Charmayne Van Denderen started building up her business as a psychologist and working remotely at the start of the Coronavirus outbreak. She was visiting her parents on the island of Ibiza when she realised she wanted to travel full time and could continue working online.
She and some friends filled up her father’s work van with pillows and snacks and headed up the mountain to watch the sunset: “That was the moment… I can remember it so clearly and thought, why can’t this be something I can experience every day of my life? […] I want to experience this every day, not just on vacation or on the weekends, and that got me thinking about what I want to do with my life.”
Charmayne Van Denderen explained that she had doubts before taking the plunge into becoming a full-time traveller as she had just got a new house in The Netherlands and thought she should do a master’s degree: “[I had] all these insecurities that everyone has and then I had a conversation with my mom, and she asked why I wasn’t travelling already, and I was like I don’t know? And that just changed my mind like yeah, I’m just going to do it, and that’s when I decided to try to be a digital nomad. It worked out great!”
“Everyone has limiting beliefs, everyone is scared, but the difference is that the people who really change their lives are the ones that still do it even though they feel the fear because the fear is not going to disappear. I think that’s the difference between the people living their dream life because they feel the fear, but they’re still doing it. Most people wait until the fear is over, and then they will do it.”
Charmayne Van Denderen offers one-to-one coaching with people. She combines psychology and spirituality to work on her client’s mindset, energy and body. Charmayne recently travelled to Costa Rica to train as a KAP facilitator, an alternative form of therapy. She is currently living in Mexico but plans to travel back home to The Netherlands for a few weeks before setting off to Bali.
Do you have any travel tips and hacks that you live by?
Charmayne Van Denderen says, “I travel purely on intuition. I don’t plan anything. Of course, I get invited to things by friends, but I feel intuitive if that feels right for me. It makes it so much easier to decide where I want to go. It always works out in the best way because I meet the right people, I get the best business deals, or it’s the right time with the whole Coronavirus situation.”
“I don’t plan ahead. I just plan for this month. For example, I know that at the beginning of March I’m going to Bali, but what exact date I don’t know.”
“So that’s a tip I can give to people; don’t plan your travels, if you have the space for it or if you’re a digital nomad and you’re more flexible to do that because you’re not stuck in one place, try to travel on your intuition because it gives you so much more space to be more flexible if somebody invites you somewhere. What I see with upcoming travellers is they plan for the upcoming four months, and you suggest something, and they’re like, “oh, we’re already going to this next!”
“Also […] try to be as local as possible, so talk with the local people, be interested, be open-minded and ask, “what is the best place to eat?” or “which is the best place to go”. Doing that always takes you to these cute, little places that you would never know were there. Something else that I do when I know I’m going somewhere; I’m vegan, so I would google ‘best vegan restaurants’ or ‘best thing to do in this place or I search on Instagram the name of the place and see if I can find travel accounts that are sharing good tips for the country, follow some people that are travelling there and save the posts.” How Can Travel Be Your Lifestyle? Rachel Shares Insights
You spoke a bit about travelling by your intuition. Is that what makes the way you travel unique, and why do you do it this way?
“I think the unique part is that I’m just following my intuition, and I go with the flow. My plan was to stay in Mexico until April or May, but now so much has changed, and I felt like I needed to go to Bali, I had this inner calling, and I’m following that.”
“I truly believe that following your intuition will always bring you to the right people, the right circumstances and the right way of living for you.
I’ve met amazing people here in Mexico. Some of them are also going to Bali, so I truly believe that I’m meant to maybe connect with them in Bali or meet different people there.
It’s just my way of living to just go with the flow, to see where life [takes me], what it will give me, and I always trust that it gives me the exact thing that I need at the exact time that I need it.”
What are the challenges you’ve faced, and how have you overcome them?
“I think one of the struggles for me was the fact that I was constantly travelling with other people so I was adapting myself to other peoples’ way of living and you have to be considerate of what they want to do, so that can sometimes be a challenge because sometimes it felt really exhausting to be with so many people at the same time or to do so many things. So, it’s essential to have the right balance, and you don’t give too much energy to other people and take your alone time, that space for yourself. That’s something I’ve learned for sure.”
