“Meet” is a series of interviews with interesting people in my network. They are all different, but all have one thing in common: the passion of travel! Today we’re talking with a Digital Nomad.
I’m tempted to say, if not Mille, then who fits the category “interesting people”? Mille is a digital nomad with the world as her workspace. She is a professional voice over artist, journalist and podcaster (I love her podcasts – but unfortunately they are only in Danish). Now you might think “is it really that special? Aren’t there many digital nomads Instagraming their way around the world these days?” And yes there are, but she actually does it with her family! Husband and two kids (aged 8 & 9). Hubby is also a journalist working along the way and the kids are being world-schooled via skype. Cool right?
A digital nomad: a person who works online and therefore is independent of a physical workplace
Wauw Mille, I have really looked forward to this interview. I am so inspired by your lifestyle and your outlook on life!
You are Danish, but have lived the past five years in Spain and are now travelling the world for a year with your family, while working as a digital nomad. Where are you right now and where have you been so far on your world-tour?
Thanks a lot. I am so happy to be here. I have just landed in Mexico, Tulum. It’s not very mexican though and very posh and high-end. Actually a little too much for my taste. But there is a lot of expats, and we needed to stay in a place for a while, where everyone could chill and relax. When you are on the road for such a long time, it’s nice to settle a bit sometimes.
So far we have been travelling in Iceland, the Rockies in Canada, driven from Boston to Florida in a RV, where Charleston and Shenandoah National Park were on my top list. Been to New Orleans, Texas, San diego, LA, Las Vegas, and trekked down in Grand Canyon.
We have been travelling a month in beautiful Costa Rica, a month in rainy Panama, and a month in absolutely stunning Colombia.
Travelling the world while working sounds pretty sweet. Almost like a holiday actually. Tell me; is it like a year-long holiday or is it hard work, just like home?
Ha ha! I love when people say to me ’enjoy your vacation’. I’m like ‘WHAT’? This is not vacation. It’s a lifestyle with a lot of adventures, a lot of fun, but also a lot of work and planning. It’s ten time tougher to travel the world as a digital nomad with your family, than staying at home. You first of all have to get up early, because you are never in same timezone as your clients. You have to help your kids with school, and you have to plan where to go next, find a place to stay, flight tickets etc.
Maybe if you are a digital nomad on your own, it’s not a big deal, but travelling with a family is like having 3 full time jobs 🙂 But at the end of the day when you paddle in the rain through the panama canal on your paddleboard, with howling monkeys and toucans over your head, it’s all good and worth it.
Do you structure your days in some way to be sure to get things done?
Yes. My husband gets up at 6 am. Checking his inbox and mine, if i have something urgent he wakes me up. If not I stay a little longer in bed. We are both freelancers, working as Journalists and Voiceover artist. Then we wake up the kids. Breakfast together, and their school starts at 8.30-11.30. Then we all work during this time. At 12 pm we close the computers and go on an adventure, somewhere. Sometimes we surf, sometimes we hike, sometimes we visit some Maya ruins. Depending on where we are and what we want.
And what about your kids who are being world-schooled via Skype. Do they have certain routines for school and homework?
Because we are working we could not teach them ourselves as well. But it’s not like they have a full day. We have hired a teacher from Spain, who teaches them over skype 5-6 hours a week. She introduces new stof to them eg. The days they do not skype with her, they log into the app Trello, and she has planned, what they have to do. They work very independently. They basically only have math, literacy and a bit of science. Every friday they write a story about their travel. She also includes what they experience during their trip. E.g. they experienced a huge earthquake in Costa Rica.
How do you combine work and school and discovering a new place? It must be tempting to skip work and school one morning if staying right on a beach…
Actually it’s kind of nice to have something to do in the morning. We do not skip it often, not for the beach at least. As you mentioned, we have lived 5 years in Spain on the beach, so we need more than a beach to skip work. But of course sometimes we are on a plane, or on a trip that starts thursday and ends sunday. That’s just how it is. We were e.g. doing Volunteer work in the Favelas in Medellin, but for me this is so much more valuable than having math. So some days of course there is no structure.
