Slow travel

Inspiration Shot December 2022

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?


Before I started my slow train journey, I made another quick trip to Iceland 😜. I normally don’t like group travel, but this trip was special. For many reasons. Read about my Iceland trip, including tips in case you also want to go to Iceland, and experience the Northern Lights!

The train trip 🚂

The Interrail ticket seemed ideal to train through Europe and visit friends along the way. I could work on the train. Slow travel is better for the environment, but also for your own energy management. Or so I thought…
Unfortunately, I did not have time to take a three-month trip. I decided to train from Amsterdam to Puglia in a week. On my second day, in Belgium, there was a train strike all over the country, so my ‘Survivor’ buddy Marnix had to drive me to Lille (France) to continue my trip.
The RailPlanner app always presented me with much longer connections than necessary (19 hours via the app, 4 hours according to Google Maps 😱). And, contrary to my habit, I also traveled with a very heavy bag with stuff for Puglia. Not ideal.
In Paris, I gave in and booked a flight to Italy… Together with my friend Annaliza, who lives in Rome, we drove by car to Naples for a wonderful weekend of coffee, pasta, and local delicacies. After that, I continued on my own, by train, to Puglia, where I had to take a taxi from the station back to my Trullo.
Conclusion: once I’m on a train, I love it, but the whole hassle around traveling by train,  has so far caused me more stress than I expected. I will try again in January for a ski trip in France and then I will give you the final verdict…

Stress meter

I recently started tracking my Heart Rate Variability (HRV), an indication of health and stress. You can track it with the Health app on your Apple Watch. The lower your HRV, the more stressed you are, the higher your HRV, the healthier.
It should be between 50 -100, but mine averages 30, sometimes even 10, which according to Google is almost impossible. This means that I am still in ‘survival mode’ and my body is always ready for ‘danger’. I try to change that in all kinds of ways because this is not healthy.
I am learning a lot about myself. During a meditation that ‘works’ well, my HRV is sometimes a little higher, but it often happens that my HRV is even lower during meditation, due to my internal ‘struggle’ to think of nothing.
By keeping track of my HRV, I’ve discovered what really relaxes me: doing just ONE thing. While facilitating an online workshop with 15 people might be stressful for others, it relaxes me: I am completely in the moment and so focused that I simply can’t think of anything else. My HRV is sometimes as high as 65 during such a workshop!
What is your HRV and what relaxes you? Interesting to keep track…

Live and work in my village for a month?

I’m going to make another attempt to stay in 1 place for several weeks. My strategy is as follows: I’m organizing a one-month retreat!
For the whole month of April, I will transform my village Ceglie Messapica into ‘Workation village Italy’. A number of entrepreneurs will come to live and work here in Puglia; each in his/her own house, independent, but still co-working, masterminding, and living together for a month in an authentic Italian village. Will you join?

New Year’s resolutions? One Year To Freedom!

What do you want to achieve in 2023? More freedom? Becoming an entrepreneur? Or a digital nomad? Writing a book? Travel more? Whether it’s fast or slow travel, entrepreneurship, more freedom, or more impact, my One Year To Freedom program will help you on your way. You can participate in ALL my online workshops, join monthly accountability calls with a small group of people who also want to chase their dream, and much more. In the video below you can see what the 2022 group has achieved. Until January 1st I’m offering a special ‘One Year To Freedom‘ deal!

Workshop alert

Energy management workshop

Working on something you care about deeply, but are worried about emotional and physical exhaustion?

To reach your long-term goal, you will need a sustainable method to manage your energy. No more draining all your energy, recharging just until the reserve light pops off, and then draining it again.

This live online workshop provides practical tips & insights. Avoid frequently made mistakes. Find a sustainable way to manage your energy, so you can keep working on what matters to you.

Inspiration bites


This beautiful film in which the military, linguists, and scientists try to find out why a group of aliens came to Earth, is actually about the surprising meaning(s) of language. As a bonus, viewers are confronted with the question: if you knew everything in advance, would you still do it? Would you choose to experience both love and pain?

The swimmers

An impressive true story about the Olympic swimming career and relationship of two sisters who have to flee from Syria. Their experiences during their journey and especially after arrival, really make you wonder. About how good our lives actually are. And that also we could become refugees. It challenges us to consider how we treat each other…


I thought I had a hard time during ‘Survivor’. I spent 3.5 weeks without food on a desert island in Malaysia, but at least it was warm there. In Alone, survival experts (OK, they are experts…) have to survive winter in Canada. On their own. Especially the series ‘frozen’ is impressive.

Tim van Hattum

Tim wrote his book during the writing retreat in the French Alps; exactly one year later it’s published!
A great fit with the theme ‘slow travel’, and a side reference to the famous ‘Lonely Planet’ travel guide. In Only planet: climate guide for the 21st century you’ll find ‘7 natural routes to a hopeful future.’

Did you know...?

…  that Marnix and I had to survive for weeks in a cave on an uninhabited island in Malaysia, for the Survivor TV show in 2005? We spent our days stealing food from the camera crew 😜, talking about travel and about food. Since then I regularly visit Marnix and his family in Kuurne (Belgium), where we reminisce while enjoying the much-discussed delicious fresh chocolate rolls from the bakery on a Sunday morning.
Since we met, Detective Marnix has started to discover the world, and his wife and three children have also caught the ‘travel bug’.
I admire Marnix for his zest for life; a few months before his participation in the reality TV show he was still on chemotherapy… He eventually won Survivor, and rightly so. I think it’s so special that we still have such a nice click after 17 years.

Where is Esther?

I just got back to Puglia. It’s raining a lot, and everything is damp and covered in mud, but when the sun comes out, all else is immediately forgotten. I’m enjoying my cozy tiny house, which is now really finished – except for the kitchen doors, and some other small things. I even have underfloor heating and a wood stove!
In my recent ‘Tiny Trullo update’ (Dutch) I share more details and pictures. If you are interested, you can sign up for the Tiny Trullo newsflash (about 2 to 3 times a year).
So no traveling for me this month (OK, I’m flying to NL for 2 days for a Christmas dinner with friends, but that doesn’t count, right? 😜). No planning for a while, just recovering, catching up on work and of course, supervising the construction of the Townhouse in the village, and preparing the Airbnbs. And of course recharging for the upcoming retreats: the writing retreat in Curacao in March, Workation Village Italy in April, and the Mallorca writing retreat in May. I even received a request for a Puglia Inspiration Trip, especially for a group of American real estate investors!
In the coming months, I consider Puglia as my base. I will receive some authors for a private writing retreat. I want to discover more about the area with them.
If you have any tips, they are most welcome. Greetings from paradise!

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