An Interview With A Digital Nomad And Vanlifer

An Interview With A Digital Nomad And Vanlifer

I came up with the idea recently to interview digital nomads and creatives who are now living a life they love. I want to inspire others to live the life you want. It is possible.

I decided to reach out to vanlifer and digital nomad, Nikki Bigger. I’ve followed her and her partner Ben for a while now and I’ve been inspired by them and their journey. I wanted to ask Nikki some of the struggles of being a digital nomad, the highs and lows and everything in between. Let’s dive in!

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I’m Nikki, 29 years old from Kingston, Ontario. I live full-time in my self-converted Ford Transit van with my partner Ben. We are both Commercial Photographers, we love to hike, adventure and explore new locations. We will soon have a cute pup come the end of June and we cannot wait!
An interview with a digital nomad and vanlifer

What’s the best part about van life and what’s the worst?

The best part is the freedom and the low amount of bills. I never felt free growing up, society & people always told me what I should do, but since the vanlife, I finally know that this is the perfect path for me and the freedom is amazing! The worst part (although there aren’t many), would be always having to top up water, empty water along with the toilet stuff as well. It’s definitely my least favorite part about vanlife, but it’s worth doing to live in the van!

What would your advice be for someone wanting to become a digital nomad?

I would say do it! There is no time like the present and this moment may not ever come again. Research your heart out on how to make income on the road, build that van you’ve always been dreaming of, because regret is a horrible feeling, don’t look back on your life and wish you would have done these things.
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What’s your favourite place that you’ve visited or stayed?

Queenstown New Zealand. It’s an amazing location and it’s where I lived in a van for the first time! I loved this spot so much and I keep dreaming about it!

How long have you been living the van life?

Total 3 years. 2 years in New Zealand and 1 year in Canada.
An interview with a digital nomad and vanlifer

Is van life something you’d love to do forever?

1000% or tiny house life! I cannot wait to build a tiny house or a cabin! But I will always have a van because I love adventures.

Is it hard to make money while on the road?

It could be hard if you don’t have a remote job, but there are so many ways to make money on the road. Whether it be teaching English, social media management and loads more! If you want something, work as hard as you can to get it!

What made you decide to live the digital nomad life?

I felt trapped in society and couldn’t stand the typical way of life. I knew there was something better out there and had the courage to go find it!
An interview with a digital nomad and vanlifer

What’s one thing you wish you’d known before starting this journey?

Don’t buy an old van. Invest in a newer van. I bought a 30 year old van in NZ for $5000, ended up putting $7000 into it because it kept breaking down. The stress and hassle is not worth it.

You can follow Nikki’s journey here:

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Sustainable Gift Guide

Sustainable Gift Guide

If you know someone who’s trying to be more sustainable, or maybe that’s you, I’ve compiled a gift guide to help you choose the right product!

Please be aware that this post contains affiliate links. This will in no way effect the price of the item; it merely gives me a commission from the sale.

Sustainable Gifts

Whether it’s make up or essentials, there’s ways to be sustainable while using the products you love.

Reusable Make Up Pads

Make up wipes cost a fortune but also create a lot of rubbish. What if you can still remove make up while being more sustainable? I recently purchased these make up wipes from Amazon which allow you to wipe make up off (you can also buy make up remover) without discarding the pads. All you need to do is pop them in the wash bag in with your clothes and voila! You can purchase a pack of 16 pads here.

Bamboo Razor

We all tend to use razors at some point, but if you’re like me you’ll buy a pack of three plastic lady shavers and bin them after a few months. This is a much better option for the environment – and your skin. You can buy the bamboo safety razor here.

Bamboo Toothbrush

Maybe not a gift you would usually give your loved one but it is a gift to the environment to battle against the amount of plastic toothbrushes we use each year. In the US alone, one billion toothbrushes are thrown away each year. You may only see it as one toothbrush but it all adds up. There are plenty of places to buy your bamboo toothbrush but I bought mine on Amazon.

Sustainable Gift Guide

Pencils

If your loved one is an artist, these recycled newspaper pencils are the perfect quirky gift. On Etsy they come in a pack of five and they’re made from 100% recycled paper.

Straws

Even as an adult I still love using straws in my drinks. But to be more eco-friendly I decided to buy some long lasting ones from TK Maxx. You can obviously find these in lots of health food stores, supermarkets but if you’re like me and barely go out, I recommend getting these metal straws.

