Meet Digital Nomad Girl Monisha – Content Marketing Strategist & Social Entrepreneur

Meet Digital Nomad Girl Monisha – Content Marketing Strategist & Social Entrepreneur

In our brand new Member’s Spotlight series we feature interviews with our lovely DNG Inner Circle members! This month we talked to Monisha, Content Marketing Strategist & Social Entrepreneur!

Hi Monisha – please tell us a bit about yourself!

My location independent life started when I turned a setback into an opportunity.

I’m originally from Bangkok, Thailand. I spent part of my childhood in Japan and I’m Thai-Indian. (Hello, any TCKs reading this!)

Eventually, I moved to the US to study at the University of Southern California. I got a degree in Communications, a certificate in Cybersecurity, and a minor in Music Industry.

monisha bajaj digital nomad girls 3

After graduating, I landed a wonderful job as a digital media producer at a content marketing agency in Orange County. I enjoyed my work. I got to create content for companies like LinkedIn, the Knight Foundation, SAP, Course Hero, Honeywell and more. And, I experimented with all sorts of digital mediums. From infographics to interactive websites and 360 videos.

For me to continue to work in the US, my agency needed to apply for a new work visa. Unfortunately, the randomized lottery system didn’t play out in our favor. I had to go home.

When that happened, it hit me: this was my chance.

I decided not to apply to any jobs back home. Instead, I challenged myself to realize my vision of working remotely. Ever since then, August 2016, I’ve been working online and traveling.

 

What is your location independent job?

I have two jobs! I describe my career as creating social change and content that matters. As a freelance content marketing strategist, I help growing purpose-driven businesses, technology brands, and social enterprises. I plan, organize, and create digital content for their websites, blogs, or online platforms.

I’m also founder and managing director of a non-profit organization based in Bangkok called Ruam Chuay. Our vision is to contribute to creating a safer world. I design and run interpersonal and gender-based violence prevention programs. We deliver workshops at schools, universities, and workplaces in Thailand. This job is part-time remote (since I’m on the ground running programs a few months at a time).

And, if that wasn’t enough work for me already, I’m about to complete a certificate in Restorative Justice from Simon Fraser University as well. I’m expanding our non-profit to include restorative programs. Soon, I hope to be able to share this approach to social change with my freelance clients who are focused on creating a positive impact in the world too.

 

How did you get into this line of work? How can others do the same?

To get into content marketing, I think it’s all about skill building and learning by doing. Part of my job as a producer was to become an “overnight expert” on topics I had to write about. Whether that was learning how specific types of hardware worked for Honeywell to complex software systems for SAP or investment funds for BlackRock.

In this line of work, you teach yourself and do a lot of research. I continually work on keeping my core skill sets sharp. Crafting messaging, content design, strategic thinking frameworks. This way, I’m ready to apply them to new subjects. I now have some systems to help get me up to speed quickly without skipping over the details!

To work in interpersonal and gender-based violence prevention takes a different type of preparation. I recommend training in some form of counseling/psychology or crisis response and trauma-informed care. It prepares you to hear stories and safely discuss incidents of this nature. And, most importantly, ensure you don’t perpetuate any harm when working with people.

 

What motivated you to pursue a life as a digital nomad?

I wanted to craft a life around my values and live consciously. For me, this means being able to spend time with the people I care about and doing meaningful work. Also, I always loved going on adventures and exploring so DNG life lets me do all of this.

monisha bajaj digital nomad girls 2

I’m so grateful for this experience. It’s given me a chance to connect with many people from around the world (especially in the DNG Inner circle!) and to choose projects I am excited to work on.

Also, without the flexibility of working remotely and as a freelancer, I probably wouldn’t have been able to launch a non-profit organization.

 

Did your friends/family/colleagues think you’ve gone crazy? Were they supportive?

Ha, I got mixed responses. From “that’s so awesome!” to “are you sure you’ll be safe?”

My closest friends and family are supportive now, even though they were really worried about my safety for a long time. Like many of us in the DNG community, I challenge a cultural and social norm by traveling as a woman for extended periods of time. This has been a little hard for some of my relatives and people in my community. I keep them updated on where I am by sending funny selfies to let them know I’m okay.

Oh, and some people just don’t get what I’m doing. I still get asked, “you’re still on vacation?” or “when are you going back to work?” Haha!

 

What challenges have you faced as a digital nomad and how did you overcome them?

There was definitely a learning curve for me. Initially, I had a hard time balancing work and travel. I used to take on way too much work. In the beginning, there were so many times where I had my laptop out at airports, on planes, and trains. Even, buses. It was too stressful.

Now, I don’t schedule any work on travel days because it’s too exhausting and unexpected delays are bound to happen.

After experimenting, I’ve found a way to structure my work day so I get a bit done in the morning, go out in the afternoon and then come back and work again in the evening. Splitting it up makes me feel productive in the morning so I don’t feel guilty exploring for most of the day.

 

You’re a member of the DNG Inner Circle, yay! Why did you decide to join?

I joined on a whim. And I’m so glad I did! At some point last year I found the Digital Nomad Girls Community Facebook group. As Jenny would say, I was a “lurker” for quite some time.

monisha bajaj digital nomad girls
When the Inner Circle doors opened, I thought I should try it. I had just decided to commit to the DN lifestyle. None of my friends were doing this, and I knew I had a lot to learn. I felt that the Inner circle would be a nice way to connect with like-minded women who were also working on the road.

 

What is your favorite part of the Inner Circle? What makes it special?

