How to Become a Digital Nomad and Work Remotely in 2020
According to a recent Buffer report, 99% of people would love to work remotely. When you’re working as a digital nomad, there’s no one to tell you when you should take vacations and when you should work. However, being the owner of your time comes with responsibilities and you’ll also have to be the one that makes sure you stay productive. You’ll have to say good-bye to procrastination and distractions, especially when working from home. Digital nomads can struggle to create an effective work schedule because their daily activities look like a puzzle, with multiple airplane or train schedules that aren’t always accurate. But, this is something you need to think about if you’re considering becoming a digital nomad as the world continues its gradual reopening. However, despite the crazy schedules and uncertainty, digital nomads still have many benefits that make it very appealing. Here we’ll show you how you can become a digital nomad and land a remote job.
Why you should become a Digital Nomad
Being a digital nomad allows you to travel when you please and get paid while doing so. This is the most appealing aspect for those who want to become a digital nomad. There are also many opportunities to work online. Companies today minimize expenses related to having a physical environment like offices so they can allocate resources to something that brings more revenue. They also save money from utility expenses because there are fewer people at the office that need electricity. This makes hiring remotely appealing to certain companies.
If you’re on retirement and still want to make some money, being a digital nomad will allow you to extend your career a couple of years more. It’s never too late to go visit your dream locations and natural paradises.
Browse Remote Job Listings for Career Ideas
Before you dive into the ocean of remote work, you should consider what type of job would make you happy. You will also need to think about the salary. Many high-paying jobs allow you to work remotely. This will depend on the skills you already have, and if you feel that you don’t have any skill for the type of job you want, you can always learn through a bootcamp. Here are some of the highest-paying jobs for digital nomads.
UX/UI Designers:UX and UI designers create better user experiences in digital products such as websites or applications. These two professions are a mix of designing and programming skills. That’s why software developers and UX designers usually work shoulder-to-shoulder. UX is related to functionality and UXdesigners research and test products to improve user experience.UI takes care of the quality of the interface, from the voice commands to the keyboards. UX designers make up to $113,000. If you’re trying to learn this skill, you can go for Thinkful’s UX and UI boot camps. Thinkful offers flexible payment methods that go from deferred tuition to loan financing payment.
Digital Marketing:Digital Marketing is different from traditional marketing despite what most people think. Digital marketing is related to SEO, YouTube, and social media platforms, such as Instagram or Facebook. Most companies are allocating their resources on digital marketing rather than the traditional ones because users and customers today spend more time on their phones and computers rather than watching TV. Digital marketers can make $85,000 in a yearly salary. General Assembly’s digital marketing bootcamp is a good option if you’re trying to learn this skill. This course teaches you everything from audience segmentation to the best strategies to implement in digital marketing strategies.
If you would like to become a digital nomad and are interested in learning new skills to do so, check out Career Karma for bootcamps on learning new and relevant skills. You could also check out our resources page for more information on remote work.
We are living in extraordinary times. The world has come to a standstill in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This pandemic has created unique challenges for our global society, and for most of us, it is the first time we’ve ever experienced a global lockdown. We all have a part to play in tackling this crisis. Physical distancing and staying indoors have helped to stop the spread of this virus. At the same time, it is easy to feel suffocated, overwhelmed, anxious, or flat out unmotivated. We all go through ups and downs and many of us are taking things day by day. That is okay. Here are some ways you can stay motivated as you navigate the bumpy road ahead.
Start with Reflection
It’s not easy dealing with this situation. We all led our own, individual lives in the days leading up to lockdown measures enacted around the world. As nations responded to the rapid spread of COVID-19, we had to come together as one global community. With the dramatic changes to our social conditions, it’s easy for us to feel unmotivated. To start, reflect on your life, as it was, a few months ago. Did you have a job that you went to every day? Did you move to a new city or country and immerse yourself in a new culture? Were you running a business or starting a freelancing journey? It may feel like it’s been a while, and for some it has, so take a moment to reflect, and remember how far you have come. Visualise what your day to day life was like. Recall the emotions that you felt as you lived it. Do your best to recall experiences that created both positive and negative emotions. Write them down. Record each memory and the emotion that you’ve associated with these memories. Identify the activities in your daily life that made you feel good or bad. Your positive experiences could include:
your daily interactions with your work colleagues
discovering new cultures and places during your travels
the day you closed a big deal with a new client or customer
While your negative experiences might include:
the monotony of a daily commute
a particularly distracting colleague
your most time-consuming client and/or customer
We are now in a new state of normal. Identify your positive experiences, and then focus on those actions that will bring more of these experiences to your life. Identify your negative experiences, and determine what you can do to minimize or eliminate the root of these experiences. If you dread your daily commute, try negotiating for a remote work policy (now might be the best time).
