Hi there! Let’s go on an adventure together, what do you say? Before we do – let me introduce myself. I’m Céline Elsa, a 26 year old Dutch girl and founder of CELINE ELSA (formerly thatnomad.com). Not too long ago, I started traveling the world full-time as a Digital Nomad.
CELINE ELSA is a platform for people who are interested in travel, lifestyle and everything creative. If you’re into exploring new countries & cultures, crazy adventures, self-development and the occasional drawing, I’m sure you will love it here!
From small town girl to metropolitan
My life hasn’t always been like this. Until age 16, I spent my life in two little villages in The Netherlands. I played with Barbies in my ocean-themed bedroom and I wrote short stories, mainly about horses and heroines.
I had my cozy little group of friends, I loved chasing chicken and making mud soup at my friend’s parents’ farm, I had my bike and my dear horse Kanu. Every year my parents, sister and I went on holidays in either France or Italy. We stayed in ‘mobile homes’ at campsites and built bonfires on the beach or near the river.
At age 16, things started to change for me. I moved out and started University in Maastricht. I finally lived in a big city and the best part is – I lived on my own! I loved it. I didn’t have to share the TV any longer. Like most freshmen, my diet consisted of microwaveable food and pizza. Who doesn’t love pizza?
I no longer went on holidays with my parents but with my boyfriend Emir. Let me tell you – we skipped a lot of classes to travel instead. We got a dog. I moved to an even bigger city, Rotterdam, to live with Emir.
In summer 2011 I graduated with a BBA, and right after that Emir and I (and our dog Bailey) moved to Turkey, to my favorite city in the world: Istanbul! Emir launched his carsharing startup and I explored the city and learned Turkish. If you have never been to Istanbul, please book your tickets already! It is the most magical city I ever been to. It’s the ultimate melting pot where east meets west, . Did you know it is the only city in the world that embraces two continents?
Emir worked very long hours because of his startup. We had to put our travel dreams on the back burner, but I didn’t mind because I had a metropolis to explore! I had a lot of friends and family coming over, but at one point I got bored of showing people my city. It was then that I tried a lot of BS things because I didn’t find my passion yet. I had a lot of business ideas that I never executed. I created a preschool brand. I failed. I wrote the first novel of my Young Adult trilogy. Pending. I got thyroid cancer. That one, I didn’t fail. That was a first win as an adult. I’m clean now and this setback led me to shift my mindset completely.
From metropolitan to world traveler
After a very difficult year for us, Emir and I decided late 2015 that we needed a big change. We were craving for adventure, new cultures and soul-searching experiences. We had lived in Istanbul for 4,5 years and our daily life had become much of a routine. Every day was pretty much the same and we rarely did something new or exciting. Because of his business and later on because of my cancer, it was impossible for us to travel long and far. What happened to those two University kids that traveled the world carelessly? Who spontaneously booked tickets and hitchhiked their way to the airport when they almost missed their flight?
We had heard a lot about an almost too good to be true lifestyle. There were people out there that traveled the world and worked in the same time. They weren’t teachers, seasonal workers, flight attendants or house sitters. Most of these ‘digital nomads’ ditched their 9 to 5 job and now had online businesses and gigs that allowed them to work remotely. This is exactly what we wanted to do.
We did. In January 2016 we sold all our belongings, bought 2 medium suitcases and backpacks and started our adventure as Digital Nomads. We have online businesses and our blogs that we manage while traveling the world full-time. We are currently roaming through South East Asia, playing with elephants, zip-lining, climbing waterfalls and exploring the whitest beaches.
You can also develop your own happily ever after. Don’t wait. I waited way too long. I only managed to make such a drastic change to my life after I went through a dark period in my life. It doesn’t matter if you want to travel, if you want a happier or healthier life, if you want more freedom, if you want to start a blog or business. Choose you. You are the only one in charge.
Now, let’s go on an adventure together!
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