After years of procrastination I finally found the guts and inspiration to start doing what I always wanted: be a free range human. Although many would think I was already living that life, i.e. being able to study two totally different studies, working in an internationally oriented “do-good” sector and a lot of travelling for leisure and work, I always ended up feeling a bit trapped in well… office life. After graduating as a vet nurse I wanted to study something else, something more “worldly” as the walls of the clinics I was working in were too confining. After graduating as a Human Geographer (a study for people who breathe travelling and desperately want to “do something” with that) I quickly found myself a job as a researcher and project officer for an amazing project on the tropical island of Zanzibar. And although I must admit that my leisure time was spend in a slightly warmer setting than you are currently (and most likely, year round) in, my working hours were mostly centred around a computer, writing up papers and interviews. Coming back to the Netherlands I agreed with myself to make my life year ‘29-30’ the year I finally would make a start for myself. However, it took me some months into settled and structured Dutchie-life to shake off the pleasure of having a regular pay check.
After some soul searching and lots of chats over coffee with friends and family, I got up from my umpteenth Downward Facing Dog, spoke in a reprimanding yet honest way to myself and started making The Plan. So what was it that I wanted to do? Something which comes naturally to me… No, scrap that: Multiple things which come naturally to me or which I enjoy doing, because if I have to do one singular thing for 40 hours per week I’ll get under-stimulated soon. Plus, I have so many natural skills! And Experience! And speaking of that 40-hour workweek, I don’t really believe in working that many hours. With my minimalist lifestyle, I can easily live of less, although I do see myself working móre that 40 hours if I’m doing the things I love. So what are the things I love?
Animals: I LOVE LOVE LOVE (non-human) animals! Ever since I could speak, I was asking for a dog, even if it was “just” a poodle. I have made it my life’s passion and my personal goal to make the world a bit better fort the non-human animals. I’ve done politics and voluntary work. I’ve made it my profession and my hobby. It’s my greatest strength, yet also my pitfall. Animals always know where to find me, and they always seem to have a medical condition which needs loads of TLC. But when it comes to these furry creatures, I’m like a mama-bear. If you do no harm, you won’t hear me. But men-oh-men, if you hurt one of my babies (or an animal in general) you will hear my growl and feel my teeth…
Movement: Never the sporty type, I found yoga again and again, but never really went for it. Until I found it for sure in Zanzibar when I met the wonderful Miss. Jo Fox. Also, I absolutely hate sitting behind a desk all day (although I don’t mind sitting on the sofa to read a good book) and one of the best jobs I have ever had was that of a dog walker during my studies. It might be a strange thing to say if you’re living in the Netherlands, but you would me amazed how often I looked outside the window from my previous office and thought: The weather is too beautiful to be sitting inside… I’m not made for a sedentary lifestyle.
Decluttering: I was always a tidy little lady. In my parents’ house where stuff was always piled on table tops and chairs (and every other open space), organising was thé way to go to find things, files and animals back. When I finally got my own place, I found out it was refreshing to not own so much stuff (and easier to clean) and gradually decluttered my own home. I believe the kids nowadays call this Minimalism…?
Organising: Combined with my decluttered way of working and living, I’ve become an expert on (re-) organising and systematising work flows. In many of my previous jobs I have re-organised the admin and created databases in order to enable monitoring and evaluation of programs. They even have a verb for it – Sieskematising -.
Facilitation: A new found niche of mine, although I do think I’ve had it in me for a while. As a Human Geographer I am trained in getting multiple views of people, organisations or disciplines on the table and try to find synergies between them. Furthermore, I was always the person who was sensitive to the person being a little bit too silent whilst being over shouted by its vocal peers. One of the reasons why I never grounded in many of the organisations I was working for was due to the lack of listening to each other, but too much talking behind each others backs. I’ve seen several organisations, projects and persons spend too much energy on trying to keep their heads above water when all it takes is a willingness to come together and find a way to solve problems and work towards mutual gains.
So what is it that I want to do, you might wonder? What is the niche you are going to focus on? That has been one of my biggest stumbling blocks the last year: what is going to be my focus? It was the thing holding me back, I couldn’t make a choice. Until I started reading up on multi-potentialism, the renaissance man and free-range humans. It has only been since recently (industrialisation) that we’ve focussed on one profession. Before, people would diversify their incomes, as you still see in some more traditional living societies (like the Maasai, which I researched a few years back). Spreading the risks decreases the vulnerability of a person and family: if the harvest of a produce would fail you would always have some livestock to sell. Plus, you’d have more variety to life!
This is exactly what I’m going to do from now on: spread my chances with a personal twist. I can honestly say I’ve gained plenty of experience in the fields I’m working in to feel comfortable enough to offer them as a service. However, as an avid learner, I will be learning continuously as I believe learning doesn’t stop after graduation.
And to start that off: I am about to start a yoga adventure with Parimukti in Dharamkot, India so I can start spreading some yogi-love after that.
I will start my Free Range Career as a dog walker, pet caretaker and yoga teacher and will expand from there towards the following services for small-middle sized companies; Sieskematising administrative and work-flow systems and hosting facilitation workshops in which employer and employees will work towards solving problems which obstruct a fluid workflow.
I’m excited and hope you have also become excited for me and will spread the word. If you want to talk more about the approach or my services, just contact me, you know where to find me!