My favorite part are the people in the inner circle! I love the sense of community and I enjoy all the different ways we interact. From coworking sessions to expert packs and Q&As. I especially appreciate our monthly goal setting, it gives me structure and routine I may not have had otherwise.

Also it’s just nice to get to connect with people who have common interests, share a passion for creating a life they love living, and in general are just such genuinely great people.

 

Who do you think would benefit from joining the DNG Inner Circle?

Anyone looking for some accountability and to chat with like-minded women who are motivated, and supportive!

If you’re into learning and personal development, this is a great platform with so many resources and people that will challenge you to grow.

 

// Do you sometimes feel lonely as a digital nomad too? Join the DNG Inner Circle to connect with other nomad girls, virtually cowork together and make new friends! //

 

What advice would you give a girlfriend who wanted to start out as a digital nomad?

Make sure to plan ahead and save up before jumping in. Stressing out about money on the road makes it hard to enjoy yourself. Build up a buffer for at least a few months so you can get your bearings without worrying.

Because I’m a little cautious, I did short “test run” trips nearby when I first started. I wanted to see what it would be like taking my work with me for a week at a time in my region. Once I figured out I could do it, I saved up for my first 3-4 months and then dove right in!

Now, my colleagues joke that I’m an expert timezone juggler 🙂

 

Quick Fire Round:

The coolest thing I’ve been able to do thanks to being location-independent is… Volcano boarding, go to lots of music festivals, and arts galleries in different cities

When I feel lonely, I… Call a friend, read something, or watch a Ted Talk!

My favourite digital nomad location is … Too many to choose from! But, I think Nicaragua

The one item I always pack is… A little pouch with tiny sunscreen, hand sanitizer, and eye-drops

My favourite digital nomad tool/app/resource is… Downloading google maps offline

In 5 years time I want to … Be established as a social entrepreneur and still traveling

My all-time favourite quote is … From Jack Kerouac’s On The Road:

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!””

Thank you SO much Monisha for sharing your story with us! If you want to find out more about Monisha you can connect with her on Website or Instagram!

monisha bajaj digital nomad girls member spotlight interview pin

25+ Inspiring and Empowering Female Leaders

25+ Inspiring and Empowering Female Leaders

We recently had an amazing discussion in our Digital Nomad Girls community about our members’ favorite female leaders in online business, personal development or lifestyle; ladies that they actively follow and whose content they love!

I’m not going to write too long of an intro as this blog post is all about featuring these awesome women. So without further ado, here are 26 truly inspiring women that are dominating in their field.

Carrie Green

Carrie Green is one of my personal favorites! She’s the amazing founder of the Female Entrepreneur Association and such a business role model!

Website | Instagram | Youtube

Brene Brown

Dr. Brene Brown studies courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. She has written incredible books and given inspiring talks that we love!

Ted Talk | Website | Books

Mel Robbins

Mel Robbins is a highly successful motivational speaker, CEO of The Confidence Project and inspiring author of The 5 Second Rule.

Website | Book | Audible Series | Ted Talk

Rachel Hollis

Rachel Hollis is a #1 New York Times Bestselling Author, a motivational speaker, mom of 4, and founder of the Chic Site and the Hollis Company.

Website | Book | Instagram

Oprah Winfrey

Does Oprah really need a blurb? She’s Oprah! Television host, actress, philanthropist, producer, public figure. Oprah is everything.

Website | Instagram | Facebook

Julie Stoian

Julie is the founder of Create Your Laptop Life and a digital marketing expert. She has helped 1,000’s of people launch their online businesses!

Website | Podcast | Facebook

Paula Pant

Paula Pant is the founder of the award-winning website AffordAnything.com and specializes in money, business and real estate investing!

Website | Podcast | Instagram

Gabby Bernstein

Gabby Bernstein is the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of Judgment Detox, a speaker and a self proclaimed ‘spirit junkie’!

Website | Book | Instagram

Luvvie Ajayi

Luvvie Ajayi is a fabulous speaker and New York Times Bestselling author of I’m Judging You.  She was also crowned “America’s 50 Most Influential Women” by Marie Claire in 2016!

Website | Ted TalkPodcast | Book | Instagram

Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert is the #1 NY Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic and gave one of my favorite Ted Talks ever!

Website | Ted Talk | Instagram | Books

Amy Porterfield

Amy Porterfield is a true celebrity in the online business world and a top-level online marketing expert with a brilliant podcast that we love. 

Website | Podcast | Instagram

Marie Forleo

Marie Forleo is online business royalty, for sure. She’s a CEO, writer and host of her award-winning show MarieTV! We LOVE her.

Website | MarieTV | Instagram

Danielle Laporte

Danielle Laporte is a bestselling author, speaker, entrepreneur, mom, blogger, and one of Oprah’s SuperSoul 100!

Website | Book | Instagram

Lisa Nichols

Lisa Nichols is a bestselling author, CEO of Motivating the Masses, media personality and motivational speaker!

Website | Youtube | Facebook

Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson is a NYT Bestselling Author, lecturer, entrepreneur and activist! She specializes in self-help and self-development.

Website | Ted Talk | Books

Emma Gannon

Emma Gannon is the creator of the popular podcast – Ctrl Alt Delete. She’s also a Sunday Times Bestselling author of The Multi-Hyphen Method

Website | Podcast | Book | Blog

Natalie MacNeil

Natalie MacNeil is an Emmy Award winner, best-selling author and founder of She Takes On The World. What CAN’T this girl do?

Blog | Book | Facebook | She Takes on the World TV

Jen Sincero

Jen Sincero is the amazing #1 NY Times Bestselling author of You are a Badass! She’s also a wonderful motivational speaker and all around badass!

