Kristin sits down with Julia Kallweit, Co-Founder of WiFi Tribe, a community of remote professionals, freelancers, and entrepreneurs from 62 nationalities who have embarked on an unconventional style of travel.
Kristin sits down with Julia Kallweit, Co-Founder of WiFi Tribe, a community of remote professionals, freelancers, and entrepreneurs from 62 nationalities who have embarked on an unconventional style of travel.
Have you ever wanted to live and travel with other digital nomads? There’s never been a better opportunity than this! Tune in to learn the origin story behind WiFi Tribe and get a glimpse into what it’s like to work, live, and experience new cultures with a community of like-minded travelers.
Julia speaks on how digital nomads can minimize the harmful impacts of tourism on local communities around the world. Then, she shares her top tips and advice on working remotely in a foreign country, recovering from burnout, and finding work/life balance as a full-time digital nomad.
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Kristin: Are you looking for a new job in the New Year? One that will let you work from home or work from anywhere? Try FlexJobs. FlexJobs is the biggest site in the world for hand screened, remote, freelance, and part-time jobs. A membership to FlexJobs makes your remote job search faster and easier. FlexJobs has remote, hybrid and flexible job listings in over 50 different categories ranging from entry level to executive. So whether you want to stay in your current career but just transition into a remote position or find something completely new, FlexJobs can help. Try FlexJobs today and save up to 30% using our link in the show notes with code SAVE30. That's code SAVE 3 0. Using our link in the show notes.
Welcome to Badass Digital Nomads, where we're pushing the boundaries of remote work and travel, all while staying grounded with a little bit of old school philosophy, self-development, and business advice from our guests.
Hey there, Kristin, from Traveling with Kristin here and welcome to episode 184 of Badass Digital Nomads. My guest today is Julia Kallweit, one of the co-founders of Wifi Tribe, which is an international roaming community for remote workers, digital nomads, adventurous professionals, anyone who wants to travel the world, meet other people and work online at the same time. I've known Julia for quite a few years now, so it was great to sit down and catch up with her and hear more about the story behind Wifi Tribe and how she started it right out of college. We're also talking about some of the destinations that you can go to, the experiences that you can have and what makes it a community, not just within the tribe itself and the network of alumni, but how they get involved with the local communities where they reside. Julia also opened up a lot about her experience with burnout and what she's learned from that and how to avoid it or cope with it in the future.
And of course we couldn't let her go without sharing some of her travel tips and remote work tips that she's learned from so many years on the road. As usual, all of the resources that we talk about will be linked in the show notes as well as the link to Wifi Tribe where you can check out the upcoming chapters, dates, and destinations. Also, remember that you can catch up with me and my travels and daily stories over on Instagram @TravelingWithKristin and we are back to weekly videos over on my YouTube channel Traveling With Kristin and shout out to Malika this week. She left a five star review for the podcast that says pretty awesome, Kristin offers a lot of great information and is really relatable. Thanks for taking the time to leave a review Malika and enjoy today's conversation with Julia Kallweit.
Last time we talked face-to-face. It's so funny because I was here, I was moving into this apartment.
Julia: I know.
Kristin: And you were staying in my other apartment in Miami and it feels like it was just yesterday, but it was over a year ago.
Julia: It feels ridiculous to me like how time has been flying lately. It was thinking about, it's like, yeah, Miami must be such a great time. It's like, wait a second that was over a year ago. It was like almost one and a half years ago. I think it was April, 2021. So yeah, and like see also you like I like see you with the whole background now, like fully furnished like living room and <laugh>.
Kristin: Yeah, because when you were here I had no furniture so we couldn't even hang out in my apartment.
Julia: No <laugh> you had your standing table and like you had your monitor and then you had like your fancy mat to balance out your way and was like to not hurt your back. That was it. Oh no. You had the chair behind you that was there as well.
Kristin: Oh yeah, that's right. This uh egg chair, the basket chair. Yeah. I basically just had a standing desk and the chair. Did I even have a bed? I think I got the bed first.
Julia: Yeah, the bed came when I was there. But then also you ordered the outdoor furniture I think. So you were looking forward to that.
Kristin: Yeah. Yeah. So we didn't even have anywhere to hang out <laugh>. And where are you today? Is, are you in Germany?
Julia: I'm in Germany right now, yeah. Getting ready to leave again for a little African adventure. <laugh>,
Kristin: When will you be in Africa?
