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!
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).
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.
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.
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!
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.”
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!
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.
Annnnnd they JUST came out with a solid version of Charity Pot, so say goodbye to worrying about liquid limitations from airlines!
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!
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.
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.
Good for you + Easy to travel with = Total winner in my books!
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?
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.
First of all – how cool does this Flight 001 4-in-1 adapter look?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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
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.
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!
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. 😉
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! 🙂
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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).
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.
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.
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, I… remind 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 is … I fell in love with Lisbon, Portugal, last year.
The one item I always pack is… my MacBook.
My favourite tool/app/resource is… to be honest, I love checking out local Facebook groups whenever I get to a new city or country.
In 5 years time I want to … be 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.
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.
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.”
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!
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?
“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.
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!
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 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 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 is originally from Bulgaria, but currently lives in Istanbul, Turkey. You can find her on Facebook or her Website.
In our brand new Member’s Spotlight series we feature interviews with our lovely DNG Inner Circle members! This month we talked to Deya, Project and Content Manager!
Hi Deya – please tell us a bit about yourself!
Hi everyone! My name is Deya. 🙂 I’m German/Spanish from my dad’s side and Taiwanese from my mom’s side, so I was born into a very favorable-for-nomadism life. I was flying before I could walk, and we moved around a lot growing up. Nowadays, I’m based in Munich, Germany, freelancing full time and travel throughout the year!
Deya says this is her default state: comfy couch, concentrated face, and laptop in lap
What is your location independent job?
I’m a Project & Content Manager, which basically means that I help online entrepreneurs with their digital content (think blogs, websites, podcasts, courses, membership sites, etc..)
I help them with a bit of everything: building out their content processes, managing the day-to-day workings of their products, setting up project management tools, managing small teams, developing project launch timelines, proofing all types of online content, etc.
How did you get into this line of work? How can others do the same?
It actually took a long while before I stumbled onto this. When I first started exploring the possibility of freelance, I tried absolutely EVERYTHING, and I really mean, everything. I did voice-overs, copyediting, proofreading, graphic design, translation – yeah, I know. I just wanted to try ALL the things. I was essentially dipping my toes into all the ponds I could find to see which felt the best for my interests and skills.
I think a lot of times when I talk to people who are interested in working online or living the ‘digital nomad’ life, they’re either overwhelmed by where to start or overwhelmed by the options available. I get that!
Analysis by paralysis is no stranger to my over-thinking ways. But honestly – just take that first tiny, tiny step. Apply to ONE gig, write to just ONE potential person you’d be interested in working with, or just take ONE course in the field to see if it’s how you imagine it to be. It’s okay if you don’t end up enjoying the work, it’s okay if it doesn’t end up working out; the least you can do is just try.
There’s no harm in trying, and there’s no harm in testing the waters to see what you’d be interested in. To continue the analogy, I’m now wading in the pond of project and content management, and absolutely loving it. All it took was that first little step!
What motivated you to pursue a life as a digital nomad?
I think growing up, I was very privileged in that I was able to experience a lot of cultures and a lot of different countries. We moved around a lot, so I ended up at international schools where we were studying with people from all over the world. It was the best. Country Information Days at school meant going classroom to classroom, tasting delicious food from all over the world (aka. the best week ever).
As I grew older, I fell into that stressful rat race path of going to university, doing internships, getting into a good job, etc.. It was after doing two full-time intense internships that I realized ‘Hmmm… perhaps this is not the right path for me because I feel like it’s literally sucking my soul out of my body?‘ So that’s when I got to work – googling, researching, experimenting. Any resources I could find on anything digital nomad, online business or working remotely related, I devoured.
In my head, I felt that there was no alternative. I didn’t think I could sustainably live my life happily doing the traditional path that everyone else was following; I knew I had to do whatever it took to make this other path work, to put freedom back into my life.
So it took a lot of late nights and weekends working 4-5 hours/day online, building things up, but eventually, it was enough money and reassurance for myself that it was feasible enough to do full-time. I feel extremely grateful and so lucky that I found this path and that I was able to find my way through the jungle that is the online world.
Did your friends/family/colleagues think you’ve gone crazy? Were they supportive?