Define Your Goals and Quantify Them
One of the most important factors when setting a goal is to make sure that it genuinely interests you. Goals have to be important and provide value to you. Otherwise, the chances of you achieving them are low. Take a look back at your experiences. What are the common underlying themes that generated a specific emotion?
Reflect on Your Positive Experiences
Create goals around how you can enjoy more of your positive experiences in the midst of this new normal. If you feel a need to stay connected to colleagues whose company you value, reach out to a few of them and set up a weekly call. Find a colleague you are already close with and talk to someone you want to get closer to. If you enjoy interacting with select clients that make you feel valued, set up a weekly feedback call. Do not make the purpose of the call to sell more of your products or services. Use it as a touch-point to enhance the relationship. If you enjoy immersing yourself in new cultures and places, make a list of the countries or cities you want to visit when the opportunity is available again. Then make a point to learn more about those countries and cities, as though you were already on your way.
Reflect on Your Negative Experiences
Create goals around how to reduce or eliminate the negativity in your life. If you find that certain colleagues are distracting or undermining your work, start by tracking how much time you spend with them. Then find ways to reduce the time you spend interacting with them by 5%-10% each week over the next month. There are many ways to do this, and it’s probably even easier right now:
schedule a quick voice call instead of an in-person, or video meeting
have meeting agendas prepared, so that your meetings are quicker and to the point.
just ignore them for a day (this may be difficult to do, depending on the person, but you might be surprised by how little some people notice it).
If you find that certain clients are using up far more of your time than you think it’s worth, cut them loose. It can be hard to turn down a client. After all, they are the person paying you, so try using the 80/20 rule. Do you have clients that are always negotiating prices, or asking for refunds and chargebacks? Establish which 20% of your clients cause 80% of your problems, and stop working with them. Use the time instead to find a new, amazing client, who doesn’t waste your time.
Goal setting is only the start of your new journey. Once you write down your goals, check-in with yourself weekly. Check to see that you’re actually meeting these goals, or where you might be falling short. Falling short could mean:
That you’ve set very aggressive goals for an unreasonably short period of time
That the goals themselves are unfeasible
That you may need to re-evaluate your motivations for setting the goal in the first place.
It’s crucial to point out that the goals you are setting for yourself should focus on improving your happiness. Try to avoid focusing on material pursuits. Center your focus on developing the habits that further your career, generate more business, or expand your network.
We are big advocates of using goal setting to stay motivated during uncertain times, now, and in the future. They are one of the best ways to keep your mind occupied, and will continually fuel your desire to improve your livelihood, however you define it.
There is a silver lining to every hardship. Never stop looking for it, no matter how tough it gets. It’s unlikely that we will get another opportunity to take a step back and reflect on our lives as deeply as we can right now. Let us continue to play our part as we work through this crisis, but let’s also do our best to enjoy it while we can.
At Behere, we’re constantly inspired by the amazing women in our community. We’re thrilled to feature some of their stories and share how they’ve made traveling while working possible. From unconventional roles, to starting businesses abroad, these women have made exploring new places a priority. They share their biggest learnings, favorite memories, and advice for someone thinking about traveling more.
Today’s community feature, Katherine McCombs, has a rather unconventional career. She runs a circus – in Dubai – we’re not kidding. This energetic woman spends half a year managing a circus of performers from around the world in Dubai. The other 6 months she spends in NYC. This summer she decided to spend one of those months in Barcelona. Read more about her unique lifestyle below!
You have a very interesting job, can you share more about what you do for work?
“I’m very lucky that my work is rather unusual. Six months of the year I work at a theme park in Dubai, as the Circus General Manager, or as I was more often called, the Mother of Clowns. I handle everything from running the show and daily schedules, to the venue details including repairs, security and the general public. It’s hands-on, a lot of work and wildly fun. I come back with nearly unbelievable stories and strange tan lines. That along with immense gratitude that I can take the other six months at a slower pace, doing one-off events, writing, and house managing at a theatre in NYC.”
Can you share some of your favorite memories from your travels?
“My favorite memories always involve food! I joke the reason I travel is to eat my way across the world. While living in Barcelona for the month, I took a side trip to Mallorca. There, I was brought to a friend’s neighborhood bar where she and her friends insisted I sample all the local favorites while flamenco music was played by the owner. It’s still my favorite night and some of the best food I had in Spain.
Or my friend’s invitation to celebrate Vishu (South Indian celebration of the completion of Spring Equinox). There I was given a sari and enjoyed a traditional feast, eating with my fingers and praying I wouldn’t drop curry on myself.
I love how food brings groups of people together no matter their backgrounds. It’s the one thing we all have in common.”