Julia: I'm gonna head out next week on Wednesday and going for one month to Egypt, meeting some friends over there that are locals. I'm gonna show a friend of mine and me around and then I'll be in Tanzania, half private half Wifi Tribe because we have like a new product called Unplugged Adventures. It's basically for like for reunions of our alumnis and the people that slow down travel, but they don't do like one month anymore. They do like a week and yeah, try to focus on US bucket list adventures but still with a sense of like yeah this is like a place for a union and people that haven't seen each other in a long time. So we have a group climbing Kilimanjaro and then we have one group going on the safari.
Kristin: That sounds fun
Julia: Through this serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. Yeah, we'll be really cool. Yeah, I'm looking forward to that.
Kristin: Yeah. And then this trip to Egypt, is that related to Wifi Tribe or just personal?
Julia: That's personal like as an exception. Yeah, <laugh> but then like after Tanzania that's gonna be a chapter will be one month on Mauritius with a Tribe
Kristin: I saw that and I also saw that Egypt is on the list also for upcoming destinations
Julia: For that yeah, that's like at the end of the year. Like we've been there at the beginning of the year and people really, really enjoyed it and like really love the vibe. Like I think everything that's like a small beach town and it's not overrun by tourists yet. And like we keep looking for those and trying to find those because I mean as you probably know Puerto Escondido has been like a really beautiful place now it's just like exploded with tourism and restaurants and hotels and it's like kind of like a Bali vibe currently. So yeah. Always trying to find like those new spots and shift around a little bit. But the group loved it there and it's like as we have like a chapter in January's like, okay wait a second, we should add another one at the end of the year because people have such a good time.
Kristin: Yeah. I wish I went to Puerto Escondido back in my surfing days because it was always a really popular surf town and that's how I ended up in Bali way back when in like 2008 or something. But I've never been to Puerto Escondido and I just talked with another girl for the podcast and she's living there and she was telling me how expensive it is now and how crowded it is that expats are going outside of the outskirts of town to try to find rentals and stuff. So, I guess that happens everywhere eventually. And then I remember seeing a guy in Bali, he had lived there for probably 15 years and he kept moving to different parts of Bali to kind of escape the crowds <laugh>, but I think he was from Australia and when I was talking to him he was running a yoga studio or Yoga retreat center and he told me he was moving onto a sailboat so that he could just live by himself <laugh>. So it's this funny balance where we kind of want to be the first people in places. We don't wanna be completely alone and isolated, but we also don't wanna be in really touristy areas. Sometimes Playa del Carmen can feel a little too touristy but then we are the ones that are tourists <laugh>.
Julia: It is so interesting that you say that because in June/July– I was in Bansko for the Nomad Fest and it was like really fun to like reunite with those people again and see everyone after like two, three years of like not conferences, not festivals and exchange some opinions and I couldn't a hundred percent wrap my head around it, but the way of like how we are as digital nomads or remote workers going to all these places and also changing the way they operate or like our impact on like the economy there because obviously like the brand locals want to serve like the new clients, which is then us. And when I bring the infrastructure and say okay, let's bring fast wifi but then also adjust the Airbnbs and suddenly all the Airbnbs around the world look the same and the prices go up.
So yeah, trying to be more conscious of our impact there and like what we do and how we can give back or what people need. But I feel like no one has really figured that part out yet. So that's still still something to be aware of but kind of consciously working on that in my mind and like trying to see, okay, how can we be more, I wouldn't even say sustainable because I feel sustainability is like a word that is outdated because right now like sustainability is like belongs to 10 years ago. I feel like right now is all the resources and we have is like something that is, it's more about like recreating culture, regaining back land for people that belong to them or reassigning like the places almost I feel like. And like we keep taking and I'm wondering, okay, how can we actually give back?
Kristin: I think about that a lot and I, that was my next question, have you guys come up with any answers yet? Because I feel like I'm mulling that over. There's probably thousands of us thinking about it at the same time, which is how change happens I guess. But it's like a combination of being more thoughtful and cognizant about the impact
Julia: Right? Yeah.
Kristin: Because when there were fewer people it was a lesser impact.
Julia: Exactly. Yeah.
Kristin: And so each person has an individual impact but it wasn't as much of a collective change that was happening. And there does need to be, I think a clearer collaborative path forward because it's happening. It's like this integration of cultures that's happening really fast and even though we knew it would happen eventually because the pandemic sped everything up, I think that's where the sustainability term comes in, it was like a complete explosion of this remote work movement overnight
Julia: And no one can cope. Look at the airlines and like flights being delayed and cancel everyone going crazy and like flight prices and property prices skyrocketing. I mean especially from Wifi Tribe perspective where we like book flights for team members or we like have to organize the accommodation for chapters is insane. It's like 50% price increase almost everywhere we are going.