I am curious about your itinerary. It must have been a huge process to plan a year of travel. How does it work? Had you planned everything from home or do you decide along the way?
Ha ha well. I meet my husband 15 years ago, and he said already then: ‘do you wanna travel the world with me for 11 years?’ So I guess we all knew at some point we would do it. Actually, we talked about it over New Year last year, decided that now was the time. The kids had a good age, and we wanted the adventure. No we did not plan much. Mostly, we gave up our house, bought 4 backpacks, had some vaccines and left. We planned the teacher, we planned to visit some friends in Canada, we planned how I could bring a huge studio for work while travelling. But that’s it. It’s hard to plan, because there will be some unexpected things anyway, like when Irma (the hurricane in September 2017) came and made it impossible for us to fly to Charleston – so we went to Boston instead. It was not our initially plan to rent a RV and drive down the east coast of America, but the chance happened to be there and we took it. I am so happy we did.
Let’s talk about being present in the moment as a digital nomad: Is it possible to really slow down and enjoy a place without constantly thinking of the next move when you are constantly on the go like you are?
I will say – it is very possible. In the beginning I was thinking a lot about where we were going next, now I don’t even know where I am going to sleep in two days. I really do not care. We will find something and work it out. But you have to learn it along the way.
I know there are many young digital nomads out there, but I don’t think I have heard of a digital nomad family before. Are you a one-of-a-kind?
Unfortunately yes. Well, we do meet some, but they have very small kids, and only one parent working. Which I guess is also the optimal way of doing it. Ha ha. I am actually really surprised how few people we have meet with kids of our age travelling like us. Actually none. I guess the lifestyle is more for young people without too many obligations, but I will say it’s worth it.
As you already know I dream of travelling the world for a long period with my family one day too. Tell me the best thing and the hardest thing about travelling for a longer period with the family?
The best thing is being with them all the time. The worst thing is being with them all the time:) I love seeing my kids grow. I love seeing them learn from the world. They are the smartest small globetrotters ever. I love spending time with my husband. Seriously we have spend so much time together, and we laugh a lot. But the worst thing is that you have no time on your own. No privacy. And I miss my friends. We do give each other some time off to run, and do yoga e.g. and that helps.
Now to the last question, before the 3 must-ask questions; do you ever miss having a “real” home with plants, paintings, books etc.?
Ohhhh yeah I do. Sometimes, I am like can we have a f….ucking toilet that is actually working, where I do not have to put paper in a little bin? Of course I do. But It actually surprises me how little I need it. What I miss the most is my nieces, my sister and my friends everything else is just stuff.
The 3 must-ask questions:
What destination has surprised you the most so far?
Colombia. We were not supposed to go there in the beginning, because I was afraid it was too dangerous and corrupt to go to with kids. But ohh my. Go before it’s to late! Medellin the most dangerous city in the world just 20 years ago, was amazing. The history of this city is wild. Go now because the tourists are only beginning to go to e.g. Comuna 13, where gangs use to rule. But it has transformed itself into street art and rap. Also the music in Cartagena, the food and nature of Guatape, was stunning.
What is your best travel tip?
Well my best travel tip, is just do it. Just go travel. You will learn so much about yourself and your family.
What is your dream destination?
I do actually not have a dream destination. But what I like the most when I travel is to combine meeting great people, be overwhelmed by nature and eat good food.
Ok, if i should pick one place it’s where I spend 5 years living in Spain: Javea. It’s a stunning place.
Thank you so much Mille for participating!
You can follow Mille and her family on Instagram as they travel the world here (Mille’s personal profile) and here (the family profile). If you are Danish (or understand Danish of course!) I really recommend her podcast “Den Digitale Nomade”. It is not exclusively about travel and working abroad, it is also about courage and following your dreams. Find it in Itunes or directly on her website here.
Find my other interviews in the MEET series here