THE WORLD IS MY HOME, MY OFFICE AND MY PLAYGROUND
SERIAL ENTREPRENEUR • PRO FREEDIVER • ADVENTURER • ANIMAL RIGHT ACTIVIST
WELCOME TO MY PERSONAL WEBSITE
But if you’re easily offended, now would be a really good time to fuck off.
It’s All About Me. …and Why Not?
Three years ago, after a huge personal crisis, I left my super-comfortable life in the Netherlands to live an adventurer’s life. For the past three years, I’ve travelled the world as an entrepreneur, animal rights activist, marine conservationist, and competitive freediver.
Since then, I’ve visited over 30 countries and travelled more than 75.000km. I’ve had close encounters with blue whales, humpback and Minky whales, whale sharks, many 7-meter manta rays, dolphins, and many, many sharks. I’ve seen numerous Wonders of the World… and have been questioned by 3 National Security Agencies.
I’ve learned to dive comfortably to depths deeper than 50 meters on a single breath, and I’m now a certified freediving instructor with SSI, AIDA and the World Series of Freediving. I’ve cared for and rehabilitated abused and traumatised foster puppies and worked with some amazing animal rescue charities around the world. I’ve sailed the South Pacific on a world record-breaking boat (Sea Shepherd’s motor vessel, The Brigitte Bardot), slept in airports, on the street, in 5-star hotels, tents, luxury homes, in a rainforest, out at sea and under the desert stars. …and I’m still ticking dreams off my bucket list.
Nowadays, my work as a business consultant, internet marketer and web developer with Promedia Dot Org is a great compliment to my freediving and teaching whilst leaving plenty of time for animal rights work. It’s the perfect balance for an exciting life of adventure and travel.
EDIT UPDATE: we retired Promedia Dot Org in 2017 since we are now entirely focused on our freediving businesses in Panglao, Philippines.
How I Turned my Back on Big Business
Because it all means Jack Shit if you’re not happy…
By my mid-twenties, I was living the ‘fast life’ with a big paycheck and a promising career. But I found the traditional ways of doing business and, more to the point, working under a boss weren’t my cup of tea. And from what was first a hobby, I built a side career as one of Europe’s first-ever professional bloggers. My blogs became massively successful, and in 2006 I quit the 9-5 grind to be my own boss as a problogger, internet entrepreneur and online marketing consultant.
Before long, my company owned over 1200 web stores. I created video courses and wrote ebooks about technology, internet entrepreneurship and marketing, and I started to teach the strategies that we’d used on our own web stores to other entrepreneurs. Our flagship course, the €1997 ‘Ontdek het Web’ (Discover the Web) program, was a gigantic success, selling out within two days in every market we launched it in.
I also brokered joint venture deals between companies that sold deals online, mainly software, reaching a staggering 200 million users by 2010. I was responsible for an (unnamed for legal reasons) global toy manufacturer launching a 1.7 million dollar Facebook Christmas campaign that made almost $0.5 per subscriber, a gigantic target for a Facebook campaign and now (almost) impossible.
In both 2009 and 2010, I was voted most influential Dutch Person on Twitter. Two days after launching Promedia Dot Org on Facebook, we reached over 10 thousand followers and even though I haven’t been active on social media for almost 2 years, today, I am still the most followed marketing consultant and one of the top 3 entrepreneur and business owners in Holland, with nearly 65 thousand followers.
But, working 80 hour weeks, hiring and managing my people, selling tons of different products, all with global customer service, started to take its toll, and I found that the bigger it got, the less fun it became.
I needed a new start and a new passion. So, I packed a rucksack and set out to follow my heart. I’d been supporting animal rights for years, now I made many new, four-legged friends by working in Animal Rescue Centers across the globe, and after that, I set sail to join the Sea Shepherd crew on the high seas as they saved endangered marine life such as whales, sharks and dolphins.
In line with my new, non-corporate, dream seeking lifestyle, I downsized Promedia Dot Org. Now it’s tailored to a small client base with a one-on-one, hands-on approach giving me great personal satisfaction as I watch my expertise lovingly grow these small businesses. Nowadays, I love my life more than ever before. Every day is a new adventure….and that’s when I discovered Freediving….
7 QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU START CHANGING YOUR LIFE TODAY:
1. When am I most happy?
2. Am I just letting life happen to me?
3. How can I help myself and in doing so help my family?
4. What area of my life can I control, and what area of my life is out of control?
5. Why can’t I follow my passion?
6. What is stopping me?
7. What am I waiting for? Why can’t I start today?
A Life In, On and Under Water
A Life In, On and Under Water
I’ve always loved the seas and oceans. I was born and raised in Rotterdam, the biggest harbour city in Europe, and I worked in the docks since I was a kid and spent as much time as possible at the river banks of the Maas or at the beach.
As a certified rescue scuba diver and someone who’d been competing in sport all my life, it wasn’t a surprise when I fell in love with freediving on visiting the Great Barrier Reef in 2013.
There we dropped anchor in a random place, lowered the dingy, and went straight to the reef, welcomed by a pot of dolphins and swam with blacktip reef sharks, with a 2-meter bull shark only 10 meters away (scary shit!). We sea-danced with turtles and other beautiful ocean creatures, and all without tanks on our backs. It was one of the most epic experiences of my life.
Born To Be Amphibian
Freediving is going as deep or as long as you can on a single breath. Although considered by many to be an extreme sport, to me, freediving is the summit (or nadir!) of being at one with the ocean in the most relaxed way imaginable. When you dive down, your body activates the Mammalian Dive Reflex and goes into ‘survival mode’. Your heart rate lowers, the spleen produces more red blood cells, blood shifts in the body to cope with the pressures at depth, and the peripheral vasoconstriction kicks in to supply the heart, brain and lungs with much needed extra blood.
