Let me share some insights about Bucharest and then you will be the one to decide whether you will be spending time in the capital of Romania or not.
The first OFFice To Travel larger event and most probably the first workation in Romania took place at the end of August. For more than a week we lived and worked in the same villa, managed to learn more about each other but also got the chance to discover new things about our businesses and own mindsets.
Actually, even though the workation lasted for 8 days, we met before and continued after arriving in Bucharest for at least another week. This is what happens when you find great people – you want to take advantage of the community and meet as often as possible.
I had so many mixed feelings about the workation: from happiness to craziness, stress, fear, ecstasy and peace of mind. I guess from some points of view I learnt more in a week than I did in a few months. I am not afraid to say that holding a workation can be an emotion roller coaster. But it can be an amazing one with the right people.
To coboat or not to coboat?
Lately I’ve been writing a lot about workations and other digital nomad events, because I find their potential and outcome to be amazing. In just a few days, you manage to connect with people, create new friendships, get feedback on your projects and learn new skills.
This time, the workation was Coboat: a unique experience, considering we were on a catamaran sailing through the Greek islands.
It took me a while to decide what would be more interesting for you to find out from this article. Moreover, how can I capture everything that happened? But I wanted to focus on what would be useful for you. Well, here it is.
You can always learn new things, whenever and wherever you go, but in my own experience, joining a digital nomad and/or a location-independent community is a virtual generator of new ideas and lessons. The Codino workation was no different, from this point of view. For seven days, we shared a house, food, knowledge and skills, but also had a lot of fun together.
Before I tell you about my Codino workation experience, I’d like to talk about the power of connecting with like-minded people and being part of a community. Last fall, I joined the Nomad Cruise I, where we traveled from Europe to South America. I came back to Europe, but some of the people I met there remained in South or Central America and returned later on to Lisbon, with the Nomad Cruise II. I had so much fun with these digital nomads, that I simply had to see them again. So, when Codino announced a net-workation at the time of their arrival, my path was clear: I had to go along. And that is exactly what I did.
Knowing full-well how this type of interaction can help me, both professionally and personally, I wanted to make note of the new things I will accomplish and learn. And here is my list:
Share knowledge, food, a room, your failures and great moments alike! Sometimes we forget to share things with each other. We get lost in our own world and only what matters to us is the most important thing. We forget that it’s ok to help others and ask for help but also to allow people to “invade” our personal space, whether it is a room, a hug or just letting someone get to know the real you.
Our interview series with founders of great digital nomad events continues with one of the veterans in the field. I am happy that I had the chance to find many great insights about Refuga workations and will share with you how these events can help digital nomads and entrepreneurs grow both personally and professionally.
Nikolaj Astrup Madsen, the Refuga founder, started organizing trips for location independent professionals a few years ago as a personal experiment and ended up having one of the most well-known companies that organize niched events.
1. Tell us a few things about your background and how Refuga came to life
I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 10 years, doing a lot of different projects. Some years ago I moved to China and suddenly I felt very alone in my work life and I wanted to expand my own personal network of like-minded adventurous professionals, so I just wrote on my personal blog if anyone wanted to go to Spain for a week of work, good food and adventure. I just expected a few people and then we could rent a nice apartment or something, but it went a bit viral and within one week I had 20 participants who all had paid $1000 each to join and from there it just became a concept (this was all in Danish).
Once you spend time in Lisbon or Las Palms, the chances are that you will go to Surf Office to work and met other location independent professionals. Peter Fabor is the mastermind behind the concept and does a great job providing an environment where like-minded people can meet and work. He shared some of his insights and future plans with us.
1. Tell us a few things about your background and how was Surf Office born
Back in 2013 I wanted to work from Canary Islands and I needed a stable place to work so I created one. After some time, other people liked the idea so much that they joined me in the office while working on their own things. Eventually I started to work on making this idea better and grow it to the point where we are now.
I first found out about Marcus and Feli in 2015 when they were preparing DNX – the first global digital nomads conference. I decided to attend the event and took it as an opportunity to meet new people. It was even more than expected and I ended up having a great time, meeting awesome people and getting some new ideas. Next time I met them was on the Nomad Cruise – an amazing experience that needs to be repeated. They make a wonderful couple that can inspire many of the present and future nomads. I asked them to tell us a bit more about their lifestyle and projects and I am excited to show you the result.
Tell us a few things about your projects for the nomad community
DNX connects and supports digital nomads all over the world. The DNX GLOBAL is the first international digital nomad conference: during our conferences in Berlin and Bangkok we had around 1,000 participants from 45 countries. The conference is all about the location independent lifestyle and online entrepreneurship. We have an amazing and vibrant global community of location independent entrepreneurs who want to change the world. Our DNX community is happy to share their ideas and knowledge.
Beside Talks, Workshops and Mastermind sessions, you get to know a lot of like-minded people, boost your business to the next level and make new friends and valuable business connections or even new clients. During the event, we also cover topics like problems that digital nomads face and visions for the future. We love the idea of sustainability both for business & traveling. The feedback we get for the event is amazing, so we are totally motivated to keep on going.
