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This is the latest interview in a series featuring digital nomads talking about their lives and lessons (click here if you want to be interviewed). The goal is to help demystify the process of making money online, wandering the world, and living an unconventional life!
Kyle and Amy travel the world while working in several areas of the entertainment industry. We love their travel style of renting Airbnb with fellow collaborators and friends to create a great work/play environment.
Thank you for being here with Freedom Is Everything, Kyle & Amy!
Key takeaways from Kyle and Amy’s interview:
“Overall, our best advice would be to find the thing you love to do more than anything else in the world and turn that into a business. If you run your own business, you’ll be able to have the freedom to travel and do what you love everyday, from anywhere.”
“Another realization of ours is that you should try to stay in a place for at least two weeks at a time. That way, you have enough time to get settled in, catch up on emails and do some deep work, and then go out and enjoy yourself and the surroundings. As remote workers, we still need to carve out plenty of time to rest and work — even if we’re in gorgeous places!”
“As a woman who has done a lot of solo travel, Amy’s best advice for fellow female solopreneurs is to be mindful about your surroundings and join group events organized by your hostel if you’re worried about exploring alone. If it helps with your peace of mind, you can take self-defense classes before traveling abroad alone. However, don’t be too worried: a ship is safest at harbor, but that’s not what ships are for. Go forth and see the world!”
Table of Contents
Introduce yourself! 🙂 Who are you? What do you do for work? And what is your nomadic story?
Hello! We are Amy Suto and Kyle Cords, digital nomads and founders of what we like to call our “Hollywood 2.0,” aka a collection of companies that seek to reinvent entertainment. We both came up in Hollywood as TV writers but saw how exploitative the industry was and wanted to create something better while traveling the world with fellow nomads and Hollywood expats.
We founded Kingdom of Pavement, our scripted podcast company, to produce bold scripted and unscripted podcasts. Our most recent shows include The Last Station, a scripted podcast about the end of the world, and Just to Be Nominated, an awards-show murder mystery set at the Oscars. Both shows have actors that are located all over the world as remote work is at the core of our companies!
We also just launched Kingdom of Ink, our writing services company that is built on a unique model. Our freelance writers are supported by a mutual aid program, where 5% of every contract is redistributed equally to create a financial safety net that supports everyone in the creative.
Kyle founded The Orphanage Collective as a way to reinvent management for writers, creating a more communal system for creatives to find work and develop their ideas. Members of The Orphanage Collective have sold their original content to places like HBO and have directed episodes of TV for streamers like Netflix.
When we’re not trying to help creatives in our companies, we’re digital nomads. In the past year, we’ve lived in the following cities: Nashville, TN; Banner Elk, NC; Galena, IL; Palm Springs, CA; Winter Park, CO; and Los Angeles. Amy, in particular, is no stranger to the digital nomad life, as she also ghostwrites memoirs for her clients all over the world and is constantly traveling to meet them.
What inspired you to start nomading? And how has nomading changed your perspective on life?
We were inspired to become digital nomads because we value our freedom and ability to travel. As creatives, it’s important for us to be able to meet new people and see new places. Our collaborators also live all around the world, so we love meeting up with them when we can!
Being digital nomads has helped us become better global citizens. We’ve been working remotely in Budapest for the past two weeks, and we were here for State Formation Day, which is Hungary’s “Fourth of July.” Meeting locals and learning about the history of different countries makes us more well-rounded entrepreneurs and creatives, and we lend the richness of our experience to our work.
Working remotely has its challenges — like maintaining a normal-ish work schedule when our collaborators are based in different timezones all over the world! — but these challenges are worth it.
Yesterday we were sitting in Doubleshot, our favorite coffee shop in Budapest, helping the barista hone her new beetroot latte she was testing to add to the menu. Hearing about why people like her moved to Budapest and what they love about this city inspires us to help others learn how to work remotely through our companies like KingdomofInk.com. Our travels reaffirm our mission and our “why” for our work!
For the next two months, we’ll be traveling around Italy and are excited to continue to have life-changing experiences while we grow our companies.
Please tell us your detailed story of how you got into your line of work and how you turned it into a remote career.
We created Kingdom of Pavement, Kingdom of Ink, and The Orphanage Collective to better the world around us. Amy was already working remotely before the pandemic, and COVID only accelerated making our companies more remote-forward. All of our employees and freelancers also work remotely, and we want to continue to inspire everyone in our environment to see the world while working on creative projects.
What does a day in your work life look like? Paint a picture for us :).