Wax Wraps

Wax wraps are a great and Eco-friendly way of storing food without using nasty plastic Tupperware. They can store your lunch, fruit or even be wrapped around jam jars. I got my own from V-Eco food wraps where you can get some beautiful patterned wraps.

sustainable gift guide

Flask

If your partner has to commute to work each day, why not buy them one of these colourful flasks? They’re perfect to keep drinks hot for twelve hours or cold drinks cold for twenty-four!

Collapsible Travel Mug

This has been n my to-buy list for a while. I think they’re such a clever idea! You can just collapse the mug into your bag when you’re not using it and it pops back open when you want to fill it up. You can find these at lots of supermarkets now but if you’re looking to buy one online you can grab yourself one of these.

sustainable gift guide

I hope these have given you some good ideas on what to get your partner or friend or family member to help them become more Eco-friendly.

6 Coping Techniques To Use For Panic Attacks

6 Coping Techniques To Use For Panic Attacks

We’ve all been in that situation where we suddenly experience a panic attack, whether you’re expecting it or not, it’s always a shock to the system. Everyone’s panic attacks are different. Mine usually consist of vertigo, a lump in the throat, sweaty, breathless, palpitations and more, depending on the situation I’m in.

I’ve noticed over the past few years that I tend to experience more panic attacks while travelling. When visiting my boyfriend in London he would have to meet me just outside the barriers and come with me on the tube. I was terrified of being alone without anyone to grab onto for support. An incident happened where my partner was ill and I needed to see him. However, he obviously couldn’t come with me on the tube and take me back to his parent’s house. I had to make the journey alone. This seemed impossible. But I think it’s one of the best things I have done for my mental health.

I managed to get on the tube by myself, albeit having a few wobbles. I got to his house by myself and it was such an accomplishment. From then on, my partner told me I would be making the journey by myself. I was angry with him. I wanted my security back. After two years of travelling on the train and meeting him on the other end, that would disappear and I would have to make the journey alone. But I did it. For over a year until I moved in with him.

I still get panic attacks when travelling alone but my anxiety has improved so much; I’m a completely different person to who I was before meeting Oliver.

So now that I’ve rambled on – and if you managed to read all of that – let me give you some tips on how to cope with panic attacks. These are a few techniques and remedies I’ve used but please be aware that not everything that worked for me will necessarily work for others.

Use the Tapping Technique

I read a while ago about a tapping technique, also called EFT tapping which is used for people with anxiety and PTSD to help relieve tension and trauma from negative events that have happened. You can read more on the technique and how to practice it here. This technique can help ground you but also take your mind off the situation by giving you something else to think about.

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Use Rescue Remedy

When I remember to bring it with me, I use Rescue Remedy to help relieve my anxiety. I have the liquid but I’ve also used the pastilles which I find better. I tend to eat a lot and like something to chew so chewing gum or pastilles really help. You can purchase Rescue Remedy here. Please be aware this is an affiliate link and any purchases you make through this link will benefit me and my blog! You won’t pay any extra, it just allows me to make money from the sale!

Scroll Through Your Phone

When I’m nervous I tend to want to do something with my hands so grabbing my phone is an instant relief for me. Try downloading some games onto your phone. When I travel, to take my mind off what I’m doing I hop onto Bubble Shooter.

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Take Yourself to a Safe Place

If you’re really struggling to keep it together and need somewhere quiet to go, you should try and find somewhere that makes you comfortable. Whether that’s going to a public bathroom and shutting yourself in a stall like I do, or grabbing a coffee and sitting down in a quiet corner, there’s always somewhere to calm down and collect your thoughts.

Call Someone to Distract You

I have a few friends I feel I can call upon when I’m anxious or having a panic attack. I usually call my friends or my partner who are able to calm me down. It really helps to distract me from my surroundings and grounds me. If you have someone who can be that person for you, that’s great! If you don’t, try texting someone or writing your worries down on paper or your notes app. It helps to write down your feelings so you can calm down.

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Get Yourself a Fidget Cube

Fidget cubes are a great way to distract yourself because you can fiddle around with buttons, switches etc. Even a Rubix cube or something small you can put in your bag may help you calm down and think about the task at hand.

I hope these were somewhat helpful tools for you to use in stressful and anxiety inducing situations! Let me know your techniques and what works for you in the comments.

Christmas Markets – Frankfurt

Christmas Markets – Frankfurt

Last weekend we visited Frankfurt and its Christmas markets. We packed jumpers, coats, hats and scarves but the weather was just the same as the UK.

My aim was to have a Baileys hot chocolate, come back with a mug and have a pretzel the size of my face – which I did.

