Romaine (42), married to Didi, mother of Joli (15), Juna (13) and Jessa (10).
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“We’ve been saying to each other for a few years now: ‘Can’t we organize our lives differently?’ Like so many people, we sometimes felt so caught up in the rat race of everyday life. Get up early, kids to school, hop hop. Work hard to earn a lot of money, often miss each other and enjoy too little. The stress that this often entails is enormous. Didi in particular worked countless hours in his own company. He also earned about a ton a year with that, but was it all worth it? During our vacations, life always felt a lot different, freer too. Couldn’t we keep that feeling in our normal lives, we wondered.
The tipping point really came when Didi’s father became seriously ill. He was only 61 years old, but had only a short time to live. Unfortunately, with all the money in the world, health cannot be bought. We decided to move in with him to experience as many beautiful moments together as possible. Didi had already lost his mother and that loss had made him a workaholic. After the death of his father, Didi ended up in a burnout. Partly because of this, our picture for the future became increasingly clear: we wanted to live differently. We wanted to enjoy each other more and travel more. We then made our first trip to Bali to relax a bit.
We noticed that we had less and less money. In recent years I had been so reluctant to buy anything for the children’s birthdays, for example – because they already had everything. Grandpas and grandmothers sometimes came up with play castles or quads and computers. Nice of course, but there was no time to play with everything. For myself I was never concerned with things like beautiful clothes. I sometimes bought something new for a party, but other than that I didn’t think it was important at all. In fact, it used to feel like a burden to have stuff and want more and more.
Didi had already come into contact with bitcoin in 2013, but when his father became so ill, he left it alone for a while. But during our trip in Bali someone called to ask if we still had bitcoins. We saw the community grow, the price of bitcoin go up. In Bali we made our plan: could we sell everything and get into bitcoins? The exchange rate of the currency then determines how much money we have to spend and what we can do with that money. Of course there is some risk involved because you invest, but we accepted that.
Back in the Netherlands, our plan took shape. Didi, in particular, worked diligently on it. At first I thought it was terrifying and I wondered: is he serious? For a moment I thought: there you have Didi again with a plan and I am the inhibiting factor again. But when he put his Jeep and convertible up for sale, I knew he meant it. And the more he explained to me about the bitcoins, the more I liked it. Of course there were a lot of people who thought – and sometimes said – that we were crazy. But we never cared about that. We really didn’t take any chances – night after night we put our plans down on paper. And further we would see, we could always go back home.
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We put our house up for sale through a real estate agent friend. We sold that for a converted amount of 275,000 euros in bitcoins. We also got rid of the rest of our stuff. Our pensions were bought off and all our savings accounts emptied, including those of the children. The children seemed to have little problem with the situation, they were especially looking forward to our new life with the travels and the feeling of more freedom.
Just going to travel and go to school on the way, turned out not to be so easy. Although we had made a whole plan with the children’s school, the Education Inspectorate was less enthusiastic. In the end, deregistering completely in the Netherlands proved to be the best option. They now follow education online, through an international school. They like it very much, they learn many different languages and make friends with children of all nationalities.
We have been traveling for four years now and I am still happy with this decision every day. We have traveled through Europe with a motorhome for a long time and we have been in Australia for a longer period. And when the bitcoin price was lower, we stayed in the cheaper Asia. We have been in Portugal for several months now. I take care of the day-to-day running of our household and help the children with school, Didi can run his business anywhere, but no longer works as many hours as he used to. The children have already been able to make friends in so many places in the world. I think that’s fantastic to see, because they may still have contact with it for the rest of their lives.
‘Money is no longer an issue’
I don’t see going back to the Netherlands just like that, we will probably choose a new sunny home on a beach. We don’t have to leave it for the money either, because bitcoin is in a favorable position and we earn enough with it. Yet money is no longer an issue, we just try to live with the minimum. That equates to about two hundred euros per week on groceries. If we go out for dinner or go to a terrace, that is added. There is now zero euros in our current account, all our money is in bitcoins – that amount has now risen to something with at least five zeros.
Of course, sometimes the girls want something that I actually think is ridiculous, especially now that they’re in puberty. That’s why the oldest got a tracksuit from a certain sports brand at Christmas and the middle one got a set with which she can put fake nails, the youngest a Playstation. But we prefer to spend money on experiences. A day of sailing, surfing or skiing together, for example – those activities together are worth their weight in gold.
We also often give something away to people who have it less. For example, at Christmas we helped provide a group of homeless young people with new shoes and a Christmas dinner in Venezuela, Serbia and India. Sometimes we do volunteer work. For example, our youngest recently helped in a cat shelter. That’s our way of giving back to all the happiness we have. It feels good to be able to share.”
This article can be found in Kek Mama 06-2021.
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