The five year itch – going fulltime

In 2010 I decided I needed a new challenge and something that was a bit more meaningful. I quit a well-paid job to become an international volunteer. The organisation I volunteered with sent me to Xi’an, China with a budget of 200 euro per month. I can’t say that the volunteering experience itself was all that memorable, but living in China definitely was. I consider it to be one of the best things I ever did.

After returning to The Netherlands I continued studying the country, especially its digital innovation in mobile, apps, e-com and more recently New Retail. I also continued writing articles about all the things that fascinated me about China.

After picking up my old line of work of CRM/data marketing specialist when returning to The Netherlands, I got another 5 year itch and decided to become a freelancer in 2015. Not only was I able to offer my expertise to multiple customers and have more variety in my work, it also enabled me to do the occassional lecture about China. In the next 5 years I combined work and ‘hobby’, basically investing all my free time into trying to quench my insatiable thirst for all-things-China.

And now it’s 2020. I’m doing more lectures and presentations and have rolled out well-received study tours to China. As such 2019 was an amazing milestone. Some 18 months ago, after doing a presentation and sharing a few beers with some of the attendees, I was told I should quit my ‘old job’ and fully focus on my China activities. It didn’t seem the right moment back then, but now the 5 year itch had come back.

I realise that I enjoy my China related work most and the ‘old job’ has become a bit too repetitive and projects seem to drag compared to the speeds of things in that fascinating place in the east. I think that with our language & culture classes, lectures and study tours ChinaTalk has a lot to offer in this era in which China is becoming increasingly more relevant and people start to realise their knowledge about the country is very limited. So it’s time to make a decision again.

From this year I will fully focus on further building and sharing our China knowledge through lectures, presentations but especially our unique study tours. In March/April we already have 3 tours lined-up with a possible 4th one in the pipeline. For September/October we are already talking to several interested clients.

Focussing on this will enable me to put even more time in my research, writing, lecture development and – most importantly – continuous updating of our tours. I hope I’ll meet you somewhere on this new journey.