“I WAS 26 WHEN I REACHED THE TOP, WITH THE TOP SALARY THAT CAME WITH IT OF SOMETIMES MORE THAN TEN THOUSAND EUROS A MONTH”
Ashwina Ganpat (36, mother of a 3-year-old son and single) left her glamorous life behind.
‘I travelled all over the world, from South Africa to America, from London to Berlin; dined in the finest restaurants and stayed at the most amazing hotels. All at the expense of the American software company I worked for. It was a lot of hard work, but I was living a dream life that I enjoyed to the fullest. When I had to go to Barcelona for work, I would book a cozy airbnb for a few days earlier and explored the city on my own. The time I was in South Africa on business and was invited over the weekend to the braai by one of our partners – barbecuing with the family – is one of my happiest memories.
I’ve always had ambition. This was probably inspired by my father who came to the Netherlands from Curaçao, at the age of seventeen, and started a successful company in a short time. I loved getting the most out of life and gained so much work experience in my student years, that I was able to start working immediately after graduating. I was 26 when I reached the top in the Tech sector, with the top salary that came with it of sometimes more than ten thousand euros a month because of my many bonuses. The gong went off when I made a big deal, completely in line with the American sales culture. Still, it started to itch just before I got thirty. Did this make me happy? If I continue to grow in this line of work, the next logical step would be to become a director. That actually seemed really boring to me. In addition, my work did not give me the fulfilment I desired at the time. I wanted to find myself and my future plans and decided to take a career break that I financed from my savings.
I exercised a lot, did personal development and followed all kinds of courses and retreats all over the world. To find out what my big “why” is, I made my own “self-assessment”. I approached myself – and my future – as if I was a marketing case. What are my qualities (my strengths), and my pitfalls (weaknesses), what are my values? What are my wishes and how do I bring all these things together in such a way that it makes me happy? The answer turned out to be quite simple: I wanted to live from joy and simplicity, a life with an abundance of time, energy and money. You don’t need much more to be happy.
But for that freedom you need wealth. For me, that comes from real estate. After a break of three years, I decided to return to the tech world, to build on my financial freedom. I bought my first house at a young age and decided to rent it out to expats. During that time I became a mother to a beautiful son, Viggo. Unfortunately, the relationship with my son’s father did not last. We co-parent.
I put a large part of the money I earned aside to invest. In two years I bought my second house, a stately mansion of more than three hundred square meters, which I completely renovated into three beautiful apartments – the renovation cost well over two hundred thousand euros. All my money went into it, but I knew what I was doing it for. After realising my real estate goal, I took the plunge to start my own business.
I now support and guide entrepreneurs and high achievers to learn how to live from their core. I help them to think big and without limits and take the steps necessary to achieve their goals. I only work on days when Viggo is with his dad. On the days that he is with me, I am fully a mom, and we play for hours with blocks and dinos.
The mansion is now for sale for a million, because I already want to enjoy my freedom. As soon as it’s sold, I’ll leave with Viggo to a warm place. I am planning to sell all of my furniture, and the majority of my clothes I sell or give away to friends or a good cause.
Our first stop will be Mexico. What exactly I am going to do there? Enjoy life, the sun and Viggo even more, while helping others grow their business and reach their mission. And for the rest I will let myself be guided by life.” ▶
This article originally appeared in the JAN Magazine
Text: Merel Brons, photography: Brenda van Leeuwen
Dutch version below