In 2012 I started to work as a digital nomad. I quit my job and started my own company. I decided I was going to specialise my business in the watersport, I just loved the sailing scene and the international lifestyle that comes with it. The first six months I booked my own tickets to events because I thought it would be really useful to get to know the (Olympic) sailing scene I was working in at that time.
It didn’t take long though until the companies I worked for needed me on location! Besides work trips to the Olympics in London, sailing events in Palma, Oman and China, I traveled to Malaysia with my laptop, and to Chili and Argentina with just an iPad. the first few years I worked 60-80 hours a week but it was one bit adventure! But I did spend almost all these hours behind my laptop. I’m really an outdoor loving, sporty type who loves to move around in stead of sit behind her laptop all day and night…
From digital nomad to working nomad
In 2016 I was asked to join the IBSF TV Crew as floor manager during the World Cups and World Championships Bobsleigh & Skeleton. Now I travel to the most amazing outdoor offices during the winter season when working for the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation. I never travel without my laptop but my work is outside with amazing mountain views most of the time! From digital to working nomad!
Since I found a way of working which suits me even better, the new challenge is to combine best of both worlds. I’ve spent the first few years of my freelance career creating a pretty solid network, projects and companies to work for. Now I can just leave for the winter, be outside in the freezing cold working offline as floor manager for international sports events and talk to people in stead of my laptop! In summer I can enjoy home and combine this with visiting some cool sailing events in sunny countries!
Now I’m away most of the winter, I love spending time in Holland during summer, but I still frequently fly to sailing events like the start and finish of the Volvo Ocean Race in Alicante and Scheveningen. And every year I visit Palma de Mallorca for one or two weeks when the Olympic sailors are having their World Cups or when the Super yacht Cup is on. I love the island, it’s easy to get around and networking is amazing there! My last big summer challenge was to help the local organisation of the Sailing World Championships in Denmark with my mixed zone manager experience. It was pretty special to be part of their team and be part of the succes of the event which was also a qualifier for the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020!
Are you dreaming of a life as working nomad? Maybe these tips help!
- Think about the reason why you want to be a working nomad. Do you want to be free to work from anywhere you want? Home, your favourite coffee bar, a friends’ place or a hotel room? Or do you want to be a full time traveler? If it’s definitely the last one, you might be better taking unpaid leave for a few months.
- Fake it till you make it! This doesn’t mean that you need to lie about what you do. But you can tell the world what your dreams are and what you’re doing while you’re busy working on it.
- Be ready to invest time and maybe a little money just to see if the lifestyle fits you and the companies you work for.
- Start redefining the niche you work in and see what international possibilities this gives you.
- If the companies you already work for are okay with you working from home in stead of at their office, they might be also okay with you working somewhere else and call in for a Skype meeting or Google Hangout.
- If you can work from home, you can basically work from anywhere. Take a test week and book yourself a nice room in a hostel on a a relaxed island or a city. Maybe your company organises an international event, or has a foreign establishment. Just spend the week abroad and see if the lifestyle fits you and if they realise you’re actually not at home but abroad. It’s a good way to see if you still have the discipline to work at least 4-6 hours a day.
- Make sure you’ve got your shit sorted. All administration online, all contacts you need and a good working phone (maybe international data bundle) so everyone can reach you.
- An empty inbox helps. It gives you a lot of headspace and freedom to react instantly to requests from the companies you already work for.
- If you don’t have the money to take yourself abroad for a week, try to find friends to stay with. It might even be worth finding a sport event/festival that looks for volunteers and offer them your skills. They might even accommodatie you and sort out your food. But food and a local network are worth something as well! From my own experience I know that this works pretty well!