Hi Noëlle, tell us a little about yourself! Where are you from, where are you now, where are you going next? What do you do, why do you do it?
I was born and raised in the Netherlands and lived in South Africa for 4 years – I gave up my apartment there to travel the EU indefinitely. Currently I’m in The Netherlands to spend some time with family before travelling again. In the upcoming months I’ll be staying in Germany, Mallorca and Sicily. Freelance web design is my main source of income, and what I enjoy about is that it enables me to help small businesses “get out there”.
How did you become a digital nomad?
When I arrived in South Africa I got the idea to start a drop shipping website but had no money to invest or knowledge about the web. I used the internet to learn about web design and online marketing and grew the Facebook Page for that website to 20K. The owner of a digital marketing agency spotted this and employed me remotely. After a year I decided to go freelance and realised I could make money from anywhere, as long as I had my laptop and access to internet. This, combined with my desire to explore different countries and cultures, is what made me become a digital nomad.
What are your 3 essentials for every trip, besides your phone and laptop?
A set of essential oils (eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender and rosemary), my Bullet Journal, and home socks with anti-slip soles.
What’s the first adventure that comes on your mind from your DN career?
Working alongside a good friend on a fold-out table in a tent in the Garden Route, South Africa! Green fields, bush, birds, great company, campfires, stunning starry nights… definitely want more of that in my life.
What’s your daily routine as a digital nomad?
Wake up early, freshen up and have breakfast, then start work. I first answer my emails and make to-do lists in Wunderlist and my Bullet Journal, and then tackle the small tasks first so I can focus on my main project. I like to use my afternoon to do something fun, whether it’s exploring the city, hiking through nature or visiting a historical site. Then later in the evening I do some more work, as this is when I’m most creative and productive.
How do you balance your time between work and play?
By keeping afternoons and weekends free (when my work schedule allows it) to have fun and experience the village or city I’m in. Even when my schedule is very full I still make sure to do something that doesn’t take up much time, like visiting a local rooftop bar for a cocktail or take a walk on the beach to clear my head.
What are 3 pieces of advice you’d give to people wanting to transition to the digital nomad lifestyle?
1. Stay in touch with loved ones and make sure to allocate time and data for Skype calls home.
2. Be creative when it comes to funding your trips! As an example, I sometimes exchange work for stay.
3. Go carry-on only if you can. It gives you less to worry about and more freedom.
Noëlle Steegs, Freelance WordPress/Divi Web Designer
Noëlle is a Dutch minimalist digital nomad and has recently given up her apartment in South Africa to travel the EU indefinitely. Her travels are funded by freelancing as a web designer and exchanging work for stay.
Follow her on Instagram at @thetravellingsolopreneur
(Want to read more digital nomad stories? Check out Jamie and Lukas’s story here!)