Website | Book | Instagram

Sophia Amoruso

Sophia Amoruso is the famous founder of Nasty Gal, CEO of Girl Boss, and NY Times Best Selling Author of #GIRLBOSS.

Girl Boss | Instagram | Book | Facebook

Michelle Obama

We love, love, love Michelle Obama, especially after reading her memoir – Becoming Michelle Obama. Highly recommended from our team!

Website | Book | Facebook

Dorie Clark

Dorie Clark is a business consultant, keynote speaker, adjunct professor at Duke University and author of Entrepreneurial You.

Website | Ted Talk | Book | Youtube

Jenna Kutcher

Jenna is an entrepreneur with a truly beautiful soul. She runs an awesome, top-rated podcast and has amazing resources for business owners!

Website | Podcast | Instagram

Ritu Bhasin

Ritu Bhasin is a speaker, consultant and author of The Authenticity Principle. Her passion is to help others become more empowered and inclusive.

Website | Book | Videos

Michelle Sun

Michelle Sun is an entrepreneur, speaker and one of Forbes 30 under 30! She is also the CEO of First Code Academy and an instructor at MIT. So cool!

Website | Blog | Instagram

Ash Ambirge

Ash Ambirge is an author, writer and the awesome CEO and founder of The Middle Finger Project. She and her blog are AMAZING, just FYI. 

Website | Blog | Instagram

Sorelle Amore

Sorelle runs a popular Youtube channel where she shares beautifully-edited and shot videos about her life as a digital nomad – both the good and the bad!

Website | Youtube | Instagram

20+ Physical and Digital Holiday Gift Ideas For Digital Nomad Girls

20+ Physical and Digital Holiday Gift Ideas For Digital Nomad Girls

2018 honestly flew by for me; it feels like just yesterday I launched the Inner Circle, but it’s actually been a full year since I first opened the doors back in December 2017! Isn’t that crazy? (By the way, the doors to the Inner Circle are open for joining again! YAY.)

Not only that, we are in the festive holiday season once again! Anybody else love the chilly winter evenings, cozied up on the couch with a warm cup of hot cocoa and fuzzy socks on? I’m spending Christmas this year in sunny Chiang Mai, Thailand so while part of me misses my winters in Germany, the other part of me is also so happy to be able to celebrate Christmas here with my boyfriend and friends in Southeast Asia.

Anyway, I don’t want to delay this blog post any further. I’m really excited about this article because I know gift-giving can be a stressful activity for many as you spend hours googling, researching and finding that perfect gift for a loved one.

So we’ve put together the perfect gift guide for digital nomad girls, physical and digital gifts included, to help you score the best gifts this holiday season. I hope this article helps you in your gifting adventures!

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1. Compass Rose Travel Accessories by Travel Fashion Girl

I’m so excited to share this gift with you ladies. This was created by one of my good friends, Alex from Travel Fashion Girl! The Compass Rose Travel Accessories Kit consists of some really awesome packing cubes (if you know me, you know I LOVE packing cubes).

Travel Packing Cubes with Unique Number AND Color Coded Organization System for Packing Carry On, by Travel Fashion Girl

The packing cubes even come with a color-coded system and numbers to label everything; the inner organization lover in me is so happy with these features! Not only that, it’s the only packing cube set on the market to be designed specifically to fit international carry-on suitcases, so if you’re a carry-on girl (I’m trying to be one!) then these are perfect for you.

What?! So awesome.

 

2. Small Bamboo Utensil To-Go Set

I know that as digital nomads, we may often times struggle with reducing our carbon footprint; I always aim to try to offset as much environmental damage as I can. That’s why I am obsessed with this small Bamboo Utensil To-Go Set from Farawild.

Bamboo Utensil To-Go Set gift guide digital nomad girls

This Bamboo Set includes a bamboo fork, a bamboo spoon, bamboo chopsticks, a bamboo straw, a stainless steel cleaning brush and a linen pouch; everything that you could need for your traveling food adventures.

The bonus? The founder of Farawild is also a fellow Inner Circle member – Meredith! Yay!

 

3. Mogics Circular Power Strips

This product was suggested by one of our Inner Circle members, Susannah, as something she never travels without!

Susannah says, “It’s a power strip but it’s circular and can be rolled up. You can plug multiple bulky chargers in at once and they won’t interfere! The adaptor in the center is a worldwide plug.

mogics power strip travel gift guide digital nomad girls

As a traveller with multiple gadgets that needs to be able to work anywhere and everywhere, I’m always thinking about how to keep my laptop and phone alive – the Mogics Power Strips looks like it’d be super useful for traveling and keeping all your gadgets juiced up! Thanks Susannah!

 

4. Charity Pot by Lush

Lush products are my saviors when I travel; I love all things LUSH because they’re eco friendly, use recycled pots (you can return yours to the store), don’t test on animals and are mainly vegan.

Charity pot is especially incredible because it’s a lovely body lotion that supports different causes with every sale. There’s even one that supports reforestation projects to offset your flight miles! It’s a win-win for you and for the environment.

charity pot lush gift guide digital nomad girls

Annnnnd they JUST came out with a solid version of Charity Pot, so say goodbye to worrying about liquid limitations from airlines! 

