, including the weekly ‘From idea to book’ workshops1-to-1 RESULTant coaching calls or other masterminds and workshops.

After I finish some work, the day ends with another 5 km walk around the golf course to clear my head, while listening to a podcast. After dinner, I have some quality time with my father (I recently gave him a pedicure and I cut his hair and beard, a special experience!). A few times a week I have a call with my Online Business Manager, Lesley, who is on the other side of the world, in Vietnam. Due to the large time difference, we can only call early in the morning or late at night. After that, I am so tired that I fall asleep early.

This ritual is repeated the next day. The result: I am super productive and fit. This tight schedule keeps me busy so that I can’t mourn the loss of my freedom too much. Unfortunately, I haven’t even had time to play with my new canoe … 🙂 I noticed that many people are struggling with their ‘energy management’ right now, so I have organized an online workshop ‘Light your fire, without the burnout’. Not entirely coincidentally this is also the subject of the book that I have been working on for several years…

Life in captivity - Inspiration shot April 2020
Life in captivity - Inspiration shot April 2020

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