We arrived really late on Friday night and stayed at the Bristol Hotel next to the train station. After someone (Oliver’s dad) forgot the directions, we eventually made it to the hotel after 45 minutes but it should have taken 5 😂

We woke up, had breakfast and walked to where the Christmas markets are. We stopped in a store that reminded me of Flying Tiger before heading into the markets to grab hot chocolate with amaretto.

We stayed out for a few hours to take pictures, buy drinks and get some food. There were so many stalls, from food, drinks to hardware and Christmas ornaments. I’ve never seen a market so big. We also walked over a bridge the other side of the river where there were a few flea markets and we also went into a large church with a choir performing.

We went back to the room for a while and caught up on I’m a Celeb before going out again at 7pm to see the markets in the dark.

We ended up having a Maccy D’s. We always like to see the difference in food choices when we go away. You can make your own mcflurrys and get different types of burgers. In France you can even get seafood.

On Sunday we got up, had breakfast at the Bristol Hotel and headed off to the markets again. This is when I bought my pretzel (it only cost €3.50). I also managed to get myself a Baileys hot chocolate! First time I’ve ever tried Baileys and I definitely approve.

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed attending my first European Christmas Market. It was so festive and I can’t wait to go to a new Christmas Market again.

A few tips for anyone thinking of going to a Christmas market:

  • If you buy a mulled wine or hot chocolate, you’ll pay more for the mug and get a token. If you take the mug back, you’ll get some money back. If you decide to keep it, just swap it for a clean mug.
  • Bring warm clothes such as a coat and hat but don’t worry about bringing gloves and scarves as it’s currently the same temperature as it is in the UK.
  • Check times of when markets open and close before you go and see if you can find any secret markets or indoor stalls.

A Trip To Marrakech

A Trip To Marrakech

Hi all! As you may have guessed from my selfie spam on social media, we went to Morroco for a week away. We stayed at the Riu Tikida Palmeraie in Marrakech, a short shuttle bus away from the centre of Marrakech. We went for the all inclusive because we wanted a paid for summer holiday with no fuss or hassle. We only took £50 spending money and managed to get snacks, KFC (yes we are those people on holiday) and souvenirs.

For the first few days we stayed at the hotel, lounging about on the sunbeds and swimming in the indoor swimming pool (which was completely empty for some reason). We binged on food and drink because let’s face it, you have to on all inclusive to get your moneys worth.

On Friday we decided to go into Marrakech centre and took the free shuttle bus from the hotel. I wanted to go to Majorelle Gardens as it looked so beautiful on the photos I’d seen. We could have been dropped off there but we decided to go all the way into the centre so we would know where pick up and drop off is. We walked quite a way as the gardens are a little further out and paid 70 Dirhams each to go inside which is less than £10. I was only interested in the gardens and not the museum so we only paid for that. The gardens were completely stunning and it was lovely to see how peaceful it was away from the bustling city centre. I would definitely recommend a visit.

After strolling through the gardens for around an hour and encountering some wildlife, we walked back into town and headed for KFC. Our legs were hurting from walking and I was way to hot in my leather jacket even though everyone was wearing huge puffy coats.

I really wanted to visit the palaces but we got lost on the map so instead we headed for the souks which was quite an experience. We got lost several times and were bombarded with questions from local sellers and stall holders. I didn’t particularly enjoy the souks but it was good to have ticked it off my list.

For the next few days we had some rain but also some gorgeous days with highs of up to 24c in November. It’s the perfect time to go because our hotel was fairly cheap, there was hardly anyone there and we experienced some lovely weather.

We headed back into the souks on Sunday night to see it in the dark and to buy some items with our leftover money. We bought Oliver’s parents a little tealight holder and I got a fake designer bag because I’m that girl.

Our last few days consisted of going to the local supermarket which came across as a Costco and spending some quality time in the sun drinking. It was sad to come home to reality but at the same time I can’t wait for the next adventure. Down below are some tips for anyone wishing to visit Morroco/Marrakech.

Tips

  • For women, it is best to cover the shoulders and knees to draw less attention to yourself but don’t worry about being too strict, it’s only for mainly going to the religious spots and palaces. I dressed conservatively to avoid attention.
  • If you’re staying in an all inclusive like us you don’t need to bring too much money with you unless you want to eat out a lot.
  • Take a water bottle to be more sustainable but to also keep hydrated as it can get quite humid, especially if you are walking a lot.
  • Ignore people wanting to sell you things, you will say no thank you ten times over if not.
  • People will pretend to shout things such as “you’ve dropped your purse” to get your attention so they can steal from you.
  • I noticed a lot of people were quite nasty and rude and only wanted money so keep your wits about you; don’t let anyone show you directions or carry your bag, you will be hassled until you give them money.
  • Don’t take pictures of monkeys and snake charmers because they will demand money from you.

