"My mission is to inspire as many people as possible to connect to their environment around and within themselves in order to live a healthy, wealthy and fulfilled live that doesn’t cost the earth."
I am Marlies, I am a design thinker and a digital entrepeneur. I live nomadically and make my own toothpaste. My friends love to call me a free-spirit or a hippie in disguise. Thank you for stopping by my site to get to know a bit more about me.
My passion is in designing and creating places that make people feel good. Places that feed the senses and nourish the soul. I like to call these places ‘wholesomeplaces’. I have been on a journey. I had to find out what I need myself before being able to help others. I’d like to take you along!
Born in The Netherlands I grew up in a loving family with my parents and older sister. I couldn’t have wished for a more supported and secure childhood.
When I was 18, I moved to a picturesque town called Delft where I studied Architecture and Design Process Management. During this time I worked very hard, had lots of fun and met most of my friends.
Even though I’m away most part of the year, I’m happy to still be deeply connected to my family, friends and their children.
I believe life in its entirety is a journey, however I believe my journey truly began on December 21 2012. It was my last day at work as a concept developer for a not-for-profit housing association in Amsterdam.
Despite riding my bike to work and being successful at what I did, the corporate and city lifestyle didn’t fulfil me. Spending most of my day in an office didn’t make me feel good. The thought of raising children in a place that requires two full time incomes to make ends meet didn’t appeal to me either.
After ignoring the way I felt about my environment for a good couple of years, a burnout confirmed I was not in the right place. My mind and body craved a life spent less in my head and more in my heart. I finally listened and quit my job.
Most of my colleagues told me that they would love to do the same, was it not for them having a mortgage, children and a level of comfort they weren’t ready to let go of. Indeed I didn’t have any of those responsibilities but I didn’t have a clue either!
I started to host long table dinners in ski chalets in the French Alps and at my place in Amsterdam. I became interested in food and nutrition and was shocked to find out what state our food industry is in and how much harm that causes to our bodies and our planet.
I decided I needed to educate myself around alternative ways of farming, growing and eating food. Off I went to Northern California to trade my work for accommodation and food on organic farms and smallholdings also known as wwoofing.
A 16-day residential Permaculture Design Course I took, profoundly changed the way I look at life. I still don’t know whether it was the yurt classroom, hand milking the goats, the gravity fed solar showers, the community, the classes on soil fertility, distilling essential oils or the fantastic food from the garden that catalyzed this change.
Those days on the Pacific Coast just north of San Francisco made me realize that man and nature are interdependent. I learned that human beings have got a role to play, that is tending to ‘The Garden Of Eden’ to create even more abundance and diversity than nature provides itself. I also realized we have got a long way to go back to this synergy.
I decided to continue on this path.
Before I knew it, I had lived and worked in rural places all across the world for 7 years. I learned about the ‘why and how’ of growing flowers, herbs and vegetables. I learned how to raise fowl and cattle, to keep bees, milk cows and herd goats. I baked sourdough on a professional scale, pickled and preserved vegetables, made cheese and fermented drinks. I learned about the importance of pasture management and soil fertility and got really excited about it all. I started dreaming of having my own farm, of creating my own ‘wholesomeplace’.
In the rural Southwest of the UK in a maze of country lanes, I was offered an apprenticeship in the wood fired sourdough micro-bakery of friends I met. I sold our bread every Saturday morning to the local community at the farmer’s market and realized I had become one of the thirty somethings in woolly jumpers I had been looking up to in California.
Throughout my journey I took out an education in Feng Shui to expand my knowledge on creating the right environment for people. Feng Shui is a 4000 year old Taoist belief that man and nature are closely connected and have shaped each other throughout human evolution.
Wherever I was, I applied Feng Shui principles. From converting a van, barns and making plans for farms to organizing cabins, pantries and gardens. Eventually I designed my very own cafe! I was delighted as my interest in design, place and food merged. I loved creating that cafe and I loved holding space for the local community.
There were many good things about running the cafe too, but the relations made leave after a year. I had to put some distance to it and went off to work on friends places abroad once more. I spent a few months in the Himalayas in India too, to do yoga and meditation and to find answers to questions I had for myself.
I had lived in the most beautiful places on earth with wonderful and inspiring people leaving me with friendships anywhere.
I had found the lifestyle I want to live.
I had enjoyed personal freedom, time freedom and geographic freedom.
I made choices that led to this reality that some refer to as ‘A dream lifestyle’.
What was it that left me feeling unfulfilled no matter how grateful I was?
It had to do with money. The lack of financial freedom.
Feng Shui teaches that money equals life force, energy and is represented by the element water. Like water, money needs to flow in order for us to truly be creative, to be able to invest in our dreams and to reach our full potential.
I had come a long way trading work for food and accommodation and living frugally on savings. But clearly, money didn’t flow.
On top of all the experience and education I had, I needed an income stream that would be more than the jobs I could pick up casually wherever I happened to be.
I realized I needed to join the digital economy. To build a business around my lifestyle instead of the other way around!
Recently I joined an online learning platform for digital skills that provides me with the education, tools and community I need to build a successful online business. The thought that this business allows me to share what inspires me, and provides me with an income regardless of where I am I find very exciting!
Thank you for reading my story.
P.S. Click here if you are ready to design an online business around your lifestyle and want to find out how!