How to find freedom
11 December 2017
How to find freedom
Ellen: 2,5 Years ago I decided to radically change my life within 3 weeks. I was living in a home, I had a business whit which I was earning a lot of money, I was working very hard and I was watching television every night. I had a lot of friends, I had a family, good health and so on. Everything was perfect and still I wasn’t happy, because I was living like a machine. You know, doing the same things every day, earning a lot of money, but no time to spend it. And I had a yearning in my heart to go travelling. I bought a campervan, I’m pointing at it now, it’s standing there. It’s an old T4 Volkswagen campervan. I bought it the year before and whenever I was sitting in the campervan it makes me happy. And I thought: what if I go travel in this campervan. This made me so incredibly scared, but I had this longing and it wouldn’t leave me.
So I started working less and less and I thought I can’t leave, of course not, I can not leave, I have everything I want at home.
Until I was watching a television program and I was sitting on my couch and watching this woman, she said: the most difficult part about the journey is that they had to survive, but the decision to go. So she said: if you want to go, set a date.
And these two remarks walked right into my head and wouldn’t leave, and I didn’t sleep that night and the next day I decided to leave. And I would leave 3 weeks later. And I know when I get scared, that I have to do it, because it is important. And the fact that I was so afraid, was the reason to go. And I was terrified, so I told all my friends I’m going and then I told them of course I’m not going. So these 3 weeks were horrible, but eventually I left and the first 3 weeks were truly horrible, because it was January and I left in the snow and I couldn’t find a camp site. So I said to myself, why am I doing this and I didn’t know why and this is important: I didn’t know why. I’ve learned that the ego wants to know why, because it wants to the security. And my heart doesn’t ask this question. It just wants transformation, it just wants to go and I did. And I’m telling a lot of people every day if I have the chance, that if you are scared, then do it. If you let fears rule your life you’ll stay in your comfort zone and you stay really safe, but also very bored. If you step out of your comfort zone it’s really scary, but if you do what you’re afraid of most, you’ll arrive in wonderland: tada! I’m in wonderland, it took me 2,5 years of travel.
I had a vision of this tree 10 years ago: I was learning to become a trainer and I had a vision of this tree with a group of people sitting under it and I was pouring wine, that was it. But it was so strong that it made me cry. I was looking for this tree for 10 years unconsciously and someone said: there is a house for rent. I saw the tree and I thought, that’s it: my holy grail, my wonderland, my treasure. And I have to say, it wasn’t easy, I gave everything up in 2 years, I gave up my house and I sold my business. I gave op some friends and security, false security, but still. And I had a lot of bureaucratic problems, because you cannot move to Europe and I did. I had to overcome all these dragons to arrive in wonderland. People often think, am I going to change my life and the next day it’s better, but it’s not.
I changed from a Calvinist, hard working, serious woman, who always worried about money and so on, and now I live 8 kilometres from the beach. I go to the beach every day, I live near Tarifa, where there’s so may nice things to do, that I sometimes have to make time to work, but I also like to work. And I work because I like it! Yesterday I was working, I had to make a newsletter and my dog was pointing to my campervan, let’s go to the beach, so we went, because I always listen to my dog.
I graduated cum laude from university and I opened a restaurant and my family said, why are you doing this. I was teaching as a professor at the university and I also had my restaurant. But I always listen to my heart. Some people say: you have the free life and we would like that too, but… and they always follow the but’s. And then the excuses come. But it’s a choice to listen to your excuses, it’s a choice to listen to you intuition and follow your heart. This takes courage, the first choice is the hardest, the decision to go travelling is the hardest and if you do it the other choices are also hard, but less harder. I’m writing a book, which is called ‘Ellen in Wonderland’ about my journey and it’s a classical heroes journey. And it says in fase 4 or 5: you get a mentor and you get allies and you get supernatural help I did. The first man working on my campervan was called Salvador, it means the helper and he saved my life, he really did. I’ve so many amazing stories, that you wouldn’t believe if you read it in a book.
Interviewer: and these stories wouldn’t have happened if you didn’t make that first choice in Holland, where you had a very nice salary and income and a very secure life, if you hadn’t decided this is not for me, I need something else?
Ellen: Yes, yes. A lot of people think I’m stupid, it’s true. I had everything: a house, a good income, a really successful company and I gave everything up. Giving up my house also was not easy. And now I’m still a business coach, I still have my own business and I earn not as much as money as I did in the Netherlands, but I don’t care, I live near the beach. The first question in the Netherlands is: “how do you earn money?” it such a Dutch question. And in Tarifa it’s not important, it’s “how may amazing experiences are you living each day?” So the people in Tarifa make a choice to have a wonderful live and then choose a business model to support this life. Well, in the Netherlands everything is based on work and money. You notice when you leave. I went to the Netherlands a few weeks ago and I walked in Amsterdam with these big eyes thinking: what are you doing here? Smile! Have fun! Go to the beach! And they’re missing out. And I did this too.
Interviewer: And you acted on it, which is great.
Ellen: Yes and it’s a really important misconception: a lot of people only make a decision to change when they know where they are going to go to, when they know the end result. And if we don’t know the end result, we are not going to take the first step. And the trick is making the first step, even when you don’t know where you’re going to. And this is much more courageous.
Interviewer: yes, especially because you have to jump, only you don’t know where you’re going to land.
Ellen: Yes, you’re only going to make the jump when you know where you’re going to. Because your ego is about security, but you’re heart is about transformation. And this is also very interesting about the heroes’ journey, because you’ll find the treasure at the end, but in the beginning you don’t know what the treasure is.
Interviewer: you don’t even know if there is one.
Ellen: But I did and this is jumping into the unknown. I didn’t know why I left, where I was going. I didn’t have a clue. I went from my home to Malaga, because the sun was shining there. That was the only reason.
There are two ways of living. One way of living is setting a point at the horizon and you know what is there and you do like this (tunnel vision) and you don’t look up. You have to have money or a bigger car or a new job. And since 2,5 years I’m travelling and the travel changed who I want to become. Because now I have a sense of direction, which comes from my heart and then I just open up. I’m just like: Ok, I’ll go travelling and see what happens.
And this seems really easy, but it’s not, because we’re programmed out of fear. If you don’t know what is going to happen. I’ll go travel in an old campervan and a lot of the people I know think about what can happen, like men who want to do me harm, or I’ll run out of money. We’re programmed to look at the dangers and I’ve trained myself to do is to expect wonders when I don’t what is going to happen. New advenures! So for example, if my campervan breaks down, I think about what new car mechanic I am gong to meet and we become friends forever. You get used to it, you stretch your comfort zone and the longer you stretched it, the more it all becomes a comfort zone. I train myself to live out of trust.
Interviewer: Thank you very much.