 

5. Kosan Travel Dress

Ahhhh – we’ve seen this dress absolutely everywhere and we’re obsessed. The Kosan Travel Dress was created by one of our own DNG members when she couldn’t find the perfect dress to take traveling. This dress has done splendidly on Kickstarter; they had a goal of CA$15,000 and raised CA$915,439! Congratulations Karyna!

kosan travel dress gift guide digital nomad girls

This dress is wrinkle-resistant, odour-blocking, adjustable and packed with pockets (I loooove dresses with pockets!), and has 14 travel-friendly features that make it the must-pack travel essential.

 

6. Get Dirty with Me Cleansers

get dirty with me cleanser leah gift guide digital nomad girls

The Get Dirty with Me products are made by one of our own Digital Nomad Girls Inner Circle members – Leah! These awesome clay-based powders help detox and repair your skin and hair, with healthy and pronounceable ingredients free from sulphates, parabens and polymers.

get dirty with me gift guide digital nomad girls

Good for you + Easy to travel with = Total winner in my books!

 

7. Asana Pillow: Neck Pillow & Travel Yoga Mat in One

Another cool product carried by Farawild is the Asana Pillow. It’s a neck pillow AND a travel yoga mat in one. What more can a digital nomad girl ask for?

asana pillow farawild gift guide digital nomad girls

As someone who loves to do yoga on-the-go, finding a yoga mat that fits into my carry-on without displacing too much of my clothes or books is so, so hard. Plus, having an awesome neck pillow for those long-haul flights or bumpy bus rides can be a true lifesaver.

 

8. Flight 001 4-in-1 Adapter

First of all – how cool does this Flight 001 4-in-1 adapter look?

Flight 001 4-in-1 Adapter gift guide digital nomad girls

It honestly looks an adaptor made out of legos or something – too cool. Second – name a digital nomad that wouldn’t love a good adaptor to accompany them on their travels.

 

9. Amazon Kindle

You can’t go wrong with a Kindle. Easy to pack, easy to travel with, and a true ride-or-die friend of any reader. I love my Kindle, and I take it everywhere with me: to the beach, on the plane, to cafes, and on all of my digital nomad adventures.

amazon kindle gift guide digital nomad girls

I had to give up the luxury of books and buying books when I became a digital nomad, but the Kindle has really stepped in to substitute for all the books I used to have. It’s just the best.

 

10. Packing List for the organized traveller

This one is just a little bit of stationery fun to be honest. If you have a little to-do list and travel lover on your gift list, this Packing List is the cutest present you can get them.

pack this list gift guide digital nomad girls

This little pad includes all the things that one would need for traveling including travel aids, funds, travel information, clothes and hygiene products. There are items on this list that even I want to add to my own travel packing list! Plus, you can use a fresh sheet for every trip.

 

11. Burt and Bee’s Mini Travel Set

The Burt and Bee’s Mini Travel Set is a cute little affordable gift for any traveler! I love Burt and Bee’s products because of their 100% natural and cruelty-free ingredients.

burt bee mini travel set gift guide digital nomad girls

This kit comes with the cream cleanser, day lotion, deep cleansing cream, body lotion, foot cream and hand repair cream (aka. Anything and everything you could need to pack with you on a trip, especially to the colder weather countries.)

 

12. Headphone Splitter

Did you know these were a thing? I only recently found out. The headphone splitter is SO fun if you travel with a significant other, friend or family member and you want to listen to the same music or watch the same movie or TV show but don’t want to do that whole one-headphone-in-one-ear-each awkward sharing thing. That’s no fun.

elago headphone splitter digital nomad girls gift guide

A headphone splitter is exactly what it sounds like – you can plug in two pairs of headphones to the same device and both be listening to the same audio but with the comfort of having your own headphones in!

 

13. Portable Ink-Free Printer

One of our DNG members suggested adding this printer to her Christmas list this year because it looks like a super portable way to print photos while you’re traveling. And guess what? This Portable Ink-Free printer from Canon would be amazing for scrapbooking your travel adventures. Grab your scrapbook, get your phone and start printing your awesome pics out with this ink-free printer.

canon wireless bluetooth printer gift guide digital nomad girls

You can also make vision boards, collages or just send your pics back to your family and friends while you’re on the road. There’s something special about having a physical print-out of a picture rather than just having them all loaded in your phone!

 

14. Compass Travel Necklace

I was just browsing Etsy, as one does, when I came upon this super cute compass travel necklace! I love the message that it comes with, because it is such a lovely gift to give to a friend or family member that is about to embark on a travel journey!

safe travels compass necklace gift guide digital nomad girls

It’s small, light and easy to take with you as a reminder of home and the people you love. Plus it looks like it would go with just about any outfit! Too cute.

 

15. Manduka Eko Super Lite Travel Yoga Mat

manduka yoga mat digital nomad girls gift guide

I love my Manduka Eko travel yoga mat! I’ve had it for 2.5 years already and it’s like new, despite traveling with me everywhere i go. It’s made from natural rubber so it’s eco-friendly and doesn’t smell like plastic like other yoga mats. It’s also super slip resistant, and I can roll it up or fold it and stick it in my suitcase.

 

Best Digital Gifts for a Digital Nomad Girl

1. Tinggly

When my Project Manager, Deya, sent me this website to check out – I did such a happy dance, because what an AMAZING idea for a digital gift!

Tinggly allows you to gift experiences to your friends, families, long-distance besties so, so easily! All you have to do is buy a gift card and the person you give it to is able to choose from 500+ experiences from over 100+ countries in the world. They also have 5 years to use the gift card!

Some examples of experiences include hot air balloon rides, whale watching in Canada, overnight boat experience in Thailand, Balinese spa experience, snorkeling adventure in Turks and Caicos, Hawaii coffee plantation and bee farm experience, Chichen Itza Full-Day Experience in Mexico, Harry Potter studio experience, and SO much more.