Don’t forget to have a great time! Have you been to Morroco? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments!

Where I See Myself In Five Years

Where I See Myself In Five Years

Hi folks! I was on Twitter asking all of you what you think I should write about on the blog and the lovely Simon suggested I do a post about where I see myself in five years time. So here it goes…

In five years time I’ll be 25.Which is scaryyy. I’m not sure what will happen with my career, but I know I want to continue freelancing for now. I’d love to eventually work as an editor, and maybe even a staff writer.

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In terms of my blog, I hope it’s still going strong and that I haven’t given up on it! I hope to eventually move to my own domain so hopefully by five years time I won’t be too stingy with those dollars.

In terms of my personal life… I’m hoping to patch things up with my family, but if they don’t believe the truth, it’s going to be hard for us to get along.

I always said I was going to have kids at 25 and to me that doesn’t seem very far away and that scares me. The whole idea of childbirth and parenthood terrifies me.

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I have no idea if me and Oli will be married by then, but whatever happens I know I want to be coming home to him at the end of the day. We have said we want to move to New York, but unless we win the lottery soon (which we won’t, we don’t play it), that won’t happen for a while. Maybe we will be over there by the time I’m 25. All I know is I don’t want to live in the UK forever. I’m starting to get stir crazy in this country!

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If we haven’t moved to America and I’m not a big shot editor working at the New York Times in five years time, then I can definitely see us having our own little flat somewhere near London and us still working hard to move oversees. And I can definitely see us traveling a lot. Hopefully in five years time I have ticked off the places I want to go to such as Italy and going to Africa on Safari.

I’m also hoping they’ll be some type of furbaby in the future…Probably not a dog though (insert crying face here). But definitely a hamster or rabbit. Possibly a cat.

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So… There’s my predictions(?) for 2024. Let’s see what happens…

How To Promote Your Blog

How To Promote Your Blog

As you may know, I switched over to WordPress early on in the year from Blogger. I gained over a 1000 views in my first month and a half. I’m really happy with how my blog has grown and that I’m still doing it. I’ve never had a “hobby” last so long. So here are my top tips on how to promote your blog.

Platforms

Promoting on social media is essential if you want to gain an audience. I primarily use Twitter and Facebook now, and get a few views here and there from Instagram. A lot of my views actually come from WordPress Reader now though. Which means my followers are reading and liking and commenting on my blog. So I urge you to try to grow your followers as much as possible, as well as giving your blog its own page on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook has hundreds of blogging groups, from promotion ones, to niches such as book blogging or travel. Sharing your posts to these groups will help you immensely when wanting to gain views.

Community

If it wasn’t for all my blogging friends, I wouldn’t be where I am today. They all help me and vice versa to promote my blog posts. From one retweet to commenting on my blog, it all makes a difference.

Make sure to interact with the people who have been through this blogging journey with you from the start. They will always have your back so make sure you get into the blogging communities on Twitter.

Hashtags

Hashtags aren’t just useful for gaining likes on an Instagram pic. They’ve helped me get into free events and receive goodies from publishing companies. I use the #Bloggerswanted hashtag on Twitter to get free products, free events and more. These give you great exposure because not only will product reviews or gift guides get your blog views, but if the company who gifted you something, share it on their website or social media, you could gain more followers and clicks.

Guest Posts

Guest posts always help me promote my blog because they will usually link back to your blog and social media handles. It’s a great way of making friends in the community while also gaining exposure. It also helps to host guest bloggers on your site because chances are they’ll want their followers to read what they’ve written and share it.

I hope these tips are useful for you, whether you’re new to blogging or a pro!

Unique Things To Do In London

Unique Things To Do In London

If you’ve been to London before, you’ll obviously be going to all the touristy places such as the London Eye, Tower Bridge etc etc. But what about unique and quirky things to do in London as a tourist? Or even as a Londoner? Here’s my ultimate list of unique things to do in London.

Lady Dinah’s Cat Cafe

Oliver and I went to Lady Dinah’s earlier in the year and we fell in love with all the cats. You can read about our experience here.

The cats are all rescue and sometimes they’re put up for adoption. Entry and a cuppa is only £10 per person so well worth it! You can read more about their prices and rules here.

The Cereal Killer Cafe

The Cereal Killer Cafe has become a really popular unique London experience with hundreds of people queuing to get inside. They have tons of stuff on their menu, from milkshakes to american cereal and more! It’s the perfect breakfast date for any tourist.

