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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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!

Boycotting Black Friday

Boycotting Black Friday

If you’re anything like me you’ll love a bargain. Black Friday is the ideal time to get that new dress or make up palatte or console you’ve had your eye on. But when we take a look at the facts, will we really want to be spending our hard earned money on unsustainable items?

So, before we take a look at how unsustainable Black Friday actually is, let’s take a look at how it effects you as a customer and as an employee.

Over a 100 injuries occur on Black Friday and 12 people have actually died since 2006 while shopping. Can you imagine being so desperate for a sale that your life actually depends on it? Not only is this horrific for the customer but imagine what the staff have to go through; late nights, early mornings and dealing with bloody rude customers.

Now that we’ve had a look at the cons for customers and staff, let’s take a look at the unsustainable side. It’s averaged that the UK will spend around £5.6 billion on Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year. Think of the amount of Fast Fashion retailers taking part in this. The amount of clothes that will be bought and thrown to the back of the wardrobe without another thought; or tossed into landfill after one use. Think of how much time has gone into making these clothes from workers who aren’t even paid a minimum wage. As a country we have bought into this mindset of how we need the latest staple piece from Topshop or we need these amazing shoes from Missguided. The amount of clothes bought in the UK alone is astonishing.

However, there are some fashion retailers who are abandoning the tradition of Black Friday such as Monki. On their website they have written a statement about how they will not have any deals and they’ve called it “Black Fri-nay” which is kinda cliche but catchy if you ask me. To me, even though Monki is only rated as “It’s a start” on Good On You, I would much rather buy from a brand such as this than I would Pretty Little Thing, one of the worst fast fashion companies there is.

Did you know more than 83% of Black Friday shoppers say they would buy their items and gifts via mobile? It may be great for people who work or don’t want to be trampled by crowds, but in reality, it’s scary to think that a new pair of boots or a new tee is only a click away. Fast fashion retailers have so much power over their customers. There’s always a sale section, but Black Friday is their day to shine.

But why are we conditioned to want the latest item of clothing or the newest accessory? I read an interesting article recently about the Diderot Effect. “The Diderot Effect states that obtaining a new possession often creates a spiral of consumption which leads you to acquire more new things. As a result, we end up buying things that our previous selves never needed to feel happy or fulfilled.” It makes sense that we buy items we don’t need, we just think we need to have them. This, to me, is how fast fashion retailers get us.

So, what can we do to boycott Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year?

For a start, do not give in to the deals you see pop up on your Facebook feed or click on a link to Boohoo deals that your best friend sent you. As hard as it can be if you’re new to the sustainable approach, you have to have some willpower.

Unsubscribe to retailers emails that will undoubtedly be sent to you today and Monday.

I recently noticed I still follow some fast fashion retailers on Facebook and finally got around to unliking the pages so there’s no temptation to look or support them in any way.

You can also create your own blog posts or share your thoughts on your social media channels.

There’s even events going on you can take part in. My sustainable friend Becky is speaking at an event this weekend. You can find the events here.

You can also support small businesses hosting black Friday deals such as etsy businesses or buy on depop or ebay. There’s still ways to get the deals you want, you just have to be more eco conscious!

What are you doing to boycott Black Friday?

Sources:

https://www.finder.com/uk/black-friday-statistics

https://www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/what-buy-what-skip-black-friday-ncna1091706

https://jamesclear.com/diderot-effect