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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!
Vivi realized early on that she didn’t want her vacation time to have a finite beginning and end. She studied international tourism and now has her own company helping people explore the world. Be sure to check out her Facebook page for travel tips and planning workshops!
Thank you for being here with Freedom Is Everything, Vivi!
Key takeaways from Vivi’s interview:
“Nomading has changed my perspective of my home country. I am now able to fully see the beauty of it. The gorgeous landscapes, the details of the architecture, the cleanness, and organization. There are way more great things than I would have ever admitted before nomading. It has also shown me that we do not need much for a happy and fulfilled life. I have lived with hand luggage for several years and knowing that the world is my playground and that I get to go wherever I want whenever I want it, without worrying about where to put my belongings like furniture, is very freeing and gives me permission to go after my dreams and desires fully.”
“Another piece of advice I would give is to just go for it and embrace the fact that you might suck at first. The first YouTube videos, the first Facebook lives, the first books and posts, whatever you are creating, embrace the suck, you get better over time and just keep coming back at it knowing that your skills are an art that get refined over time.”
“In today’s world, with Amazon providing one-day deliveries, Netflix providing unlimited movies whenever you want, and delivery services bringing you whatever it is that you order right to your doorstep, instant gratification is a huge problem. We start a new business, create a new podcast or YouTube channel and expect it to skyrocket and be highly successful almost immediately. Even though this can happen, be prepared for it to take some time but trust that your work will pay off and that the compound effect will kick in.”
“In the big picture, the tiny bad moments do not matter. They simply spice up the story. Life is too short to wait for the right moments or the perfect timing, jump before you are ready, go all in, immerse yourself in new experiences, learn as much as you can, live as much as you can, and feel as much as you can. Lead with love because, in the end, we are all just grown-up kids trying to make the best out of this experience called life.”
Table of Contents
Introduce yourself! 🙂 Who are you? What do you do for work? And what is your nomadic story?
Hello everyone, I am Vivi, the adventure fairy, originally from Germany, currently living in Canada. I have been a nomad for four years and have traveled to over 70 countries during the past 20 years.
I love adventures and have created my business based on it. I now plan and organize experiences, individual travels and adventures, and day trips for my clients. Furthermore, I coach and mentor on living and traveling deeper, expanding the aliveness and excitement of our life, increasing the experiences life has to offer and integrating the learnings that come from these experiences.
I also teach conversational German, which I initially started when I moved to Mexico for a university exchange. The platform used is Italki. In the beginning, I did it purely to make some extra money while living abroad. It really grew on to me and helped me be a testing ground to create exceptional client relationships and customer journeys. Teaching German also helped me understand my own culture deeper. I never had any formal training or educational background in language training or education. I taught myself how to increase my client results from scratch.
My nomadic story started with my interest in travel and experiencing other countries and cultures. During my gap year after high school, I noticed that I wanted more out of life than a yearly vacation and a soul-sucking job. I decided to study International Tourism Management and travel as much as possible during my studies to figure what kind of business I could start or how I could make money while traveling and living abroad.
During a university exchange year in Mexico City, I learned about coaching and emotional intelligence from a teacher and fell in love with the concept. I started immersing myself in it and shortly after decided to start coaching myself. These opportunities, alongside teaching German on italki, gave me the opportunity to work from anywhere, create my own schedule and travel freely on my terms.
What inspired you to start nomading? And how has nomading changed your perspective on life?
The story isn’t too interesting but showcases the power of other people sharing their stories. I saw a short documentary about digital nomads and decided if they could do it, so can I. The concept was very easy to understand. You go wherever you desire to go, connect to the Wifi, and work. Later I discovered that the concept is easier than reality, and it actually took quite a while for me to figure out how to sustainably generate money and enjoy life abroad. At the same time, I knew that the struggle of figuring it out was worth it and that I was not willing to compromise my life experience with a steady paycheck.
Nomading has changed my perspective of my home country. I am now able to fully see the beauty of it. The gorgeous landscapes, the details of the architecture, the cleanness, and organization. There are way more great things than I would have ever admitted before nomading. It has also shown me that we do not need much for a happy and fulfilled life. I have lived with hand luggage for several years and knowing that the world is my playground and that I get to go wherever I want whenever I want it, without worrying about where to put my belongings like furniture, is very freeing and gives me permission to go after my dreams and desires fully.
Please tell us the detailed story of how you started your business.
I always wanted to do something in the travel industry, yet opening my own tour agency did not seem easy or too profitable, especially with all the required licenses and insurances. After getting introduced to coaching in Mexico through my university teacher, I was all about it and wanted to do something with it. Yet, I did not believe that there was a market for travel coaching. I dabbled around, got into emotional intelligence but eventually noticed that I could not talk about travel and adventures.