You can read more about the Cereal Killer Cafe here.

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Picture from Cereal Killer Cafe’s Instagram

The Underground Supper Club

The Underground Supper Club is a unique experience to do in London, with talented chefs cooking delicious courses. Be part of a relaxed and quirky atmosphere here.

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Photo from the Basement’s gallery.

The Dinosaur Park at Crystal Palace

Oliver and I went to basketball ages ago and he said he wanted to go to the Dinosaur Park in Crystal Palace. Although it’s really run down, it’s a creepy and unique thing to do in London that you would never ever think of.

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Word On The Water

Word On The Water is a river boat that is also a bookstore. How cool is that?! You can look around downstairs (although mind your head) and take amazing Insta worthy photos (if no one gets in the way).

Swingers

Swingers is a unique golf experience in London where you can chill with your friends, have some drinks and snacks and have a game of golf. You can read more about the 9 hole course here.

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Photo from Secret London’s website.

I hope you enjoyed this list! Tell me below some unique places you’ve found.

Vee x

V-Eco Food Wrap Review

V-Eco Food Wrap Review

I was kindly gifted some amazing eco friendly and vegan wraps which can be used for packed lunches as an alternative to cling film and plastic bags.

I was so excited to receive these since I want to try and be more sustainable and watch how much plastic I use.

I was gifted some Butty Wraps, food wraps and a soapsaver which are super handy for work or travelling. These all come in different designs but I was gifted the food wraps in the butterfly print, the butty wrap in the unicorn print (which is the best, don’t argue with me) and the soap saver in cherry blossom print.

These can all be reused by just washing them under cold water with a little bit of soap after use. Don’t put anything hot in or near these as they are made from tree resin and will therefore melt because they are a type of wax!

The soapsaver will come in really handy when I go on holiday to put my soaps and toiletries in instead of buying those plastic freezer bags that I chuck away after use.

I am really looking forward to making wraps and sandwiches in these so I don’t have to buy those meal deals and chuck all the plastic and clingfilm away afterwards.

If you are interested in trying to become more sustainable and want to use these vegan alternatives for your every day use then check out V-Eco’s website!

What are you doing/buying to be more eco friendly and sustainable? Have you got any suggestions for me? Let me know in the comments!

How to Stay Cool in the Heatwave

How to Stay Cool in the Heatwave

I know we all feel like we’re melting and all we want to do is cool off and for it to be Winter again but slow down peeps. I love Summer and I found a few “hacks” on how we can enjoy the heat without looking like a melted snowman.

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  • This may be a simple one but stay hydrated – if you don’t enjoy gulping down plain old water all day then buy some of your favourite squash to add some flavour
  • Make sure to buy yourself a fan – you can’t survive a heatwave without one
  • When you’re working in a sweaty office with no air con (like I was last year) make sure you bring your own little desk fan and some ice packs with your packed lunch – you never know when you might need them
  • Make sure you always have sun cream with you – you can get pocket sun cream to make it even easier to fit into your bag or glove compartment
  • Swap your duvet for a sheet: it’s way too hot for duvets so if you still feel like monsters are out to get you in the night, take the sheet off the duvet and sleep in that. Better yet, get yourself a fan and make a little wind tent

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  • Make sure you’ve got ice in the freezer!
  • Keep the house/flat cool by shutting all curtains and blinds so the sun doesn’t get in
  • Stay outside at night when it’s cooled down
  • Go swimming to cool off
  • Make sure you always have a water bottle handy when out and about – you don’t want to waste money or plastic
  • If you work from home or use a laptop at work then buy a fan for your laptop as well so it doesn’t overheat
  • Try to avoid hot or spicy food – now might be the time to start that salad diet!
  • It’s not just us humans that are getting hot though; think of your pets, they can’t tell you they’re too hot. Make sure not to walk your dogs in this heat, not to leave them in a car or in the garden. You can also put ice in their water bowl to cool down, dogs love licking ice. Make sure to leave water bowls outside for your dog/cat and maybe out the front of your house in case an animal needs it
  • It may sound awful but take a cold shower and let your hair dry on its own
  • It’s always time for ice lollies!
  • Make sure to wear sandals and flip flops as much as possible as well as having an umbrella or parasol because your feet and head are where all the heat gets trapped in
  • Don’t leave doors and windows open as once the warmth gets in your house will become a suntrap
  • Make sure to eat lots of fruit in order to keep hydrated e.g. watermelons, nectarines, grapes and peaches

That’s all for now folks! What are some tips/hacks you know of to keep cool in this heat? Let me know in the comments!