It's a question I get regularly: what do you actually do for work† Friends and acquaintances only see me sharing beautiful pictures on Facebook of the great trips I make. They don't understand how I can afford all this. When I say I own Wereldreizigers.nl still a lot of people don't understand how I make my money with that. Then when I say I live by the standard of the FIRE movement and earn my money especially if Digital Nomad by passive income, it often doesn't really get any better. It cannot be explained in 5 minutes!
It must therefore immediately be said that financially I have had a rollercoaster of a life, it was sometimes really not easy. I love nothing more than to travel, but often I didn't even have the money for that, I was even in debt. So something had to change…
To start with, I had to get rid of my debt burden. I decided to pay off my debts as soon as possible and I started spending less, working more and save more† I also actively looked for ways to passive income to generate.
In this article I will take you on my personal rollercoaster. How I became acquainted with the FIRE movement from debt and how I subsequently made my dream (life as a Digital Nomad with a passive income) come true.
Table of contents
From debt to debt-free
What a lot of people don't know about me is that in my early 20s I had a period where I got myself into quite a bit of trouble. I just messed around a bit. I had no idea what I wanted to do in my life and was spending money like water, money I actually didn't have at all.
The bills piled up. I moved several times (also for a while to Germany) as a result of which creditors could not find me. Anyway, fast forward a few years and I suddenly had a debt of (ten) thousands of euros with some creditors. Due to bailiff's costs, interest and other vague fines, bills of 300 euros had suddenly become debts of 5000 euros. Apparently this is possible in the Netherlands. The correspondent wrote one cringe-inducing article about, this is exactly what happened to me.
Debt counseling not an option
I knocked on the door of debt counseling and started a process. Unfortunately, it soon became clear that some creditors did not want to move an inch, including the ABN Amro bank where I had a considerable debt due to overdraft and bizarre interest (13%!!!). This was the first real incentive to completely renounce criminal banks such as ABN Amro, but more on that later.
So it was not going to be debt relief. That's why I decided to take my own responsibility. My goal was to pay off all my debts myself, without help.
Side note: I also realize all too well that many students who leave school already start with sky-high debts, without being able to do anything about it. They too need to learn to deal with this and I hope this article can help you, if only a little.
make more money
Because I had to pay off my debts, something had to change. And the best way to do this was to get more money coming in as quickly as possible. I started looking for good paying jobs and went to work, very hard work. In just a few years I worked my way from administrative assistant to manager. Everything revolved around work, being good at what you do, putting in a lot of hours, being present when it matters and chasing those promotions. being cheeky.
That worked out well and after about 6 years I earned an average income on my own that I was very proud of. I did it.
In these years I paid off more than 500 euros a month in debt. Every time I started earning more, I increased my installment amount myself and saw the gigantic debt decrease rapidly. I transferred the last final amount. The time had come, I was debt free! ?
You can see the confirmation email below:
I thought that after almost 10 years of paying off debts, I deserved a flower. After all, one creditor (ABN Amro) had earned almost 10.000 euros from me with interest and sending letters (yes really!). To blackmail people who have nothing to do even further is apparently just legal in the Netherlands… Anyway.
I decided to respond laconically to the above email, just send that flower, I said:
What I did not expect, however, is that the flower would actually come. No one had ever asked such a crazy question from a collection agency. My e-mail was forwarded internally to the collection agency and two days later I received a response from the director, who appreciated my humor.
The flower was delivered and as promised I sent the photo to the director of the collection agency. It was time to party, because from this point on I could look ahead again. The lessons I learned while paying off my debt are still very valuable later on.
That 500+ euros that I paid off every month in debt, I now suddenly had left every month. I had learned to stick to the proverbial stick for a long time and to spend little. I decided to start saving, as much as possible. I also noticed that because I had started to earn more and more, I was secretly spending more. I looked for ways to reduce my expenses, back to basics.
And although traveling costs a lot of money, traveling did put me back on the right track. I saw in all kinds of places in the world that people lived with less, much less even. And often with almost no stuff they are happier than anyone else. To be jealous of, that's what I wanted too.
In addition, I also realized that I sometimes lived for weeks or months out of a backpack, with only 10 to 12 kilos of luggage. I simply didn't need more! When I watched the documentary 'Minimalism' on Netflix (seen here), after that I was really determined to make even more drastic changes in my life.