How has Behere helped you on this journey?
“Behere is an amazing resource! I’ve been telling everyone about it since I found them on Instagram. After a few misjudged living situations in my past, I do get nervous about traveling alone as a small woman in unknown areas. But not enough to stop doing it. Behere takes so much of that worry off of my shoulders. I know it was a woman who chose the apartment and neighborhood, and that makes a difference.
It was also amazing to have Meesen as a city host, and friend, to introduce me to other women and show me her favorite places. Knowing there’s someone local who you can trust if you have a problem was an incredible stress relief (and my mother was also a fan). Everything was so easy. All I had to do was arrive and everything I needed to succeed in Barcelona was waiting for me thanks to Behere.”
Can you share your #1 piece of advice for someone who’s thinking about traveling long-term?
“Do it! Just take the plunge and go. I went back and forth for nearly a year about going to Barcelona before I booked the trip through Behere and am still kicking myself for wasting the time. I chose to go freelance so I could have more freedom to live the life I wanted. Yet here I was, only going where work took me and not taking the time to see the places I have always wanted to see. You never know what can happen if you book that trip, send that email, or strike up a conversation with that stranger. I answered a Facebook post and wound up getting my dream job in Dubai. Literally, anything can happen if you want it to and put it into the universe.
Also if you’re traveling, do your research and invest in good luggage! I had a cheap suitcase that I traveled with and the wheel jammed as I arrive for my flight at JFK. My first night in the UK was spent using a penknife to try and fix it. I do not recommend this. Make sure the wheels will last (or have a good replacement warranty!). Also make sure anything you’re carrying on your back is designed well and won’t put you at risk for injury if/when you over pack it. (On the injury note, travel insurance! You might not need it, but you do not want to be without it if you do, especially if it’s a long term trip.) I’ve become so hugely into researching luggage and travel gear, it’s become a banned topic at the dinner table.”
Feeling the need for adventure? Learn more about how Behere can help make it a reality. Check out our locations below!
At Behere, we’re constantly inspired by our amazing community. We’re thrilled to feature their stories and share how they’ve made traveling while working possible. From unconventional roles, to starting businesses abroad, these women have made exploring new places a priority. They share their biggest learnings, favorite memories, and their advice for someone thinking about living in a new city for a month.
Today’s Behere community feature, Sarah Bartholow, is a consultant from Dallas, Texas. She spent a month in Barcelona using Behere which quickly turned into a multiple month euro adventure. Read about her journey below!
“I had hit a few walls in my life and needed to remind myself that a meaningful escape and experience to regroup and reset my notion of ‘possibility’ was far more within my reach than I had been telling myself. As a brand consultant, exploration is paramount to adding ‘color’ to my capabilities, and global connectivity only broadens my offer to clients as I discovered. The ‘no brainer’ quality of going on this adventure while focusing on a new angle of my consultancy revealed itself in a shockingly short amount of time once learned more about Behere. A friend of mine heard about Behere and sent me the info and I then went on to contact a former journey-er who regaled me with her experience which encouraged me to set forth. (Thank you again, Joyce!)”
What did a day in your life look like while living abroad?
“I did not set any expectations other than to enjoy each moment, each day and whatever challenge I invited, big or small. I’d plan a daily adventure before or after a half day at the coworking space, or sometimes would turn a park bench into my ‘office’ for the day!”
What is your biggest take away/ learning while abroad?
“The biggest takeaway is that I need to get back and pronto!
Being abroad was very doable and only benefited my work to expand my network, use my eyes differently, feel history with every step, meet new people – the list goes on. I also realized how vital environment is to me to feel inspired and that the American methodology of ‘doing-doing-doing’ lacks an emotional quotient I find Europeans have in spades in order to enjoy life more fully while also keeping work meaningful. I learned that I can live in smaller spaces and that I really don’t need that much and that good ingredients in food means you eat less. ‘Satisfaction’ takes on new meanings across almost every category and more simplistically.
To this day, I keep in touch with everyone I met while in Barcelona. To think that I now have a Catalan / European network is something I had not envisioned for myself prior to taking this trip. It will stay with me forever and I will continue to cultivate my new web of relationships.”
How has Behere helped you on your journey?
“When anyone gets bogged down, it should not be taken lightly– we all need a source of inspiration and a newfound sense of being to push us into the next phase, and Behere ushered this in a palatable way. Behere actualized the possibility for me and I cannot herald their idea and platform enough to open up the world to those who seek revelation or simply just a work setting that contrasts one’s status quo. There’s no way it’s not a benefit to oneself and to a business as the landscape change alone spurs perspective and productivity. Behere onramps structure if needed, alongside recommendations from the city host, or you can just freewheel it completely with the confidence that someone is a WhatsApp message away. It is a brilliant premise all around. I also got to tap back into my Spanish speaking which had been dormant, so it felt amazing to reignite my love of the language.”