When the pandemic started, I then saw the opportunity to plan local adventures and travels for people as borders were closed and people were either too busy or not creative enough to plan their getaways. My Facebook feed was filled with people complaining about boredom, having watched Netflix for days, or immersing themselves in work so much that they had not been out of the house in days. I offered adventures planned for you – weekend & week explorations in your area depending on your vibe.
The process is very simple; people give me their details on what they are looking for. This can be an adventure, romance, family vibes, or even history, architecture, and mystical based, and I research the places to visit, package it up and send them an itinerary.
I find my clients mainly through Facebook and personal branding and also offer travel & adventure coaching. Some of my clients travel full time, and I plan their van life routes. Others live a more traditional life, and I do their weekend activities and getaways for them. My coaching clients come mainly through Facebook, and I take them on a journey to long-term travel, becoming a digital nomad, or simply experiencing life on a deeper level.
What are the 2-3 favorite places where you’ve lived/traveled to and why?
I LOVE Vietnam!
Vietnam, for me, is a country that has it all. Incredible food, from low cost to luxury it has something for everyone. The people are kind and helpful, and the landscapes are diverse and stunning. It is also very easy to travel and offers a variety of beautiful vibes in different cities to work and live in. Have you ever had an egg coffee?
Vietnam has the full package. Whatever you are looking for, you can find it!
Jordan. The country totally and unexpectedly blew my mind!
I visited Jordan on my journey to complete the seven world wonders. Initially, I had no intention of visiting this country, mainly due to socially a bad reputation for female travelers and my false belief it seemingly did not have anything special to offer apart from the desert.
The hospitality of the Jordanians was beyond what I could ever imagine. My friend and I quickly found ourselves camping with locals in the desert, making food the old Bedouin way, and hanging out in caves around Petra. Petra is an ancient city carved in stone that was announced as one of the world’s wonders. Jordan totally surprised me with its hospitality and kind people and the delicious, unique food, the huge variety of attractions, and one-of-a-kind experiences that can be experienced throughout the country.
The third-place would be a tie between Mexico & Norway.
I love Norway for its mind-blowing landscapes and nature. The hiking trails and picture spots are incredible. The Norwegian tourism board has done an incredible job of making Norway easily explorable by van, offering maps, brochures, and road signs, making it super fun to explore the whole country without needing to plan a lot beforehand.
Due to its higher price of living, it is not really suitable for all nomads, and a lot of the treasures are in the countryside or in fjords which are difficult to visit without a vehicle.
Mexico is better suited for nomads as the culture is diverse, the food is amazing and beautiful places to visit.
What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking about nomading?
The first thing I always ask my clients is, “What do you want out of it, and what is your intention?” When we get clear on that, the whole journey gets a lot easier.
Some people desire to be nomads for a cheaper cost of living, others to experience the country, culture and some desire to surround themselves with other nomads and parties. There is no right or wrong. The question is, just what is it that you want out of this lifestyle? If it comes to meeting people and making new friends, which can be crucial to your experience of a certain place, here are my tips:
My favorite way of meeting people is either hanging out in a co-working place, joining one of their events or simply starting a conversation with the people working on their laptops in restaurants or cafes with a good internet connection. (You can find blog posts with the best nomad or working cafes with a simple google search on most destinations).
Another way of meeting people is through apps like Couchsurfing meet-ups, bumble friends, or even Facebook groups like nomads in (enter a place). Often there are chat groups as well, and you simply need to know the right people to get into them.
Mentality and unwillingness to work hard are a couple of reasons why some people fail on their nomad journey. Their mentality is I will give myself 3-6 months, and if it isn’t working by then, it is not for me, and I just go back to my job. Nomading is not always easy and effortless, especially when you don’t yet know how to make money. The ones who make it are the ones who either already have a remote position, a business, or some source of income or the ones that are in it no matter what. They are willing to figure it out, knowing that it can take time to get to a place where they can make decisions based on desire and what they would like to experience or where they would like to stay and not based on the price tag.
What is unique about the way you travel, and what advice do you have for someone that wants to travel with a similar style?
I would say definitely immersing myself into the culture more, which means supporting locals businesses and families—staying in local private accommodations rather than big chains. I am also trying to bridge the very touristy places with the remote, local, and hidden gems.
What is one of your favorite travel stories/experiences?
A few years ago, we visited Tibet and had planned to drive up to Mt. Everest Basecamp. In the morning, I told our private guide that we would have an incredible day. He laughed and said, “Don’t get too excited. I have done this drive over 100 times, and I’ve seen the mountain a handful of times.” I replied, “We will see,” as we hopped into the car and started driving. Hours later, we made it the last pass before driving down to the basecamp, and as we approached the highest point of the pass, all five of us were stunned. Wooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaoooooooooooooooooowwww was the only sound we made. The view was spectacular. Not one single cloud was covering this massive Himalayan mountain chain that was laying in front of us. I looked to the guide with a smile, and he said he had never seen it like this before.
