32: Interview with digital nomad Sam from Indefinite Adventure

Today we’ll feature another digital nomads Sam & Zab from Indefinite Adventure. Sam tells us all about his favorite destinations, the challenges of his lifestyle and more!


Could you introduce yourself? What is your background?

My name is Sam, and I’m a 30 year old British vegan gay guy. I’m interested in social justice, science fiction and cooking, among other things. I was born and grew up in London, where I also went to university and studied linguistics. I used to teach English as a foreign language (and indeed sometimes still do) but mostly now I run my blog Indefinite Adventure, do freelance writing and travel a lot with my husband, Zab. We now live in Berlin, Germany.

Do you monetize your blog? How many subscribers do you have?

Indeed I do monetise my blog. The main way that I directly do that is by accepting sponsored posts, but having an extensive portfolio of travel writing already on my blog has lead to other freelance writing work which pays better, so I am leaning more towards that now. I have a 9 month old newsletter which has almost 300 subscribers and I get around 10,000 views a month on my site.

Are there any WordPress plugins you can recommend?

Yes! The ones I like best are all for maintaining the security of my site: Akismet is great for stopping spam comments, Wordfence does a brilliant job of letting me know if there have been any attacks on my site and WP-Ban is occasionally useful for prohibiting users by IP address from visiting my site.

What disadvantages come with your lifestyle?

For me there are two main things: not having a regular income and not being able to see our closest friends and family regularly. Since I work on a freelance basis, I don’t get paid holiday or any of the many other benefits of being an employee and sometimes my income fluctuates a lot. Of course, the benefit is that I can work as much or little as I want and be more or less wherever I choose, but there are definitely times when I think how much easier it would be if I worked for someone else.

Then travelling a lot means that we split our time between many places so we don’t have the ability to see the people closest to us often, and we also are meeting amazing people all the time which is both exhilarating and exhausting.

How do you manage health insurance?

In Europe my husband and I are covered for small stuff with our EHIC cards, but outside of Europe, we always buy travel insurance for the duration of our trip that includes medical cover. Fortunately, we’ve only ever had to use it once in just over three years of full time travel, and that was while we were in South America in 2013 and got a bit sick.

Which company do you buy health insurance from?

Well as I said in my answer, we use a travel insurance company that also provides medical cover as part of the travel insurance, so it’s not specifically health insurance, but it is good and I do recommend it. They’re called World Nomads, and they allow you to buy, renew and extend your travel insurance even when you’re not in your home country, which is great for people who travel a lot!

Are there some “hacks” how to get cheaper airline tickets?

Not really. Sometimes I’m surprised at how other people search for flights and don’t consider alternatives. I always start by looking at Skyscanner and look at flights on different days, times of day, with various airlines and even from or to different airports. For me, the main way I find cheap flights is by being flexible.

So far what have been the best destinations and which places were disappointing to you?

In South America, I was really pleasantly surprised by Bolivia which just had so much to offer with its amazingly diverse landscapes, great food, friendly people and beautiful colonial architecture. In Europe one of my husband and my favourite destinations is Sweden, which is such a wonderful place to visit in the summer. Sure, there have been some less than inspiring places I’ve visited on my travels, but I prefer not to dwell on them and instead remember the good aspects. That said, I do occasionally find London, my hometown, somewhat disappointing!

To read more articles from Sam & Zab’s site please visit Indefiniteadventure.com.

29: Interview with Digital Nomad & Blogger Lulu Anderson

Today we feature another digital nomad, Lulu Anderson from the US shares her tips to travel the world.


Tell us about your background and what business you run!

I went to school for Cardiopulmonary Exercise Science in Boston, then worked in biopharma for 4 years. Around that time I realized that I had no creative outlet and quit, cold turkey, moved to Texas and started working at lululemon selling stretchy pants. From there I moved back to Boston and began my current career of digital and social media marketing. This past October I quit another job with no backup plan while on a “3 week vacation” with then boyfriend. I now work as a digital nomad with a few clients around the globe.

What would you say is the most cost effective way to market your product?

My blog and social media channels have been a great way for me to meet new clients. Additionally, never underestimate being at the right place at the right time!

What does still work in marketing and what is out-dated nowadays?

People are absolutely willing to read content. Good content, with clear messaging. Too many people are self-involved with the words they put down and don’t edit themselves.

Do you follow blogs of fellow nomads?

I don’t subscribe to blogs as much as I search for tweets with relevant keywords to whatever I am experiencing at that time (loneliness, health insurance…etc.).

What are the most frequent UX mistakes you see when you analyze websites?

