FOUNDER OF BACKPACKKIT
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO COME ON REMOTE YEAR?
As the co-owner of a start-up (www.backpackkit.com), traveling was not really in the cards for me in the last two years. Remote year gave me the opportunity to travel while working for Backpackkit, and even better, work in the environment my target market is - travellers. My passion for traveling made me start Backpackkit which has led me to Remote Year. It is all coming together pretty nicely.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON FOR THE YEAR?
Professionally this is the year we want Backpackkit to really take off. Since the launching phase, we are now ready for the company and the brand to really take a place in the backpack industry in the Netherlands and Europe.
Personally this year is making me grow without even trying. I think the biggest lesson for me, is that life is really just what you make of it, and now there is nothing in the way of making this the life I want. Where dreams of the future use to be a fantasy or long-term goal, I now learn, are actually realistic if I want them to be. I can't wait for all those dreams to unfold in the next couple of years.
WHERE HAVE YOU LIVED/TRAVELED TO PREVIOUSLY?
After my internships in Tenerife and Australia I studied Spanish in Cuba and lived in Colombia. A few years after that, I backpacked solo from Mexico all the way down to Colombia.
HOW DID YOU FIND YOURSELF A REMOTE ROLE?
Before I came on Remote Year I was working full time as an account manager and starting Backpackkit with my brother. Remote Year seemed like a good moment to switch those two around. I now focus more on Backpackkit, but still work for my old company 3 days a week doing helpdesk. When I decided I wanted to do Remote Year, I talked to my boss and he was so amazing to let me stay at the company in a role that I could do remotely.
DESCRIBE YOUR REMOTE YEAR EXPERIENCE IN 3 WORDS.
Crazy, emotional, magical
WHERE DOES YOUR PASSION FOR TRAVEL COME FROM?
I never really used to like going on holidays with my parents, I would miss my friends and horse too much. At university we had to do an internship abroad, so I went to Tenerife for 3 months. I loved it so much that I went to Australia for my second internship and from then on the travel bug found me and never left. I get totally hypnotized by mountains, the sea, islands, white sand, and the jungle. I love how everywhere in the world I can feel at home and how the people I meet can some how become my family.
WHAT DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?
We are in Asia right now, so my work days don't start until 3pm. So in the mornings I take it slow, get a smoothie for breakfast and get to the office around 12pm. For lunch we usually get some people together. After work the community comes together. We have Trivia nights, movie nights or just good food and drinks. In the weekends I explore the city, take photos or do a side trip. There is so much to discover in all the counties that we go to... 4 weeks is really not that long when you work.
HOW DO YOU THINK TRAVELLING WILL AFFECT YOUR CURRENT WORK?
It does, but definitely not in a bad way. Being surrounded by travellers, helps me focus on my company Backpackkit. I am more motivated because I want to make this lifestyle work, for now, but maybe also for the future.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT?
DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
Surf in the morning, have a good lunch with good people, take a nap, have dinner with amazing people and dance all night.
YOUR FAVORITE DIGITAL NOMAD HACK?
The first thing I do when we arrive to a new place, is unpack my backpack, put my photos from back home on the wall and buy breakfast for the next couple of days. Having that same routine everywhere I go really lets me settle in right away.
WHO DO YOU HOPE TO BE BY THE END OF REMOTE YEAR?
I am halfway through at the moment and I must say that I am really liking the person I have become in the last 6 month. I don't think I have changed that much in the core... but I have learned to embrace myself and totally be at peace with who I am at any moment. This is hard sometimes and so I hope that in the next 6 months I will have the opportunity to grow even more into a person that can just sit back, relax and realize that whoever I am at that moment, is exactly who I need to be.
WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF BEING A DIGITAL NOMAD?
Not getting distracted by everything around you. There is so much to see and do, but when you work all week it is easy to get the feeling you are missing out. Especially when you are traveling with a large group of people, who are all doing amazing trips.
WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF BEING A DIGITAL NOMAD?
Getting to wake up everyday, with a smile on your face, realizing you are exactly where you are supposed to be.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO OTHERS LOOKING TO BRING TRAVEL INTO THEIR LIVES?
Do it! There is noting else in the way than you just not doing it. I know it might seem complicated, a ton to arrange, scary and impossible. But it is really not and the only person that is going to make this a reality is you.
3 THINGS YOU CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT ON THE ROAD?
Photos from home, my camera and a toothbrush.
IF YOU HAD TO BE STUCK ON AN ISLAND WITH ANOTHER REMOTE, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
That question is way too hard, but I would go for Gianna. She has been my roommate for 3 months and we always do our crazy photo and film projects together.
WHAT IS YOUR SECRET TALENT?
Planning side trips for the group seems to be my secret talent this year. I love scouting the internet and reaching out to companies for the best deal. My goal is to always get the least touristy trip together and make it as authentic as possible.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE ON THE GLOBE?
On a tropical and remote island where there is good company and surf.
WHERE ARE YOU IN 30 YEARS?
Rich and surrounded by beautiful people and incredible memories, still exploring the world while doing what I love to do.
WHO IS THE MOST INTERESTING PERSON YOU'VE MET WHILE TRAVELLING?
I only met them for a hot second, but in Hanoi I met an American couple in their fifties. They have been traveling the world together, including driving through Antartica with a mini van and bicycling from the south of Vietnam all the way to Hanoi. So in love, healthy and full of adventure. So inspiring to meet people that don't see limits, just love.
YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE/WORDS TO LIVE BY?
Everything is exactly how it should be.