If Tinggly isn’t the PERFECT digital nomad gift, honestly I don’t know what is.

 

2. Donations

A gift that you can never go wrong with is a donation to a charity or cause that your loved one cares deeply about! This is also a fabulous gift for our minimalist and no-waste friends! Make a donation in their name, and give them the certificate or confirmation of donation!

Check out this blog post written by DNG Inner Circle member, Sophia, about best ways to offset your carbon footprint as a digital nomad. The organization that she mentions is called Cool Earth, and you can find them here.

Another cool organization you can support is a non-profit founded and run by one of our own Monisha, a Digital Nomad Girls Inner Circle Member. (BTW How awesome are our members? Seriously.) She runs Ruam Chuay, a non-profit that aims to stop gender-based violence by bringing sexual violence prevention programs to Thailand. Monisha offers amazing workshops at high schools all over Thailand to teach teenagers consent and healthy relationships. Check her out here!

One final recommendation is Girls Get Equal from Plan International – we love what they do and how they do it!

 

3. Inner Circle Membership

Guess what? The Inner Circle doors are officially opened once again! I’m SO excited about this. If you have a digital nomad girl in your life or an aspiring digital nomad girl, gift them a membership to the amazing Digital Nomad Girls Inner Circle! Or better yet – gift yourself the membership. 😉

DNG Inner Circle banner digital nomad girls

We have weekly coworking sessions, accountability buddies, fun events like book club, mixer parties and holiday parties, and our own private social media platform – we’re your family on the road.

Check out all the information on the Inner Circle here – we’d LOVE to have you or your loved one. If you want to gift a subscription, feel free to email my team and we’ll set it up for you as well!

 

4. Digital Books

Who doesn’t love a good digital book for their Kindle or as an audiobook? Here are my top book obsessions right now:

These are all available on digital and physical formats, so take your pick! 🙂

 

5. Giftcard

Gift cards are not the most personal gift, but they can be if you give something practical and useful that’s perfect for a loved one.

Some digital nomad and travel favorites would be an Airbnb gift card or an Uber gift card – you know that these gift cards would never go to waste!

  • Airbnb giftcards can be found here.
  • Uber giftcards can be found here.

If you want to check out more gift card options, here are all the gift cards you can find on Amazon – I’m surprised that there’s such a huge variety, actually. So go forth and find something that’s the perfect fit for the person you’re gifting!

 

6. Audible

Have a friend that lives halfway across the world but still want to get her something special? What about gifting them an audiobook subscription? They can pick out whatever books they want to listen to all thanks to you!

Also, what a fabulous on-the-go gift for traveling on busses, airplanes, trains, boats or in cars! You don’t even need wifi – that’s wild.

 

7. Spotify

Who doesn’t love some good tunes? Grab someone a Spotify membership so that they can enjoy Spotify completely ad-free in 2019. You can pick up a Spotify gift card in your local store and just send the pin code on the card with the gift receiver!

Happy jammin’ to them!

 

8. Masterclass

I’ve been seeing this website everywhere nowadays; they offer online classes from Annie Leibovitz, Gordon Ramsay, Serena Williams, R.L. Stine and every other celebrity you can really think of. This looks like it’d be a cool little gift you could get someone if they were a big fan of one of these celebrities and would be interested in learning their skill from them!

Carole, one of our Inner Circle members, was given a Masterpass from Masterclass last year and loved it! She says it was the perfect nomad gift. You can gift a loved one a Masterpass or just single course that you know they would love.

We hope you loved these gifts and will get them for your nomad girl friends! Happy Holidays!

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Meet Amanda Smith – the novelist exploring the challenging side of travel, reintegration

Meet Amanda Smith – the novelist exploring the challenging side of travel, reintegration

In our Member’s Spotlight series we feature interviews with the lovely girls in our community! This week we talked to Amanda, Novelist!

Hi Amanda! Please tell us a bit about yourself:

I’m from Australia, but yearly vacations didn’t suffice so I set off on a two-year adventure around the world. I’ve visited over 50 countries, lived in Bali for six months and now I’m hoping to call New York City my home.

Digital Nomad Girl Amanda Smith – the novelist exploring the challenging side of travel, reintegration

 

What is your location independent job?

I’m a freelance journalist, copywriter, creative writer and soon-to-be self-published author. I write conversational, humanised content for a variety of PR, marketing and advertising agencies, as well as editorials and feature stories for magazines, news platforms, websites, and blogs.

I’ve had the honour to work with over 120 clients in Australia and globally. Some of my clients include News Corp, Google, TedX, South Australian Tourism Commission, Royal Caribbean, and Japan Tourism.

 

How did you get into this line of work? How can others do the same?

Yes, I’ve always worked in communications. I studied public relations, then returned to university to complete my masters in journalism.

 

What motivated you to pursue a life as a travel writer?

I love travel because it’s the best way I learn – about myself, other people, and the world. I wanted my writing to be a platform to convey my worldview (and encourage others to understand theirs).  

Digital Nomad Girl Amanda Smith – the novelist exploring the challenging side of travel, reintegration

I’ve always had an affinity for people and places. Writing became a way for me to make sense of the world. I’ve travelled extensively, so fusing my passions, travel and writing, was a natural progression for me.

I’m not just a travel columnist for News Corp (among other brands), I’m also an essayist for Loco Travel Magazine – a platform I launched to satisfy my truth-seeking thirst for human-centred depictions of travel.

