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.
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).
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.
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.
It’s summer, the holiday season is at its peak and hotels are probably full, but what about the off-season? What do you do to keep your guests keep coming and attract new ones? If you own a hotel, B&B, resort or even an Airbnb apartment, you might want to check if you are already applying some of these ideas. And if you are not, keep in mind that your competition might and could steal your guests.
Did you know that?
– 2/3 people share their travel dreams on Social Media
– Over 50% of people are inspired to book by their friends’ pictures
– Over 70% of people share content while on holidays.
– Over 50% like pages to a specific destination
Take advantage of these numbers and reach your audience with nice surprises.
1. Talk about the surrounding
You don’t always have to talk about your hotel or resort. You’ll run out of ideas anyway, so use that empty space as an opportunity. Tell a story about the mountains, the seaside, horse rides, surfing experience etc. Tell your potential guests what is happening around and at least one of the activities might attract them. The room booking comes after. Remember that your place is not necessarily the reason people come to that city/town or island, but the place itself. The environment is the one that attracts people and your job is to make that experience even more pleasant; the complete package. Once you do that, their whole memory of the vacation will include your place too.
2. Share events
You have to be up-to-date with all the events that are happening. A concert, a festival or a competition will bring people into town. So why don’t you tell them about it and create the whole pack? You could even have some kinds of arrangements that can attract people to stay at your hotel. For example, maybe an international artist is performing in your city, but your hotel is too far away, comparing to your competition. Offer your guests a free ride to the concert and promote it.
3. Forget the stock photos
Yes, some of you will be outraged. I am not talking about not using them at all in Social Media, no matter the business, but you are not promoting utopic ideas or untouchable services. Show your guests what’s waiting for them, details, views, food and all that can be found at your hotel. Hire a great photograph and let him do the magic. It would be great if you could have him or her every week to capture new things, but you can also can have a complete photoshoot once per season, to emphasize the fall’s colors, the clear water or the Christmas decorations.
While big cities have their fascinating stories, a mix of history, that metropolitan vibe and a flavor of chaotic sense of style, I found my self with an itchy need of escaping the hectic life for a few days.
A sweet place, filled with historic sights and fascinating stories kind of felt right. It was one of those moments when you know that you are not the one who is choosing the place but rather the city is the one who is transmitting vibrations to your mind (or soul) and tells you to come and meet it. Verona felt just right,
Once I got there, I felt the architecture is impressive and there’s no way to escape it. There, in the heart of this small city, you can get lost and enjoy each step. The old spirit combined with the new trends made me fell like behind each imposing door I could find another yet beautiful story. If only I had a pair of X-ray glasses to become a voyeur for a couple of days.
There’s no wonder Shakespeare chose Verona as the set for 3 of his plays. And because of him and his famous stories or maybe because of Verona’s spirit, everything seemed to scream romance at every step. It was like I was lost in one of his plays.
Only from time to time the actors dressed in gladiators and Egyptian Pharaohs and Mummies standing in front of Arena di Verona, next to Piazza Bra, reminded me that this is still a touristic city. Arena is nowadays a place where concerts and shows are being held and people all over the neighborhood area come to watch them.
Perfect weather, golden beaches, welcoming people and history; all on a small and amazing island. Looking for a new travel destination that fits this description? Stick around and you’ll get some travel ideas and useful tips.
This is Larnaca. A small city in Cyprus with only 80 k inhabitants that welcome you to step on their beach and be part of their exquisite story.
Just 15 minutes away from the airport, a small and warm city will appear before your eyes.
- Larnaca accommodation
Larnaca offers luxurious all-inclusive hotels but also perfect deals for a low budget traveler. Petrou Bros Hotel Apartments, Eleonora Hotel Apartments and Frangiorgio Hotel apartments are just a few of the places you can check.
Want to be surrounded by small cafes and restaurants but still just a few minutes away from the beach? Any of these options will fulfill this desire.
For more low-budget alternatives, check out the smaller ones and don’t be fooled by the map (as I was), because many of the hotels and hostels are really close to the beach, since the city is relatively small. If you are not in hurry, you can book a room in off-season when prices are even better, the weather is good (a minimum of 16C reached in winter) and the town so peaceful.
It’s 8am. The phone alarm is ringing and I can hear birds singing outside my window. The sun is already shining telling me it’s time to wake up. For a moment I feel that I’m in Malaga and I should jump out of bed, do my morning workout and go downstairs to grab my amazing cappuccino from the café next door. That feeling suddenly disappears when I realize it’s Sunday, my alarm rang too early, I’m in Bucharest and maybe I should sleep one more hour.