What was your favorite memory or place you went?
“This is a hard one! Too many to count and this is a good ‘problem’ to have!
I initially started with my checklist of attractions to ensure I covered them, but I kept an open mind to abandon any sense of ‘itinerary’ to allow for the awesome, fortuitous happenings that really make travel. I’m sort of a glutton for unforeseen moments that can expand my perspective in even the slightest of ways or just make me laugh. Just walking down the street in Barcelona can stir an unexpected moment, ducking into a restaurant for a cava can lead to an ad hoc dinner with interesting ‘strangers,’ and meeting ex-pats and locals alike enriched my experience. I am garrulous and extroverted by nature so this wasn’t hard for me but I re-seized the power that all I had to do was just start chatting to find an entry into a conversation and the world opened up.
I absolutely adored my walk to my co-working space via Parc de Ciutadella from my apartment. As an art enthusiast who studied Spanish Art extensively, the Fundació Joan Miró reinstated my passion. Casa Vicens, Gaudí’s first private commission, had just reopened and I went twice because it was that remarkable. El Born was a favorite neighborhood and I loved all the little squares.
And how do I accurately convey the food? It’s simply unreal and you can’t imagine how much you can stretch a Euro for a memorable meal. I went to Anthony Bourdain’s beloved Quimet y Quimet and met the family who’s been carrying its legacy for decades. Jumping on a train is just something we don’t get to do so readily in the states. Refamiliarizing myself with the ease of Europe and how they make places and experiences so accessible is something I will mimic – to the best of my ability – until I get back Europe-side ;).”
What is your #1 piece of advice for someone who’s thinking about traveling longer term?
“This is doable and achievable for anyone who has any inkling to experience something for just one month and wants to be enveloped by culture. (I ended up staying longer, btw!) Save enough to invest in this experience and reap its immanent rewards. It really is simple, and I think we ALL need a reset or new perspective to evolve. If you need a change of scenery to revitalize your work, hold your nose and jump, do not preoccupy yourself with the details ;).”
Are you looking for a change of pace and want to experience new cities without the headache of planning? Behere makes moving to a new city for a month (or more!) seamless, learn how here. Find and book private apartments, workspaces and fitness studios around the world, plus connect with our local hosts. Check out our locations below!
At Behere, we travel often and are always looking for brands and products that are great for travel, and the world. That’s why we were excited to connect with a female founder giving back – and creating a brand with a philanthropic focus! We caught up with Elle Draper, founder of Lemonelle, to learn more about her initial idea for her company and how she’s giving back through her passion.
Elle shared her initial ideation for Lemonelle
“I’ve been sewing since I was very young (mainly self-taught), and I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mind. I moved to NYC right after college, and having studied/ practiced art and design my whole life. I knew I wanted a career in the creative space, but I didn’t have the guts to start something on my own until I had spent a few years working at and learning from other companies.
After two years working as a graphic designer at a female-founded startup, where I was creating relationships with hundreds of small unique retail brands, I realized I was ready to BE one of those brands. To initiate my creative brainstorm, I thought back to my childhood and the days I spent playing around on the sewing machine.
I dusted off my machine and started tinkering with small accessories, simple dresses, and scrunchies. I saw scrunchies coming back into the high fashion world, and that was the idea that I ran with. Like a mad scientist, I started creating scrunchies of all sizes and materials, testing out different elastics until I landed on the *perfect* pattern, which is the one I use for all my scrunchies now.
The name came next. I didn’t want to limit myself by putting ‘scrunchies’ into the brand name, so I thought back to the old adage, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” and ‘Lemonelle’ was born! Another reason I like the ‘lemon’ concept is the phrase can have different endings – lemonade is just one of many options.
Cool! Tell us more about the scrunchies
“Everything is made in the USA, and I hand-pick all the fabrics myself from a variety of sources. I choose fabrics that make sense for the season, and the product. I have to consider what material(s) will look and feel good even after they’re all cinched up. Stretch velvet works nicely and has been a popular style for fall and winter. I like satin/silk combos with beautiful prints, and for the summer collection I’m using a lot of fun spandex/swim-friendly fabric.
Recently, I’ve been designing my own *custom* fabrics (also manufactured in the US). Early on, I was sewing all the scrunchies myself, but once I had perfected the product design and packaging, I decided it was best to outsource production so I could spend more time on marketing and website design.”
Being a first time founder is never easy, Elle shared some of her journey
“Finding the right manufacturer is a trial and error process. I cold-called a long list of NYC based manufacturing studios, and found three different spots that agreed to do small batch production with my original pattern. After a few rounds with NYC based production, I decided the costs were a bit high, so I expanded my search into the rest of the US. I found a studio in Kentucky, and one in LA.
