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.
nikki bigger

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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Female Creative Series: Q&A with Beauty Blogger Chichi

Female Creative Series: Q&A with Beauty Blogger Chichi

I started a female Creative Series to celebrate the women around us who work hard and hustle in the creative jobs. This week I spoke to Chichi, a beauty blogger who lives in Cambridge.

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

My name is Chichi and I’m a beauty blogger. I’m from London and I currently live in Cambridge. In my spare time I like to read books, watch YouTube videos, visit museums and blog!

What do you do for a living?

I work in digital media and marketing. I specialise in content writing and copywriting, but I’ve also worked in content marketing, blogger & influencer outreach and social media management.

What made you decide to do what you do for a living?

I kind of fell into the digital media world. My original plan was to become a journalist and work in traditional media – I wanted to work as a beauty and fashion journalist for magazines. But after discovering the digital media world and realising that I could write for online media, I chose to do that instead.

What would be your advice for someone looking to go into your profession?

If you want to enter the industry then definitely try to get some experience and build up your network. Your network is your net worth! Consider taking professional qualifications – this is something I am working on right now. Also, create a website or portfolio to showcase your best work.

What are some of your hobbies or skills that you’d like to improve this year? 

I’m currently teaching myself to play the keyboard after briefly learning as a child. The thing is that learning to play an instrument requires so much practice and consistency so I need to keep it up and keep it going.

What’s a quote that makes you feel empowered/motivated?

“Your value does not decrease based upon someone’s inability to see your worth.”

Can you tell us some of your favourite female creatives you love to support? Feel free to link to their socials or blogs!

I am always reading blogs and these are some of my favourites:

Sophie Milner (formerly Fashion Slave)

Gemma Louise

A Woman’s Confidence

Kate La Vie

Albertine Sarah

Demi Colleen

Cruelty-Free Kitty

Can you recommend your top 5 books for creatives? 

The Joy Of No

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff by Richard Carlson

What A Time To Be Alone by Chidera Eggerue

The Courage To Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight

You can find Chichi on her socials:

Blog: https://www.chichiwritesbeauty.co.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/chichiogwe
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/chichiogwe/

 

Reasons Your Website Isn’t Getting Views

Reasons Your Website Isn’t Getting Views

Have you been struggling with gaining new followers and visitors to your site? Down below I list the reasons why your website isn’t getting views and what you can do to improve the situation.

You Aren’t Marketing Yourself

As a blogger, it can be difficult to know how to market yourself to stand out from the rest. You have to have a certain level of confidence in your work in order to believe in it, and therefore, to market it.

If you’re writing blog posts you aren’t passionate about, you won’t be passionate about marketing it. The first step to gaining views is to decide how you want to be perceived, and this starts with your brand.

You Don’t Have A Brand

Maybe the reason you aren’t getting views on your website is because you simply do not have a consistent brand. For my website I have a logo and I’ve named all my social media accounts the same thing. I have a consistent logo on all social media channels so when someone mentions me or my blog, they will have the image of my logo in their head.

Reasons Your Website Isn't Getting Views

You can hire a graphic designer to create a look for your website or to create a custom logo. My wonderful friend Chelsea created one for me which I adore! It describes me perfectly and I wouldn’t change it! To market your brand, you have to have a consistent theme or be known for your niche.

You Don’t Have A Posting Schedule

Another reason your website isn’t getting views could be that you don’t post at a time when your followers are online. I asked my followers on Instagram a series of questions recently about the times they’re online, what content they want to see and what days they’re most active. I learnt that my followers tend to be online at night time on weekdays and they prefer my original content instead of graphics.

Not only is it important to post your blog on WordPress or your website at the right time, it’s also important when you post to your social channels. These handy graphs from Sprout are a great way to see what traffic you could be getting by posting at the correct times. Please bare in mind these are from last year.

A way you can see what time your followers are online is to do the same thing I did. Or you can do your research on what country gives you the most views and aim to publish a blog post or Instagram post at a time that suits them. It’s all about analyzing your audience.

