January 2018 was the moment that Agnès decided to start her own business. After a successful job as an editor for an online magazine, she now works as a freelance copywriter and social media expert. She can do her work anywhere in the world and travels around the world as a digital nomad. In the coming time you can find her in Lisbon, Istanbul and Tel Aviv. What is it like to travel and work as a digital nomad? I ask Agnès:
What does a working day look like for you?
That really depends on where I am. When I am traveling, I get up early every day and work a few hours in the morning. I will be out for the rest of the afternoon. In this way I fully enjoy the place where I am at that moment and I still ensure that all my work is done.
When I am in Amsterdam I keep the 9 to 5 more. This gives me structure. In the evening and weekends I have time for my friends and family. I mix my workdays with a coffee with a friend, a walk or a yoga class.
My work varies a lot. I currently have a number of regular clients, so luckily I have little stress whether enough money comes in. The clients vary from a tour operator to a flower grower. I make content schedules, write articles, translate articles into English, manage social media channels and help companies with their SEO. All things that I really enjoy doing. Because the subjects are so different, it’s nice and varied!
How many hours a week do you work?
That also varies. I have decided that I certainly do not want to work 40 hours. Although I don’t always count my blog, Instagram and YouTube as work, while it actually is. I see that as my portfolio and also get customers out of it. On average I would say that I work between 24-32 hours.
I certainly don’t want to work 40 hours a week
Isn’t it tempting to discover beautiful destinations instead of working?
I work every morning, so I can discover beautiful destinations every afternoon!
What are the ultimate digital nomad destinations?
Almost every major city is a digital nomad destination, as long as there is internet. I especially like going to a city that also has a beach. For me, that is the ultimate combination of work, chilling and sightseeing. Bali is of course a real nomad hub. Chiang Mai in Thailand is also one, but I didn’t think that was such a great city. I thought Cape Town was great and I would highly recommended the city for digital nomads!
How do you meet other digital nomads?
That is very easy: you actually meet them everywhere. Recently I even met a digital nomad on the train in Sri Lanka! You can also see in coffee tents who is working on his or her laptop. You will of course also find them in coworking spaces. I always become a member of the digital nomad Facebook group of the location where I am at that moment. It’s nice to meet people, exchange tips and go to meet-ups.
Are there any prejudices about the digital nomad life?
Many people think that it is a dream life, because you travel a lot and see beautiful destinations. That is indeed great, but also when you’re traveling you can have bad days. You step outside your comfort zone every day.
People think that living as a digital nomad costs a lot of money, but that is not the case. Life in The Netherlands is a lot more expensive than in Thailand, for example. You have to buy a plane ticket and pay for your stay, but you usually stay in one place longer. This makes it a lot cheaper than if you would only stay for a week.
Is life as a digital nomad suitable for everyone?
If you really want it, you can do it. I’m convinced of that. But you have to have discipline. It is tempting to do all kinds of fun things, but then you only spend money. This means going home quickly as well! It is important to remember that you can only live this life by working everywhere.
Do you have tips for people who also want to work as a digital nomad?
Start now! Give yourself a few months of preparation. Make a portfolio of your work. Start as a freelancer and look for clients. You will make extra hours, but that is definitely worth your investment.
Will we see you traveling the world in the coming period?
Hell yes! In February I will be in Lisbon and in April I will go to Istanbul. Then I fly on to Tel Aviv. I never plan too far ahead. Colombia is on the bucket list and I will probably end the year in Cape Town again.