The beautiful car went out. I sold used stuff and with every possible purchase I was extra critical. How long will this product last? Did I need it? Not only does it clean up nicely, it also saves money on your wallet and saves the environment. Today's throwaway culture is bizarre. you have that troop of the Action en disposable fashion from Primark not necessary. Not really. Only buy things and clothes that you know you can use for years to come.
This mindset resulted in a period in which I started to read more and more about minimalist living. And in doing so, I often ended up on websites where people talked about generating a passive income.
I was interested in that… In the meantime I also became acquainted with the FIRE movement via the internet, long before it got that name.
The FIRE movement (retired at 40)
You've probably seen it or heard it in the news. The FIRE movement has come over from America to the Netherlands and is completely hip and hot. Young people are doing everything they can to retire before the age of 40 – a bizarre goal in the work-till-you-67 culture we know today. You can read some examples of recent news items below:
- Fidelity - People in their twenties and thirties discover the Fire movement – retired early
- AD – Retired at 40 as the Fire Movement Promises
But what exactly is the fire movement?
What is the FIRE movement?
Living frugally and saving and investing a large part of your income. That is the philosophy of the FIRE movement. The goal: to be able to stop working earlier.
The idea of the FIRE movement is therefore that young people start living frugally and start saving and investing a lot, in order to save 25 times or more their annual salary in assets. After that, they can stop working and live the rest of their lives on their savings. That money must then be invested in shares or cryptocurrencies for extra return.
It sounds extreme, and it is
I am now much too old (35+) to call myself a fervent ambassador of the FIRE movement. Still, I can relate very well to this philosophy. Spend less, lower your fixed costs and save and invest more. I started it when I was in my late 20s.
As mentioned, the fat, gas-guzzling car went out. I bought a small granny car, nice and economical and cheap in road tax. I still drive this little car to this day!
And while everyone around me is now driving in thick lease cars, I am still chugging around in my grandmother's cart. She takes me from A to B and does it for little. That's just one of the conscious choices I make to save money. I can afford a nicer car, but I consciously choose not to.
I decided to make my hobby out of spending and saving. I was also meanwhile Wereldreizigers.nl started and after countless hours of online research wrote some great articles that can help you save (for a world trip), because that was ultimately one of my personal goals. It is one of the must-read articles on this website.
Being a Digital Nomad | How I make my money
But I'm not done with just saving. I had built several websites over the years and also wrote travel blogs, but mostly for fun. It was just a hobby of mine, but gradually I also started to see that I could make this my work. I had written some successful blog articles that brought in some nice affiliate income. That tasted like more and that's why I decided to fully focus on Wereldreizigers.nl + generating a passive income.
It worked. Although I now earn a lot less than before, this website ensures that I can work location independently. As long as I have an internet connection, I can do my job. Would you like to spend the winter in Portugal? It's possible now. I have become a Digital Nomad, I can work independently anywhere in the world and that is a very nice feeling.
But how exactly I earn my money, I will try to explain that below. It is actually a combination of sources of income, both active and passive.
Wereldreizigers.nl is (as good as) advertising free
What you need to know first is that Wereldreizigers.nl as good as ad-free. It is really not easy to earn money with a travel website without flashy advertising bells and whistles. Omitting countless advertising banners, popups and flashy GIFs on my website also costs me 3 to 500 euros per month, which I miss out on.
By the way, this is a very conscious choice because I hate advertising and because luckily I don't need that money now. I try to compensate for the omission of those annoying advertising banners with donations under the motto: "I help you, you help me..."
Below is an example, thank you in advance!
Of course there will be advertised on Wereldreizigers.nl, however only under strict conditions because I do not want you, the reader, to be bothered by that advertisement. Would you like to know more about my ad-free initiative? Then read the message: Hurrah! We are ad free!
Sell advertorials on my website(s)
So how do I make my money? Adverts of course! Advertorials have become an important source of income for me. An advertorial is a sponsored blog. A blog written by an advertiser or by myself.
A website like this is attractive to advertisers. There is a clear target group (interested in travel) and the website is known in Google as authoritarian with many blogs on the 1st page of the search results. That is worth money because you can sell the Google value. A link from this website to your website is valuable because it allows you to rank higher in Google yourself.
That is why advertisers regularly report who want to purchase a so-called 'Advertorial'. The advantage of selling such ads is that you have complete control over what you post or not. In most cases I write a custom blog myself in which a link to the advertiser is incorporated. This way I make sure that both the reader and the advertiser really benefit from the message. Some examples here, can you discover the paid links?