I think I was more freaked out than anyone, to be completely honest. I was really worried about what people would think, about failing and what other people would say, which is all ridiculous because almost nobody is thinking about your life as much as you are. Life is too short; don’t let others’ opinions keep you from pursuing something you think may be right for you!
My family was curious but also very supportive, and my friends were a little weirded-out at first (because it’s so out of the norm in Asia and Germany) but they are supportive now as well. Just make sure to always keep in contact with everyone!
I think my family and friends were also supportive because I didn’t really share it all very publicly until I was already pretty underway with my freelancing; once I was making money, it was a proven thing and there wasn’t much that could stress my family out. I was kind of like ‘Oh, by the by, I’ve been doing this for a few months now and it’s been going great. ANYWAY. What are you up to?’ (It was a little sneaky of me.)
What challenges have you faced as a digital nomad and how did you overcome them?
I think every time I go to a new country, it takes me a while to settle in and find my groove. I think my default reaction is always panic and worry, so it takes me a little bit till I set up properly and figure the city out. That’s always a mini challenge for myself; I adapt well and I make friends quickly, but that initial stage of being somewhere where you’re 100% unfamiliar with anything is a real test to yourself and how comfortable you are with being uncomfortable. I’m still working on it!
Deya in Lisbon this past June!
I also struggle with literally traveling and working, which is so ironic because that’s what being a digital nomad is all about. It’s so hard to work while you’re running around airports or sitting on planes exhausted. It’s also hard to work in a new city when you just want to explore and experience without worrying about your work or finding good enough wifi.
The lifestyle is not quite as glamorous or ‘easy’ as people make it out to be, but it’s still hands-down the best lifestyle I could possibly imagine for myself.
It’s easy to complain about whatever lifestyle you choose for yourself, but whenever I put my lifestyle in the big picture and grand scheme of things, I can’t imagine my life any other way. It has been the BEST decision of my life – super cheesy, but has to be said.
You’re a member of the DNG Inner Circle, yay! Why did you decide to join?
YAY. The Inner Circle is amazing! I decided to join because working freelance from home all day can get a bit lonely at times. I have my boyfriend, but it’s a little different to have female company. The Inner Circle filled that gap completely for me! Having a group of ladies who are in the same spot as me, and are happy to hop on a coworking session whenever and just chit chat is so much fun.
It’s so important to get involved in a community that you love to be a part of and that makes you feel good about yourself. If you’re feeling a little lonely working from home by yourself (been there, girlfriend), get involved! Get involved in a local community or a digital community that you love.
What is your favorite part of the Inner Circle? What makes it special?
I love the co-working sessions, I LOVE the accountability buddies. I love the events. I’ve also met up with Inner Circle members “in real life,” and they’ve become good friends of mine.
We meet up regularly to cowork and to hang out – I’m so grateful to the Inner Circle. Having that support network of girls who are doing exactly what I’m doing, who are struggling with exactly what I’m struggling with – seriously priceless. I mean – you can’t really put a price on genuine friendships, right?
Deya met Lou through the Inner Circle, and they’ve been coworking ever since!
Who do you think would benefit from joining the DNG Inner Circle?
Honestly, I think all girls interested in the digital nomad movement could benefit! If you’re a digital nomad, if you’re an aspiring digital nomad, if you’re just discovering the concept and think it’s pretty cool – join us in the Inner Circle!
It’s amazing to be surrounded by women who just ‘GET IT’; you don’t have to over-explain anything about your life, your interests, your values. They’re on the same page as you in life priorities, in business, in lifestyle. We’re all different and diverse in the Inner Circle but we’re so united by our same passion for travel and working remotely. It’s such a supportive and special community.
They’re SO encouraging, so creative, so interesting in their own unique ways. It’s really a one-of-a-kind community; I highly, highly recommend it.
What advice would you give a girlfriend who wanted to start out as a digital nomad?
Take. that. first. step. Just do it! Stop worrying, stop overthinking, and stop overanalyzing (there’s plenty of time for that later). If you’re having trouble taking that first step, feel free to write me. I’ll hold you accountable for that first step. 😉
[By the way: If you’re not sure where to get started or which job to do online, we have a great blog article on 50+ jobs that digital nomad girls are doing to inspire you!]