 

Can you go into a little more detail about this ‘truth-seeking’ part of you?

We travel-loving ladies are all guilty of scrolling through Instagram and getting FOMO for a place we haven’t been. But how often do we see photos that capture the come-down effect of travel?

Well, for starters, there’s nothing exciting about being delayed and waiting hours in an airport, draped across the departures floor.

Because of this, we tend to form a skewed idea of what travel is. And more importantly, how it changes us on a deeper level. I wanted to use these lessons to empower my stories.

 

What challenges have you faced as a traveller? (How did you overcome them?)

Interestingly, of all the journeys I’ve been on, both creatively and in my travels, it was the emotional process of ‘coming home’ that was most challenging, and, as I later discovered, the most rewarding. What began as a cathartic travel debrief to help understand my emotions upon returning home, turned into a book, The Inner Fire.

It’s an exploration of what I call the “phoenix cycle” experienced by all travellers: New experiences growing into great joy then fading, followed by absence and grief, and then back into something new.

Western society teaches us that loss equates to grief. Travelling teaches us that the Little Grief is everywhere; that this grief isn’t about experiencing a death of some part of us.

I explore the question of ‘what if this is just the spark of something new?’, and answer it through my two years living in the “phoenix cycle.” Peppered with the lives and experiences of others who have experienced life-changing shifts, this book takes you on a journey: An emotional ride through some of life’s deepest, sometimes unexpected, feelings.

Culture shock is a well-used term and something that, as a society, we know to prepare for. But what about the opposite – reverse culture shock? Whether you’re a leisure traveller, volunteer, a digital nomad or expat, the psychological journey of ‘coming home’ is a topic that doesn’t get spoken about enough.

Although it’s not fully understood, almost every traveller experiences it in some part.

Travelling is so much more than sightseeing. It’s an unpeeling of layers, as I like to call it – a removing of the lens. All experiences we have accumulate and change our identity.

Digital Nomad Girl Amanda Smith – the novelist exploring the challenging side of travel, reintegration 4

Often, we don’t realise how much we’ve grown until we return. We come back with an evolved character, yet we’re expected to slip back into our old environment, like nothing has changed.

 

Tell us a bit about your book:

I use personal anecdotes to colour this part-narrative, part self-help book, which weaves through themes such as home, place, loneliness, identity construction, memories, addictions, and psyche. I introduce the voice of both travellers and non-travellers, because we all go through major identity shifts in life – something that I wanted to draw comparisons between.

The Inner Fire provides readers with frameworks and suggestions on how to overcome detachment in an empowering way, using real-world examples and psychological input.

For example, one theory I explore is the W-Curve Hypothesis Mode, which details the four phases to leaving and coming home: The honeymoon, crisis, recovery and adjustment.

Upon returning ‘home’, the traveller experiences a honeymoon period where they are the centre of attention, for a short time, reconnecting with old friends and spending time with family.

Everything is still new, something that the traveller has become accustomed to while being away. Yet cultural differences and the stresses of re-entry soon replace the honeymoon period. This can happen quickly and plunge them into severe, reverse culture shock.

Readers will learn about psychological adaptation and can use my findings to help their own journey.

The Inner Fire will be released early next year.

 

What advice would you give long-term travellers who struggle with this reverse culture shock?

We all go through it. Whether you returned from a two-week trip or have relocated and are visiting family, the emotional journey of ‘coming home’ is a process every traveller experiences. So, just remember that you’re not alone in this, and it doesn’t mean that you won’t reconnect with your culture. Sometimes, it just takes time.  

 

And what advice would you give a girlfriend who wanted to start out as a traveller?

Go for it girl! It’ll give you gifts that you never would have imagined. But, try to avoid going in with an idealised view of the lifestyle. Like everything, it has its downsides too.

Digital Nomad Girl Amanda Smith – the novelist exploring the challenging side of travel, reintegration 2

Make sure to follow my character-driven travel essays on my travel platform: https://www.locotravelmagazine.com.

For business enquiries, contact me via my creative writing business: http://www.amandasmithwriter.com.au.

 

Quick Fire Round:

When I feel lonely, Iremind myself that there’s a difference between loneliness and being alone. Usually, I’m not lonely, I’m just physically alone.

My favourite location for travelling workers isI fell in love with Lisbon, Portugal, last year.

The one item I always pack is my MacBook.

My favourite tool/app/resource isto be honest, I love checking out local Facebook groups whenever I get to a new city or country.

In 5 years time I want tobe speaking on a TedX stage as a thought-leader on the topic of reverse culture shock and how movement affects our identities.

My all-time favourite quote is

love the life you live, live the life you love.

Thank you SO much Amanda for sharing your story with us! If you want to find out more about Amanda you can connect with her on Travel Platform or Website.

Amanda Smith Digital Nomad Girl Novelist Inner Fire Reintegration Travel book pin

Thank you so much, Amanda, for sponsoring this blog interview ahead of your upcoming book launch! We wish you all the best with your launch. It’s also coming at a great time because I think as digital nomads, a lot of us are familiar with the struggle of reverse culture shock when returning to our home countries.

DNG presents Online Job of the Month: Online English Teacher

DNG presents Online Job of the Month: Online English Teacher

 

In our new blog series ‘Online Job of the Month’ we share the most interesting online jobs with you. You might think only web developers and graphic designers can be digital nomads. But there are actually a wide variety of interesting (and profitable) jobs out there for aspiring Digital Nomad Girls. This month we will tell you all about working as an Online English Teacher. 

