In 1996, KLM said Amsterdam was on my way to London… a damp, cold and wet city that couldn’t have been a bigger contrast from where I came from, Oz.
Fast forward 17 years. I was living back in Oz when my ex-boyfriend got offered a job in the Amsterdam office of AkzoNobel, so we moved here together for an adventure, with me as the ‘trailing spouse’. We followed our relocation agent around many apartments in Amsterdam and hit the jackpot when we chose one in De Pijp. We had no idea how awesome the neighbourhood was when we moved in.
Within weeks of moving here, I went nuts. I was an outgoing vibrant, capable, well-traveled human being who had turned into this accidental spouse living out of the four walls of my apartment. It was time to face reality; my relationship had run its course.
As hard as breaking up was, on the other side of the world, I was not ready to move back to Australia. My life has totally transmogrified since that moment. I was incredibly lucky as I got the first option on renting one of the best apartments in Amsterdam (upstairs from where we moved in), whilst having a fledgling business and no job. All thanks to a recommendation of the lady who lived two floors up from me. Do you know how amazing that is? The landlord was not only friendly, but he also helped me move in, assemble my IKEA furniture and allowed me to Airbnb the spare room on the condition that he would be my first guest (he and his wife lived in Chili). When I recently made it to super host with Airbnb and started to co-host other Airbnb properties I totally got it; the Universe had delivered.
Having trained as a hypnotherapist and coach (I coach bright and talented people to transform feelings of anxiety, insecurity and low confidence, to stand in their power and love themselves), this was the perfect time to transform my business from a hobby, and really go for it. I got my website up and running, and as I was listed in a practitioner directory where I had trained for a particular methodology, meridian tapping/FasterEFT/re-imprinting, I began to get paid clients immediately.
Whilst working out of The Thinking Hut, I began to meet some amazing people. The chef who became one of my first clients, is now a dear friend! In building my tribe in Amsterdam I discovered the WE Club events, and met Marja Godvliet, the founder of the WE Club (women entrepreneur club). We hit it off, and through a personal adventure of co working together, we founded a very exciting new concept; of coworking online, locally…. and we birthed ‘Tomato Tuesdays’! We are growing a community of fellow remote workers in Amsterdam, to keep each other proactive, interactive and productive. The bonus is, you get to meet people you can hug and drink a coffee with.
I still felt that I had to expand my community to more of a spiritual and open-minded one, so I started the Amsterdam Sister Circle. Every new moon we meet at my home. It’s lovely to bring women together and connect.
If you are looking for something original and fun to do in Amsterdam, check out Ecstatic Dancing at Club Lite. You dance barefoot, no talking, yogi tea, DJ, and move however you want. It attracts old souls who just want to be themselves and not be tied into the BS of small talk. [For the super curious reader reading this, check out Orgasmic Meditation.] But hands down my favorite place in Amsterdam is Spa Zuiver. It’s a good reason to stay living here. It’s so liberating to swim outside in the sunshine or trudge along the ice in winter to get to the other end to do the saunas.
My top tips for anyone moving to this city is to get connected and get a routine outside of the house. It helps to have someone to be accountable to, whether it’s a friend, volunteer work or an activity (try OneFit). The café scene here was my savior.
Also, don’t burden yourself to learn Dutch. You don’t need to learn it initially. One Dutch person once said to me, “Your Dutch will never be as good as my English”