When Ramon Stoppelenburg was 25, he decided he wasn’t happy working and living in The Netherlands. He launched a website asking people around the world to host him for one day and spent the next year visiting countries around the world and staying with strangers – for free.
He hasn’t stopped since. He now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where he owns The Flicks, a string of three local movie houses. As one of the people featured in our book, Just Go! Leave the Treadmill for a World of Adventure, Ramon shares what “Just Go” means to him:
“Just Go is not something I do, it’s something I live by. I need it!
When I was young, after studying all the theoretical stuff you need to have for a degree in journalism, I realized I had wasted my time and had to catch up.
Since then I never slowed down.
I used to walk on the proverbial treadmill. I fell for the so-called security of a 40-hour-a-week office job. It provided me with the economic benefits of a steady income, a mortgage and my own house.
As a result of the deadly commute back and forth to my office and the boring lunches with the same nice colleagues and the same monotonous stuff I did every tedious week, I had an experience that changed my perspective.
I developed a toe infection after stepping on a piece of glass at Christmas and by May it had become an untreatable infection. I tried plasters, bandages, medication and creams but nothing helped.
In June, one week after I quit my job, my toe healed completely.
I never knew what unhappiness looked like before.
This was the time when I could finally set out to do all the things I wanted to do.
I had lost the illusion that this was supposed to be the way it should be in the grown-up world. I stopped caring. I lost friends. I hated that life.
Since I left, I became all the things I wanted to be: a world traveler, a published writer, a photographer, a certified massage therapist, an internet marketing specialist, an owner of three movie theaters, a sports coach and an expat in an exotic and wonderful country that I call home.
I know that I need to be able to extend my wings in any possible direction; to run, fly, crash, burn and stand up again. And I love the incredible freedom that this form of just going gives me, and the happy fulfillment when another crazy idea actually works out.
Just being able to just go is my most necessary tool.
Just never try to stop me.”
For more about Ramon and stories from other people featured in Just Go!, get it here in paperback or ebook.
What does ‘Just Go’ mean to you?
We are interested in your story.
Email us at email@example.com.