Joanna from Everywhere Explains How to Live and Work as a Nomad

The Blond Travels

My name is Joanna. I am originally from Poland, but I haven’t lived there for a long time now. I spent 10 years in England and then around three years in Thailand. I like to think that I’m from everywhere. I am a blogger and an English teacher.

At the moment, I teach online. I have my own company called, OK English. I offer conversation lessons to Polish students. I help people break the barriers in speaking and feel more confident when talking to foreigners.

I’ve recently come back from Thailand and now am spending the summer in Europe. I am staying in Germany and in Poland, visiting friends and family.

In my free time, I love travelling and writing my blog, The Blond Travels. I spend my weekends and holidays exploring new places and writing articles for the blog. I also love reading and listening to podcasts.

I consider myself as friendly, outgoing, funny and open minded. However, I have some characteristics of an introvert. I like being by myself, going for walks alone, or just watching a movie. I think everyone should spend some time alone from time to time.

The Blond Travels

How and why did you become a nomad?

Straight after uni, I moved to London and for 10 years I worked as a PA in different medical companies. I wasn’t very happy there, so at one point I decided to move to Thailand. I did my TEFL certificate with SEE TEFL in Chiang Mai and I spent two years teaching in a local college. Then I met my boyfriend, Christopher. He is a programmer and he introduced me to a few digital nomads. I envied them their flexible hours and laid back lifestyle. I started thinking of what I could do to earn money online. A friend of mine told me about an American company that hired English teachers. I applied and got the job. After a year working for them, I decided to open my company. I know what kind of problems Polish people have with the English language, so I wanted to use my skills and knowledge to help them become more fluent and confident.

The Blond Travels

Why is having a nomadic life important for you?

Nomadic lifestyle is important for me because it allows me to live in other countries longer and get to know them from inside out. It also allows me to be my own boss and organize my life and time how I want it. I also hated working in the corporate world. I didn’t see that I was making any difference to other people’s lives. My work was just shifting papers. Now I help others with their English skills and see them growing and developing themselves. It gives me a lot of satisfaction.

Seeing the world is crucial for my well being. If I stay somewhere and don’t have an opportunity to explore new places, I get bored and am very unhappy. It allows me to get to know other cultures, to be more tolerant and to understand other people more.

The Blond Travels

What have been the best and most difficult parts of being a nomad?

The best parts about teaching English online are the fact that I can do whatever I want with my free time. When I have a break, I don’t need to sit in an office, but can go out for a walk, exercise, watch a movie, or just have a nap. I also like the fact that I can live anywhere I want.

The most difficult part has been choosing where to go next. I know that it might sound funny to some, but if you have such a huge choice of places, it’s difficult to choose one.

I think it can be lonely sometimes. Even though I teach other people and talk to them every day, they are not my friends. They are my customers. So, if I want to make new friends, I need to make an effort, which is difficult for me sometimes. I am an open and friendly person, but to me making a very good friend, someone I can talk to for hours about everything is quite difficult. I meet different people every day, but I can’t say that they are my friends. Sometimes months pass by before I find a person I want to be best friends with and that makes me feel lonely. Luckily, I have Chris, who is my best friend. 🙂

The Blond Travels

Where do you live as a nomad?

I always stay in apartments. I rent a hostel room first and then look for a place to stay. I try to stay in different places a bit longer, not only a few days. I try to eat where locals eat, and only go to more expensive restaurants when I feel like I’m fed up with local food.

Where do you usually work?

I work at home. My hours and routine depend on the time zone. When I lived in Asia, I got up around 9 or 10, went to the gym, started working at 11-12, had a break for lunch and then worked until 6 or 7. Then, I had another break and I usually did some travel blogging. My hours changed when I had a student that, due to the time difference, could only attend lessons at 1 am. Then I got up later and finished really late at night. I think juggling the time difference is the most difficult for me.

When I’m in Europe, I start my work at 8 and then finish around 6. I never work on weekends and I take time off quite often to relax and treat myself.

The Blond Travels

How do you build a social life as a nomad?

I will be totally honest here and say that I’m not great with finding new friends. As I said, I feel like it’s difficult to find real friends that you can talk to for hours about everything and feel a connection with. Most of the people I meet are nice and friendly, but I never feel like I get a lot of out of these encounters except some business relationships and ideas. I sometimes lack a real connection.

However, I think that you are still able to build long lasting relationships while being a nomad. Recently, I met a few bloggers that I became really close friends with. We message each other and Skype for hours, so it is possible.

If you want to meet other nomads while travelling, you can join Facebook groups and ask if in the place you’re staying at are any meet ups, or ask if there would be anyone who would join you for a drink, or a dinner, or even a trip. Maybe local cafes and galleries organize events? Nowadays there are plenty of ways of meeting other people.

The Blond Travels

How do you bring your things with you?

I share my luggage with my boyfriend. To be fair, I take most of the space. So, we have two large suitcases – our check in luggage. And then each of us has a cabin luggage. We bought our big suitcases in Thailand. We were looking for something that would fit all our stuff. We finally agreed on some nice looking suitcases that we bought in a shopping centre.

I have a small backpack, where I put all my valuables – laptop, camera, phone, documents etc. I have bought it recently. It’s Thai brand called Anello – a very cool, hip brand. The backpack looks small, but I was surprised how much it can fit! I am very happy with it. The only thing I don’t like is that it’s not waterproof. If you are in Chiang Mai, visit one of Anello’s shops. They are usually based in shopping centres. Their designs are quite unique and the quality is great.

How do you organize things in your bags?

I am very bad with packing. When it comes to my main luggage, I don’t organize at all! I just throw everything in and hope that I will have enough space. I organize more when it comes to my hand luggage. I like to have my gear in order and know where I have my documents.

What kind of gear do you bring with you?

I use a Macbook for work, a Nikon D5100 camera to take photos. I also record videos with my Iphone and for that I use a gimbal, which is great for taking really stable shots.

My Macbook and Iphone are the most important for me. Macbook because without it, I wouldn’t be able to do my work and my phone contains everything I need to keep my work organized and to keep my social media up to date.

The Blond Travels

How do you finance your nomadic life?

My main income are my English lessons. Except my private work, I still work for an online school. I also earn commission on affiliate marketing on The Blond Travels. My minimum budget is $600 per month and that’s just what I need in order to survive. I always try to earn more. My biggest expenses are flights and accommodation.

What is your best advice for new nomads?

Work on getting regular clients first. Don’t just quit your job, do it gradually. For example, you can work full time and after work and on weekends you can develop your business. Once you start getting regular clients, you can quit your job and leave. Be sure you have some savings and be prepared to work hard. Sometimes people want a lot straight away and see only the beautiful pictures of other nomads sitting on a beach and sipping cocktails. Remember that it takes a lot of work to get there.

The Blond Travels

What will the future bring?

At the moment, I am thinking where to go next. I would like to have a base, where I could stay for a bit and then travel from there to different countries. I am a little tired with applying and worrying about visas, so I would like to live in a country, where I don’t have to do this. I am taking it easy at the moment and not rushing with the decision. I want to enjoy my time I have with my family and friends.

When it comes to gear, I would like to invest in a new camera, one that is lighter and more functional from what I have at the moment.

The Blond Travels is mostly known for my articles about Thailand and Chiang Mai. That’s why I decided to develop it more in that direction. I hope that in the future my readers can find everything they want in one place.

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