Quick Fire Round:
The coolest thing I’ve been able to do thanks to being location-independent is… mostly related to eating all kinds of food. I feel very blessed with how much good food I’ve been able to eat on my travels: soup dumplings, pastel de natas, proper ramen, fluffy pretzels, stroopwaffles, Belgian waffles, the list is never-ending.
When I feel lonely, I… cuddle a cat!
My favourite digital nomad location is … Lisbon was absolutely amazing and such an underrated city, but I also love the good ol’ southern coast of Spain and Taiwan!
Deya and her boyfriend when they spent a month living by the beach near Almeria, Spain!
The one item I always pack is… sweatpants! There’s nothing like feeling at home anywhere in the world when you can slide on your most comfortable and soft pair of sweats.
My favourite digital nomad tool/app/resource is… the Inner Circle, duh! Favorite business tools: Asana, Photoshop, Google Drive and Slack!
In 5 years time I want to … hopefully be doing exactly what I’m doing now, just much better and much, much bigger!
My all-time favourite quote is …
“This too shall pass.” The good, the bad and everything in between – it’ll all pass eventually. So hold on to the good moments as long as you can, and don’t forget that the bad times will always pass.
Thank you SO much Deya for sharing your story with us! If you want to find out more about Deya you can connect with her on LinkedIn or Facebook.
As digital nomad girls, we get to meet and make friends with amazing people from all over the world. It’s one of the biggest perks of this lifestyle and I love having friends spread across the globe.
But I’d also be lying if I said it’s not difficult to stay in touch with friends as a digital nomad, both new friends as well as old friends and family at home.
1. Take responsibility (even if it’s ‘unfair’)
I’m gonna start by dropping a little truth bomb. If you want to keep in touch with all your favourite people, you’ve gotta own it and take responsibility for it – particularly when it comes to stay in touch with the friends and family you ‘left behind’ at home.
I know what you’re thinking: “But it’s unfair, why do I have to be the one who makes the effort?” Sure, in a perfect world your friends would make just as much effort as you do, and some of them (the really special ones) will do exactly that.
But the truth is, you’re the one who left, so you’ll need to be the one that makes the effort. That old saying – out of sight, out of mind – is kinda true. Your friends have their own lives and are doing their own thing, just the same as you. That’s totally cool, but if you truly cherish these friendships, you gotta take responsibility for them.
What does that mean in real life? Well, don’t expect everyone to miraculously know when you’re home for a few weeks. Let them know.
And just how you don’t like it when people think you’re free for a coffee/chat/beer any time of the day just because you’re at home (hello, we are working actually), you can’t expect everyone to drop everything just because you’re in town. So let them know you’re visiting well in advance because they’ve got their own lives to fit you around too.
2. Prioritise (+ Grab Your Free Tracker)
Take a look at your Facebook friend count – you’ve probably plenty of friends. But as on Facebook, not all real-life friendships are created equal.
Whether you’re trying to spend more time with friends at home or with travel buddies on the road, you have got to prioritise. I know this might sound awful, but there’s only so much time in the day.
I know so many people who’ve been roped into having 3-hour coffee breaks with an old work colleague from 10 years ago. Or breakfast with a family friend’s accountant’s second cousin just because they live in the city you’re visiting this weekend.
If you want to meet that old colleague or cousin, then great, go for it. But if you’re doing it just out of a sense of duty or guilt, then think about who you’re taking that time away from.
Could you be spending an extra afternoon with your mum or dad? Or maybe an afternoon more with your bestie?
Prioritise the friendships and relationships that mean the most to you.
If you’re struggling to keep in contact with all your favourite people around the globe, why not use our Keep-In-Touch tracker to help you nurture those most important relationships. You can download it here for free!
3. Make time
Often we have limited time to see our friends. Maybe you’re just home for a week or passing through your friend’s town for a long weekend. There’s a tendency to try to fit as many ‘meetings’ into one day as possible or to meet everyone at once.
I’d really recommend not to do that, even if it means you don’t get to see everyone every time you pass through.
Because otherwise you can end up darting between a quick coffee with one friend here, then a rushed lunch with another friend there, then a cup of tea with a third, a quick dinner, a drink …you get the idea. So instead of having a proper chinwag and deeper conversation, like you could if you met one or two close friends over a leisurely few bottles of wine, you’ll find that you’ve only scratched the surface.
