In my series of interviews with digital nomads, I look for nomads with interesting lives who can share some inspiring stories and useful advice from their experience.
This time I spoke to Andrae Smith, a digital nomad who runs retreats for digital nomads 🙂
She’s originally from Cape Town, South Africa. Before starting her own business and moving to the digital nomad lifestyle, she worked for an edtech startup as their Head of Marketing & Acquisition.
Before that, she worked at Groupon as a Strategic Ecommerce Manager, as well as a Marketing analyst for one of the biggest corporations in South Africa, Standard Bank.
In between these jobs she took time off to travel and even became a certified tour guide at one point as she always knew she wanted to get into that industry.
Read the interview to find out how she works from anywhere, which cities she thinks are best for digital nomads and how she stays productive while travelling.
How long have you been a digital nomad?
I’ve been a digital nomad for over two years now and love it!
How do you make a living as a digital nomad?
I founded a startup called Work Wanderers in 2018 and have been building it up since then.
Work Wanderers offers 3-week coliving/coworking retreats for digital nomads in various locations around the world.
We usually host a group of 7-12 entrepreneurs, freelancers, and remote workers on each retreat and focus on staying productive, community, exploring and giving back.
We sort out all the logistics so our Wanderers can enjoy their new city/island without any hassle and with an instant community.
I run and manage the company with a small team and I attend all the retreats as the retreat leader.
I enjoy meeting other nomads from around the world and being hands-on when it comes to my business.
I also do some paid media consulting work on the side as my background is in marketing.
What do you wish you had known before you became a digital nomad?
When setting out I knew there would be financial instability, however, I wish I had gained some consulting clients before leaving my full-time job, as this took some time to acquire and the transition would’ve been easier if I had a network of clients I could draw from straight away.
Share a resource that every digital nomad should be aware of
I have found Facebook community groups to be very useful and a great way to met like-minded people when travelling.
Here are some of the groups I am a part of:
What’s your favourite thing about the digital nomad lifestyle?
Obviously being able to travel is great but what I really enjoy is meeting people from all parts of the world and hearing their stories, learning what they do and building my network of international friends.
What are the best cities for digital nomads from your experience?
I would say, Canggu, Bali is the area I’ve been to that is most set up for digital nomads and offers a great lifestyle.
This is the go-to area for a reason – great co-working spaces, healthy & hipster restaurants & cafes, good internet, relatively affordable accommodation, surfing beaches and a cool community of nomads.
If you’re looking for something a little different though I would recommend Cape Town.
I am slightly biased as I am based here, but Cape Town is an eclectic city with beautiful beaches and Winelands, trendy cafes and cool nightlife as well as an emerging digital nomad scene with over 34 co-working spaces and networking events weekly.
How many hours a day do you work on average?
I work 7 days a week but on average about 4-hours a day n total.
Some days I can work over 10 hours and others only one hour so it does fluctuate depending on my schedule.
I appreciate the flexibility it offers and try to make use of it by heading down to the beach on a sunny day or going to a winery. As long as I get the work done, when doesn’t matter as much.
How do you stay productive while you travel?
I generally use a co-working space when travelling as I find it forces me to stay focused and productive.
When there are so many distractions and constant FOMO, it helps seeing others working hard around me and sharing the lifestyle.
What’s your favourite digital nomad gadget?
Have to have earphones when travelling.
I use an app called Pocket which stores any articles I want to read later and converts them to audio.
I then listen to these when on a plane or train and catch up on my ‘reading’.
What has been your biggest challenge?
As I run a startup, that’s definitely been the biggest challenge as it’s tough and sales are always a factor.
The travel, experiences and people I have met have made it all worth it and I am so happy I have chosen this lifestyle.
What are your plans for the future?
My plan for the future is to scale Work Wanderers and run multiple retreats every month in cities around the world.
As one of the key pillars is to give back to local communities, I hope to build a network of NGO’s and non-profits worldwide that we can volunteer at and build funds for.