Our daily routine changes slightly on where we are, but right now, we wake up every morning and do yoga by the river behind our Airbnb. We love starting the day with yoga because it helps us get into a flow state and get in some exercise first thing in the morning. Then, we cook breakfast together and then break for our morning work session. After four or so hours of work, we prepare lunch, do any meetings we have if it’s a Tuesday or Thursday (we try to keep meetings just to those days!), and then go for a walk or hike in the afternoon. Then it’s back to work and meetings until dinner. Sometimes we’ll go exploring in the evenings and find a new place to eat nearby, or sometimes we’ll stay in and cook. Then, we’ll finish the day by enjoying the hot tub or fire pit underneath the starry sky.
What is unique about the way you travel, and what advice do you have for someone that wants to travel with a similar style?
We travel with fellow collaborators and friends! We rent out Airbnb’s and stay in hostels when we’re abroad. For quarantine, we’ve been staying in the US and have been doing a full road trip around the entire US, staying a month in each city. We have a home base in Los Angeles so that we can return to our sunny home when we feel like it, but spend most of our time during the year traveling.
What are the 2-3 favorite places where you’ve lived/traveled to and why?
We loved working in Galena, Illinois: we stayed in an abandoned orphanage turned Airbnb at the top of the hill overlooking a quaint little town that feels like it’s been completely preserved since the early 1900s. Everything is in walking distance, and the shopkeepers and townspeople are super friendly. We loved taking the Trolley Tour and eating freshly made grilled cheeses from the wine and cheese shop in-between our busy workdays!
Amy also loved her time in Paris and Berlin. We’re both excited to get back to Europe later this year and are going to Prague, Budapest, Santorini, Athens, and all over Italy for the end of this year.
What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking about nomading?
Stay in hostels! They have great work-related amenities like public workspaces, and they’re a great way for a solopreneur to travel on a budget while being able to still meet people and be in a hub of activity. Remote work can be a little bit lonely if you don’t have others to travel with, so finding other digital nomad friends or meeting new people in hostels is key to finding community wherever you go.
It’s also best to travel as light as you can and just stay in hostels and places where you can wash your clothes. Use work tools like e-readers and tablets to help condense the amount of documents/books you need to bring with you, and challenge yourself to create more minimal routines. We love shampoo bars and other zero-waste alternatives because they also take up less space in addition to being eco-friendly!
Another realization of ours is that you should try to stay in a place for at least two weeks at a time. That way, you have enough time to get settled in, catch up on emails and do some deep work, and then go out and enjoy yourself and the surroundings. As remote workers, we still need to carve out plenty of time to rest and work — even if we’re in gorgeous places!
As a woman, what should other people who identify similarly (and who haven’t traveled much) know about traveling/nomading?
As a woman who has done a lot of solo travel, Amy’s best advice for fellow female solopreneurs is to be mindful about your surroundings and join group events organized by your hostel if you’re worried about exploring alone. If it helps with your peace of mind, you can take self-defense classes before traveling abroad alone. However, don’t be too worried: a ship is safest at harbor, but that’s not what ships are for. Go forth and see the world!
What digital tools do you use for your work?
We use almost every tool under the sun! Discord is our favorite for community communication. We use monday.com for task management and project management, Zoom for meetings and scripted podcast rehearsals/recording sessions, and otter.ai for recording transcripts of meetings for Amy’s freelance work.
For someone interested in getting into your field of work, what’s the best advice you would give? And what books, podcasts, thought leaders, or other learning resources do you recommend?
We’re going to be launching our new podcast, The Nowhere Room, about just this! We’re wanting everyone to find the somewhere that’s right for them in the Nowhere Room, and we’re going to be covering all topics related to ethical entrepreneurship, creative endeavors, and remote work. Be sure to subscribe at the Kingdom of Pavement website to be notified when that drops!
Overall, our best advice would be to find the thing you love to do more than anything else in the world and turn that into a business. If you run your own business, you’ll be able to have the freedom to travel and do what you love everyday, from anywhere.
Tell us about your content creation journey and share some of your favorite content that people should check out!
Amy has been running her own writing blog at AmySuto.com for the past decade and loves being able to connect with her readers. Her blog has helped her meet new clients and collaborators, and it helps her reflect on what she’s learned as a writer and content creator.
If you only had a few minutes to live, what are the most important life lessons you would share with the world?
We’re not going to live forever: tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, so make sure you’re spending your today doing what you love with people who inspire you.
What do you travel with that you couldn’t imagine traveling without?
We love our Remarkable tablets — they’re digital legal pads and e-readers, and they’re a great way to keep handwritten notes without having to waste paper! (We’re big on sustainability in our work and lives, if you can’t tell!)
How can people learn more about you and your work?
You can follow us on Instagram or check out our websites below!