I recently told a potential client that his website was dated and the colors made me feel like I was shopping for a gynecologist. It was true and now he wants to work with me. I tend to like minimally designed UX with a few simple CTAs; however, there are plenty of great examples of sites with many pathways that have been well thought out.

How does traffic from Social Media convert in comparison to other traffic sources?

Social Media traffic can be so niche targeted that I personally think it is always worth the spend. Google’s ad profile can be completely off base, whereas Facebook knows EXACTLY what pages you’ve liked and the demographics you have entered. It’s simple and you can pay based on whatever your favorite KPI is.

Would you say it is easier or more difficult to make friends with your lifestyle?

Since breaking up with the boyfriend (right after V-Day), I joined a coworking space called Dreamplex. I’ve met a lot of interesting and smart people through that as well as through WORK Saigon and digital nomad groups on Facebook.

Any tips you can give someone who wants to start to live like you?

I would suggest that anyone who wants to take the leap start with a savings account with at least $2,000 and enough clients to keep them occupied 10 hours per week. Something I did not have.

What would you say is the best digital hangout to learn more about digital nomadism?

Coworking spaces in Ho Chi Minh have been great. I’m excited to experience more in other countries.

You are in Vietnam right now. Tell us more about your experience there?

I left Boston to travel the world. Now I am in another big city at a desk 25-30 hours per week. This is not why I chose to live this lifestyle. The next stop will be a place with great wifi and NATURE! I want to work about 20 hours per week, 10 on my blog and social media, and then really kick life’s ass with awesomeness.

What would you say is a good country to start if you are new to this?

I was in Indonesia when I made the choice to quit my job but did not have great wifi until HCM so I never started making connections and gathering clients prior to this. HCM is inexpensive, the food is amazing, the wifi is strong – so this is a great option. I’ve also heard great things about Chiang Mai, Koh Lanta, Ubud, and others.

As a digital nomad you rely on the Internet. How reliable is it compared to the US?

The wifi is Pai, Thailand and Palawan, Philippines was terrible! Here in Vietnam I have no complaints and would say it is as good as my wifi back in the States.

How long have you been traveling the world and how has this changed your view on the world?

I’ve been a traveler since I was in my early twenties (31 now), but this is the first backpacking I’ve done over an extended period. My views keep evolving. I feel like I can go anywhere and do anything – but this feeling can be paralyzing at times. Ultimately, I am going with the flow and waiting for “signs” to guide my next decision. It’s currently looking like an opportunity might work out in Portugal!

How do you handle health insurance?

I need to start researching the insurance thing. I have a lot of bookmarks saved (specifically worldnomads.com) and I have the money. At this point I’m tempting fate! So far my biggest accident was a 2nd degree firework burn on NYE, which was resolved with burn cream and keeping it clean.

Please visit her website Lulakilla.com to learn more about Lulu.

14: Interview with copywriter Mish from Mortified Cow

Today we’ll pick the brain of another copywriter! I interviewed Londoner Mish from Mortified Cow who works and lives around the world.


What kind of business do you run? When did you start it?

I run a two-person copywriting agency called Mortified Cow. (The other person is my husband!) We work while we travel the world as digital nomads. We both have backgrounds in copywriting, but before Mortified Cow we were regular employees at London-based companies. After quitting our jobs in 2012, we started writing for clients on Elance (now Upwork) and worked our way up from there.

What inspired you to start this business?

We were struck by how samey the words on most company websites are: they’re all “focused on your success”, they talk about how they have “the solutions for you” and will “deliver the results you need” – usually “whether you’re a large, medium or small business”. Everyone sounds the same – from lawyers and accountants to web designers and life coaches. More importantly, though, their words feel insincere and meaningless. (No reader ever thinks, “Oh wow… this company says they’re ‘passionate about customer service’. I’ve GOT to hire them!”)

We wanted to help businesses set themselves apart from the competition through personalityful, attention-grabbing text that actually says something meaningful. As a result, we help them reach their dream customers, and we make sure those customers feel like they couldn’t work with or buy from anyone else.

Does your business generate enough money to support you?

Yes. My writing can make all the difference to my clients’ businesses, and what I earn is a reflection of that.

This wasn’t always the case, though! When I started out on Elance, I was charging something like $100 for huge, week-long projects. And then once I came off the Elance platform, I was still charging very little for my work. If I had the chance to go back and do it all again, I don’t think I would (or indeed could) change things: clients were taking a chance by working with a newbie, and I didn’t have the knowledge or writing skills that I have now.

Which resources to run your business do you use most?

Google Docs is the biggie. All my writing is done in Google Docs.

Mixmax is a great little Chrome extension for Gmail. I use it to track email opens (useful for making sure my emails are received!), and to provide an easy way for people to schedule calls with me.

What is your single best non-obvious tip for running a business?

