We speak to Kristin, co-founder of YonderWork, a travel company for digital nomads which combines travel, coworking, and professional development. She is a traveler, foodie, and yogi, and loves trying new things and going off the beaten path.
Where are you originally from?
I am from a tiny (but awesome) town in Vermont on the border with Canada.
What did you used to do before starting YonderWork?
Previously, I worked in international development which furthered my interest in travel and experiencing other cultures.
I now run a travel company for digital nomads called YonderWork which combines travel, coworking, and professional development.
We take groups of remote workers for 2-month trips to locations around the world where we work remotely, learn new skills, enjoy the best parts of travel, and aim to find work-life balance.
How long have you been a digital nomad?
I used to work in international development so I’ve been combining work and travel for many years.
I’ve also been fortunate to have some great managers who’ve supported flexible work arrangements, which has furthered my ability to work remotely.
How did the idea of YonderWork come about?
I had been thinking of going fully remote and taking some extended time to travel. I really enjoyed what I was doing at the time for work, but the grind of the daily commute and cube life was getting to me and I was feeling like I could use a change of scenery.
I was confident that I had built up the skill set to take the plunge and work remotely 100%. I thought it would be the best of both worlds, being able to do what I love (traveling) without pausing my career.
As my departure date approached and I was telling friends and family about my plans, it became apparent that a lot of people would love to combine their work with travel.
After also talking with other digital nomads, the issue of loneliness and a lack of community continually arose.
That’s how the idea behind YonderWork started.
Starting a new business is tough. Any challenges faced while trying to launch YonderWork?
The most challenging part of starting YonderWork is that the concept of work and travel programs is still relatively new so most people don’t even know this awesome opportunity is available to them.
What about the most fun thing about starting YonderWork?
The most fun part of about starting YonderWork has been the people we’ve met along the way.
By working with other remote workers all around the world we’ve met some really incredible people and have been so inspired by the interesting things they are doing!
If you had to pick, which city would be your favorite city as a digital nomad?
That’s a tough question because I like different places for different reasons but one of my favorites is for sure Buenos Aires.
There is so much to do and see and I think I just jive really well with the culture there. I’m not a morning person so I appreciate the later starts in the day and how the streets are buzzing with energy late into the evening.
I also LOVE the food and of course the wine in Argentina. Next time I’m there, I’m planning to take some Spanish classes so I can further immerse myself in the culture. I just can’t wait to be back!
Have you encountered any safety issues while traveling? Any safety tips for women travelers?
Luckily, I haven’t had any issues with safety. I’d say the most valuable thing you can do to stay safe is to just to be aware of your surroundings.
If you do that, you’ll have a good sense of whether you are in a safe environment or not.
I’m not saying that things can’t happen, but despite what the media portrays, there are more good people in this world than bad.
What’s the hardest thing about being a digital nomad?
Solo travel. While it can be fun, I sometimes find it to be very lonely.
What is one work productivity tip you’ll recommend?
DO NOT try to work from your room. It is so much more productive to separate your work and living spaces.
I usually choose to work from co-working spaces, but coffee shops with good internet can also suffice.
If someone wants to become a digital nomad, what would be your advice to her?
Do it! This amazing lifestyle is so much more attainable than you think. If you don’t have a remote job already, try talking to your boss or check out some remote job boards.