We are made for the oceans, and nothing gives me a bigger rush than diving to 20 meters to hang out with a sea turtle and exploring the reefs and fishes together, when you are a natural part of the ocean. It’s the best feeling in the world.
A Day in the Life of a Freediver
The Blue Hole in Dahab, Egypt – my home for nearly 3-years, with the capacity for 93 meter deep dives, is the spiritual freedive capital of the world, and this is what training looks like there.
Visit me at the Freedive Academy in the Philippines for courses and instructor training.
YOUR LIFE IS NOW.
Seize it and make it amazing. Find your voice. Discover your passion & pursue it. Be honest, generous & kind. Surround yourself with love, laughter & truth. Let your heart be your guide. Make a difference. Be brave & wild at heart. Take chances, ask questions. Be fearless, make a difference.
THIS IS YOUR TIME
Never Be Silent!
One of the most moving experiences of my life was rescuing and rehabilitating an abused puppy in Spain, where I lived for about 5 months. At first, little Marcos was so traumatised that he wouldn’t leave the safety of his basket, even to relieve himself. The months it took to win his trust and see him regain his happy, playful nature were some of the most rewarding of my life. I’ll never give up on animals!
But it was a Humpback Whale that was the spur to make animal rights my ultimate goal.
If you’re Dutch, you’ll already know the story of our famous Humpback Whale Johannes, who was stranded on a sandbank on the island of Texel. Sea Shepherd (of which I was a part) and other activist groups dominated the mainstream media in such a big way that it became the biggest news story of the year and roused the whole nation to fury at the government’s lack of care and ultimate murder of, a 25-tonne female humpback whale.
This (ultimately tragic) story has more drama, twists turns and acts of sabotage than any action movie. When the government first denied help to the whale, I was with Sea Shepherd in rallying the whole nation to protest. Then, with the help of Dutch sea industries, we mobilised all the equipment needed to rescue Johannes as crowds of volunteers working through the night with locals offering food and lodging to the activists. But the local Government schemed to thwart our hard work, and, just one hour before the high tide would have let Johannes out to freedom, this beautiful mammal was killed by lethal injection on the order of a Museum who’d offered a sum of money for the carcass.
After that, I left Holland for good. But the strength and passion of the people, all united against corrupt officialdom to save a helpless creature, is something I will never forget. It’s what made me vow I’d make activism something that I’d pursue before anything else, with all my core, for the rest of my life.
I cannot detail the various Sea Shepherd missions I have joined since this story, though there have been many, including long stints on board the Brigitte Bardot vessel. But I will say that the times I devoted to Sea Shepherd were the most exciting, cogent and memorable of my life.
Her gönülde bir aslan yatar.
Old Turkish Proverb: There lies a lion in every heart.
** Everybody has bravery somewhere in themselves. **
My Life in Bumperstickers
Let’s sum this shit up and get it over with
Vincent is a big guy, but nonetheless, he’s not afraid to stick his neck out for what he believes in. Don’t be fooled by this ex ballroom dancing ubergeek because he’s also an avid kickboxer and Muay Thai fighter who’s not afraid to start or end a fight when it comes to animals. He’s passionate about animal rights and marine conservation. The same goes for freedom and, as he calls it, ‘old school’ values, manners and relationships.
He was questioned by 3 National Security Agencies. He created Guerrilla campaigns that roused the country in a fury via Dutch national media for renegade activist Sea Shepherd. At the same time, for the past years, he dominated the internet with his global marketing campaigns for his company Promedia Dot Org.
He has an instinctive and deeper connection with dogs, but his favourite way to interact with animals is underwater while freediving at great depth.
With hard work, he was able to shape his life into what he wants to do and what he’s passionate about and doesn’t let anyone or the opinion of anyone interfere with that – he just doesn’t care.
He lives his life by his motto; life is about kicking ass, not kissing it.
My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to. Your dreams stay big. And your worries stay small. You never need to carry more than you can hold. And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to. I hope you know somebody loves you and wants the same things too. Yeah, this is my wish for you.
Please use the contact form to send me an email.
Get in touch, but…
I travel! And on a very rare occasion, it can happen that I won’t be able to answer any messages for days.
The best way – and the most reliable way for you to contact me is via the form. Thanks to the spammers, I don’t update or read my LinkedIn, Google + or Twitter direct messages. You can find me on Facebook or send me a message with my Skype id – if you have this id ;).
Usually, you’ll hear from me within a couple of hours, but please don’t stress if I don’t get back within a day or two, I will get back to you as soon as I can?
Looking forward to hearing from you.
PS. I’m currently in the Philippines for training, teaching and exploring South East Asia. If you want to do some awesome freediving in the region, contact me!
Freediving Depth World Championship 2015
This year I’ll be representing my country by competing at the AIDA Depth World Championship in Cyprus this September. It’s going to be a pretty special event for me. I have already started training for several Dutch National Records, but even more important. I’ll be using this event and my diving to raise awareness for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and the state of the oceans. Freedivers see it every day; we’re diving and training with jellyfish and plastic debris…
But luckily, I’m not doing this all by myself. I got help and support from the following companies.
If you or your company want to help me in raising awareness for Sea Shepherd and our oceans,
please contact me via the above form. The oceans need all the help they can get!
My newsletter ‘The life of an Adventurer’
Travelling, Freediving, Conservation Work and a whole lot of Awesomeness!
More than +60.000 people are following me via Twitter and Facebook, and since recently via Instagram and via my newsletter ‘The life of an Adventurer’. Now you’ll know exactly how my travelling is going. How, where and with who I’m training. What I am doing for our oceans and what you can do, and I’ll be sharing all sorts of awesome stuff about freediving.
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