Meet Michelle (on the far left), being in ultimate happiness surrounded by travellers who joined on one of our trips. She can’t do a day without sun and if you manage to bring her a fresh coconut, she will love you forever.
Michelle is a Dutch creative professional with over 10 years experience in education, business development and tourism. She has a passion for building communities and inspiring people to live life on their terms. Since 2010 she was involved in the development of multiple educational programs and brands in variety of industries in The Netherlands, South America and Australia.
Here we get to know more about Michelle’s nomad story, her hopes for the future and her advice for any aspiring digital nomads. This blog was originally published by our friends at Badass Blog who interviewed me as part of their Nomads I Meet series.
Michelle, what is your nomad story?
About a bit longer than a year ago I started traveling as a 30-year old solo backpacker in Australia. Before that time I had lived for 5 years in South America, traveled a bit here and there all over the world but never left for a year on my own without a plan. I started looking for a job in a local Facebook group and saw an ad for a road trip, 39 days through the outback, something I had for a long time on my bucket list! With a super jet lag I picked up the phone and negotiated myself in a job on that trip: I could be the tour manager!
I got paid and could travel, how cool was that! Soon I found out that only traveling was not satisfying for me. Even though I was the tour manager and had some responsibilities, I was surrounded by mostly young backpackers, some with great stories and deep souls, others never left home before. I missed the depth, people to connect with and talk about ideas and visions about life.
Then I met Andreas, my colleague and cameraman of the business we worked for. We could talk for hours and same as mine, his head was constantly producing new ideas. I liked this. Sitting around the campfire, discussing business ideas, talking about life, really connecting.
Andreas and I ended up travelling over 20.000 km together as a team for this business, finding out how our skills and passions were the perfect match. At the same time I started to look into learning digital marketing skills, finding out that this is the way to make money while being on the road. With Andreas being the greatest videographer when it comes to travel and tourism, our idea started to develop to create the ultimate trips, for people like us. And to capture everything on camera.
We combined our biggest passions with each other into a unique concept what brings people together and gives them a unique experience of traveling. While we travel around to film business on the road we offer the possibility to travel with us to other people and give them a taste of our lifestyle. Travel to the most amazing places, connect with interesting people, get some work done but most of all enjoy life.
What is your business/current projects?
We’ve developed a unique co-travel product for digital nomads, remote workers and online entrepreneurs.
Just like there are co-working and co-living we organize co-traveling. We focus on truly connecting nomads and helping them unplug from work.
With our video production company we travel around the world to create video content for the real estate and tourism industry. While we travel around to film businesses within the industry, we offer a group of nomads the opportunity to travel with us, working together and exploring along the way.
Since we can’t travel at the moment we have developed a Digital Nomad Retreat (25th July-1st August 2020, Algarve, Portugal) all the connection, growth and fun just this time we have to explore only one place!
How do you keep yourself focused and productive?
I keep myself focused and productive by working with a strict planning and unplugging from work on time. Trying to work between set hours. Turning off all notifications on my phone helps a lot. The fact that we organize trips pushes us to finish things on time because we have start dates of the trips when things and all preparations have to be finished.
What are your plans and goals for the nearest future?
My biggest dream is to expand the business. As soon as we can we will be back on the road doing trips. I want to build strong and valuable partnerships within the tourism and real estate industry, that makes it easier for us to plan our trips.
For how long are you in Portugal and why did you choose this destination?
I am now in Portugal for over a year and planning to settle here. Every 5 weeks I will be away for 3 weeks because of my trips but in between I would like to stay here. It has a nice and professional nomad community, it’s close to the Netherlands and Portugal has everything! Except for rain-forests, that’s the only thing I miss.
What are you biggest struggles right now in business and/or digital nomad life?
Not being able to travel and plan our normal trips has been hard. We’ve had to adapt like a lot of businesses. I am very positive about the future though, more and more people have seen they can do their job away from their office and a lot of businesses will start to adopt a remote work structure. I also see how much need there is for products like ours which bring people who work remotely together to unplug and connect with people as a cure for the loneliness and isolation that so many people have experienced over the last few months. I look forward to being on the road again! The goal was to create the best job in the world and I have achieved it: I can meet inspiring people from all around the world and connect them, I can travel and create a beautiful content. I am a digital nomad but our product is a physical product and has a human aspect, it involves an offline work an brings me to the most amazing places in the world!
What would be your advice to someone who would like to start their digital nomad journey and work online?
Surround yourself with people who are already doing it. Try to find out who is trying to be a nomad and who is established and learn from these people. Offer services for free to practice skills if you need to. Don’t work at home too much, go to a co-working space to connect with people or else it can be very lonely. Also unplug from work on time. You escaped the 9–5 routine to have more freedom and not to work more!
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