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DIGITAL NOMAD | How I realized my passive income

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 as a Digital Nomad via passive income, it often doesn't really get any better. It cannot be explained in 5 minutes!

It must therefore be said right away that financially I have had a rollercoaster of a life. It really wasn't easy at times. I love nothing more than travelling, but often I didn't even have the money for that, I even had serious debts. So something had to change…

To start, 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 searched for ways to generate a passive income .

In this article I will take you on my personal rollercoaster. How I became acquainted with the FIRE movement from deep debts and how I subsequently fulfilled my dream. This is how I realised my life as a Digital Nomad , working online and earning money via passive income .

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.

Debts, money and passive income
Debts, money and passive income

make more money

Because I had to pay off my debts, something had to change first. The best way to do this was to get it done as soon as possible more money came in. I started looking for well paying jobs and started working, just really hard to work. In just a few years I worked my way up from administrative assistant to manager. It was all about work, being good at what you do, working long hours, being present when it matters and chasing those promotions. Being brutal.

That worked out nicely and after about 6 years I earned an average income on my own that I was very proud of. I had it done.

I paid off more than 500 euros a month in debt during these years. Every time I started earning more, I increased my installment amount myself and saw the gigantic debt shrink 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 still 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.

The flower that was sent by the collection agency
The flower that was sent by the collection agency


The 500+ euros that I paid off every month in debt, I now suddenly had left over every month. I had learned to bite the bullet for a long time and to spend little. I decided to start saving as much as possible. I also noticed that because I was earning more and more, I was also secretly spending more… I was looking for ways to reduce my expenses again, back to basics.

And however traveling costs a lot of moneyTraveling put me on the right track. I saw in all kinds of places in the world that people lived with less, much less. And often they are happier than anyone else with almost no stuff. To get jealous of. I wanted that too.

Minimalist life

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. I was extra critical with every possible purchase. How long will this product last? Did I need it? Not only does it clean up nicely, it also saves your wallet and saves the environment. Today's throwaway culture is bizarre. You have that one 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 was given that name.

Also read: Digital Nomad or location independent entrepreneur?

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:

But what exactly is the fire movement?

What is the FIRE movement?

Frugal living and a large part of your income save up en investing. That is the philosophy of the FIRE movement. The goal: to be able to retire 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 project from spending less and saving. I was meanwhile too 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.

Also read: How do you save for a trip around the world? † Saving in 12 steps | Instruction manual

euro-saving-world trip

Being a Digital Nomad | How I make my money

But saving alone was not enough. I had built several websites over the years and also wrote travel blogs, but mainly as a hobby. Gradually, however, I also began to see that I could make this my job. 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 location independent can work. 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.

Here I am working as a Digital Nomad in Uganda, just on the wifi
Here I am working as a Digital Nomad in Uganda, just on the wifi

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.

Sell ​​advertorials on my website(s)

Advertorials have become an important source of income for me. An advertorial is a sponsored blog. A blog written by an advertiser or myself.

A website like this is very 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's worth money because you can sell the 'Google value'. A link from this website to your website is valuable, because it can also help you get higher in Google. In the SEO world they also call this phenomenon 'linkbuilding'.

That is why advertisers regularly report a so-called 'Advertorialwant to decrease. The advantage of selling such advertisements is that you have complete control over what you do or do not post. In most cases I write a custom blog myself in which a link to the advertiser is incorporated. In this way I ensure that both the reader and the advertiser really benefit from the message. Some examples here, can you discover the paid links?

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!

SEO services

Over the years I have also specialized myself in SEO services. Simply by reading a lot, taking and doing online courses. Get higher in Google? Need advice on how your website should look 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 that.

Web shop

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 Digital Nomad is therefore a bit of trial and error. I try something and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I learn my lessons and move on.

Passive Income

What I prefer to focus on lately is generating passive income. You can achieve this in various ways, for example with Google Adsense advertisements or through interest from savings, dividends from shares or through cryptocurrencies and of course affiliate programs, about which I will of course tell you more below.

Banners and advertisements

It's really not easy with a travel website like Wereldreizigers.nl to make your money, let me put that first. The competition is fierce and you have to work hard to attract visitors, whether through social media or Google. So the first thing you need is as many website visitors as possible. The more visitors you have, the more often your ads will be seen. That's worth money.

