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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Tips For Working From Home

Tips For Working From Home

Whether you’re new to remote working or you’ve been working from home for a while, you may find these tips useful for when you have little motivation or feel overwhelmed.

Take Breaks

When it comes to working from home, one of my biggest tips for you is to take breaks. I sometimes find that I will get up and work for hours at a time without taking a bathroom break or even grabbing a glass of water. I used to do this when I worked 9-5 as well. However, it’s not healthy. Take regular breaks. Don’t do what I have done and work from 8am-2pm without a single break.

I know you want to get that work done and it may be important, but so is your health. Go out for a walk on your lunch break, watch an episode of Riverdale on Netflix. Anything to take a short break and then you can continue with your work. Remember to drink!

Tips for Working From Home

Work When It Suits You

Just because you used to work 9-5 doesn’t mean you have to do the same from home. Some people are more motivated in the morning, some have more energy in the evenings or at night.

Some freelancers will tell you it’s not healthy to work at night but if that’s when it suits you and you feel ready to work at that time, go for it! Everyone has different preferences. Anyway, you’re freelance, you can work whenever you want!

Just remember to set aside time for friends, family or to do your own thing. It could be during the week, weekends or any time that suits around your schedule.

Set Boundaries

Some clients can be very demanding and they can ring you up at 9pm on a Wednesday and ask you to do something. Make sure you set boundaries from the beginning of your contract.

The likelihood is you don’t need to do that task right away, it can wait until the next day. However, when I’m asked to do something immediately, I can’t stop thinking about it until it’s done.

Setting boundaries can be difficult if you work from home because clients can contact you any time. I have a few tips on how to set boundaries with clients when it comes to working from home:

  • Get a work phone that you can turn off (this can be used as one of your expenses)
  • Uninstall Gmail, Zoom, Skype etc from your phone when you’re not working
  • Send a polite email stating your working hours if asked to do something “out of hours”
  • Have an out of office email for the days/hours you don’t work

Eat Healthy

This is one I still struggle with myself. But another tip I have if you’re working from home is to cook meals and make packed lunches as you would if you were commuting to work. You need to make sure you eat properly and don’t go without. BBC Good Food has a few easy recipes you can use!

Tips for Working From Home

Have A To Do List

I find that having a to do list of all the tasks I have to complete that day super helpful. I have a long term to do list of things I need to continue doing every week/month and a to do list for the day ahead. This could just be in your notes on your phone but it may be helpful to write it down on paper!

Don’t Cut Yourself Off

It can be so easy to stay in the house and get completely isolated when working from home, so make sure you take regular walks, even if it’s just twenty minutes. Schedule in dates to see friends, go out for dinner, spend time with family. I find that if I have no travel plans or plans to meet up with people, I can fall into a pit of depression and so I need to make sure I do something once a week to get out of my head – and the house.

Take Up A Hobby

Taking up a hobby, whether it’s drawing, writing, knitting or dancing is good for you, whether you work from home or not. However, I find that because I work from home during the day there’s a lot of classes and groups on. You could go to your local library for a reading group, start pole fitness, learn street dancing or take up an activity at home.

Tips for Working From Home

Exercise

By exercise, I don’t mean having to go to the gym and working out on a treadmill for an hour. You could do some yoga at home or go for a run or just a long walk. Staying at home all the time can be negative not only for your mental but also your physical health so you need to make sure you’re regularly moving about.

And don’t forget to have fun! Working from home can have its downsides but I wouldn’t change what I do for the world.

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.

Why I Don’t Vote

Why I Don’t Vote

Before anyone jumps on the blame train, I’d like to make this clear. It’s perfectly fine to vote, it’s fine if you don’t vote and it’s okay if you’re confused and conflicted. This is completely my own opinion and if you don’t share that, then that’s fine too! I’m pretty sure all I’m trying to get across here, is you do you.

Here’s a list of reasons why I decided not to vote.

Confused

It can’t just be me who’s confused and conflicted about parties. On the one hand, I have always been brought up never to vote Tory (I come from Norfolk which has a very heavy Green Party and Labour background) because my whole family are working class and it was always made out that you could never think otherwise. It’s just where you come from. Second of all, I wouldn’t vote Labour because of Jeremy Corbyn. A lot of people I know want to vote for him because of what he’s promised, and that’s fine, I completely understand it’s like picking one of two evils, especially if you’re on the fence like I am.

I have read articles about Jeremy Corbyn and the past he has had. I don’t agree with his views and honestly I think it’s all propaganda, but that comes with every party, right?

Scaremongering

I have seen a lot of people’s articles, tweets, Instagram and Facebook posts stating that we were lied to about the referendum. However, the only party that seems to take the blame are Tories. Doesn’t every party use scaremongering tactics to win people’s votes? All parties lie about what they’re bringing to the table, so for me, I didn’t want to vote for the wrong party.

Pressure

There is so much pressure on everyone to vote now, which I completely understand because this is such an important vote. However, I’m tired of being made to feel guilty whenever I say I don’t want to vote. I won’t argue with you, your points are valid no matter what party you choose to vote for, but I won’t tolerate being pressured into voting and receiving a biased opinion.

Guilt

Basically, whatever you do, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. For me, I’m not very political so I don’t want to make an uninformed decision and regret it later. I am not a fan of any of the parties, so to decide based on what I already know would be improper. I don’t want to vote for the wrong one and then end up complaining when the country goes to shit, because, it may be selfish, but I don’t want to regret it.

Do you vote? If you don’t,what are your reasons why? I think we should be giving people the facts, not giving them our own opinions which could sway or pressure them into doing something they aren’t sure or know little about.