Equally, you might be tempted to get a group of 15 friends together for a night, but that can end up with you making small talk with 15 people and failing to catch up properly with anyone. You’ll probably also be answering the same questions 15 times over (where were you? How was it? Where are you going next? …you know the drill).
The same goes if you’re not physically in the same place. If you want to truly stay in touch with your besties, make some proper time. Instead of sending WhatsApp message 10 times a day, set a weekly or fortnightly Skype date. Schedule it into your calendar and treat it as you would any other important meeting.
4. Get creative
If you’re travelling for a long time and simply can’t meet up face-to-face for a long time, then make sure your virtual friendship dates are as fun as possible. There are some fun ways to stay in touch with friends as a digital nomad.
There’s no reason why you have to just sit face-to-face on Skype and just chat. Why not mix it up a little and organise a virtual pamper night with face masks and pizza, like you might at home? (In the Inner Circle, we have mixer parties where we just chat and hang out online!)
Sometimes I meet my friend for a glass of wine on Zoom. We both have a glass or two and catch up. Because it feels a little more like a real friend date, we get to have a more real conversation.
I even know a digital nomad couple who set board game dates with their friends at home. They meet virtually and play games together. A really fun one is Evil Apples, it’s like a rip off of Cards Against Humanity that you can play on your phone.
Think of little ways to make you virtual meetups more fun!
5. Make new memories
The above rule actually applies to in-person catch-ups too. Now that I’m in my 30s, I feel like meetups are getting a bit more boring, or at least predictable.
If you always do the same thing – brunch at the same place, dinner at the same friend’s house – it can get a little boring. It’s really important to make an effort and try to do something new together.
Organise a hiking trip, go to a new museum, take a cooking class together or simply catch up while going for a walk instead of meeting at a cafe.
Instead of reminiscing about the good old days, you’ll be making new memories together.
6. The little things count
I know you’re busy, and your friends and family are also busy. So it might not be feasible to plan hikes together or regular online wine and cheese nights.
But that doesn’t mean you should get lazy with your friendships.
If you know you’ve got a busy period with work or travel coming up, why not send your friend a little postcard in the meantime? Yes, those things still exist and you’d be surprised how much people love receiving them!
Or you could send them a little voice message or even video message via WhatsApp or messenger to keep them in the loop and show them you’re thinking of them, even if you’re busy.
Taking a couple of minutes to show up won’t eat into your schedule and can mean so much.
You can also use our Keep-In-Touch Tracker to make sure you don’t leave too long between catch ups!
7. Nothing beats meeting in-person
No matter how great you are at keeping in touch via Skype, if you organise virtual karaoke nights (hey, that’s a great idea actually!) and send your friends postcards and love notes regularly, nothing beats meeting in real life.
I know it’s super hard (almost impossible) to see all your friends regularly, especially if they’re as spread out over six continents as my friends, but it’s a matter of making sure your actions match your values.
I sat down this year and wrote down some of my personal values and I realised friendships are the most important things in life to me (right after noodle soup and freedom) so I should make spending time on them a bigger priority.
Hence, the summer of friendship was born! I challenged myself to be as open and available as possible. Instead of being lazy and hiding behind work, I made a commitment to meet up with one friend or family member every single day while I was home in Munich in July.
Ok, so I’m super extroverted and this actually gives me energy, but I understand this might not be for you. So think about ways you can really prioritise your friendships and meeting up in person.
For my nomad friendships, that means that I’ve committed to attending more nomad events, like the amazing 7in7 conference. Since I attended last year in Barcelona, I knew that these were my people.
That’s why I flew halfway across the world from London to Colombia to make sure I get to spend quality time with them. And instead of staying for just a week during the conference, we’re staying for over a month. Again, that’s to make more time for what matters most.
In August this year, we stayed in Sofia, Bulgaria with a bunch of other friends. We all had our own place, but were there together because we wanted to spend some quality time. It was one of my favourite months this year.
Attending regular retreats, conferences and other nomad events is a goal of mine for the coming years, too.
We’re currently planning our next DNG retreats, too! If you want to meet like-minded digital nomad girls in person, sign up to the waiting list here!
So, next time you plan your trips, think about how you can organise them to maximise your in-person time with friends.