Digital Nomad Guest Trainer of May: André Gussekloo

10 Questions to André Gussekloo

As the father of a toddler, André knows how to keep the right balance between his work-life and his family. He has built passive income in order to make money while raising his child. Though he is not a full-time digital nomad, he still enjoys to make use of the “fly-for-free” age of his son.

 

Working remotely has opened many doors for André in terms of enjoying the digital nomad lifestyle. After living in Chiang Mai and Koh Samui and backpacking Central America, he has now returned to the Canary Islands with his little family. With Lanzarote as his home base, he continues to travel frequently.

 

Since most of our digital nomad trainers have been riding solo, we think it will be particularly interesting to meet André and learn about his part-time digital nomad life and what it’s like being on the road with a partner and a baby. The aspect of leaving one’s family is what’s keeping many people from becoming digital nomads. Find out from a digital nomad daddy first hand how to bring those two worlds together.

André Gussekloo

  • Age:35
  • Years as a DN:3
  • Profession: Author, SEO Copywriter
  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Stay in touch: https://twitter.com/andregussekloo

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

When I lived on Gran Canaria between 2007 and 2012, it occurred to me that I could really work from anywhere. When my girlfriend lost her fulltime job due to the economic crisis, we felt that it was our opportunity to give the digital nomad lifestyle a try. We gave up our apartment, sold our car, donated lots of things and flew to Thailand with our cat.

 

The digital nomad life means a lot to me: it means taking matters into my own hands, firing my boss, being unconventional, learning digital skills, creating a passive income, finding the ideal work-life balance, and doing something that may still seem weird or risky, but which billions of people may be doing twenty years from now.

How do you earn an income now?

My main income still comes from SEO copywriting. I have been writing copy and blogposts for Dutch clients since 2007. What initially seemed a fad, still generates a lot of work for me and other SEO writers. I have just published a digital nomad guide (https://amzn.com/9065231285) with co-author Esther Jacobs, which generates royalties. Also, I teach people how to become SEO writers themselves with my course Beachwriter (https://beachwriter.net). Then there are a few other websites that I make some pocket money with, mainly through affiliate sales.

Digital Nomad Andre

How many hours do you work at an average on a usual day?

Less than I would like to. I would say that 3 hours a day is the average, and I usually work a couple of hours in the weekend too. It’s quite a challenge when you’re raising a baby, but he’s starting to go to the nursery now, so I should get a little more time. I wouldn’t be able to work more than 6 hours a day, though. Writing can really drain you when you’re not in the flow, and I’ve learned to go with the flow.

What is your approximate travel budget for a year? Any tips on how to lower it?

I am not a full-time digital nomad. When I do travel, I try to stay below € 40 per day. I don’t cook on the road, so that daily budget includes at least lunch and dinner. It means I spend most time in countries with an affordable cost of living, like Thailand and Mexico.

What would you consider to be one of the best tools for becoming a digital nomad?

A notebook and a pen. Really. If you are to become location-independent, the Internet has to be your best friend, but it can become your worst enemy if you are not disciplined. There are so many distractions out there, that it is good to close turn off your computer from time to time. Go out to your favorite cafe, grab a coffee, and start brainstorming. What is it that you like? What is it that you are good at? What skills should you learn and how can you do so most efficiently? Before starting my workday, I like to make my to-do list on paper and while I’m working, I like to tick off each item that I finish.

Do you have any advice for those starting a digital nomad life?

Remember that we work to live, and we don’t live to work. It is easy to get really absorbed by your project and to work so much that there is no time left to enjoy the places you travel to. At least, that is what happened to me in the past. From the very beginning, I would build passive income streams that allow you to make money even when you’re out climbing volcanos in Costa Rica or kayaking in the South Pacific.

How long have you been traveling and where have you been? Do you have a favourite place in the world?

I was most active as a digital nomad between 2012 and 2014. Since we took our cat with us, we couldn’t move around too much so we stayed in Chiang Mai for 6 months and then on the island of Koh Samui for 6 months. In between, we visited Bali and Malaysia. After Thailand we left our cat with my parents in the Netherlands, so that we could do some serious backpacking in Central America. I really liked Guatemala – both La Antigua and the Átitlan Lake. I also love Greece, although I’ve never taken my laptop there.

Digital Nomad life

What is your travel frequency? How often do you change the place you stay and do you have a home base?

My home base is Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. Since we got our baby, we have done several short trips and one seven-week trip to Thailand. I can’t look far ahead, but it makes sense to take advantage of our son’s fly-for-free age.

How do you manage the distance to family and friends? Do you miss having an established home and a wardrobe without weight limit?

I have been away from the Netherlands for 10 years now, so I’m used to it. I “keep in Dutch” through WhatsApp, e-mail, FaceTime and Facebook. My parents come out to the Canary Islands once a year and I visit them once or twice a year as well. My girlfriend’s parents are even luckier: they live in Madrid which is a little nearer and a little cheaper to visit. We go there 3-4 times a year.

Could you imagine keeping up the digital nomad lifestyle for the rest of your life?

No. I like having a place to come home to, my cat on my lap, a car to move around in, and other luxury trappings. I can imagine, however, making extended ‘digital nomad trips’ in a campervan or a yacht in the future. In fact, I think very few people do this forever. It is usually a period in someone’s life, or something people do a few weeks or months a year.

Are you a digital nomad with experience? Then you might want to read our blog post “Hey you, digital nomad! I want to offer you something
2018-02-22T13:59:10+00:00By |Digital Nomads, DN Interviews|

About the Author:

Lena started travelling the world at a young age and has gained a lot of social and cultural experience from her time abroad. She is currently doing an internship in the field of content marketing at Coworking in the Sun as part of her bilingual cultural media studies.