I still sew all the initial samples of each style myself when I first pick out the fabrics, but then I send the fabric to those production places for the rest. Everything is made in small batches because I think it’s special to create scarcity with limited editions. It also helps me figure out what my customers are drawn to the most.”
Not only does she hand-sew each initial sample, but Elle also focuses on having a social impact
“A portion of every sale goes towards a charity called Sew Powerful, an organization that teaches women in impoverished countries how to sew.
I chose to give back because I wanted my brand to have a social impact. Sew Powerful was my charity of choice because when I considered the skills that made it possible for me to start a company, sewing was top of mind. I realized how grateful I am to have been exposed to a sewing machine at such a young age. I want to give other women the opportunity to create things with the same versatile skill and hopefully enable them to provide for their families or themselves.
In certain cases, my donation will go towards another charity. For example, I collaborated with a musical artist, Anjali World, on a specific scrunchie style (a green one called ‘Nani’, based on her nickname). Anjali founded a non-profit called Jaws and Paws which aims to protect wildlife. The proceeds from the ‘Nani’ style go towards her organization, and I plan to expand my donations with other collaborations later.”
With so many hair accessories now, what makes Lemonelle unique?
“Oh so many reasons! The philanthropic aspect of Lemonelle is one piece of it, but also the product design and the whole brand-experience is different than most. The packaging is very thoughtful; each scrunchie comes in a small clear cylinder (a pillow shape for the three-packs) with a citrus candy (lemon!) because I want the ‘unboxing’ experience to be as special as the product.
Delighting the customer is really important in creating loyalty, so I also include a circular ‘thank you’ /informational card about the company and the cause within each package. The plastic containers can be repurposed as cute little catch-alls, and the aesthetic just feels more luxurious than the typical cardboard hanger that we see for most scrunchie displays. Each scrunchie style has a fun original name to suggest a more dynamic ‘story’ beyond the color, and in each scrunchie we sew a signature yellow satin ‘tab’ for an added flair and brand recognition.
As a solo female founder, I am quality assuring every single scrunchie before I send it out, and I produce all my own social media content/ website designs (for now).
Lemonelle is also very collaboration friendly! I’ve worked with a few other small brands to create cross promotional opportunities and make special ‘bundles’. For example, over the holidays I partnered with a cosmetic brand. We created a bundle where her lipstick color matched the Lemonelle scrunchie and sold it as a duo. I have more exciting collaborations in the works too.”
And of course, why are Lemonelle scrunchies so great for travel?
“They are debatably the best travel accessory! They fit anywhere, they’re light as a feather (won’t weigh down your suitcase) and they’re incredibly versatile. Scrunchies can be dressed up or down, and unlike certain jewelry they won’t get impossibly tangled up in your travel bag.
They’re also comfortable and beneficial for hair-health. Regular hair-ties can cause split ends and unwanted kinks; scrunchies are gentle on your locks and, in my opinion, way more fun. They can be worn on the wrist like a bracelet, or in an updo for an effortless flair.
They’re perfect as travel GIFTS too; I’ve gotten amazing feedback from customers who have gotten Lemonelle as bachelorette party gifts or a bridesmaid goodies. Suitcase-caused fabric wrinkles are a non-issue as well. I never go anywhere without my scrunchies!”
Check out Lemonelle on Instagram. And if you want to support a female founder and get your hands on Elle’s scrunchies for your next trip, head to lemonelle.co.
At Behere, we’re constantly inspired by the amazing women in our community. We’re thrilled to feature some of their stories, and share how they’ve made traveling while working possible. From unconventional roles, to starting businesses abroad, these women have made exploring new place a priority. They share their biggest learnings, favorite memories, and advice for someone thinking about living in a new city for a month. Today’s Behere community feature, Chloe Handelman, decided quitting her corporate job to travel was just what she needed. Originally from Rochester, NY, Chloe used Behere to book her trip to Bali this fall. There she focused on starting her freelance business and connecting with other inspiring ladies in Bali. Read her story below.
You quit your corporate job so what are you working on now?
Right now, I am working on building up my own freelance Systems Engineering and Process Improvement consulting business. Using my corporate consulting experiences, engineering background, and interpersonal effectiveness, I bring a fresh perspective to businesses. Essentially, I help identify, solve, and implement solutions to critical business problems.
What does your daily routine look like while traveling?
