Reflective Rob – 3 Years Zenerife

Wow, already three years ago since we moved to Tenerife and started our project Zenerife. Time flies…

In our first blog we wrote:

” This blog is about our big life experiment. How did we come to our decision? What are we hoping to find? We will share our experiences (good and bad) with you. We hope our story inspires you to let go of your fears, think about what is important to you in your life and take a (calculated of course) risk. After all, what is the worst thing that could happen? ”

Reading back our first blog we asked ourselves (mainly) four questions:

  1. Would it be possible to enjoy the magnificent views every day?
  2. Would it be possible to earn money online as Zentrepreneurs?
  3. Our friends would come and visit us?
  4. Whether this lifestyle would actually be more balanced and simple?

Let me start reflecting on these questions first.

The views

Yes it has been possible! Our first year we lived in Güimar, with a beautiful garden and the mountains as a beautiful background.

Since two years we live in Abades, where we still enjoy the mountains as background and have swapped the beautiful garden for our terrace, some cosy bars with Seaview and the beach. Of course the climate is one of the best in the world. 340 days of sun, warm winters and less heat waves in the summer than in mainland Europe.

So, yes we enjoy these views still on a daily basis. Every morning when we walk to Tom’s school or to the bars around the corner I enjoy the beautiful view over the sea. Some days we can see Gran Canaria very clearly and sometimes it’s not even visible, although the sky seems clear. This keeps amazing me and the view never gets boring.

Earning Money

I will elaborate on this more in “the wheel of life” below as this a very important theme and definitely one that withholds lots of people making changes such as our project Zenerife.

Jus reflecting quickly on Kim’s process, she has always managed to earn sufficient to pay her monthly bills. The sources have been various and seem to be expanding. She started to work projects for her former employer. Next to that she became partner in my online business, which provided her with an automated income stream as well. This was great given Tom’s birth. Since this summer Kim is not partner anymore as my business lost 70% of its revenue over the last year. Currently she works for various clients (not being her former employer or me) and has generated her first income streams from our trainings @Zenerife as well!

In this process she (we) have learned to trust the process much more. We have worried quite a bit about money and the perceived security earlier in the process. This taught us to trust our own capabilities and we became better at letting go. Given our experiences with finding (unexpected) new ways of income we are confident that it will never be a really big issue. And that feels liberating as financial security has always been a big issue to me.

Would people be visiting us?

LEAVE US ALONE!!!! Haha, kidding! We love when people come over and luckily this still happens frequently. Some people will be hitting the 5 times visit mark in 2019, others still have the first visit in their planning. However, it’s funny to see that this was one of our concerns when we made our move… We probably had over 1 full year of visitors here. As we have been abroad (New ZENland, ZENtral America, the Netherlands) for about 9 months in total as well, this is a pretty good score. CONNECTION is so important, always, hence we are truly grateful for this. So, let’s be clear about this we are VERY GRATEFUL that we are still connected to so many people ‘back home’ and keep making new wonderful connections with people around the globe.



More Balanced and Simple?

Yes and No…. It is more balanced, more on that below in my Wheel Of Life. And if it is more simple? Not always. Why? Well, as it’s all an experiment it at times demands more of you. The automatic pilot is not the best option in new situations. For instance immigrating to Spain, setting up your own business abroad, learning to understand the tax rules etcetera are not things that are specifically simple… Ooh and learning a new language is absolutely not simple, think I mentioned that in other blogs already 🙂

At the same time, doing what we like, when we like (most of the time) is again a form of Simplicity… So that’s great. Furthermore, we worry less and that makes things more simple.

However, having so much freedom can make life also less simple. For instance if we would like to move to some other place, go travel, start a new business it’s basically all possible, however all these options don’t make life necessarily more simple. We invest in maintaining our focus.  To keep life simple, without getting bored either. Less is More.

I just received images for my coaching from my graphics designer in India and would like to reflect on one of them “The Wheel Of Life”. The idea of this wheel is balance, hence if you would rate these areas in your life the ideal situation is that the numbers are all in line.

For example, if you are highly successful in business and rate that a 9, however that comes at the expense of your relationships with family and friends and rate that a 3, you still have a pretty bad situation… The wheel includes: Health, Money, Career, Relationships and (Free) Time. These five items seem to be very significant to the majority of people.


Rob’s Wheel of Life (3 years ago and now)


Improved from 6 to an 8. I eat much healthier, which gives me more energy. It’s not only more healthy it’s also more delicious because Kim is the creative in our kitchen while I supply the knowledge as nutritional coach. It also implies that I lost 8 kg’s and hence look better in swimming shorts. I have improved my breathing and that has greatly boosted my health. Both physically as mentally. By using my breath consciously I can actually influence my mental states almost on demand. Going from ‘fight and flight’ response to ‘rest & digest’, pretty cool and a highly underrated area of attention in the field of personal development.