You Aren’t Targeting Your Audience

Another reason your website isn’t getting views could be that you aren’t targeting the right audience. The internet has so many blogs and websites for people to read. You need to make sure you stand out and your audience – your followers – are the key. Take a look at what they blog about or like to read – host polls on social media asking what your followers prefer to see from you and when.

If you’re looking to change your niche, I recommend going through all your social media channels and following people who also blog or have a website similar to yours. The odds are they will be interested in the same content that they write about – I know I am.

Start following these people, interacting with their posts and networking. This is how you can get organic views to your website and target the right audience too!

You Don’t Have The Right Tools

It’s obvious that if you see an appealing looking blog with a great aesthetic, you’re going to click on it. After all, that’s why we scroll through Pinterest for hours on end, right?!

There are so many free apps you can get to improve the visuals for your website. I currently use Canva which I use for my clients as well. It’s easy to use and you can use so many graphics and illustrations for free. You can also upgrade your plan so you get even more options.

Changing it up so you have eye-catching visuals will make a huge difference for your website.

You Don’t Have The Right Social Media Channels

You might not be getting the views you want because you haven’t downloaded apps and promoted your articles or website on the right platforms. I predominately get my views from Twitter and WordPress followers. So my goal is to gain followers on here.

I know a lot of bloggers who gain hundreds of views through Pinterest and if you have the swipe up function, on Instagram. I do gain a few followers and views through Instagram but it’s very rare.

You have to do your homework, see what works for you. I used to get so many views via Facebook groups and promoting on my Facebook Page. Nowadays, I get less than half my views from there. But that’s where it all started for me, so you have to know your audience, have a brand and know exactly when to post in order to get the views. I hope this was helpful in some way, and by all means, if you have any tips feel free to share them in the comments section of my blog.

If you want more advice on how to promote your website, check out my recent blog post.

If you’re still confused and need help growing your audience and gaining views to your website, contact me via email at greenv745@gmail.com and I can help you create content and market your brand. I am a social media manager myself and have several clients I work with on social media and generating new, organic followers.

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.

How To Write A Blog Post When You Have No Motivation

How To Write A Blog Post When You Have No Motivation

We’ve all been there when it feels like we’ll never write another blog post again and we’ll go down as the worst blogger in the history of bloggers. Blogger’s get writer’s block too, not just authors! So here are my top tips on how to write a blog post when you have zero motivation to do so!

Take Your Time

Don’t rush because if you do, it means compromising your content. If you don’t feel like you can produce good content at the moment, take a step back, take a break and come back to it in a few hours. Stepping away from whatever project you’re working on may help you see it clearer than you would if you were sat right in front of it.

Find Your Inspiration

There are so many blog posts providing lists on what to write for your blog. You can find loads of these lists on Pinterest and by just googling. For instance, if you write fashion related content, google lists of what to write for that topic.

Another way of finding inspiration is from photos. I always find that a photo can make me think of something else and then the ball starts rolling into an idea for a blog post. Instagram can be a good way of finding that inspiration you desperately need.

Ask For Help

Ask your followers or friends what they’d love to see on your blog. Getting an outsider’s opinion might help you write a blog when you have no motivation to.  You may find that the topic they suggest could lead to other potential posts.

Brainstorm

If you don’t feel like you’re in the head space to write a full blown blog post, brainstorm all your ideas. It can be just words, phrases, quotes or even photos. Think of it like a mood board for your blog and creativity.

Keep A Journal

You might find that writing daily just about what you’ve been up to and how you’re feeling will give you ideas for blog posts. You’ll find your writer’s block slowly starts going away the more you write. Whether you bullet journal or write in your diary, whatever creative passion you have, pour your heart into it. No one has to read it if you don’t want them to – just get the ball rolling!

I hope this guide helped you with your lack of motivation!

Why I Want To Move To New York

Why I Want To Move To New York

So since it’s #TravelTuesday I wanted to share my reasons of why I want to live in New York, the city that never sleeps.

If you have moved from the UK to the US I would also love to speak to you so do get in touch!

