Being a Digital Nomad is something that has interested both me and F.C. for the longest time! For those of you who don’t know, a Digital Nomad is a person who simultaneously works and travels full time. They like to work in remote locations. F.C. and I have made our little plans to take off and travel the world and hope to be DNs someday. In order to meet these goals, we love learning from those that have the ability and tenacity to do it. As members of Digital Nomads Around the World on Facebook, I was blessed to run into Joanne Clarke, a co-founder of the blog Our Bumble who was happy to interview with me on being on the road.
If you ever meet Joanne and Craig Clarke, you will find them an interesting couple to say the least! Not only are they older than the average digital nomad, they own a motorhome and travel all around Europe with their two dachshunds who are wittily named Mac and Tosh (P.S. How cute are those names?!). The couple has travelled as digital nomads throughout Europe since April 2014 and as of July 2016, have covered more than 33,432 kilometres over 606 days. That’s insane! So far on their journey, they have spent only approximately US$25,000 over the past two years. Joanne talks about life on the road:
- What has been your favourite destination so far?
Joanne: Ah there are too many places to choose from! I’m lucky enough to have been on some fantastic family holidays, day trips, long haul journeys, city breaks as well as travel in our motorhome for the last 3 years. This is a hard one; we have too many favourite destinations! Every week our list of favourite places just grows and grows. It depends on favourite of ‘what’…
I think my favorite coastline for campers is Greece. It’s wild, authentic and just so pretty. For us, Greece offers some of the most amazing wild camping spots and right on the beach. It is heaven and everyday we wake to an amazing sunrise and then go to bed with an equally amazing sunset. We play all day on the beach with the dogs; go snorkelling, a gentle stroll or cool swim. The sea is like a millpond most days and teaming with fish. We eat all our meals outside and end the day with a nice glass of wine or ouzo. What more can we ask for?
Our favourite drive was through the Grossglockner Pass in Austria. Thrill, drama, hairpin bends and scenery that take your breath away. Our favourite island was the Lofoten Islands in Norway – just magical. If you’re looking for culture, I would like to suggest the Romanian Gypsy village of Carta.
Before we invested in our motorhome, some of our favourite tips happen to be Borobudur, Dieng Plateau and Mount Bromo in Java, just simply amazing.
2) Have you ever thought about going back to leading a non-mobile life?
Joanne: Our motorhome insurance requires us to return to the U.K. every year for vehicle tests and servicing, it is a legal requirement. We take this opportunity to see family and friends, which is wonderful. It also helps test the waters and provoke thoughts and discussions on whether we want to return to the U.K. to settle back down in to a ‘normal’ life. So far, the mobile lifestyle offers far more for us in terms of freedom and opportunities than a non-mobile life.
3) How long do you keep intending to travel?
Joanne: The truth, we have no idea. We plan to travel for as long as possible until our motivation and zest for travel is no more.
4) Can you describe a particularly difficult time in your life on the road?
Joanne: Difficult times on the road are really no different to difficult times at home. The only thing that I really find difficult is supporting and seeing our family. My mum has dementia and when she has bad days I really struggle to hold it together. I do not like to see anyone suffer but it when its people you really love, it is heart breaking. The fact I am so far away means I can’t just hold her tight and reassure her everything will be OK. Mum’s dementia will get worse and this is something that will become more difficult with time. Just to be on the safe side, we had to make sure that we had life insurance.
5) Lastly, how do you earn money to keep yourself on the road?
Joanne: Well, for now we work online as well as depend on our own savings. The hope would be our investment in our website travel blog would one day provide a reasonable living but as working remotely in a completely different field, is new, it will take time. I also do some consulting on the side.
I attended Manchester University, graduated and then went on to qualify as an accountant. Once I qualified I then took out a year to go backpacking around Asia. I returned to UK to continue with my career and worked my way up to boardroom status. Fortunately my work allowed me to work and travel in Spain, Middle East and Brazil. I guess all the way through my life I have jumped between my career, which I love and my passion for travel. Now it’s time to combine both.
Thank you Joanne for your kind advice and wonderful words! Here’s hoping you and your family many miles of exciting travels and finding your place in this Digital Nomad world!