This totally depends on the city I am in! In October, I lived in Bali right near great surfing beaches. I liked to wake up, without an alarm clock, and then surf or workout. I then would head over to my workspace or a cafe with WiFi. There were always skill sharing or networking events at the workspace in the evening, so I would try to go to as many as possible. I was always open to the opportunity to grab food with friends so I did that most days too! The point is: I create my daily routine. Every. Single. Day. I decide when I wake up, when I workout, and when it’s time to buckle down and crank some work out. And the best part? I don’t need to ask permission to take a walk on the beach to re-energize.
What was the most valuable thing you learned while in Bali?
That sometimes doing “nothing” is the biggest “something” you can do. One week I was in a rut. I was overwhelmed with feeling like I needed to figure everything out but had no idea where to start. A million ideas swirled around in my mind but it seemed impossible to do anything. I reluctantly decided to do “nothing.” I still showed up every day to the workspace…. I went to networking events and socialized with peers. And POOF! I felt a million times better and I was able to find clarity regarding my next steps. By releasing the feeling of needing to figure everything out, things were naturally figured out for me through casual conversation and meditation.
How did Behere help in your journey?
The second I decided to use Behere, the paralyzing pressure to “figure out how to travel the world” was lifted from my shoulders. It was my one-way ticket out of my old restrictive life. All I needed to do was show up to my new city and everything was taken care of. Behere has some of the best accommodations, incredible workspaces, and amazing fitness facilities. By knowing these were booked, I was able to focus all my attention on my business and creating a lifestyle I love.
We love hearing highlights from our communities adventures, what was one of yours?
My favorite memory is the meals I had with other women I met. We continuously had deep and inspiring conversations, intermingled with outrageous banter and hilarious storytelling. The friendships we developed will truly last a lifetime.
How did living in new places affect your work?
Being abroad allowed me to surround myself with like-minded peers. Back home, I felt like I was always trying to make my friends and family understand my passions and aspirations. Abroad, I am surrounded by people living out my passions and aspirations. They continuously encourage and inspire me to keep driving my life and pursuing my dreams.
Finally, what’s your #1 piece of advice for women who are thinking about living in a new city for a month?
Step outside that zone of comfort. Dare yourself to explore and find comfort in the unknown. Within one week of being abroad, I was able to learn more about myself than I had in an entire year back home. Within one month of being surrounded by similar minded people who work remotely, I was able to develop a plan to launch my own business and make traveling and working abroad my new lifestyle.
Ready to quit your job and explore a new city? Be prepared to do a lot of research, OR head to Behere. On Behere you can book an apartment, plus workspace and fitness studio, on one easy-to-use platform. Get started below!
Connect with Chloe on Instagram @chloehandelman. Images and words courtesy of Chloe Handelman.
It’s been used by everyone from philosophers to business leaders — and Stanford research shows it really makes a difference.
Guest Post by Nora Battelle, Multimedia Staff Writer at Thrive Global
Every month, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Executive Education and Wharton’s Center for Leadership and Change Management come together to release a “nano tool” that hones in on small changes you can make to improve your performance and leadership abilities. Their September suggestion highlights the positive impact — and widespread usage amongst successful people — of walking while making difficult decisions or thinking through complex problems.
Walking has a long history as a regular habit of successful, influential people — Queen Elizabeth I and Charles Dickens both used to take a walk every day, and Aristotle was famous for conducting his lectures, pupils in tow, while on the move. These figures have taken their walks for myriad reasons — to improve health with movement and fresh air, to find peace and solitude or to observe nature or cityscapes. There’s no shortage of good reasons to go for a walk.
But Wharton’s nano tool focuses on a particular one, and it’s a benefit that is encouraging business leaders like “the CEOs of LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook” to start walking, as well: Walking increases your creativity, and can “improve business outcomes” by helping you “come up with more and better ideas and enhanc[ed] decision making and problem solving.”
Research backs this up. Wharton’s nano tool is based on a 2017 Stanford University study, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. The study found that walking encouraged “divergent thinking,” whether the walking occurred before participants were thinking through a question or while they were thinking it through. Divergent thinking can be understood as a psychological definition of what we often refer to as creativity: It indicates a pattern of thought that brings original ideas to a question or problem.
That’s a great mental state to encourage if you want to find novel, successful solutions to stressful and difficult problems. So, next time you are puzzling through a complex issue that needs a special creative touch, go for a walk. You may be surprised by the ideas you come up with.
Nora Battelle, Multimedia Staff Writer at Thrive Global Nora Battelle is a writer from New York City. Her work has been published in the Awl, the Hairpin, and on the LARB blog, and she’s written for podcast and film. She’s fascinated by language, culture, the internet, and all the small choices that can help us thrive.
Friends have a bigger impact on your health than you might think.
Guest Post by Alex Needham
Spending time with the people you love isn’t just enjoyable, it’s good for your health.
According to The New York Times, your behavior and well-being, including anxiety and happiness levels, are impacted (strongly!) by those around you.