If you’re curious about other online jobs, check out our features on Social Media Managers, Virtual Assistants and Online Editors

We talked to Emma Wolno, Laura Lee and Gery Ciftcioglu who are successfully working as Online English Teachers while travelling the world. So without further ado, let’s dive in!

 

What exactly is an Online English Teacher? What do they do?

Emma says that as an Online English Teacher, essentially”I teach children in China English lessons over a video conferencing platform. Because of the huge demand in China, there are lots of Online English Teaching companies.”

So what does Emma do? “My duties are teaching 25 minute lessons to 5-12 year olds. I teach them vocabulary, help them practice their speaking skills, and a little bit of grammar as well.”

online english teacher digital nomad girls job of the month

Gery does similar things in her job in that, “I conduct one on one lessons over the phone or Skype. There is little lesson preparation where I have to get familiar with student’s goals and previous lessons, and after the lesson, I have to write a short report of what we’ve done and what the homework is as well as what the student is supposed to do in the next lesson.”

Laura says that DaDa (the English teaching company she works for) makes things easy for her, in that “All the lessons are prepared so I can roll out of bed twenty minutes before classes start, put on my blue t-shirt and I’m ready to go! When I first started I’d spend a little time flicking through the lessons but after a while they become so familiar even that isn’t necessary anymore…

I spend a few hours teaching then head to a cafe to write my after class assessments. This usually takes around twenty to thirty minutes (longer if I get sucked into Facebook!)”

Laura also adds that, “With DaDa you get assigned regular students, most of mine I’ve been teaching for an entire year now. I love that I get to see them progress and you really do start to feel like part of the family! I’ve been introduced to my students’ families, friends, pets and I’ve even been taken on a holiday or two (via the webcam of course).”

That sounds so lovely!

 

What kind of skills do I need to become an Online English Teacher?

The most important skills are:

  • good command of the English language
  • being able to conceptualize a lesson, break things down, and explain ideas well
  • understanding what students need and want from you as a teacher
  • being friendly and enthusiastic!

Laura mentions that, “Don’t worry if you don’t have any teaching experience, it obviously doesn’t hurt, but it isn’t a requirement!”

All agree that you have to be warm, enthusiastic and have high energy. “The kids are often young and maybe haven’t interacted with foreigners that much, so they expect you to be very friendly and animated for the younger children. ” Emma added.

Laura believes that, “If you enjoy working with kids, have lots of energy and are able to adapt to different situations, you can teach online.”

In terms of working online, Gery adds that “you need to be skilled in planning your time and in working well independently.”

That is a job requirement for most online or remote-based jobs! I speak from experience. 🙂 If you need help with productivity while working online, check out our blog post on that here.

 

Do you need any qualifications or certificates?

Laura shares that mostly it depends on the company; some have requirements that others don’t. “Most companies, including DaDa, require a Bachelor’s degree in any subject, it doesn’t have to be in teaching. DaDa also usually accepts a TEFL certificate and teaching experience as an alternative,” she adds.

Gery agrees that “Most companies require you to have a CELTA or TEFL certificate in addition to a Bachelors degree, which could be in anything.” Emma adds that, “A TEFL or TESOL course will definitely help you get hired, but wasn’t required for my VIPKID.”

All three of the interviewed mention that your Bachelor’s degree does not have to in teaching or English language – you just need to have a degree in something!

online english teacher digital nomad girls job of the month

What about being a native English speaker? Gery mentions, “It also helps if you are a native speaker, but for many employers, that isn’t a necessity. Some companies are interested in hiring bilingual teachers as well.”

Laura suggests to those interested in becoming an Online English Teacher: “If you’re new to teaching it might be worth getting an online TEFL to improve your chance of being offered higher pay. You can get one on Groupon for a few dollars and they don’t usually take long to complete!”

Emma also recommends, “You could use mentoring, tutoring or even babysitting experience to show you can work with young kids. I had done a few months of teaching English in Cambodia, but I also used my two years as a Snowboarding instructor when I applied!”

 

Where do you find jobs as an Online English Teacher?

This is probably one of the first question you’d like answered before getting into any field, as a nomad or not. And the answers might surprise you.

The demand is apparently huge, which is great news for you!

Emma says, “You can find them online by researching the various companies and applying. The demand is so huge as more and more kids in China are learning English, so there are tons of companies that are almost always hiring. Some are better than others, so be sure to review them carefully and read a few blogs. There is also a lot of great information of YouTube!”

Laura recommends that “Social media and word of mouth are the way to go! There are plenty of Facebook groups, YouTube channels and blogs for online teachers. I recommend joining a few and seeing what people have to say about the different companies. You can find out a lot from speaking to current teachers.”

Gery echos the statements of the other two that doing your research is key, “I began by reading in the facebook group ‘Online ESL Reviews‘. Its members shared very valuable information about schools, conditions and personal experiences from the jobs. Then I went to the remote jobs websites. TEFL.com also publishes online job offers. Another one is teachaway.com but the best source of information are the people in the Facebook group.”

So in summary: do your research! Google for reviews, ask in Facebook groups, and make sure you apply to a company that you really love.

 

How much can I earn as an Online English Teacher?

It depends.

“If you are a native speaker willing to teach kids, you may be able to earn as much as 25-30 USD an hour. If you are experienced and have a good, clear accent but you aren’t native and you don’t want to work with young children or their parents, you may be able to make up to 16 USD or euros an hour” says Gery.

online english teacher digital nomad girls job of the month

Laura works with DaDa and says that there, “the maximum pay advertised is $25 per hour. Realistically though, starting rates are more likely to be between $15 and $20 depending on your qualifications, experience and performance in your demo class.”