“Another thing as a digital nomad you have to be really structured. You still can do things from flow, but you have to have some kind of structure. For example, last summer I travelled through Italy for three weeks, and my friend and I saw 16 cities. I realised before I could not work those three weeks, I just knew that I would be going from place to place. I didn’t know if I’d have internet. So, I needed to prepare myself beforehand to have everything in place to take [time] off work for three weeks. So those are also things to think about: can you work? Is there good Wi-Fi?
For example, here in Mexico, I wanted to go somewhere. Still, I heard from everyone that the WiFi and the internet are super bad over there. It sometimes falls out for one day or a couple of days. So that’s not a place where you could stay as a digital nomad for six months. It is because you need your Wi-Fi and your internet. So that is something to be considerate of.”
Charmayne, do you have any fears as a traveller, and do you try to combat these fears?
“The only thing I struggle with sometimes is the feeling of being alone. Because it’s really nice to meet so many new people all the time and chat with them. But eventually, you will notice when you travel around as a digital nomad that you want to have your own tribe, your travel tribe, the people that you know are also going to that place or are really flexible to come with you. If you have to meet new people every time you travel to a new country it becomes a bit hectic. You’re travelling every one or two months and connecting with new people at times becomes really exhausting. You’re going to feel alone sometimes because you’re not connecting with people.”
“What really helps for me, of course, I am a psychologist, so I use my own tools; for me, it helps to journal or to meditate. I journal what I’m feeling, why I’m feeling this way and how I can change that for myself, or I meditate on that feeling by just taking my time to go inwards and ask myself the same questions. Because when you are noticing it and are getting in touch with it, and you ask the “why?”, you can solve it.”
“I think most people feel [something], and they push it away. They don’t want to be confronted by it. They make it bigger, but if you just confront yourself with the feeling and just say: “Hey, why am I feeling this way?” [you realise] Oh, I’m feeling lonely because I haven’t seen anybody in two days. I just want to see somebody, or I’ve only met many new people, and I miss my friends from home, or something else. Then you can also change that situation. You can maybe call your friends from home and chat with them or maybe go out with somebody and see people again”.
What are some things that you’ve learned through your travels?
“My first experience going abroad was in 2018. I went to Barcelona for seven months. And that opened so much for me because I saw how much you can develop as a person. To be away from your surroundings, to be away from everything you know, to be away from your city and the people that you already know. To contact international people and connect with them, hear their stories, travels, and passion. The inspiration they provide, I think that is something I would never have learned if I had stayed at home.”
“Every culture, every country is so different, and that can bring so much for you as a person. For example, you have the American Dream in America, and that’s really big. In Spain and Italy, it’s more family surrounded; you have these big family events with your whole family. It changed my perspective on how I wanted to live my life what I found important and what I would like to bring, maybe when I have my own family one day or what I would like to share with my clients and my followers on Instagram.”
What is your advice for people who want to travel?
“I think the most important thing is to ask yourself is what sort of life you want to pursue when you’re travelling abroad? Do you want to have more network-style living in a villa with other entrepreneurs? Do you want to have your own place at the beach, or do you want to be more in nature? Have a clear vision of the digital nomad life you want to live and write that in detail.
For example, she’s living at the beach and surfing every day; she’s in flow with working online in the morning. And she meets up with her friends at the beach in the afternoon. What kind of life do you want to pursue? Just think about where you want to go and what you would like to experience. Do you have a cultural desire and want to know the country? Or do you want to meet up with locals and meet international people? What is your intention behind it? For people considering travelling, I think just do it and have fun with it!”
Charmayne Van Denderen has a fascinating approach to life and a unique, free-spirited way of travelling by following her instincts. Her advice can be used in many aspects of life as a traveller or not.
If you would like to follow Charmayne Van Denderen’s journey, you can follow her on Instagram.