Interview by Digital Travel Guru: Who is Emmi Laine?
I got interviewed by Digital Travel Guru about the Nomad lifestyle. I am a 27-year-old marketing professional from London, originally from Helsinki (Finland). Background with entrepreneurship in marketing. Currently working as a marketing director for a start-up in artificial intelligence. As a hobby, studying languages and machine learning, writing a blog and helping small businesses to develop. Finishing her masters in economics. Loves and respects nature, fresh air and clean water.
Traveling for work and pleasure approximately 4 days – often even 7 days a week. Usually traveling in Asia and Europe. Favorite country could be Lebanon if got to pick one because of it’s incredible culture, nature, people and kitchen.
If had to choose one country to live in, that would be a place with mountains and the sea. Currently in Croatia with a car, on a way to Romania for a month. Purpose for a trip: work. While not working, going to write posts about Romania’s incredible nature, kitchen and overall atmosphere.
Next countries I will be visiting in upcoming 60 days: Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, Finland, Arab Emirates, India, Germany, Austria, and United Kingdom.
What can our readers find on your blog?
Work is not a place, work is a state of mind. Find about ‘nomad’ lifestyle and how to fit travel and work together. Read hotel, restaurant and Airbnb reviews, sometimes articles written in a marketer perspective.
When did you start your blog and why?
I started my latest blog on the beginning of the year 2016 for taxation reasons: I had to create a way to remember the trips I’ve been to so that I would get a tax relief from my traveling days through my company. That’s an honest – the most uninspiring reason for having a travel blog. But then I realized that I actually enjoy of writing those reviews and sharing the pictures I’ve taken on my travels. That’s how the purpose changed.
Where was home prior to you starting the nomad life? Doo you still go back? How often? How easy is it to return home whilst roaming the world?
I’m originally from Helsinki, Finland. When I had my address in Helsinki, I still traveled quite much – approximately 4 times a month. Currently my address is in London but travel approximately 4 times – sometimes even 7 times a week around Asia and Europe mainly. I’m visiting Finland approximately 2 days in a month. Only ‘thing’ that I miss from Finland is my grandmother: we used to live close to each other and I visited her many times a week. She’s getting old as grandmothers attempt to do and I would want to be there for her. I’ve even invited her to live with me but she wants to stay in Finland – which I understand. It’s her home.
How would you describe the term nomad life in your own words?
Nomad life for me means freedom. For me it means that my home is where my heart is – with all its corniness.
Nomad lifestyle has always been my goal, and I approached it sooner than I attempted to. In a way I’ve always been a traveler, but a nomad life started only when I moved out of my birth country (Finland). This was approximately 1.7 years ago.
What are some of the pro’s and cons of being a nomad?
For me there are only pro’s: In my birth country, I didn’t feel like at home. I didn’t enjoy of too many things. Felt like I was in the bottle. Still I don’t feel like belonging to the society but now I feel free like a bird. All my problems disappeared when I stopped trying to fit myself into Finnish society: 9-to-5 job isn’t for everybody. High taxation isn’t for everybody either.
What types of places do you stay in when travelling?
In my business travels, I often stay in the hotels – nicer hotels in India, not too nice hotels in Germany. When I’m booking my own accommodations, I often choose Airbnb instead of the hotel because those, attempt to be better value for your money. Depending of the country.
The big question everyone wants to know (how do you earn an income to travel full time)?
I’m working as a marketing director for 2 start-ups in artificial intelligence. I have monthly incomes and which I’m truly thankful for my superior, the CEO of the company, she lets me work from wherever I want and is leading the company with her own example.
Do you have any tips for people that want to start the nomad way of living? Can you recommend any particular countries to start with? Or what countries you started with and how you found them.
I moved to London when started a nomad life. Not the cheapest place to start with. I guess, everybody whom are thinking of starting a nomad life should be thinking first: what do you want in your life? What are your personal/ professional goals? Why do you want to leave your home country and ‘start over’? Are you escaping something or just bored like I was? As an example: London is a good city to find a job. But you need good connections to get into the management level as your first job. If you don’t have connections nor significant professional achievements – you got to be ready to start from the bottom. But you have also high possibilities to proceed in your career fast – a way faster than in smaller countries. Dreaming of moving to Italy? Well, then prepare yourself to work in the restaurants, being an entrepreneur or unemployed. Also, the salary level is a way lower than in many other countries in the Europe.
What types of things do people need to plan prior to starting the nomad life?
I didn’t plan my nomad life much – it just happened. I packed my bags in the SUV and drove all the way from Finland to the UK.
Have you had any scary or funny experiences whilst travelling?
I have never experienced anything scary whilst travelling. It’s how you take things. Something that I experienced in Lebanon might be frightening for a person who has lived in the bubble like Finland, but are normal life for Lebanese: 3 millions of Syrian refugees, straight from the war zone wandering around on the streets. Disabled children in the wheelchairs, closed streets… Still – as said, Lebanon is one of my absolute favorite countries.