One way researchers are beginning to understand this concept is by examining blue zones, or areas of the planet where people have longer lifespans. In many of these areas, healthy relationships are extremely important.
Why do women live longer in this city…
With the oldest female life expectancy in the world, Okinawa, Japan is a prime example of a blue zone. In this area, people create moais, which are groups of five people who offer one another emotional, social, financial, and other kinds of support. Moais not only emphasize sharing and positivity, they also seem to improve health.
Dan Buettner, a National Geographic fellow who studies blue zones, is looking to bring moais to the United States.
“We have created moais that are now several years old, and they are still exerting a healthy influence on members’ lives,” Buettner told The New York Times.
In addition, Buettner’s team has made it easy for people to optimize their previously-formed friendships. They have created a quiz that determines which friends might have the most positive impact. “Friends can exert a measurable and ongoing influence on your health behaviors in a way that a diet never can,” Buettner says.
How to apply this to your life…
So, form your own moai. Next time you’re with friends, make an effort to encourage sincere conversation and engage in activities that you all enjoy. As exemplified in Okinawa, finding a support system won’t just benefit you in the short-term — it could transform your long-term health, too.
This new study shows what you should not be doing when you make decisions.
Guest Post by Alexandra Hayes
It goes without saying that making choices is part of what it means to be an adult. Some of them are relatively simple, like narrowing down dinner options or deciding what to wear to work on the day of a big meeting.
Then, there are the more complicated decisions that affect others and can invoke feelings of selfishness and guilt, like whether you should leave your current job where you’re needed and respected for another where there’s more opportunity for growth.
Or, say you’re a skilled engineer — do you spend your time fixing your friends’ iPhones, or decline so you can spend time doing more meaningful work that also advances your career?
Of course, each decision is a personal one, but a new study from Ohio State University suggests there’s a mindset you can adopt that will help you make decisions that maximize benefits for you and others — big picture thinking — without the guilt associated with selfishness.
One key to maximizing benefits for everyone, according to the study’s lead author Paul Stillman, PhD, is accepting the fact that sometimes the best decision will benefit you the most. He added, “The most efficient decision is the one that is going to maximize the total pie. Sometimes it makes the most sense to seem a bit selfish if that is going to maximize overall benefits.”
In the study, researchers assigned 106 students one of two distinct frames of mind: the first, a “big picture” (what psychologists call “high construal” thinking) mindset; the second, an immediate, present-day mindset.
One experiment asked students to make anonymous decisions about how to split up money between themselves and four others with the goal of maximizing benefits. Ultimately, “maximizing benefits” meant something different to each of the participants — half of them understood the phrase as making decisions that favor others, while the other half understood it as making decisions that favor themselves.
Why a ‘Big Picture Mindset’ Matters…
The results revealed that those with a “big picture” mindset almost always made choices that maximized total value for the group, whether or not the choice was most helpful to them. Meaning, they were cool with decisions that seemed selfish, so long as they felt the decision maximized benefits for the group.
Three other experiments confirmed these results, though using slightly different scenarios.
While the results are intriguing, I found myself wondering how I could actually implement big picture thinking — especially since I often find myself focused on immediate outcomes.
So I got in touch with Stillman to see what he’d recommend for someone like me.
The advice you need to make decisions
First off, he suggested taking a “metaphorical step back”, which is another way of saying put distance between yourself and whatever it is you’re considering, like imagining you’re a fly on the wall watching yourself. When you remove yourself from the situation and observe as an outsider, you’re more likely to make the smart choice — the one that serves you and others. Next, he says, you should imagine you’re helping someone else make the decision, rather than yourself.
This advice resonated with me and in my experience, has been a tried and true method for making smart choices.
Grizzly bear encounters, earthquakes while hiking, and erratic temperature changes in the Alaskan wilderness made my worries—about job security, about finances — seem so small. Interior Alaska was unpredictable, and it was frightening to have no control over this uncertain environment. But with every moment that I accepted the harsh tundra of Denali National Park and Preserve as it was, I felt more alive. Acceptance made me fearless, and if I could allow myself to be vulnerable in this uncontrollable landscape, then I could confront all of life’s challenges—including the fact that my father had taken his own life a mere three months before.
Living by the rules
I had always lived life by the rules. I went to college, got a business degree, and got a job in marketing. There, I wore suits, carried a briefcase, and had my own office. I had control (or I thought I did), and that meant life was good. At least that’s what I was told, especially by my father, who’d spent 24 years teaching me what it meant to be successful.
