Michelle Maree
January 27, 2020

Interview with Michelle, an organizer of digital nomad experiences

A solo backpacking trip led to Michelle organizing co-travel experiences for digital nomads—hear how she manages working while traveling.

How did you get started with remote work?

About two years a year ago, I started traveling as a 30-year old solo backpacker in Australia. Before that time, I had lived for five years in South America, traveled a bit here and there all over the world, but never left for a year on my own without a plan.

I started looking for a job in a local Facebook group and saw an ad for a road trip, 39 days through the outback, something I had for a long time on my bucket list! With super jet lag, I picked up the phone and negotiated myself in a job on that trip: I could be the tour manager!

I got paid and could travel, how cool was that! Soon I found out that only traveling was not satisfying for me. Even though I was the tour manager and had some responsibilities, I was surrounded by mostly young backpackers, some with great stories and deep souls; others never left home before.

I missed the depth, people to connect with, and talk about ideas and visions about life.

Then I met Andreas, my colleague, and cameraman of the business we worked for. We could talk for hours about the same interests, and his head was constantly producing new ideas. I liked this. Sitting around the campfire, discussing business ideas, talking about life, really connecting.

Andreas and I ended up traveling over 20.000 km together as a team for this business, finding out how our skills and passions were the perfect match. At the same time, I started to look into learning digital marketing skills, finding out that this is the way to make money while being on the road.

With Andreas being the greatest videographer when it comes to travel and tourism, our idea started to develop to create the ultimate trips for people like us. And to capture everything on camera.

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What are you working on?

We combined our biggest passions with each other into a unique concept that brings people together and gives them a unique experience of traveling: Co-travel experiences for digital nomads: The Nomad Escape.

Photo of Michelle with members of The Nomad Escape

Photo of Michelle with members of The Nomad Escape

While we travel around to film business on the road, we offer the possibility for others to travel with us while giving them a taste of our lifestyle.

Our video production company, The Nomad Escape, specifically provides digital nomads the chance to travel to the most amazing places, connect with interesting people, get some work done, and, most of all, enjoy life.

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What's your typical work routine?

I get up around 7 AM. The first thing I do is morning stretches. I then engage in meditation and finish the morning by eating oatmeal and honey, and banana for breakfast.

Around 9 AM my workday starts. I set daily goals and a to-do list in Trello. I then track my time in Toggl and attempt to finish my daily tasks.

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How has your routine changed over time?

I try to work from 9-5.

Even though we escaped the 9-5 life in the office, I notice I am the most effective between these hours and want to be free to socialize outside of these hours.

Previously, I started working later on the day into the night, but I try to avoid that now.

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Do you have a dedicated space to work?

It depends on if we are traveling or not. During our trips, we mostly work in the mornings with the group in one of the villas where we stay or in our minibus. When I am not traveling, I am mostly in Lisbon and work in a coffee shop, at home, or a coworking space.

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How do you stay on task?

I make sure to turn off notifications to help me overcome distractions, but it is not always easy, haha!

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What do you like about remote work?

The fact that you can choose to work in an environment with other like-minded people gives me so much energy.

Meeting new people with amazing stories gives me so much inspiration and never a feeling of being stuck in the office.

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What do you not like about remote work?

It is challenging to deal with the fact that people come and go. I am quite social and mostly work in coworking spaces, but people travel, so it is hard to really get to know people.

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What tools do you use to stay productive?

I use Trello, Click up, and Google Calendar for daily tasks.

“Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.” - Peter Drucker, management consultant

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Where are your favorite countries to work remotely?

Portugal and Bali.

Photo of Lisbon by Elisa Michelet on Unsplash

Photo of Lisbon by Elisa Michelet on Unsplash

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Do you have any advice for remote workers?

  • Work in a coworking space.
  • Take brakes.
  • Do fun things.

It is easy to work all day since you can work anytime from anywhere and forget about your social life or get out for a walk. However, it is important to have a balance.

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How do you decide priorities?

I always have the bigger picture in mind. Everything I do has to benefit our long term goals, and my daily to-dos are part of that.

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How do you know when to push yourself vs rest?

I experienced burnout while traveling and working online, so I know that balance is important. Structured working days and listening to my body and mind helps. Sometimes I am not effective and focused, and I just stop working and have a walk.

Your body tells you everything!

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What has been the biggest challenge so far?

Building deeper relationships and finding a balance between work and free time. That is precisely the reason why we are doing what we are doing today. This project allows me to help others with these challenges while having this amazing lifestyle!

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What did we forget to ask Michelle Maree?

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Michelle Maree

Michelle organizes exclusive co-travel experience for digital nomads and remote workers to amazing destinations. She helps them connect, unplug, and get them out of their comfort zone to bring them to new insights and heights in life with The Nomad Escape.

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