My journey towards my purpose

I’ve always been on the move; looking for what gives meaning to my life. I’m very grateful that I was born in an advantaged country in a privileged position. That gave me a lot of chances other people simply didn’t have. You can read more about my background here. I had some setback as well though. To name a few:

  • When I was 23 years old I had major debts from making wrong business deals in my company Nightbite, that organised dinners in the dark.
  • Last year my social enterprise Lots of Lesvos bought thousands of olive oil cans from our Greek supplier, which turned out to be leaking. It made our whole stock unsellable.
  • This year our hand build home in Portugal – that we invested lots of energy and money in – was devastated by a huge forest fire.

Although it was a tough time, I’m grateful for the lessons I learned. They made me arrive where I am right now. Living in the Portuguese nature, doing what I love doing: reconnecting people with their true nature by coaching, creating and writing.

Here are 7 of the highlights of the journey that led me to where I am right now:

1. Creating 7 books

In 2008 I made my first book, about ‘the ingredients’ of the best 10 chefs worldwide. What makes these chef entrepreneurs become so successful? I interviewed Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, Ferran Adria, Curtis Stone, Nigella Lawson, Anthony Bourdain, Nadia Santini, Herman den Blijker, Sergio Herman, and Alain Passard.

In 2011 I helped entrepreneur Ben Steenstra and top coach Wassili Zafiris write their book about Meaningful Profit, which was nominated for management book of the year. After that, I co-created 5 more books.

In 2012 I wrote and published ‘Een idioot groene road trip’ (A crazy green road trip) about my journey in an electric tuk-tuk from Amsterdam to Faro.

2. Communication company

With the communication agency I co-founded, we launched several social impact projects for Companies and NGOs. With CARE Netherlands we initiated an online program of long-distance coaching with women entrepreneurs in the Netherlands supporting women entrepreneurs in Yemen. 

3. Green tour on an electric tuk tuk

My dog Ki and I traveled in an electric tuk-tuk from Amsterdam to Faro. It was my purpose to gain awareness of sustainable tourism. It was an amazing adventure as I love traveling and being connected to nature. It was covered in international newspapers and television and I wrote a book about it.

4. Journalist

I worked for years as a life style journalist. A short period of time I was parliamentary journalist for the biggest newspaper in The Netherlands. After that I worked for 6 years as a travel journalist. It was an amazing time encountering beautiful cultures, landscapes and people.

5. Culinary brand

After visiting Lesvos in 2016, I founded Lots of Lesvos, a brand of high quality culinary products to support local farmers and refugees from Lesvos. So that they can live a better life.

6. Meeting inspiring people

I was inspired by amazing entrepreneurs, leaders, and changemakers, like Richard Branson, Jane Goodall, Kevin Richardson, Ghandi, Walt Disney, Kuki Gallman, and my grandfather Harry van Doorn, of which some of them I had the honor to meet.

7. Move to Portugal

Together with my husband and our at the time 5-year-old son we moved to Portugal in December 2019 to live our dream life and build a yurt in the middle of the wild nature. After 7 months of hard work, just when our beautiful self-made yurt was finished, a big forest fire devastated our little paradise. Nature learned us some very harsh lessons. You can’t control the elements and life. What you CAN control are your feelings, your thoughts, your words, and your actions. They create your reality. Now we’re back in Portugal, dreaming our life into being again.