10 questions to Ellen de Dreu

While you can, take a seat in the couragecamper of Ellen de Dreu, our sixth digital nomad, and get encouraged to become a camperpreneur yourself.

She knows the fears and doubts that come with the thought of leaving one’s comfort zone but she did it anyways and didn’t regret it. She might have some helpful tips for you if you are struggling with the final decision or need advice on the first steps.

Learn about her couragecamper and the company behind it and her journey of becoming a camperpreneur. If you need a final push towards the right direction, this might be it. Dare to find out? Stop by on February 22nd at 6pm.

Ellen de Dreu

  • Age: 47
  • Years as a DN: 1
  • Profession: Trainer, coach & marketing specialist
  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Stay in touch: https://www.facebook.com/ellen.dedreu
    Twitter @EllendeDreu
Digital Nomad Ellen

Why did you decide to begin a nomadic life and what does it mean to you?

I never knew why I chose the nomadic life in January 2015, there was just this tiny voice in my heart that said I had to go. At home I am working really hard and in the evening watching television and I thought: there has to be more to life than just following the routines and doing the same things every day. When I left I had just become the owner of my own campervan and this made me so happy that I wanted to spend more time in my camper in nature than at home between 4 walls. I was terrified when I made the decision to go and that only strengthened my decision. If you are afraid, it means your heart is in it and it is important to do it.

How do you earn an income now?

I was also terrified to leave because at that moment I had no idea how to transform my business to an online business that I could manage from anywhere. But instead of making plans at home and postpone the departure date until I was ready, I decided to just leave and transform my business while I was traveling.

At the end of this year, I decided to sell this company Workshoptrainer (which I am doing as we speak) and start a new one: couragecamper.com

Digital nomad Ellen working in the sun

How many hours do you work on average daily?

I am probably the only person who has not read the ‘4-hour workweek’ so I am working too much, mostly more than 40 hours per week.

What is your approximate travel budget for a year? Any tips on how to lower it?

Since I am traveling in my campervan, I do not have a lot of costs. I spend 15 euro’s a night on campsites, do grocery shopping for a very low amount of money and sometimes I go out to dinner but not much and my hobbies are all for free: birdwatching, walking and skating and so on.

In April I am giving up my house which I still pay rent for every month, so I will have even less expenses (also for gas bills and so on).

It is not as if I try very hard to lower the costs, it is simply happening when I live in my campervan instead of my home.

Digital Nomad Ellen having lunch

What would you consider to be one of the best tools for becoming a digital nomad?

  • A Macbook and an iPhone
  • A good telephone contract with which I can call for free in 24 European countries
  • A campervan
  • Trust

Do you have any advice for those starting a digital nomad life?

Don’t plan. Just go. And take time to head for the unknown, not only for the places all the other digital nomads also go to.

Digital Nomad Ellen at the beach

How long have you been traveling and where have you been? Do you have a favourite place in the world?

I have been traveling for the last year (2015) and in 2014 I was traveling in the summer months.

I was planning to visit all European countries but in the end I spend 11 months in Spain. Malaga and Tarifa now have become my favourite places in the world (until I arrive on Tenerife of course 😉

What is your travel frequency? How often do you change the place you stay and do you have a home base?

When I travel in my campervan I change places every 2 weeks (without thinking about it too much, I only noticed afterwards that this seems to be my rithm).

I still have a home in the Netherlands but I am planning to give it up in April this year. And yes, I think this is exciting too and frankly the idea still terrifies me.

Digital Nomad Ellen in her hammock

How do you manage the distance to family and friends? Do you miss having an established home and a wardrobe without weight limit?

I do not feel the distance to my friends. I meet them on Facebook every day and some friends I call every week, no matter where I am. I try to visit them when I can, and that is also true for the new friends I make while traveling. As regard to stuff, I have traveled for 11 months with only the things that fit into my camper and I have never missed anything, and I have never been happier, which shows that happiness has nothing to do with the size of your wardrobe and everything with experiences and the very nice people I meet.

Could you imagine keeping up the digital nomad lifestyle for the rest of your life?

Yes please.

Are you a digital nomad with experience? Then you might want to read our blog post “Hey you, digital nomad! I want to offer you something