Even though it was just a second of fantasizing, that feeling of a Spanish morning remained for the rest of the day and the excitement didn’t let me sleep anymore. It looks like my subconscious mind is telling me it’s time to go and experience Spain again. And it’s not only my deeper thoughts that are guiding me there. I actually elaborated a timeline so I can get there soon.
But this is what I am talking about. Recently, I went to Andalusia, Spain, a place I didn’t know too many things about, but it is a part of Europe that convinced me there is more to discover. It all started when I was wandering on Sky Scanner in search of my next escape. I heard about Malaga before, I knew it is the birthplace of Picasso and that it’s in southern Spain, which could only mean art, warm weather and a new place to discover. That information alone was enough to convince me to buy a ticket. So I made some kind of a plan (as I always do, even though I am flexible enough to adjust the plan on the way) and I was ready to go.
This lovely city in Andalusia is known as one of the oldest places in the world (nearly 2800 years old). With so much history, Malaga has a lot to offer. From its old town, to a large beach, castles and art, the city can fulfill many wishes. Maybe you love to soak up the sun on the beach and your partner wants to find out more about the city’s history. There’s a place for everyone. Moreover, it has one of the warmest winters in European cities, so you can get a cheaper plane ticket and enjoy the off-season prices.
Spanish people are full of life, communicative and as far as I’ve seen, they love carnivals. And I was lucky enough to be there when one of their annual carnivals was happening. Kids (even infants), teenagers, adults and elders were all dressed up for the occasion and even performed on a scene and at parade. A rainbow of color: minions, fairytale characters, Einstein(s) and many others were walking on the streets. If you get the chance to get there during a festival, you shouldn’t miss it.
The city is cute, cozy and so Latin, thus it felt like home. I had a really nice host I found on Airbnb who was willing to give me some tips and indications that only locals know. It’s a lovely studio close to the city center but in a quiet area, with all the features you might need. It’s always better to talk to the locals because they can give you tips that you cannot find in tourist flyers or websites. And if you are a shy person, this is a great way to overcome your fears.
I just came back from one of my travels and I found myself again in a hotel marketing industry that seems to have forgotten that social media should be part of their strategy. I know this is not your case. But exactly because you probably know by now that social media shouldn’t be left out, I want to help you stand out with minimum effort.
If you already have a nice hotel, great staff and a lovely view, this article is for you. Marketing strategy can become a problem if you’ve been in this business for a long time. And believe me. I’ve seen this. Because things are not as they used to be. Things are changing, the internet is a must have nowadays for reservations, when 57 % of all travel reservations are made on the internet and 65% of same hotel reservations are made from a smartphone. This is huge.
But what can you do to refresh your marketing strategy and bring more guests? When social media is not a one-way communication anymore, your guests can have a great input. So, I have 5 smart, innovative and really simple ideas for you. Not to mention cost effective.
1. Give your guests FREE WIFI… and benefit from it
Have you recently checked your Facebook newsfeed? Or your Instagram account? These days, social media is filled with holiday pictures that make the ones at home green with envy. It’s the WOE (word of eye), the new WOM (word of mouth). It’s the perfect opportunity to give your guests all the tools to promote you for FREE and make their friends want to come to your hotel.
There are people who love apps, people who don’t see the point of using them and others who just don’t care. I am a true believer in efficiency and efficacy. And everything that can make me save time and make things better automatically enters my list.
It’s the same situation with apps. There are those apps that don’t live more than one day on my phone and there are apps that stuck with me from day one. All of these don’t just rescue time and save money, but help me travel faster (when I want to) and better.
1. Wake up in the nicest way
Yes, some of us (maybe most of us) have a problem with waking up early. Moreover, when you are a freelancer and work till late, mornings can become a challenge sometimes. I discovered this app when I needed to work mornings and take some time to walk around the new city in the evenings. Otherwise, what’s the purpose of traveling if you can’t afford to enjoy the NEW? Sleep as Android app calculates your cycles of sleep and wakes you up in the optimal moment. Moreover, it tracks your sleep and you can see a lot of details and features, including your level of snoring. 🙂
2. Communication is important
Either I am traveling or working from my office, I always need to talk to my friends and clients. And the best way for me to save money and time is texting them viaWhatsapp and calling them on Viber or Skype. You probably already use these apps, but I need to mention them since I use them everyday.