The advertisements you see on my website are all ultimately provided by Google AdSense. Companies can bid on the advertising spaces on this website via Google AdSense.

This does not yield much per 1000 visitors, usually a few cents. Google AdSense is therefore not really interesting for small websites and blogs. But if you manage to attract 100.000 or more visitors to your site every month, you can earn quite a bit with this. A larger reach also means that you become more interesting for advertisers. They will outbid each other to be visible on your website. Advertisers then pay more per '1000 views' and the amount per click suddenly increases significantly.

All this is fully automatic. Do I not write anything at all for a week or month and am I lying on the beach? No problem, the visitors keep coming to my website and Google AdSense continues to work. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. A perfect passive income due.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies

Nowadays you really can't 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: BLOX. You may know them from this TV commercial.

Everyone knows that interest on savings is almost non-existent these days, so I started looking for other products that do bring in money. One of those passive income I take out cryptocurrencies and below I will explain to you exactly how I do that. It is next to selling advertorials on Wereldreizigers.nl become one of my main sources of income.

I learned a lot about money while working at BLOX. Banks, interest rates, the monetary system, monetary crises, the market cycle, the history of money and economics in general.

I learned that you can start from few things in your life, except…

  • Money by inflation ever worth less.
  • Huizen Worden more expensive.
  • Stocks and cryptocurrencies become like bitcoin more expensive.

This is based on numbers and facts. History doesn't lie. By saving money in the bank, you cut yourself in the fingers because you receive little or no interest, but lose several percent annually due to inflation.

But how do you arm yourself against the ever-rising inflation? Buying a house is a good way, maybe the best way. But, I couldn't buy a house (BKR, you know...), so my investment options were stocks and cryptocurrencies. And so it happened.

Saving cryptocurrencies

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 a minimalist life and save a lot. What I had extra left over in money went straight back to the savings account and into it bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.

I can tell you now that I'm a few years later, drastically changing my lifestyle and saving cryptocurrencies has done me no harm. There were times when everything deep in the red stood, but on the long-term it worked out. This came as no surprise. This went exactly as the history of the economy, the market cycle of stocks and cryptocurrencies showed it…

I had faith in the numbers, because history does not lie. Just as history predicted, it eventually picked up again. I have built up a nice buffer so that I don't really have to worry about it anymore. I can't retire yet, but I'm increasingly choosing to enjoy (and travel a lot).

This is not just because of the success of bitcoin. It's also just because I've learned to handle money much better. It has been a process of years. And anyone who wants to live as a Digital Nomad will have to learn that too. Save and spend less. You will live and spending pattern drastic change if you like Digital Nomad want to survive.

Handing Out (and Earning) Cryptocurrencies

So you can save cryptocurrencies in the hope that they will increase in value, but you can also just make money with crypto via affiliate programs. That is why I strongly ask you to at least consider the following, especially if you are not planning to do anything 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, because you are reading this, I am giving you 10 euros of bitcoin for free† 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 the settings, you will immediately receive 10 euros for free in your account to test the App. No strings attached.

You 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 free 10 euros in it, you can start trading cryptocurrencies. After some playing and testing, do you understand how the app works? Then you can add some savings to buy more bitcoin. Ultimately, the goal 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 going back to settings in the app and selecting 'invite friends' or 'invite friends'. You then get one voucher code that you can share.

As soon as they register with your code, they receive 10 euros and your passive income starts. You get a small part of every euro they trade. This is how you help each other.

Passive income through BLOX

But how exactly does that work? 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 makes 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.

  1. 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).
  2. Your friend buys bitcoin with that 10 euros.
  3. Of those 10 euros, a 1% fee must be paid to BLOX, the trading costs. 1% of 10 euros is 10 cents.
  4. Of that 10 cents, you get 20%, so 2 cents.
  5. 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, dozens or even hundreds of "friends" who trade cryptocurrencies, you generate a passive income that you say you to. Do you understand where I want to go?

It really is a great way to generate passive income. While you sleep, lie on the beach or hang out on the couch, the money pours in. And that's exactly what you want, right? 😉

It sounds unreal, but I earn a passive income while lying on the beach
It sounds unreal, but I earn a passive income while lying on the beach

And because cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin only increase in value over the years, those small incomes also get a huge boost. All those loose 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 came from. There is no better feeling than that, I can tell you from my own experience.