10 Boss Lady Quotes To Motivate You

10 Boss Lady Quotes To Motivate You

Here’s a list I’ve compiled of 10 Boss Lady quotes that are going to motivate you to get your little hinny out of bed and get shit done.

1. Go for it girl!

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2. You were born to stand out

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3. You don’t need no man to be successful

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4. Don’t give up on them dreams. Work hard

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5. There’s always time to start over

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6. Wake up and make that dream a reality.

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7. Spoken by a true #Girlboss

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8. Start living, don’t just exist.

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9. Go out and kick ass

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10. Live like there’s no tomorrow

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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…

Book Review: #Girlboss

Book Review: #Girlboss

I read #Girlboss earlier in the year because I’ve already watched the Netflix show twice and wanted to know more about Sophia Amoruso.

About #Girlboss

Girlboss was written by Sophia Amoruso after she created Nasty Gal and has turned her business into a multi million dollar company. She shares her top tips on everything from interviewing to talking with investors. There are Girlboss profiles interviewing amazing freelancers and Nasty Gal stylists.

She talks in detail about being different and how not having a business plan worked out. After all, she started on eBay and now look at her. She’s now the CEO and founder of Nasty Gal, and more recently, Girlboss.

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Review

I’ve wanted to read #Girlboss ever since I watched the TV series. The way Sophia rebelled against “working for the man” inspired me because I don’t want to be a cog in a machine for someone to get rich while I get naff all.

This book spoke to me, and not because I want to create my own eBay business or anything of the sort. I just want to kick ass and be a Girlboss in everything I do, from wearing clothes to working for myself.

Throughout the book, Sophia jumps around from her childhood to now, to the future. It would be confusing if I didn’t watch the show and if her points didn’t make sense in the chapters. But everything spoke to me and her words make me want to believe in myself. It’s so inspiring to think she made a business out of selling vintage clothes on eBay. Just think of what you could do!

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I love books like this because they motivate you to get out of bed in the morning and do something with your life instead of sitting around watching Jeremy Kyle all morning. After reading that I feel like I can do anything. Isn’t that the effect you want from books?

If you want to start you own business or just want to know how to be a Girlboss, then I urge you to read this!

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!

Why I Hate Apprenticeships

Why I Hate Apprenticeships

Now, I know a lot of people will disagree with me and that’s obviously perfectly fine, but this is my experience and it’s been a bad one. These are my reasons I hate apprenticeships.

Salary

Let’s talk about salary. When I was working as an apprentice (I’ve been in three apprenticeships) I was getting paid £3.50 an hour. How ridiculous is that? I know apprenticeships are a great way of getting into work if you have or haven’t been to university. Some may say it’s better than volunteering since you get nothing with doing that. But when you’re working 40 hours a week for just over £500 a month, it starts to become shitty and tiring. I used to spend an hours pay just getting the bus so I decided to save my £3.50 and walk 2 hours each day. When we moved further away it was even worse but I still refused to use a bus.

On Fridays, although I felt guilty, I would buy myself a Costa and then get the train after work to Oliver’s. That was £40 each weekend. Basically, I couldn’t save hardly anything (although I did manage a little here and there thank god) and by the end of the month I was surviving on a tenner.

Apprentices do the same, if not more work than full time employers. My colleague was on three times more than me, even though she worked 3 days a week and I worked 5. How does that work? Oh that’s right, because these employers don’t give a shit. If you find an apprenticeship with nice people, average pay and a decent workload, then good on you. But I’ve never met someone who has.

If you want to earn respect from your employees, pay them enough so they can afford to buy themselves dinner.

Workload

In my first apprenticeship, I was given so much work to do but very little reward for it. I know a lot of employees do a lot of work, but expecting someone to manage everything for you while paying them £3.50 an hour is a joke.

In one apprenticeship, I overheard a phone call between my boss and my colleague. My boss said that he wanted me to be his PA (all five staff members left within the first two weeks of me being there). So I asked how much I would be paid and my colleague told me I would be a PA and admin on apprenticeship wage. When my boss found out what my colleague had said this to me, he was furious as he wanted me to be below minimum wage doing a PA job. I’m not that stupid I’m afraid.

Overview

It probably won’t surprise you that I never finished any of my apprenticeships. I always left, whether it was a boss being a dick, not getting paid enough or the place went bankrupt. I haven’t had luck with any of them jobs. If you do find one, I urge you not to take any shit. You’re below minimum wage doing a full time employee’s job. Take. No. Shit. Don’t do what I did and put up with it.

An Open Letter To My Former Employers

An Open Letter To My Former Employers

Dear Former Employers,

There’s been a lot of you, there’s no doubt about that. Some of you have been kind, some of you have been awful and a lot of you, I didn’t stick around to get to know.

Every single one of you taught me something about myself. My first, you taught me how to work in a busy environment and I’m glad you gave me so much work to do. But in the end, you’re still a condescending person.

One of you taught me to work hard but play hard too. Thank you for the late nights staying up behind the bar celebrating a successful night with all of us. Giving me that job let me spread my wings and fly the nest.

One of you was deceiving. You made me think I was delusional when I told you I was being bullied. But, I learnt to stand up for myself in the process. Ironically, being one of the worst jobs I ever had, I stayed there for seven long, tedious months through the bullying, hard family life and little pay.

My last employment, which lasted three short months taught me the most: I don’t want to work for anyone ever again. I decided to look for freelance gigs and left before I found anything else. After two months I found my full time freelance gig.

Thank you all for teaching me I can do whatever the hell I want and no one is going to stop me, not even you. Vee x