How do you send a project to a customer in Denmark without Wi-Fi from the middle of the Panama Canal? And what is it really like to grab your laptop, family and a backpack and become a digital nomad? Come along for a chat with Mille Sjøgren, professional speaker, voice-over artist, author and digital nomad.
Location independent, digital nomad, remote worker – how Mille lives her life has many names and a lot of adventure. Ten years ago, Mille was fired from her job as a speaker at a large, Danish radio station, and that became the stepping stone to a new life filled with foreign countries, exciting culture and the world as her workplace and playground.
Mille and her husband looked each other in the eyes and decided it was time for more – they wanted more adventure, freedom and time. They packed their bags and two brave children and moved to Spain for ten months. Ten months became five years, as Mille and her husband Kristian learned that working remotely was a perfect way to achieve a life with both balance and adventure. After five years in Spain, the family decided to raise the bar for adventure even higher and travel the entire world around with their laptops as digital nomads.
Here are the 7 questions (and answers, of course), you’ve always wanted to ask a digital nomad:
#1 So Mille, please help us out here. What does the term “digital nomad” really mean?
M: A digital nomad is simply a person, who’s able to grab his or her computer and work from anywhere in the world. You can read my guide of 50 job possibilities as a digital nomad for inspiration(In Danish, although).
#2 Great, thanks! And please tell us, how’s a typical workday in your life as a digital nomad?
M: First of all, you definitely can’t use the word typical here. Every day is a new day full of possibilities, and I love that. When we lived five years in Spain, I would usually work from home. On our tour of the world (in 2017-2018), it would just be from anywhere possible – from a café, a co-working space or even a bungalow in the middle of the jungle. Wherever the Wi-Fi was fast enough!
M, continued: Today, we are tenants of a house in Humlebæk, outside Copenhagen, which serves as our more permanent base in between travels and new adventures. When I’m in Denmark, I like to use co-working spaces in Copenhagen or lend an apartment from a friend to work in for a day.
#3 Quite a lot of people follow you and your family’s journey on social media. Any thoughts on why your life as a digital nomad has attracted so much engagement?
M: Well, that’s a difficult one. I think that a lot of people are tired of being stressed, of not spending enough time with their families, of not liking their jobs, of not having enough time.
M, continued: My generation probably won’t stop working at all, because we’re not doing any hard, physical labour like the previous generations. That means, that we have to change the way we work accordingly. Our jobs should make our lives possible to live, but we shouldn’t just work eight hours a day because that is expected of us. I think that adventure is in our DNA as human beings, and, I guess, since I’m pursuing that element of adventure, it attracts a certain amount of curiosity and engagement.
#4 Okay if you had to choose: What’s the absolute best thing about life as a digital nomad?
M: The adventure, the freedom and the amazing experiences I’ve shared with my family, without a doubt. My two children are nine and twelve yers old, and they’ve visited 35 countries and speak three different languages. Traveling together has given us an extraordinary bond.
#5 When you left for Spain, you had already been running a business as a speaker and VO-artist for a while. How did your customers react, when you told them about moving away?
M: Before I moved to Spain ten years ago, I went on a tour around Copenhagen to visit all my existing customers. It was important for me to look them in the eyes and to tell them, that nothing was going to change in our partnership, except from my physical location. I also told them, that if they needed it, I would book a flight immediately, at my own expense. So, I’ve raised them well, you might say, and to be honest, the physical distance has never really been a problem.
#6 Has there ever been times where life as a digital nomad was particularly challenging?
M: There was this one time, when we were traveling on and by the Panama Canal with no internet whatsoever. My phone somehow managed to load an email with an urgent speak for me to do. It was raining massively, and all of the houses had roofs made out of tin, making it impossible for me to record a speak in the noise. When the rain finally stopped for a couple of minutes, I recorded the speak, but I still didn’t have enough signal to send it. My husband grabbed my laptop and had a local fisherman’s help to sail up and down the river until he found enough signal to send the sound-file. Luckily, he succeeded, but that particular incident was quite challenging!
#7 At the very last: Do you have any recommendations, tips and tricks for future digital nomads?
M: If you plan to work remotely with your own business, it’s definitely a good idea to build a brand and get a couple of customers before you decide to take the final leap as a digital nomad. Alternatively, if you’re trying to build your brand and become a digital nomad at the same time, choose a location that has a strong community of remote-workers and low living costs. Lisbon in Portugal and Chiang Mai in Thailand are great places to start without having to worry too much about money. Having savings is never a bad idea either.
M, continued: Oh and lastly, I know tons of digital nomads in different professions: Journalists, photographers, web designers, lawyers and even a digital dentist. I don’t, on the other hand, know a single person who has regretted taking the leap towards a life with this much freedom and adventure.
Thanks a bunch to Mille Sjøgren, digital nomad, author, professional speaker and voice-over artist for sharing her story and advice on living and working in a different way.
Together with her husband Kristian, Mille has written the Danish book: “Digitale nomader – et liv med mere eventyr og mindre hverdag”, which can be bought via her webshop.
You can stay posted on Mille and her family’s journey by following her on Instagram @millemum, seeing the clothing collection on @digitalnomadliving, or by listening to the podcast Den Digitale Nomade and following the Facebook page. You can also read more about Mille’s work as a speaker or check out the webshop digitalnomadliving.dk.
We hope you enjoyed this blog post. Joes & Cos is the platform that grants you access to working spaces around Copenhagen to let you work wherever you want, however you want. The app brings you the future of work and lets you create your own work/life balance. Read more here or download the app here.