Though I wanted to do more with my life, my dad’s approval of it was validating. But somewhere, what I truly wanted him to understand was that this briefcase-carrying career woman was not me. I had dreams of becoming a travel writer. “Dreams are just that—they’re not meant to be acted upon,” he would say. To him, the illusion of stability and security that comes with a salaried job was not worth giving up. Fear of losing my safe life and his approval turned this into gospel.
Then, on the morning of May 12th, 2014, my father, Mark Edward Kennedy, wandered into the woods and ended his life. I was in my office when I got the news. As the enormity of the situation became clear to me, my mind short-circuited like a clock, ticking progressively more slowly until it stopped: Tick—how can I fix this? Tick—this wasn’t part of the plan. Tick—where did I go wrong? Then time ran out on life as I knew it, and there was no going back. Between convulsive screaming fits, I repeated the words “What do I do? What do I do?” I was directionless. The man who taught me how to live had just given up on living.
Dad’s philosophy of life had been to avoid anything uncertain. He never took a vacation because bosses would see that the company could continue without him, and his fiscal plan consisted of stashing large amounts of cash away in a tin can, never spending a cent on anything he considered frivolous. Of course, in practice that meant travel was often out of the question. He protected himself from pursuing a life of deeper meaning and wanted to shelter me as well because in his mind there were too many chances for it all to go wrong.
At his funeral, a slideshow of pictures highlighted the events of his life. Pictures of birthdays and holidays brought back pleasant memories, but there was no sense of life-fulfilling accomplishment. I mourned losing him, but what I mourned more than anything else was his lost potential and a long list of dreams unrealized—unrealized except for one: traveling to Germany.
Family Trip Memories
My mother and I spent much of our family trip to Germany trying to convince him that the experience was worthwhile, but he was reluctant to venture outside of his comfort zone. His misery peaked somewhere between Ulm and Schwangau on the way to visit Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria. We’d left Heidelberg at 4 a.m., and we were about five hours into our six-hour train ride. Sore from the uncomfortable seat and exhausted from sleep deprivation, he made it clear that he wasn’t happy being yanked from his routine. “I don’t see the point of jumping through all of these hoops just to see a damn castle,” he said and proclaimed that he would go straight to sleep once we got to the hotel. But when the snow-capped Alps came into view and we saw the fairy-tale castle perched among the clouds and mountain peaks, his perspective on the situation changed.
Suddenly he was leading the charge. We explored Neuschwanstein and the town of Schwangau. He sampled blood sausage, bought a traditional Bavarian Alpine hat, and even tried to speak German (he knew more of the language then he gave himself credit for). But the moment when I sensed that he was authentically happy was when he marched toward the Alpsee Lake with an ice cream in his hand, singing an old song from Looney Tunes: “You Never Know Where You’re Goin’ Till You Get There.”
At the end of the journey, he finally understood that it wasn’t just about seeing a castle — it was the reward and the thrill of fearlessly facing the unknown in pursuit of a dream. He talked about that trip for years, completely forgetting how miserable and uncomfortable he had been at the beginning.
After Dad’s funeral, my roommate, Nicole, and I talked about dreams. “I want to look at a mountain from another mountain,” she said, “but it’s stupid.”
“Never call your dreams stupid,” I replied. But who was I to judge? I had been sabotaging myself, downplaying my own dreams for years. Nicole, my dad, and I were not so different. But what was the worst that could happen? Why not look at a mountain from another mountain? Why not take a shot at becoming a travel writer?
So I broke my dad’s rules. That August I quit my job, and a day later Nicole and I headed to Alaska. I had been shown firsthand that life’s too short and fragile to live in fear, so I vowed to pursue a life where I would leave no dream untouched.
The Alaskan wilderness tested my limits. My sunburned face and callused feet ached; the idea that wolves could be stalking us was unnerving; waving my arms in the air to scare away bears sounded like a bad joke. But as Nicole and I approached the cliff and looked out over the grandeur of Denali National Park and Preserve, 20 miles from Mount McKinley, North America’s tallest mountain—much as my dad did when he saw the Alps—I recognized that being fearless and risking my comfort to witness this majestic mountain made life worthwhile. We were looking at a mountain from another mountain, and living this dream was more fulfilling than any promotion, raise, or record month of sales. We made it. I made it.
On May 12, 2014, my father walked into the woods and was too frightened to confront life’s uncertainty. And in that final act of suicide, he taught me the greatest lesson of all: that a life worth living is one lived fearlessly.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “help” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
This article was originally published on Yahoo and reshared here.
About Kae Lani: While some travellers follow their hearts, Kae Lani follows her gut. In addition to working as a travel writer, photographer, and videographer for USA Today 10Best, Kae Lani is also the co-creator of their newest venture, Eat Sip Trip. She has shared her love of food and travel on live broadcasts and has appeared as a guest on Cheddar TV and NASDAQ.
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