My journey towards my purpose
I’ve always been on the move; looking for what makes me happy, what I’m good at and how I can make a positive impact in the world. I’m very grateful that I was born in an advantaged country in a privileged position. That gave me a lot of chances other people simply didn’t have. I’m aware I’m very fortunate with this life of traveling the world and starting initiatives that I care about. It wasn’t all fun though.
When I was 23 years old I had major debts from making wrong business deals in my company Nightbite, that organised dinners in the dark in the Netherlands. Last year my social enterprise Lots of Lesvos bought thousands of olive oil cans from our Greek supplier. It turned out they were leaking. It made almost our whole stock unsellable. And this year our hand build home in the beautiful wild nature of Portugal was devastated by a huge forest fire.
The lessons I learned from all that, made me arrive where I am right now. Living my purpose in the Portuguese nature, doing what I love doing: reconnecting people with their true nature. And determined to make my dream come true. Here are 7 of the highlights of my journey:
1. Creating 7 books
In 2008 I made my first book, about ‘the ingredients’ of the best 10 chefs worldwide. What makes these chef entrepreneurs become so successful? I visited Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, Ferran Adria, Curtis Stone, Nigella Lawson, Anthony Bourdain, Nadia Santini, Herman den Blijker, Sergio Herman, and Alain Passard.
In 2012 I helped entrepreneur Ben Steenstra and top coach Wassili Zafiris write their book about Meaningful Profit, which was nominated for management book of the year. After that, I co-created 5 more books.
2. Communication company
With our communication agency, we launched several social impact projects for Companies and NGOs. With CARE Netherlands we initiated an online program of long-distance coaching with women entrepreneurs in the Netherlands supporting women entrepreneurs in Yemen.
3. Green tour on an electric tuk tuk
My dog Ki and I traveled in an electric tuk-tuk from Amsterdam to Faro. It was my purpose to gain awareness of sustainable tourism. It was an amazing adventure as I love traveling and being connected to nature. It was covered in international newspapers and television and I wrote a book about it.
I worked for years as a life style journalist. A short period of time I was parliamentary journalist for the biggest newspaper in The Netherlands. After that I worked for 6 years as a travel journalist. It was an amazing time encountering beautiful cultures, landscapes and people.
5. Culinary brand
After visiting Lesvos in 2016, I founded Lots of Lesvos, a brand of high quality culinary products to support local farmers and refugees from Lesvos. So that they can live a better life.
6. Meeting inspiring people
I was inspired by amazing entrepreneurs, leaders, and changemakers, like Richard Branson, Jane Goodall, Kevin Richardson, Ghandi, Walt Disney, Kuki Gallman, and my grandfather Harry van Doorn, of which some of them I had the honor to meet.
7. Move to Portugal
Together with my husband and our 6-year-old son we moved to Portugal in December 2019 to live our dream life and build a yurt in the middle of the wild nature. After 7 months of hard work, just when our beautiful self-made yurt was finished, a big forest fire devastated our little paradise. Nature learned us some very harsh lessons. You can’t control the elements and life. What you CAN control are your feelings, your thoughts, your words, and your actions. They create your reality. Now we’re back in Portugal, dreaming our life into being again.