- Camps roadtrip tips for Switzerland | Practical tips from practice
- Tips to save energy and money with Smart Home Products
- 10x the nicest nature houses in the Netherlands
It doesn't even matter how big or small your website is for advertorials. You can also sell advertorials with relatively few visitors, as long as your target group is clear.
Do you have a website about dogs? Then I can think of 20 brands or companies that would like to place something on your website. Dog food, toys, pens, shelter, and so on. Don't wait for them to approach you, go after them yourself!
Over the years I have also specialized in SEO services. Simply by reading a lot, taking and doing online courses. Want to get higher in Google? Need advice on how your website should look like and how it is technically optimal for Google? Do you want your website to rank higher in Google? Then you can always contact me† I can absolutely help you with it.
I also opened a webshop op Wereldreizigers.nl, however, I closed this one a while ago due to a long journey. After the trip I decided to keep the shop closed for a while, because it is actually too much work for now and yields too little. I therefore prefer to focus for the time being on other sources of income that yield more money with less energy.
Life as a Digital Nomad is therefore a bit of trial and error. Sometimes I try something and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I learn my lessons and move on.
What I've been much more focused on lately is generating passive income. You can achieve this in various ways, for example through interest from savings, dividend from shares or through cryptocurrencies and affiliate programs.
Everyone knows that interest on savings is virtually non-existent these days, so I started looking for other products that would make money. One of those passive incomes I get from cryptocurrencies, and below I will explain exactly how I do that. It is next to the sale of advertorials on Wereldreizigers.nl became my main source of income.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies
In 2021 you really can no longer ignore cryptocurrencies. I've been working on it for quite some time and it really doesn't come out of the blue. Before I started with Wereldreizigers.nl I worked at the largest cryptocurrency company in the Netherlands. You may know it from this TV commercial.
During my work there I learned a lot about money, the monetary system, the associated history and economy.
I learned that you can start from few things in your life, except…
- Money is worth less and less due to inflation.
- Houses are getting more expensive.
- Stocks and cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin are becoming more expensive.
It is based on figures and facts. History does not lie.
By saving money in the bank, you are therefore injuring yourself because you do not receive interest, but you do lose several percent annually due to inflation.
But how do you arm yourself against the ever-rising inflation? I couldn't buy a house (BKR, you know…), so my investment options were stocks and cryptocurrencies. And so it happened.
I learned during my time in the cryptocurrency business to diversify my opportunities. I was already saving euros in the bank, but now also started saving a fixed amount of cryptocurrencies and also bought some shares.
In addition, I came into contact with others in the company, mostly young people, who also try to live minimalistic and save a lot. What I had extra in money went straight back to the savings account and into bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
I can tell you now that I am a few years later, drastically changing my lifestyle and saving cryptocurrencies has done me no harm. There were moments when everything was deeply in the red, but in the long run it turned out okay… I had faith in the numbers, because history doesn't lie. Just as history had predicted, it eventually picked up again. I have built up a nice buffer so that I don't really have to worry anymore. I can't retire yet, but I am increasingly choosing to enjoy myself (and travel a lot).
This is not only due to the success of bitcoin. It's also just because I've learned to manage money much better. It has been a process of years. And anyone who wants to start living as a Digital Nomad will have to learn that too. Save, spend less. You will have to drastically change your life and spending habits if you want to survive as a Digital Nomad.
Handing Out (and Earning) Cryptocurrencies
So you can save cryptocurrencies in the hope that they will become worth more, but you can also just make money with crypto through affiliate programs. That is why I would strongly ask you to at least consider the following, especially if you do not intend to do something with (part of your) savings in the short term.
There are countless affiliate programs in crypto that you can join. How it works?
First of all I will give you 10 euro bitcoin† Just because it's possible. I'll give you 10 euros free bitcoin with the most popular Crypto App from Dutch soil, BLOX.
You can claim this 10 euros by creating an account. If you enter the voucher code 'WORLD TRAVELERS' in settings, you will immediately receive 10 euros for free in your account to test the App. You can download the BLOX App HERE† Give it a try! The app is really childishly simple and has been built granny-proof. Even if you don't understand cryptocurrencies, this app works so easily that even you can do it. Really.
Once you have an account with 10 euros in it for free, you can start trading cryptocurrencies. Do you understand how the app works after some testing? Then you can add some savings to buy more bitcoin, ultimately the goal is to save and earn.
Only invest what you can afford to lose! There are of course risks. Don't go crazy, start small and don't buy high-risk cryptocurrencies, especially at the beginning. Build it up and start saving bitcoin.