When starting out as a freelancer or entrepreneur, cut out all the “faffing around the edges”. You don’t need a business card, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a website, and you don’t need a plan to handle a zillion customers.

All you need is a clear description of the problem you solve, and your first three customers (by any means necessary).

Don’t worry about scaling, branding, or anything else until you know that people will pay for your product/service.

What would you recommend to generate traffic to the website? Have you tried SEO companies?

Write a book! I recently published a book about business writing called May I Have Your Attention, Please?, and I’ve had so many enquiries as a result of it already.

I’m also a great fan of podcast interviews, blog interviews (like this one!), LinkedIn, forums, Facebook groups, and generally just being “out there” and helpful.

I’ve never used an SEO company for Mortified Cow.

How did you come up with the name of the company?

Unfortunately there’s no hilarious backstory about embarrassed cattle! But we chose the name because of what it says about us.

To a lot of people, it says, “We’re not serious enough for your Very Important Business. Go over there and talk to Platinum Corporate Solutions instead.”

But to a few other people – the ones we want to work with – it says, “We’re going to write something that really puts across the excitement and uniqueness of your business – and we’re going to have fun doing it.”

Do you think that Social Media such as Twitter or Facebook are good marketing tools?

Yes, but they shouldn’t be your only marketing tools: you need to be in many places at once to both increase brand awareness and reach as many people as possible. Yes – be on social media. But be in other places, too.

How competitive is your industry?

Extremely competitive! The problem with copywriting is that too many people think they can do it. They fail to realise that copywriting is very different from “being able to write a sentence on a page”!

The upside is that it’s fairly easy to differentiate yourself from these kinds of writers and charge far more money than them. Not everyone will want to pay your fees, but that’s OK: the ones who gasp at your prices probably won’t appreciate your skills and expertise. The right clients will know you’re worth it, and they’ll be willing to pay a premium to work with you.

What is the best way to publish a book in your view? What do you think of Lulu?

I’ve published a few books around the topics of digital nomadism and business writing, and I’ve always used CreateSpace for paperbacks (and Kindle Direct Publishing for Kindle books).

CreateSpace royalties are the most generous to self-publishers (compared to other self-publishing platforms), and the process of uploading a book and having it available on Amazon is pretty seamless. It’s been a while since I looked into Lulu as an option, but I’m happy with CreateSpace at the moment.

Tell us more about being a digital nomad. Pros and Cons? Where are you at the moment?

We’re in rainy old London at the moment! It’s where we’re from originally, and we’re here for boring admin-related reasons before heading off again next month.

We tend to spend between one and two months in a different city before moving somewhere new. It seems like a lot of effort, but it’s actually pretty easy: we each have a 45L backpack of belongings (clothes, toiletries, tech, etc.), and that’s all we need. It’s an amazing feeling to head off to a new city with everything you could possibly need in a small bag on your back.

We always stay in Airbnb apartments, and yeah… it’s a pretty fun lifestyle! We get to see the world at our own pace, and we’re able to experience living like locals rather than trying to squeeze a ton of attractions into a weekend trip. We have lots of digital nomad friends, so there are always at least a few people we hang out with in each destination.

We haven’t experienced too many downsides to digital nomadism, although we get very broody for puppies and kittens! We do know some people who travel with dogs, but it looks like a whole world of hassle – and not all that fun for the dogs.

Mish’s newest book

Tell us about your other books you wrote.

There’s Travel Like A Pro, which helps digital nomads find flights, book accommodation, and understand their visa and insurance options.

Then there’s also Travel While You Work, which is all about helping digital nomads get settled in a new destination in super-quick time. It also provides heaps of advice and resources for running a business, hiring staff, managing a team, etc. while travelling the world. (We also run a property management agency, so we have a lot of experience in all this!)

My husband and I also wrote Protect Your Tech together, which is a geek-free guide to having a secure and private digital life.

May I Have Your Attention, Please? is my most recent book, and it’s aimed at a completely different market: business writers who want to charm, captivate and convert potential customers through the power of the written word.

There are a few other “fun” books, but those are the main ones!

Do you have a base in London? Where do you pay taxes?

Yes, we have a base in King’s Cross. We’re UK residents, and we pay all our taxes here.

In which countries have you lived so far? Any favorites?

My favourite is and always will be New York: I’m obsessed with the place. Close second (and my husband’s first choice) is Bangkok. The food, the people, the smells, the excitement… it’s a fantastic place. We’re also huge fans of Barcelona.

If someone wants to hire you what would be the process?

Visit Mortifiedcow.com, check us out and send us a message! If you want to see examples of our work, I have a snazzy new portfolio that I’m desperate to share.

Rob & Mish