But that's not all. Now that you understand how affiliate systems work, and how they do passive income can generate, I will switch to the affiliate system that I work for Wereldreizigers.nl usage. Again, you need to spread your odds. For a passive income you will first have to work for your money…

For example, I regularly post blog articles with affiliate links to products or services in which a kind of 'code' has been processed. With this code you can find out where the customer comes from (via Wereldreizigers.nl† The easiest example of this is Bol.com. Sometimes I blog about stuff or Gadgets which I use a lot while traveling. A new backpack which I like, the camera who takes such beautiful pictures. 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 portion of the profit with me because I refer a client.

And affiliate links come in all shapes and sizes. Hotels through Booking.com, flights through Skyscannerweekends away, car rental, and so on. You can do it almost everywhere passively earned money Service.

That is why I put a lot of time and energy into writing hundreds of blogs, sometimes up to 60 hours a week. But the great thing about affiliate systems is that when I travel for 6 weeks, people still visit my website. Google is still sending visitors to my website and these visitors keep clicking on affiliate links with which I generate an income, while I am actually doing nothing at the time. Another passive income due.

Which affiliate programs

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!


You've made it. You have survived this gigantic article and I sincerely hope it is of some use to you. I hope it inspires you to make changes in your life as well can save money. I hope you have also discovered new ways to make money. To generate passive income for yourself.

Read up on the FIRE movement. Investigate whether it Digital Nomad life really is something that suits you. Whether you like to travel or not, passive income is incredibly nice to have. You can arrange it from home and it makes you less dependent. It gives you freedom.

Greetings from Croatia

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.


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Owner or Wereldreizigers.nl | Discover the world!

– Travel 3+ months per year, 10 years in a row
– 10 months USA & Canada in 2022
– Bucket List Destination: Antarctica
–Best Beaches:Philippines
– Best Food: Thailand
– Best Wildlife: Uganda
– Best City: Singapore
- Best roadtrip: Croatia

Stubborn & decisive world traveller
– Life is short, make the most out of it in literal sense.
– Never take no for an answer.
– If you think about it, DO IT!


  • Hi Agnes,

    Thank you for the nice words. It is indeed true that many people are stuck in a pattern, I have seen dozens of examples of this during my office hours. People who have been in one place for 25 years, find their work boring and unhappy, but also do nothing to change it. As for the time, you should definitely fill it in because boredom is also disastrous, haha. But indeed, I keep myself busy with travelling, writing, photography, etc. 🙂 That is very important indeed.

  • What an inspiring post and candor. People are far too stuck in patterns and imposed ideas on how we should live. Working until 67 is insane. Many people are also their jobs. When the job is lost, they are completely devastated. Do you good Chris. Freedom is the golden key, but you have to be able to fill in that time properly. Are you doing pretty well 👍🏼

  • Completely forgot to reply! Thank you very much for the cup of coffee 🙂 That didn't have to be in your situation! Sad to hear that you've been in trouble due to a divorce… I hope you can slowly start looking forward in this last year.

  • It's yours dude. A year ago you pushed me to bitcoin via BLOX you know. Time to grab a beer soon at my expense!

  • Hero. You are brave to share this and your article is very inspiring. I am also in debt (debt rescheduling) partly due to a divorce that went completely wrong… Another year and then I'll be gone, I can't wait to get started with your tips.

    I don't have much to spend, but I could still get a cup of coffee. Thanks for sharing.

  • I want to say a huge thank you to whoever made an anonymous donation last night, it's the biggest 'cup of coffee' I've ever received for an article ❤️

    Also the other persons who have sent a cup of coffee in the last 24 hours, you are heroes.

  • Hi Rolf,

    Thank you for your candid response. There are many more people like us who have or had debts, shame often stands in the way and they don't dare to tackle things because of that.

    Great to hear that it is recognizable to you, and that you have gone through similar steps. You too should be proud of yourself!

    Thank you very much for the donation, I received it!

  • Very nice story. And very recognizable in many ways. The debts, the FIRE movement, the film Minimalism, the desire to be a Digital Nomad, Bitcoin & stocks, all steps I have also gone through. Thank you so much for sharing this so extensively. And very nice that it is a somewhat larger article, not simple click bait. Top. I made a well-deserved donation.

  • What a story… you have come a long way, inspiring! I've been postponing investing for 10 years, I'm already well into my 40s, but I'm going to look into it now.

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