Endless possibilities

Even though I now live very close to London, it is so difficult to find work and get to London on time for events. I don’t think London even compares to NYC at all, but there is a lot that goes on here.

Despite that, New York is the city that never sleeps and it has so many opportunities. There are countless things to discover within the city and outside of it. There are lots more publishing jobs in New York than London and if I actually lived within New York it wouldn’t cost me as much to get to work as it would to get to London every morning. Plus, who doesn’t want to be walking the streets of New York with a Dunkin Donuts in hand?

It’s Busy

You’d think, as someone with social anxiety, I would hate the fact there are so many people. But I actually become more anxious when there are fewer people around because I feel as if they’re judging me.

Whereas in New York because it’s heaving, I can just blend in. Everyone is so busy caring about their own lives that they don’t even notice you.

Sense Of Belonging

Whenever I go to New York I feel like I belong there. It ticks every box on my list and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I feel at home walking the streets. I don’t feel this way in the UK and I don’t think I ever will.

Now I just have to let fate decide. Because it’s so difficult getting a visa, I have to pray one day I’ll find a job that enables me to work there. But that’s very hard to do when you’re a freelancer!

Have you ever moved abroad? And if so, where did you come from and where did you go? (I now have the Cotton Eye Joe song in my head.)

Glamping In A Plane

Glamping In A Plane

You heard that right! Oliver and I went Glamping, and not just any old Glamping; we did it in style. We stayed on a Jetstar in the South of Wales.

First off, I’ll tell you how I found the plane ‘Hotel.’ I was looking for planes to stay in because Oliver is obsessed with flying and planes. I searched for ages, all around the world. But I really wanted to find one in the UK. That’s when I came across Apple Camping on Airbnb which has the most wackiest places to stay, including the plane, a UFO, a witches hat and more.

I ended up booking one night (it was obviously expensive) in Wales for Oliver’s Christmas present. He was so happy when I told him and we’ve been waiting so long for this mini break.

So on Saturday morning we packed up the car and off we went for our three and a half hour drive. The weather coming out of Surrey started to hail which made me worry about what the weather must be like in Wales.

However, when we got to Swansea it was rather hot (silly me wore black jeans). We made our way to the campsite via Google maps because the sat nav lost signal when we stopped at a services. Apple Camping is located next to a farm about ten minutes away from Tenby. It’s nice and quiet and we met Wolf the campsite owner on arrival.

As we walked across the field Wolf told us they are building a church for weddings and we saw the UFO in the middle of the campsite. We walked all the way past the showers and kitchen to our home for the night: the Jetstar.

Wolf showed us our little outdoor kitchen area before taking us up the steps into the plane. First we saw the cockpit with all the original seating and equipment. Then we walked along to see where the pilot would sleep. Wolf told us that the plane originally crash landed in Gloucestershire somewhere and was then used for movies such as Diehard and Goldfinger until the campite bought it.

The seating in the plane is all original as well as the tray tables that pop out of the wall. There’s all the original strobe lighting as well as where the air stewards would make drinks. There’s also a little toilet with the original sink and taps. The bedroom has been built on to the end of the plane to give you space for all your things and a nice comfy bed.

Once settled and once I’d taken a few photos and videos, we set off to Tenby where we had dinner at Yeah Buoy, a wonderful and cheap little burger place in the centre by the sea.

Oliver wanted to show me the life boat house that was featured on grand designs and we had a nice walk around and on the beach. Once we had had dinner we loaded up with alcohol from Tescos and headed back to our camp (not before panicking because we thought the car needed oil).

Once back to the plane we played around in the cockpit (it has an Xbox but it didn’t really work) for a bit until retiring (yes, I’m trying to sound posh) to the seating area to play scrabble (I don’t think we really know the rules of scrabble but I did find out that Duffin is actually a word.)

We had a good night’s sleep with bedding provided but we did forget to take our own towels!

Checkout was at 12pm that morning so we got up at about 10am to pack up our overnight things. After taking more selfies and checking out (which consisted of shutting the doors) we headed off to Barry Island to see where all the Gavin and Stacey scenes were filmed. We played crazy golf and took photos of Gavin’s house and Stacey’s. I didn’t know this but Marco’s actually exists!

