Digital nomad interviews part 3

 What does it really mean to live and work as a digital nomad


16. Lodi Planting

A remote worker

Why did you decide to begin a nomadic life and what does it mean to you?

Since I was 20 years old I knew I would love to combine work and travel at the same time. At that time I had no idea how or what this, exactly meant. The only thing I knew was that I would like to combine both by doing something I love. Being a Digital Nomad is exactly that. I do something everyday that I love (somewhere in the world) and I earn a living; too.

How do you earn an income now?

During my 20’s I came up with three secret interests or passions as it’s called these days. These were: social media and making websites, Human Resources and traveling. By the time I had discovered these interests I could develop my skill set, start my own company, build a network of prospects and professionals, etc. Nowadays I do consulting assignments for clients in Belgium and The Netherlands. On top of that I am partner of a datacenter where we offer cheap hosting solutions around the world.

What is your approximate travel budget for a year? Any tip to lower it down?

I spend roughly 1.000 EUR a month depending where I am. These costs cover everything. I don’t own much. The most expensive things I own are my laptop and phone (also used as a camera). I don’t need much of my own and love the fact I can buy access to most things like a car, an apartment, etc. Therefore I could lower my fixed costs to 150 EUR a month. Right now I am typing this at a friend’s apartment in Antwerp.

What would you consider to be one of the best tools for becoming a Digital Nomad?

The best tool is definitely your mindset. On top of that it’s all about getting your priorities straight. All the other things are just items that can be replaced by another tool, person or company. This being said I am a big fan of Todoist which allows me to be transparent on everything I do for/with my clients and partner.

Lodi-Planting-a-digital-nomadDo you have any advice for those starting a DN life?

If you think of becoming a Digital Nomad you must get your WHY sorted. If you don’t truly believe it’s your thing/dream you are pursuing, the best things is to stop. As soon as you know WHY everything will fall in it’s place. Again it’s all about the mindset and priorities. When you are a Digital Nomad you must consider only working for employers in countries with a strong currency. You don’t want to work your ass off to withheld only a few bucks. I like getting paid in €s.

BIO: Lodi Planting helps entrepreneurs, freelancers and small and medium enterprises with their online branding. Doing this allows him to travel and work at the same time. This balance is highly important for him as he loves his job. Home is where his laptop is.

For more info (in Dutch):

17. Bryony Holland

bryony angkor is a remote workerWhy did you decide to begin a nomadic life and what it means to you?

Before I became fully nomadic, I was running an adventure travel company in Brighton, UK and managing the digital marketing department. It was a brilliant job with a brilliant bunch of people, but after six years I was running out of steam. As a manager, all of the creative tasks needed to be delegated further along the line, so I was engaged far more with finance, forecasting and people management than ever before.My spirits were flagging. Over time, I had shifted away from doing the things that I love – writing, social media, thinking creatively and engaging with people. Suddenly, I realised that all my skills could travel. All I needed was a laptop. So that was it. I left in September 2013 and I’ve never looked back.

How do you earn an income now?

Nowadays, I earn my living copywriting for a handful of travel companies in the UK and Australia. I write blog posts, entire websites, promotional material and manage Adwords accounts. I also put together infographics and, on occasion, I’ll build a full website. I’m certainly not a high-roller and it’s certainly not a stable income, but I earn enough to keep me on the road and that’s good enough for me right now. At the moment, I don’t earn anything from my own website – Find A Happy Place – which is my own honest account of travelling full-time with a full-blown panic disorder. It’s my passion project.

What is your approximate travel budget for a year? Any tip to lower it down?

Hmm. Tricky question. Well, I was in a string position when I left my job because I had been saving for a good few years. This gave me a nice plump buffer…although it’s all gone now. These days. I look at what is in the bank and I look at the confirmed work ahead before I make my plans. I stick to cheap destinations at the moment, such as South East Asia, Eastern Europe. I’ll do this until I’ve got some savings behind me again. This year, I’ll be spending three months in Costa Rica, working in exchange for accommodation and living costs on the Pacific coast. Perfect for keeping the budget low and giving me some breathing space.

Bryony traveling as a digital nomadWhat would you consider to be one of the best tools for becoming a Digital Nomad?

Ooh. There are so many. The main tool is the ability to make an income. I know a few people that have poured their hearts into blogging without a Plan B, but nowadays the travel blogging world is so saturated that it’s far harder to make a buck. Having said that, if you are blogging, a social media management platform like Hootsuite or Buffer is a must. Otherwise it’s just too overwhelming to keep up with every social media channel. I use the Nomad List to look at living costs, internet speed, travel expenses in various places. I find it really handy. Co-working spaces are also brilliant for feeling like you’re part of something bigger – and for meeting people. Being a digital nomad can be a lonely old game, so coworking is a wonderful way of connecting with like-minded wandering souls.

Do you have any advice for those starting a DN life?

I would say that it’s best to get some money behind you first, or be sure that you’ve got plenty of gigs in the pipeline. This will just give you the means to make it through the first few months to a year. By then, you’ll get a taste for the nomadic life – which, in practice, isn’t for everyone. I think you have to be brave about contacting potential clients and get over any fear of people saying ‘no’. Knock-backs will happen, but they won’t kill you. Most importantly, don’t forget to look up from the laptop! The reason we all quit our jobs and leave the country is to explore the world and feel the freedom. Never forget that!

BIO: I’m a digital nomad, creating content for travel companies from the road. Along with my backpack, I carry about an anxiety disorder that I am fated to do battle with on a daily basis. I’m fighting my demons and following my dreams at the very same time. My site is about long term travel, mental health and living a life of no fixed abode. It’s my search to find a happy place… in more ways than one.

18. Jenny Jusuf
Jenny jusuf is a remote workerWhy did you decide to begin a nomadic life and what it means to you?

I began a nomadic life in 2013. I quitted my job in 2011 to become a freelance writer, so I did not start empty-handed. To me nomadic life means non-attachment and freedom; it also opens doors of opportunity for me to experience things and break my limitations. I had never imagined I would be able to compose a treatment for feature-length movie from a bedroom in Florence, write a book in Bali, talk with my clients while enjoying morning coffee in Paris, or editing translations in an apartment in Taipei …the list goes on.

How do you earn an income now?

I am a freelance writer, translator and social media enthusiast. I turn my social media handles into money-making tools, meaning I work with digital agencies to do promotional and marketing campaigns for various brands through my social media accounts and get paid for it. For more details:

Jenny Jusuf sitting on a couchWhat is your approximate travel budget for a year? Any tip to lower it down?

To be real honest, I don’t have specific travel budget. I make sure I have more than enough to live for a year and that’s pretty much it. I really don’t mind staying in one place for rather long period of time. I moved to Bali with 2 suitcases and 1 bag, and I made a pact with myself that I won’t leave with more. That’s how I keep things ‘low’.

What would you consider to be one of the best tools for becoming a Digital Nomad?

I’d love to say laptop and good internet connection, but really, the best tools for becoming a DN are flexibility, courage and persistence.

Do you have any advice for those starting a DN life?

Be flexible with your time and energy. Be really, really flexible.

This was part number 3 of our “Digital Nomads”-series! Stay tuned!