The whole drive to the basecamp and the whole evening, there was not one single cloud covering this tremendous mountain in front of us. The next day we woke up, and all we could see was a massive wall of clouds. We could have been anywhere and would not have know the difference. This day was one for the books.
For someone interested in becoming an entrepreneur in your field, what’s the best advice you would give? What books, podcasts, thought leaders, or other learning resources do you recommend?
Having a coach or mentor or being in a mastermind group is highly valuable as you have other people’s eyes on your business and get to talk through your ideas and challenges, which helps for better and faster growth. My Coach, for example, makes over 100k a month while doing van life through Australia with her family of 5. Working with her reminds me daily that anything I desire is possible. People who can fully stand behind their offers, products, and businesses and the ones who walk the talk, fully embodying and practicing what they talk about, are usually the ones with the most success.
Another piece of advice I would give is to just go for it and embrace the fact that you might suck at first. The first YouTube videos, the first Facebook lives, the first books and posts, whatever you are creating, embrace the suck, you get better over time and just keep coming back at it knowing that your skills are an art that get refined over time.
Since launching, what has been most effective to acquire/retain customers and scale your business?
I only do organic marketing, and the main thing I do is genuinely share my stories, life, and if people feel like they want to work with me, they reach out. If you do good work and you build genuine relationships, people notice you, share you and your work. This has taken some time to build, but it feels the best for me, and I am very happy with it.
What digital tools do you use for your work/business?
I have currently set on a journey to write 12 books in 12 months, all being self-published through Amazon. I do my client sessions on zoom and use Facebook and Instagram for organic marketing. For my podcast, I use anchor, which serves the purpose and is easy to use. I focus on keeping my business as simple as possible and only use what I really enjoy.
A few years ago, I used to have all the funnel building and email systems like click funnels, ontraport, and co, but I never enjoyed doing it, so I decided to completely remove it.
What scale is your business at today, and what are your future goals?
The goal is to revolutionize the travel industry and grow into a multimillion-dollar business.
Right now, we have about 20 long-term clients and are on a 3000% increase compared to last year.
If you’re a content creator (podcaster, YouTuber, blogger, etc.), tell us about your content creation journey and share some of your favorite content that people should check out!
In today’s world, with Amazon providing one-day deliveries, Netflix providing unlimited movies whenever you want, and delivery services bringing you whatever it is that you order right to your doorstep, instant gratification is a huge problem. We start a new business, create a new podcast or YouTube channel and expect it to skyrocket and be highly successful almost immediately. Even though this can happen, be prepared for it to take some time but trust that your work will pay off and that the compound effect will kick in.
I like immersing myself in new projects or really going all-in when I want to grow a channel or improve the way I do things, like uploading daily videos to YouTube for two months or starting a podcast with 30 episodes in 30 days. This speeds up the momentum, helps you learn the process faster and shows you your limits and hesitations.
Here is a podcast episode where I talk about the lessons from visiting all 7 World Wonders.
What small change has made a big difference in your life?
Knowing that everything happens for a reason. Everything either teaches me something valuable or makes for an incredible memory or story. It is not worth worrying or stressing about most things, as we have the power to create the end of each of the stories we create in our life. In situations that might not look favorable for me, I simply ask, “How will this story end for me?” and then I can act accordingly.
If you only had a few minutes to live, what are the most important life lessons you would share with the world?
Live fully! In the big picture, the tiny bad moments do not matter. They simply spice up the story. Life is too short to wait for the right moments or the perfect timing, jump before you are ready, go all in, immerse yourself in new experiences, learn as much as you can, live as much as you can & feel as much as you can. Lead with love because, in the end, we are all just grown-up kids trying to make the best out of this experience called life.
Go after your dreams, do not hold back, and do not take things too seriously. Sometimes we do not know what is possible for us until we see someone else doing it, so do not stop going after your dreams. There are people waiting for you to go first.
What do you travel with that you couldn’t imagine traveling without?
What’s your favorite book and why?
I love The Third Door by Alex Banayan. If you can listen to the audio version even better as he reads it himself. I love The Third Door as Alex, a young college kid, wanted to find the secret to success and set on a journey to interview the most successful people and then write a book about it.
His journey ended up taking over seven years instead of his anticipated summer project and his determination and growth over these seven years is amazing. In the book, he shares how he interviewed all these successful people like Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, Spielberg, Zuckerburg, Tim Ferris, and more and what he learned from them. It is definitely a good one!
How can people learn more about you and your work?
Or tune into my podcast Explore To Evolve