My exercise has improved. It flows, I just do what I do. I don’t overdo anything and that feels great. Sometimes some more focus on stretching / yoga (10 minutes max in the morning), sometimes some strength training if I feel my body needs it. And mainly just exercise in the form of kitesurfing or a refreshing swim just in front of house.

It could become a 9 if I would sleep a little more. Unfortunately, Tom decided in the last two weeks to wake up really early (5am – 6 am), so although I now go to bed at 9pm – 10pm, to have sufficient sleep, I would appreciate waking up with daylight.


From 6.5 to 7. Although I earn less than 5 years ago my score is still almost the same. I really had to face a lot of fears on this subject. I suppose my ‘financial knowledge’ sort of caused that fear as well. Having worked in restructuring with lots of companies in financial distress and having the skills to calculate all sorts of (doom) scenarios did not help. A rational analysis when you are experiencing anxiety does not seem to work…. Hence, facing fear exercises, coaching and observing people living happy with much less than myself worked. Oh and also experiencing living with less, helped a lot.

My ‘worst case scenario’ for my online business has become reality in the last year. Income dropped by 70%!! Leaving just enough to cover my monthly expenses. The interesting thing is when this happened, I felt completely relaxed. Hence my fear did not materialize, this was so awkward as I really had sleepless nights about this before that actually happened. Since it dropped, I actually have not had a single sleepless night on this subject… The mind works in mysterious ways….

Anyways, how are we going to make this an 8? Well next year I want to earn a full income with what I am really passionate about, namely training & (business) coaching. The last half year has been a good start and shows the potential. So given all the cool things that seem to be happening (see below) I expect to be able to mark this an 8 end of next year.

Another positive worth mentioning is that we still own are house in Amsterdam, which pays the rent of our three times bigger house here 🙂


From 7 to 8. When we moved, I was already an entrepreneur with my own company. It was great to have the freedom and be creative in developing the business. Hence my passion for business was satisfied, however I was less passionate about the business itself. Don’t get me wrong, I do like the subject of tarot & horoscopes as it can be used for personal development purposes as well. However, as I don’t have the skills myself to read tarot and nor am I a astrologist, I felt I could not add more profound knowledge to the process.

With training & coaching that’s different. This makes creating and running both Zenerife and Walk the Talk so much more energizing!

So why then ‘only’ an 8? Well, a more constant flow of clients is what I lack. I want to help more people in their process! Currently I have two business coachees with my ‘Boost your Business’. We connect on a weekly basis and I am really enjoying this work as it is always different and demands a lot of both my clients and me. I am working towards having about 5 clients on a more constant basis next year.

Next to that Kim and I aim with Zenerife to have about 1 week per month fully dedicated to a training or a Zenerife Experience.

Things are looking good! I just finished recording my first interview, I received the first draft of an article about us in ‘Intermediar” and I am developing a Personal Leadership training program that is will be 1-on-1 coaching sessions combined with an online training. It’s challenging to set it up (too many ideas), but I like the process as well.


From 7 to 8

When I am in contact with friends and family it’s more profound as we see each other for a longer period of time. That’s definitely a big +. Downside is that at the same time I miss the sudden meet-ups. In Amsterdam I would be able to pick up the phone and jump on my bike afterwards to meet with people. Here, that’s different, although we are in good contact with many people here locally, I would not really call them close friends. We live our own family life here and of course have a lot of people over from abroad. At the same time, I expect that those local contacts will improve over time. Especially with Tom growing up here.

Having so much time to spend with Kim and Tom is truly unique hence that’s a big booster.

What is needed or an 8.5? Well:

  1. Probably I should start and make (video) calls more often instead of sending a text WhatsApp now and then… This would improve the quality of the conversations!
  2. Connect with more people through Zenerife by for example our Zenerife Experience

(Free) Time management

From 6 to 7.5. And that even while Tom was born and came into my life! So, I am very happy with that score! The score has also increased because of the fact that I am flexible (to a certain point) in choosing where to spend my time on. In the past two years significant time was spend on Tom and that was great (most of the time). And when I found out I was ‘too much daddy’ we were able to change this quickly by contracting a kindergarten. Also, I like to ‘combine’ things. For instance, while at the beach with Kim & Tom take a short swim, which benefits my health as well. So leisure and health is combined. Brainstorming with people about business while hiking is another nice combination that’s great for my own personal effectiveness.

Being flexible is great. So, whenever the wind picks up I can go kiting and my working breaks consist of a swim or a cappuccino with Kim in one of the bars.

I suppose choosing more for what I really want and outsourcing of less interesting tasks could improve this number to 8…

In summary

Project Zenerife has been a mayor accelerator in our life. It has given us so many experiences and hence valuable life lessons. In general, life is better, and it seems we are more at ease in handling the challenges that life throws on us. Now it’s time again to Step Up My Game with new initiatives as mentioned earlier. I expect to report positively on them in the near future as I am committed to Walk the Talk.

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