After having a look around we walked back to the car and made our long way home. But we did get back for 7pm when we had dinner and a fire at home with the family.

Have you ever been to a unique hotel or Airbnb? Let me know in the comments!

Sadler’s Wells Review: The Thread

Sadler’s Wells Review: The Thread

So on Friday night I went to see the world premiere of Russell Maliphant and Vangelis’ The Thread.

First of all, I want to take a moment to appreciate the costumes designed by Mary Katrantzou. The outfits fit in so well with the Greek myth concept.

The dancing wasn’t like anything I’ve ever seen before, it was flowing one moment and then fast paced the next. The balance between both worked well, as did the music alongside it. I really enjoyed the calming, tranquil melody of Vangelis’ work. It almost made me feel like I was doing meditation because it was that type of music.

‘In a word, or rather, in a line, the Thread is the energy which connects us to the universe.’ I really felt this when all the dancers were synchronising together. The mixture of dance and movement and music was oddly calming. The only part that wasn’t relaxing and a little bit of a let down was a song that made my head spin. It sounded like cow bells being banged hard against the floor. It made me put my fingers in my ears!

However, I did feel connected in that moment when they all danced in a rhythm together. But apart from that song, I absolutely loved all of the performances, from the solos to the group dances. They all told a story which felt magical.

The lighting by Michael Hulls, which I wouldn’t usually comment on, was actually really well executed to make the dancers seem like they disappeared in one place and popped up in another.

I found myself amazed at the fact all these dancers could remember all of that choreography. It was quite a magical evening with the idyllic music and storyline. I would definitely recommend seeing the Thread for the dancer’s amazing effortless performance and Vangelis Oscar winning music.

A Trip to Nice

A Trip to Nice

For Oliver’s 21st, Oliver’s parents took us to Nice in France for the weekend.

Day One

We took off to Gatwick at 3am for our flight at 6am. We arrived in Nice around 9am and made our way on the tram to Hotel Brice.

For a while we pottered around the town and had pain au chocolates. It was rainy but it was lovely to explore.

We had some lunch in McDonald’s while it poured down and went back to the hotel for a nap before going out to pizza.

Day Two

Oliver’s birthday! For his birthday I got him basketball tickets for London and his parents got him a lamborghini experience in Monaco.

We went into the Monte Carlo casino and had some lunch in Cafe De Paris before getting the bus back to Nice. We had some delicious hot chocolate and an ice cream to share.

We all got a gift from Oliver’s parents saying we were going to Frankfurt in December to see the Christmas markets!

Until next time, love, Vee x

Book Review: Bookshop Girl

Book Review: Bookshop Girl

This week I’ll be reviewing Bookshop Girl by Chloe Coles.

Blurb

Bennett’s Bookshop has always been a haven for sixteen-year-old Paige Turner. It’s a place where she can escape from her sleepy hometown, hang out with her best friend, Holly, and also earn some money.

But, like so many bookshops, Bennett’s has become a ‘casualty of the high street’ – it’s strapped for cash and going to be torn down. Paige is determined to save it but mobilising a small town like Greysworth is no mean feat.

Time is ticking – but that’s not the only problem Paige has. How is she going to fend off the attractions of beautiful fellow artist, Blaine? And, more importantly, will his anarchist ways make or break her bookshop campaign?

Review

I picked this book up on a whim in my local library because of its title. I love anything bookshop so this felt ideal.

I was right to love it! It’s full of books, quirky personalities and friendship. It’s a heartwarming read about the things that matter in life. Paige wants to study art and the only thing keeping her going in the town is Bennetts Bookshop which she adores working at with her bestie Holly.

This book is full of laughs and I loved every second of it. Paige reminded me of me, but so did Holly. They’re both bookworms who are weird but wonderful. I found myself wishing I knew these girls because they would probably be my best friends in real life.

I can’t wait to read the next installment of Paige’s adventures!

Until next time, love, Vee x