Manon Hanssen-Meyering (40) decided to turn the ship around two years ago. She used to be a beauty & health director, journalist and stylist for several big Dutch magazines like Grazia and Jan and owns a pretty canal warehouse in the center of Amsterdam. She seemed to have it all.
Manon and her loving husband Michel swapped Amsterdam for Kenya and after a challenging process of more than five years, they adopted a beautiful son called Micah. Manon started The Life Traveller, a beautiful online platform fully packed with positivity, spirituality, inspiration and mindfulness. She likes to describe it as a ‘space where you can take a deep breath from the long way you have come.’ And that’s just what it is.
When did you decide to start The Life Traveller?
Manon: “I used to have about fifteen very active Whatsapp groups and as we moved to Kenya, I started The Life Traveller as a blog. Especially so friends and family could read about our life. Blogging was something that seemed to come naturally and it started to grow.
The four of us (we took our dog with us) moved back to our house in Amsterdam last year and right now it’s much more than ‘just’ a personal blog. The Life Traveller became a meeting point, where other inspiring travel companions share their experiences as well.”
That explains the African influences in your interior
Manon: “Yes. When we came back from Kenya, we redecorated it. We’ve got a lot of handcrafted items from Kenya, but also from Indonesia (where my mother was born and I got married). For me, it’s important that our home reflects Micah’s roots, our love for Kenya. Almost every item tells a story of our journey and I feel so much love being surrounded by it. Although I love the styling, I’ve let Micah decide a huge part as well.”
What else do you work on?
Manon: “Besides The Life Traveller, I write for women magazines, I do charity work, I sell handcrafted items from Kenya in my own online fair shop, Naramatisho, and I have my own healing and coaching practice for awareness and personal growth.”
You’re a very spiritual person. How come?
Manon: “I like to describe myself as someone who’s down to earth and spiritual at the same time. We are all spirits in physical bodies. I was born highly sensitive. I’m aware of what someone else’s going through and I also see someone’s aura. You know that feeling when you enter the room and you sense there has been an argument before? Well, it’s like that. The difference is, I experience the slightest subtle feelings of someone else and seem to ‘get’ more information about that person.
This has always played a considerable role in my life, although it took I while before I realized what this ‘superpower’ was, exactly. When I was two, maybe three years old, I was able to assess situations: I knew I could do healing things with my hands, somehow. I did belly button healing on my dolls. Growing older, I was more or less forced to do more with my sensitivity – I just couldn’t deny it anymore. I attended various courses including Pleiadean healing and after a long inner journey, I began to accompany others. I’m clairsentient: when I enter a cafe, I know exactly who has stomach aches, who’s unhappy. I can even apply it on social media.”
That sounds extremely tiring. Feeling what someone else’s feeling. All the time.
Manon: “I’ve learned to switch it off. Sometimes, I feel more than someone else wants me to know. Over the years, I learned that I don’t have to ‘heal’ everything. Or that I have to tell someone what I know about them. It’s none of my business! And everything is already perfect as it is. I do have my own healing practice where I help people, mostly women, who are at a point in their lives in which they are going through a new phase. I am thankful I can help others helping themselves.“
You seem to live two lives: the jetset beauty director life and the spiritual one. Does it feel that way?
Manon: “Well, yes and no. The ‘jet set director’ was just a job, my life in Kenya is more like a mission. Beside that: my life is not the constant factor, I am. I like contrasts. They create balance, like yin-yang. There’s no right or wrong. I have both very down to earth friends and spiritual friends. I feel strongly connected to both types and I feel like I’m a sort of bridge betweens these two worlds.
I do feel like I was made for a life in Kenya. For a very long time, I had the feeling that I was on the verge of a new chapter of my life, that would give me a deeper satisfaction. I’m that type of person who walks barefoot in a designer dress. Although these days the story behind a garment is what matters most. That is why I wear mostly vintage or handmade pieces from smaller, (preferably organic) fair trade labels. Just things that feel good and tell a story. I wear them forever, but I am not afraid to give something away either.”
You run a healing practice. What’s one of the biggest problems twenty-somethings are dealing with?
Manon: “Many are always busy traveling, but not with ‘arriving’, the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. Not only twenty-somethings, a lot of people live in the fast lane, and living in the West seems to intensify this. Very often, we’re looking for happiness outside of ourselves but true happiness comes fro within.”
A piece of advice?
Manon: “One of the biggest challenges in life is not looking for who you are, but allowing yourself to be you. You already are who you are. And the ‘who you are element’ always changes. So don’t try to define yourself too much and instead let it flow and embrace you for being you, without really needing to know who that you is. All you need to know is that you are love and that you are loved. And that the universe always has your back.”
Plans for the future?
Manon: “I’ve got lots of plans and wishes (like I see a bright future for me and my family in Kenya) and I’m looking forward to what’s coming. My main goal is to feel good about everything I do and what gives me deep satisfaction. I try to live in the moment as much possible, by doing that, I get much more out of life and recognize the signs of my path easier. By doing this, my wishes on the way will grow to me and I’m always right where I should be.”