TMBA 345: You're a Resident of Where?

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One of the recurring themes on this show is freedom. The freedom to make personal choices. The freedom to travel. The freedom to create a business that allows you to live the lifestyle you choose.

Dan and Ian have spoken to many people about what that freedom means to them but Esther Jacobs has, perhaps, one of the most profound stories about freedom ever to be shared on this show.

Esther is one of the youngest people in the Netherlands ever to be honored with a knighthood. Yet, despite that, Esther was practically disenfranchised and disowned by the very same country that gave her that distinction.

Esther has an unbelievable story, one that carries serious implications for location independent entrepreneurs and long-term travelers all around the world.


Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • What Esther learned from working in the charity world. (6:25)
  • How she ended up being essentially disowned by her own country. (11:31)
  • Why Esther decided not to lie to protect her rights. (17:08)
  • How she feels about her government today. (23:41)
  • Why Esther is excited about the future of the digital nomad movement. (28:26)

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Dan & Ian

Published on 07.14.16
  • A little tip for all my fellow Dutch citizens without a permanent address in Holland or anywhere else:

    When it’s time to get a new passport you can only get one in specific places where they issue passports to ‘homeless’ people:

    I will be getting my ‘homeless’ passport for the first time this fall and really hope it goes smooth and they don’t make me jump through hoops too much.

  • I moved to Mexico almost 5 years ago while working as a freelancer. The most confusing part is bank accounts, who to pay taxes to and all that. Helps if you get a good lawyer on your case.

  • in the US ‘homeless’ has a different connotation! :P

  • hard to as well! since many lawyers who are up to speed on international business issues tend to focus on high-dollar clients/businesses

  • It means exactly the same thing in Holland. I’ll be waiting in line with actual homeless people who live in the streets. That’s the only box the Dutch government can fit me in :)

  • wow!

  • as a Brit I once told the truth when visiting US that I had no UK address. 3 hours and being put under oath later I was apparently lucky I wasn’t sent back

  • jeeze, those folks are so embarrassing.

  • This is a remarkable and unfortunate story! The knight who was disowned by her country. I’m not sure if it’s confirmation bias but it just seems like every other day I’m hearing more and more things about how governments restricting our freedoms.

    Recently I read an excellent treatise on free speech by Quintus Curtius that I think is relevant to this…

    He makes the point that we assume incorrectly that society will just get better and better; we assume that we will just become freer and freer, we see the tremendous improvement in human quality of life in the past hundred years of history recorded via grainy photographs, shaky news reel and newspaper clippings and we assume that it’s just going to get better but Quintus warns that progress is not our birthright.
    It’s especially easy for young people with no children to assume that the nature of the world is just get increasingly free over time, barring some extraordinary life experience it’s likely that over time all they’ve personally experienced is their freedom expanding.
    We do associate the abstract idea of freedom with our concrete quality of life, consumer choice and the advent of new technologies making our lives more convenient and amusing. Since there is no sign of the Cambrian explosion of consumer options slowing, the idea of freedom contracting seems incomprehensible to most..
    But Quintus writes
    Time is as much a destroyer as a creator: and perhaps more of the former than the latter.
    He makes the case that our society of unequaled freedoms wobbles on a knife’s edge and that there is a good chance that human rights will regress within our lifetimes I’ve long believed likewise that… human rights are antithetical to human nature.
    Human nature is evolutionary – of course – and prone to devolve into brutal competition. Human nature is a strong man taking power, money, women and resources from those who he can by sword, law or guile. Human nature is a tribe being fiercely unsympathetic to an out group. Human nature is a syndicate of elites depriving the common people of the fruits of their labor. Human nature is a dictator depriving his people of the ability to defend themselves from their overreaches. Human nature is a ruling narrative stiffling and censoring dissenting voices.
    Human rights are not something we deserve by default, human rights are a gift given to us by those before us who paid dearly for them in blood, sweat and ink and it’s a duty for us to maintain and pass them on to our own children.
    As Quintus writes
    Rights, once won, do not remain won forever.

  • interesting, one of the things to consider here is that these freedoms are relatively new and also not provided by government, so for each new opportunity/freedom that comes along governments need to figure out if/when/how they put their fingers into the pie. certainly will be interesting to see how citizenships / passports persist in a global world.

  • Mick

    Dutch person here, personally never heard of Esther. But this probably has something to do with the fact that I grew up in the Cook Islands.

    One of the solutions, or at least the solution for me is moving to Panama, as this is one of the countries where it is possible and relatively easy to become resident and only need to visit for at least 1 day per year to maintain it.

    In my opinion if you’re a digital nomad, you should not get attached to one single country and see the entire world as your play ground, so be a world citizen. But do not contradict yourself by saying you are a world citizen and in fact are fighting a government for residency. Just leave and go to a country that treats you better.

    One of the other solutions for digital nomads is Estonia’s e-residency program, especially if you want to do business in the EU.

    Just giving my opinion / advice. If anyone wants specific advice or whatever, please leave a comment, or hit me up on Facebook @mickvwijk .

  • cheers thanks Mick!

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