As I promised you, OFFice To Travel is bringing you insights and valuable information about some of the most amazing digital nomad events. I interviewed their founders and asked them to share ideas and help you get a glimpse of how they are organizing their events, what are the attendees’ benefits and what you should expect – things that we don’t usually have access to.
I am starting this series with Project Getaway – a premium entrepreneurial getaway experience. Michael Bodekær, the founder of Project Getaway organized the first one in Bali, back in 2010 and ever since he’s been gathering many digital nomads to enjoy his events.
I talked with him and Lavinia, the Project Getaway Manager, and picked their brains for you. Mesmerize us, guys!
Do you mostly see the pros or the cons of being a digital nomad? Lately I have been receiving plenty of messages from people who would like to adopt the digital nomad lifestyle and are asking for a piece of advice. Although I try to offer valuable information (as much as I know and can), I usually tell them this is not the easiest way of living and it’s not as glam as it may look. There are digital nomad disadvantages you need to acknowledge and if you’re still up for it even after that, you may have taken an amazing decision.
This got me thinking what are the downsides of being a digital nomad? For me it’s pretty simple:
I’ve been meaning to write about Romania for a while now, but it seems much easier to talk about new places. You get there, you explore and have a certain mood and vibe of the place. Then the writing comes naturally. However, when it comes to Romania, it’s my home country; I’ve been living here most of my life and it’s a bit harder to filter only the things that are interesting to you, but I am sure I can create a relevant list of reasons why I think Romania should be on your list. And it should if you are into understanding new cultures, visiting new places and having fun, while traveling and working.
UPDATE: Check out the OFFice To Travel list of digital nomad & digital entrepreneur events in 2017
A new year has recently started and I am celebrating it by making exciting business and travel plans. They can always change and I could end up in a place where I’ve never thought of, but I love having the big picture. Will it be Asia, Europe, Africa or South America again? Maybe all of them. 😀
In 2015 I realized more than before that being in a community of digital nomads is one of the things I like most when traveling. It makes me more productive, creative, open to ideas and helps making new friends or even business partners.
Thus, while I am thinking what should be my next destination, I am also taking into consideration where I can meet new or old friends and spend time with some other like-minded people. So, I made a 2016 digital nomads agenda.
Some businesses are built from a passion or innovation, others from great ideas, or from the wish of providing services for the market’s needs. Or maybe for some it is just the natural step to take, but most of the new businesses are created from the desire of making more money. Or maybe it’s a mix of those reasons. As it was my case. After working in press, advertising and in different companies, combining economic and advertising studies with work experience as an employee, freelancer and consultant, I decided to take it to the next level and put all my know-how into practice for higher purposes. A project that I believe in and provides some real value for all the parts involved.
So, I decided to create a digital marketing agency that provides tailored services to international clients, while opening the door to working with amazing digital nomads professionals. Why I am telling you this?
Personally, I would like to see more stories like this. I want to know what drives people to create a business and why they chose that idea over another.
So these are my reasons:
The rise of the digital nomad lifestyle
I truly believe that the number of people who chose to work while traveling will grow. Even if it’s not a lifestyle for everyone, there are lots of people who are thinking right this second about how they could create a nomad lifestyle while earning at least as much as they earn in their corporate job. Maybe even when they read this article.
Still want to read more stories about digital nomads? Last time I interviewed three digital nomads about how they work and travel, about their fears and failures, but also about the beauty of this lifestyle. Now I am back with three more stories. Nomads from Poland, Germany and Croatia opened up and told us why they chose this lifestyle and what are the lessons they learned on the way.
Alan Ciechalski, Sales differently
Can you briefly tell us who are you and what do you do for a living?
My name is Alan Ciechalski, from Poland. I’m a freelance web designer and an internet marketer. I help small businesses get their first clients online through Google AdWords and Search Engine Optimisation.
How did you become a digital nomad and what made you decide to adopt this lifestyle?
I went on holidays to Rio de Janeiro while still being at a full time job. I met Johannes Voelkner who told me about the digital nomad lifestyle. From then on I wanted to become a digital nomad and have a business I could run as location independent individual. It took me 4 years of different trials and errors but this summer I decided it is the time to make the jump.
In the past year I saw and read so many articles about becoming a digital nomad. Some of them are relevant and useful, others talk solely about the disadvantages, but most of them talk about the dream job and working in paradise. I really believe this is an amazing lifestyle, but because of all the media coverage, people started believing that it’s all honey and milk; that digital nomads are in a continuous holiday. Thus, everybody is asking how can these people afford it. They must have rich parents who help them.
Actually, most of the digital nomads are way past the age where they are being supported by parents. They had a few jobs, even leading positions, they gained experience, they know how it is to have a corporate job and decided that’s not for them anymore.
So… who are they?
Recently, I was on a transatlantic cruise ship with 100+ other digital nomads, where I had the chance to meet amazing people. I talked to them and I decided to share some of their stories with you.
Lodi Planting, Lodiplanting.com
Can you briefly tell us who are you and what do you do for a living?