Emma says, “If you do this job part-time or as a side-hustle such as I do, you can expect to take home an extra $400-$1000 per month. The hourly wage can be anywhere from $14-26 to USD an hour.”

So in general, the hourly rate for being an Online English Teacher seems to be around the range of $14 – $20, with the highs being at $25 – $30.

What about bonuses? Laura says, “A lot of companies also offer bonuses for various things! With DaDa, we get bonuses for converting trial students, retaining regular students and we can even collect points to exchange for Amazon vouchers.”

 

How do Online English Teachers price their services? Hourly, per project, per word?

“Most companies will give you a base rate determined on your experience and education. From there you can get small bonuses to increase your wage. It might be possible to charge higher rates if you worked directly with individuals to teach/tutor them English, but of course it’s harder to find clients and with a company it’s all sorted for you” Emma says.

Laura says that, “Generally companies pay by class. Some companies only pay for the classes you have scheduled, others such as DaDa, pay standby time. This means that if at any point during your contract hours a class is cancelled or a space isn’t filled you are still guaranteed to get half pay for that time.”

Gery says that for her it’s “usually per hour. This may vary from employer to employer but some companies let you negotiate your price and others are very rigid.”

 

Is it easy to work as an Online English Teacher while travelling?

So… what’s it actually like to work as a traveling Online English Teacher? Are you able to balance traveling and working set times?

“Absolutely! All you need is a laptop with a webcam, a headset, a decent wifi connection and maybe a puppet or two. A quiet space is definitely preferable but I know teachers who have taught in hostels, airports and even on a train through India, so anything is possible!

 

I’m currently travelling around Eastern Europe and this is my only job. I left the UK with zero savings and I have been able to support myself and even save a little money too! I travel slowly and stay in AirBnBs so working full time suits me.

If you want more flexibility, I’d recommend choosing just a few contract hours (four hours a week is the minimum) and adding extra hours to your schedule when you find places with great wifi” Laura suggests.

Gery agrees and says, “I’d say it is relatively easy. You need to have a good internet connection, a quiet environment, and a good set of headphones with a microphone.

Emma also agrees with the other two, saying “Definitely! The great thing about VIPKID is that they don’t mind if you take time off, and no one will really notice. It’s not like a traditional job where you ask for time off, you either open your schedule for classes or you don’t. So sometimes I’ll work a lot one week and then take some time off.

If I want to do the job while on the road, that’s possible, too. My only recommendation is to make sure you stay in an Airbnb or get a private room, hostels would not be ideal. VIPKID likes you to have props in the classroom, so I recommend buying a mini whiteboard and a few lightweight supplies to bring along. I’ve also started using a software called Manycam, which allows you to display graphics and rewards on your screen, which is perfect for traveling as you don’t need to bring anything really!”
So the consensus is yes! Being an Online English Teacher is a nomad approved job. 

 

What would you recommend to other nomad girls who’d like to get started working as an Online English Teacher?

Laura says: “Do your research.” There are hundreds of companies out there and some will suit you better than others. Decide what is important to you and go from there.

She suggests asking yourself:

  • Do you want to teach adults or children?
  • Would you prefer to teach one to one or groups?
  • Do you want to teach on a laptop or from your phone?
  • Do you want to use pre-prepared lessons or make your own?

Laura says, “Answering these questions will help you figure out what you’re looking for in a company and help you narrow down your search! Once you’ve found a company that suits you, find a recruiter or referrer who will help you through the process. Having someone to answer all your questions and give you advice can help take a lot of stress out of the process.

If you’re interested in working with DaDa and would like me to help you through the application process, feel free to send me an email or a message on Facebook! Working online can be lonely so I recommend finding a support network. Most companies have their own Facebook groups and these can be a place to meet other teachers, share student stories and ask questions.” If you’re thinking about working with DaDa, you can find Laura’s information below! 

online english teacher digital nomad girls job of the month

Emma also agrees that the first step should be to research. She says, “I would recommend doing some research about the different companies and seeing what would be a good fit for you. If you are concerned about your lack of teaching experience, you could start taking an online TEFL course to boost your confidence and get yourself classroom ready.

The application for VIPKID is the hardest part (it’s quite lengthly) so I would highly recommend reaching out to an experienced teacher for tips on the interview process. If you’d like to chat with me I would be happy to refer you and give you some tips on how to get hired,” so make sure to reach out to Emma if you need tips! Her info is below as well.

 

There you go future Online English Teacher. If you’re a friendly, enthusiastic person who likes teaching and has great English, teaching English online might just be the perfect digital nomad job for you. I hope we answered all your questions, if you have any more, please leave them in the comments and our girls and I will try our best to answer them all.

If you’re curious about even more jobs that you can do online, check out our series on the 50+ digital nomad girl jobs to inspire you!

 

Are you an interested in becoming an Online English Teacher? Please share below!

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with others who might like it too!

To find out more about the girls you can find their author bios below:

Emma Wolno

Emma Wolno is an Online English Teacher. Originally from Ottawa, Canada, she is currently based in Berlin! You can get in touch with her via her Website or her Instagram.

Laura Lee

Laura Lee is an online English teacher who runs a blog that share tips for teaching online and how to get started teaching with DaDa! She’s from Nottingham in the UK and is now travelling around Eastern Europe. You can connect with her on Facebook or her Website.

Gery Ciftcioglu

Gery is originally from Bulgaria, but currently lives in Istanbul, Turkey. You can find her on Facebook or her Website.

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