While you are now going to save cryptocurrencies in the App, you can also invite other people. This time you are the one who can give away 10 euros! You do this by pressing the 'Earn' button in the app and sharing your voucher code with others.
As soon as they sign up with your code, they receive 10 euros and your passive income starts. You get a small part of every euro they trade.
Passive income through BLOX
How does that work exactly?
Buying or selling Bitcoin costs money. Via the BLOX app, that is 1% in trading costs, or 'fee'. That is where the company behind BLOX earns its money. But because you referred a new customer, they share a small portion of that profit with you. You get 20% of that 1% fee, are you still following it?
If we do a quick calculation, it will probably soon become clear to you.
- You invite a friend and give away 10 euros – you get that 10 euros from BLOX (so you don't have to pay it yourself).
- Your friend buys bitcoin with that 10 euro.
- Of those 10 euros, a 1% fee must be paid to BLOX, the trading costs. 1% of 10 euros is 10 cents.
- Of that 10 cents, you get 20%, so 2 cents.
- You will see 2 cents appear in your account.
That doesn't seem like much, but this could be a lot harder than you think. Every time your affiliate friend buys or sells something, you will receive small pieces of that fee.
Does your friend buy 1000 euro bitcoin? Then you get 2 euros. Does he sell that 1000 euro bitcoin? Then you get another 2 euros.
When you have brought in several, tens or even hundreds of 'friends' who trade in cryptocurrencies, you generate a passive income that you say to you. Do you see where I'm going?
It really is a great way of generating income. While you are sleeping, lying on the beach or lounging on the couch, the money flows in. And that's exactly what you want, right?
And because cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin only become more valuable over the years, those small incomes also get a huge boost. All those individual euros become tens, the tens become hundreds and before you know it you have thousands of euros in your app of which you have no idea where it all comes from. There is no better feeling than that I can tell you.
Affiliate links on Wereldreizigers.nl
But that's not all. Now that you understand how affiliate systems work, and how they can generate passive income, I'll switch to the affiliate system that I Wereldreizigers.nl usage. Again, you need to spread your chances. Work for your money. Also on Wereldreizigers.nl I generate a passive income with affiliate systems, of course there is work involved.
For example, I regularly post blog articles with affiliate links to products or services in which a code has been processed, which makes it possible to find out where the customer (you) comes from (via Wereldreizigers.nl† The easiest example of this is Bol.com† Sometimes I blog about stuff or gadgets that I use a lot while traveling, or a new backpack that I like. In many cases you will see that there are links to the website where you can view or buy the product.
When you click through and proceed to purchase, I get a (very small) part of the profit. You as a customer no longer pay, you will not notice anything. Share at the back Bol.com however a small part of the profit with me because i referred a customer to them.
That's why I put a lot of time and energy into writing hundreds of blogs, sometimes 60 hours a week. But the beauty of affiliate systems is that when I travel for 6 weeks, people are still visiting my websites. Google still sends visitors to my websites and these visitors continue to click on affiliate links that generate income for me, while I'm actually doing nothing at the time. So another passive income.
Do you have an Instagram page with many followers? Or are you totally hot on Facebook? Even then you can get started with affiliate programs. If you want to get started with affiliate programs yourself, it is a good idea to register with multiple organizations. There are a number of major players in the affiliate world and an advertiser who wants to advertise through an affiliate program usually chooses one of those companies. So it pays to be affiliated with multiple affiliate programs, so that you can offer your website or page to a wider network of potential advertisers.
These are the networks in which Wereldreizigers.nl is connected. Create an account and start generating passive income!
- Daisycon: go to website
- LinkPizza: go to website
- TradeTracker: go to website
- awin.com: go to website
- TravelPayouts: go to website
- Booking.com: go to website
- GetYourGuide: go to website
You've made it. You survived this gigantic article and I sincerely hope it is of some use to you. I hope it inspires you to also make changes in your life that will help you save money. I hope you have also discovered new ways to earn money, to generate passive income for yourself.
Read about the FIRE movement. Find out if the Digital Nomad life is really something that suits you. Whether you like to travel or not, a passive income is really nice to have. You can arrange it from home and it makes you less dependent, it gives you freedom.
Whatever you do, work on that passive income. Start saving and investing. Bricks, stocks or cryptocurrencies, it doesn't matter because again, history doesn't lie, all you need is patience. You too can be independent in the future, if you dare.
To ask? Comments? Feel free to put them in the comments.