I spent my days doing what I love. As a digital nomad I travel the work while I am doing awesome work. I sell websites to freelancers, I manage a team that makes them and I teach them how to get new clients by blogging. Click if you would like to read more about me (in Dutch).
“What day is it? Thursday? No, it’s Friday. Oh, ok, so how many days do we have left on the cruise? 5? No, I think 6. No, 7… or 5?”
After a 5 minutes debate in the swimming pool we decided to give up and just enjoy the moment. We were just 5 of the almost 100+ digital nomads who forgot about time, Internet and worries for a few days. It’s hard to explain in words how this nomad cruise experience was for me. It’s one of those stories that end with “you had to be there”.
I wanted to describe how a “typical” day on the cruise looked like, but they were all different. Except the regular meals that interrupted our meetups, each day had something different. Random drinking meetups by the pool, various workshops held by other nomads, yoga sessions, walks on the deck and discussions with new and interesting people – these were all on the menu.
How it all started…
Becoming a digital nomad may be a dream for many and unfortunately, for some will remain just that. But if you are reading this article, you probably already have an idea about what this means and would like to know where to start. I have to tell it won’t be easy, but it might be much easier than you expect. Let’s see where you should start, what you should do to earn money while traveling and even build a location independent business.
Before you commit to this road, read as much as you can about the nomad lifestyle, ask people who are already doing it, understand what are the advantages and disadvantages and think if this style of living is for you. Join communities of digital nomads, discover their stories and learn directly from them – Digital Nomads Academy is one I definitely recommend. If you want to travel the world, you can do that in extended holidays or in a sabbatical year. Or you could pick a place you love and look for a steady job there – you can enjoy the beach from Costa Rica when you work in a resort too. And then just move around and find a similar job in Thailand or Bali, for example. You need to figure out what will make you happy in the end. On the other hand, if you are comfortable with working and traveling, dealing with difficult situations, facing the lack of WI-FI and love to slow travel, you are in for the ride.
The problem most people have is related to the insufficient budget while traveling and search places with low cost of living. I believe there is no right answer in earning money and I think that each and every one of us has at least a set of skills that will help becoming a digital nomad. Before we go any further, you also need to know that this will take time. You need to research, choose your path, make plans and then go pursue them.
Choose your path
I filtered and set for you 4 different situations that will hopefully make this decision easier for you. These are presented in the order of their difficulty range.
- I am leaving but I am taking you with me – the remote employee
Are you still employed and like your job, but would love to travel the world at the same time? If you are sure the sabbatical is not for you, try negotiating with your employer to work remotely (at least for a while). I highly recommend (re)reading The 4-Hour Workweek – the chapters where Tim Ferriss explains step by step what you should do to convince your boss that you can do an amazing job by working remotely.
- Freelancer or consultant with the skills you already possess
If the ship above has sailed and even though you love your job they won’t let you do this (or maybe you love what your work involves, but the employee or the schedule was awful), it’s clearly you have to stick to what you are really good at and find a way to turn it into a profitable business. Think in what way could your skills translate into location independence.
Maybe you work in finances and could become a consultant for small businesses, or you are a yoga teacher and could hold yoga classes on the beach or in association with a beach hotel. The solutions are endless, you just have to be open-minded and explore your options. This is probably the most common situation for digital nomads, at least in the beginning – they rely on the skills they already have and emphasize their knowledge. This is also my situation. And if you don’t know where to start from, here are some methods to find clients as a freelancer that helped worked for me. You can also try finding gigs on Up Work (formerly Odesk), Freelancer or any other niche platforms.
Want to travel on a budget or even better, with no money at all? There are ways and social media can help you. There are so many travel bloggers that can teach you how to do it, but I hope I can give you a few more ways, that could suit you better. Firstly you Read more about How to use social media to travel on a budget[…]
Berlin. Saturday morning. 6 AM. My alarm clock rings and even though I am not a morning person (actually I hate waking up in the morning), this time I am quite excited. It’s DNX conference day and I came to Berlin (like I needed another excuse to spend time in the city I love) to meet like-minded digital nomads.
And I have a good reason to be excited about this. In the past 3 days I’ve already met some of the attendees and they exceeded my expectations. People from USA, Czech Republic, France, Croatia, Germany and many more countries joined DNX. Actually their origins are not even that important because in the end we are all citizens of the world. We are only defined by what we want. And these days Berlin was our home.
Formal and informal meetups
Even before the conference had started, we had a 4-Hours Workweek event at Betahaus, then Natalie Sisson gathered some of us to meet and get to know each other and we also got together for a BBQ on Tempelhof, which is an old airport that ceased to function in 2008 and now it is open to public. It’s a great place to spend some time at a picnic, riding a bike or flying a kite. But since Germans know how to party, the evening ended in a pub where more networking was at its best.
On Friday the event actually started and some of us already knew each other. Workshops, networking and more ideas came to life.
Looks like we were all eager to meet some location independent fellows, because it might be a great way of living your life, but sometimes it gets lonely. Marcus and Feli created the perfect environment for us to meet and discover other ideas, businesses and, of course, people or even future friends.