How many countries approx have you lived the nomad life in? Did you encounter any visas or immigration issues?
I travel in a monthly basis to multiple countries. Finnish passport is a blessing: I can travel to almost anywhere without visas and I’ve never had any immigration issues. I have valid visas for India and China.
As a full time nomad (what is your back up plan) if the money or work runs low?
I don’t have any back up plans as a nomad: life brings what it brings. I have never had troubles in making money. When you don’t stress about it, everything will work out.
Do you do use any freelance work sites to obtain work from?
I don’t use any freelance work sites to obtain work from. I haven’t ever really needed those.
When you reach a particular destination – how do you find work? Do you have a strategy or do you try ad secure work before you arrive?
I don’t need to think about the work issue. I’ve had multiple companies in multiple countries. There is always a need for my skill matrix.
What factors do you consider prior to travelling to a country for the nomad life?
I go where my work takes me.
Have you encountered any issues with adjusting to local customs or the culture whilst you have been travelling? What about language barriers has this been an issue anywhere?
I haven’t ever faced any issues with adjusting to local customs or the culture whilst I’ve been travelling. Language barriers bring nice little challenges for the everyday life and make me feel like a brain dead sometimes when realizing that I understand even Italian better than British accent.
Do you travel solo as a nomad? if so what are the pros and cons of this?
Nowadays I travel with my partner. I really much enjoy of experiencing life with a person that I have a strong bond with.
Has been easy to make friends and socialise – whilst travelling around as a nomad?
I’m quite an introvert in my personal life, so I really much enjoy being alone whenever I can. In my professional life I’m more social and make friends through business.
Do you have any money saving tips for flights / accommodation? Any recommended sites to book on?
I’ve faced multiple troubles when booking through services such as booking.com and hotels.com: often the total price of the hotel night I’ve booked attempt to be 50€ more expensive than has been promised in the booking services. Therefore, the best way to book the hotels is through their own websites. Also when booking Hilton hotels for example, it’s better to join their loyalty programs and book through their own websites; you’ll collect points very fast and save sometimes even 100€/ a night. Otherwise, I would recommend to always compare hotel prices to the Airbnb prices. In some cities, Airbnb and hotel prices are in the same level, some cities Airbnb can be more expensive than hotels, but often Airbnb is a better option (more value for your money)
Optional question – : (what equipment do you use for your blog or as part of your nomad lifestyle e.g: drones, cameras, computers, editing software, tablets phones)
Currently, I only have my phones and my laptop. I always carry extra phones with me in a case some of those gets broken.
What country are you in at present? how have you found the nomad life there? any recommendation for places to check out or places to hang out for nomads? (nomad communities)
I don’t know anything about nomad communities. As said, I’m an introvert. Currently I’m surrounded by mountains and forest, somewhere in Croatia. In between Novi Vinodolski and Makarska. Croatia is great for hiking, beaching, sailing and enjoying of a life. Croatians are warm, welcoming and strong. They love throwing BBQ parties and their national treasure, Raki never ends where ever you go in Croatia.
What has been some of your top highlights from travelling (experiences / places)
My top highlights from travelling happen every time I get to know better somebody’s religion or a culture. One highlight from some months back was when I was invited to a party with Somalian and Ethiopian Sunni-Muslim women. I was the only person in the party with Caucasian background.
What is on your bucket list?
I don’t really do bucket lists, but perhaps I should do one for my blog. A part of the world that I haven’t yet experienced is Southern America. It’s something that I will definitely want to experience in upcoming years.
How do you see the future of nomadism?
I see that people have traveled and moved throughout the ages; in a search of better living standards, because of the natural disasters or a war. We live in the era when traveling is easier than ever: you get all the possible information in a real time, book your travels and accommodations from online. People also possibly move more than ever: there are asylum seekers, refugees and migrants from Asia, Africa, South-America and some parts of Europe that are moving because their lives are under a thread in their own home countries, cities and towns. Then there are people like me whom have a freedom to choose – and we choose to leave our homes. One thing from many what is common between myself and a refugee: we both are nomads, both of our children will probably face some kind of an identity crisis at some point of their lives. Our children will share similar kind of life stories in a sense that their ethnicity is somewhere else than in the country they live in. Our children are under a thread of being bullied in a school because of their ethnicity. But perhaps, because of the nomadism, things will change and people start getting used to the mix of cultures. Perhaps after the era of hate, war and misogynies there will begin an era of love, respect and peace.
Has being a nomad taught you any life lessons? if so pease elaborate.
Being a nomad has taught me what is it like to belong to a minority. What is it like to get treated differently because of your ethical background.
Please share one quote you love.
“Work is not a place. Work is a state of mind.”