I was born and raised in a small, remote village in Communist Poland. I didn’t even know about what life could be like in other Western countries. Since the local shop’s shelves were almost always empty, my family had to rely on our own little piece of land. My father, a worker on the Polish collective farm, grew with my mum our family’s own fruit and vegetables. The community relied on a lively exchange of goods and services. Necessary for survival, this concept of sharing was more than just caring. It was how we lived.
I remember sitting on a rock, daydreaming about life outside Poland. Some days, I could see airplanes high off in the distance. I’d imagine where they were traveling to; who the passengers might be. I thought to myself: Would I ever see a plane up-close? Maybe one day I, too, could hop a flight somewhere; anywhere but here.
I always had dreams, wishes, and ideas. I would dream about a different life elsewhere, full of happiness and joy. And then, one day, this dream came true.
After I graduated high school, I had the opportunity to work abroad as an au pair while studying at University. I had to make this work; I wanted to prove to my family and friends that I could start a new life in the Netherlands. It was hard work; but I learned the language, adopted the culture, and graduated University with a degree in finance. Soon thereafter I met my husband, followed a traineeship, and got another degree. My career has taken me from working as a bank manager to a strategic board advisor; now I’m a commodity trader.
Now when I look back, my early life in Poland seems alien. I’ve reached any goal I’ve focused on, whether financial, career-oriented or even in achieving work/life balance. I am convinced that there are no challenges that I cannot overcome.
Today I have a wonderful family. Together with my husband Peer and our two boys, Oscar and Casper, we’re lucky to live a comfortable life in Amsterdam. Since I want my kids to experience the youth I never had, we travel as much as possible so they’re exposed to different cultures and perspectives. We feel the happiest when we’re traveling together as a family. It’s an added bonus that we’re making incredible memories that we will all remember for the rest of our lives!
I hope my story has inspired you to learn from us! This lifestyle is fun, easy, and totally achievable!
Photos (color) by Wendy van Bree Photograpy