Kristin: Yeah. And the Airbnb algorithm does play a role because Airbnb is well aware of what's going on and they're actively participating in it. And I haven't listed a property on Airbnb lately, but the last time I listed one you didn't even have to put the price that you wanted. Airbnb would adjust for market conditions. And so I think that's putting upward pressure on the prices because some hosts aren't even setting the price unless they've changed it. But from what what I remember, you could just let Airbnb set it automatically with the algorithm and that probably is weighted towards enhancing the profit margins of Airbnb. Which increases the prices of the property. So yeah, that's happening, but there's no stopping this nor would we want to, because this is what we've wanted for everyone for so long, is this ability of the general population to benefit from technology and the ability to be location independent. But yeah, it's definitely something that all of us should be thinking about and working with people locally and also considering that long-term impact the pros and the cons because that's what progress is. It has positives, it has some drawbacks and the drawbacks can fall on different sides
Julia: For sure. Yeah.
Kristin: Of the stakeholders and the travelers and the locals. But even Bansko is a great example because it's such a tiny village and I'm sure many other villages throughout Bulgaria haven't had the same experience because there's this unique combination of factors that attract so many people to Bansko, which is around the co-working spaces and the international community. And so it's kind of an anomaly.
Julia: Yeah, I do agree. Like I think that's a great word for anomaly. And then there's also, what kind of attention does this place get? Like there's a lot of like media reporting about a lot of bloggers going there. Uh, a lot of like YouTube videos happening and just like how much a place is actually getting promoted. And the more we do like we do also have this responsibility of like, okay, if we put out, let's say if we Wifi Tribes, it's like a new location. When I give a try, there's a new beautiful beach place. Okay. Like they have stable wifi. If there's stable wifi we can make everything else work. But if we do that we put something on the radar of people that like follow us and that's our community and that's spread the word and they maybe competitors check us out, oh they're going there, if they are going we can probably go and it starts spreading because and suddenly you put something on someone's radar where no one was going before and that place is like changing enormously like Puerto Escondido within like two to three years.
Like you can't even recognize the place anymore. So there's like that responsibility and I think that's what everyone is trying to figure out right now is like how are we impacting it and how can we impact it sustainably But also for the locals that like the locals are still happy and not getting pushed out of like their own home country or like hometown. It's a really interesting topic and I think that's what I'm currently really passionate about is like trying to find a solution for that one. I mean definitely as you start working with locals, I guess when we organize like those weeks in Tanzania right now that are coming, we also work with local tour operators so it's not about like going with the big ones like finding a small one. You know like they specialized in hiking up the mountains or like work with them and like how can we also get involved in the culture? So when we are on the safari, there's also a culture backgrounds. How can we get involved in local projects, have like our community learn about the Maasai culture as well there and visit like a tribe, visit a village, like get to know like their way of living and like be respectful of it. Like be grateful that you're allowed to visit their country. Yeah. So, um, I think it's less a lot about to do with like conscious traveling.
Kristin: Was that a topic at all during Banko Nomad Fest?
Julia: Yeah. It was a lot about like how nomads can give back but then also like the impact that we have there. And I think Gonzalo from Digital Village Madeira talked about it as well because like he goes to this place that's I think like now Cape Verde as well was like, okay, there's like nothing like that and like let's build this place up as like a new digital nomad hub and because like salaries are so low there, how can we increase salaries, how we can we employ the locals more and it's like really interesting to watch that and develop. It's like no one else like was thinking about Madera for example like four or five years ago during the last let's say one or two years, I was like Oh my god, I wanna go to Madeira or I wanna go to Grand Canaria. Yeah. It's like would ever receive so much attention or saying was like Mauritius and all these other countries establishing digital normed visas and that's when the press is hopping on it and it's like, oh there's like these new kind of visas and you can go there and stay there for a year and like live your best life and yeah.
So it's all changing. I'm just like hoping that we are aware of like how we are impacting it and we are not making it like each location is gonna be the same, like trying to preserve the culture. Especially with food. I think it's like the most common. It's like wherever you go you can get your iced old milk latte and and like your smoothie bowl and it is like for a lot of people it's like nice to have that if that's a go-to but at the same time it's like that like emerging and the culture is missing them.
Kristin: Yeah. Yeah. I've noticed that a lot being from the US <laugh>, it's a weird feeling to observe your home country's culture exported in all of these different countries because take Germany for example, you're from Germany, but Germany's not known for having McDonald's and Starbucks and Burger King and all of the big chain stores that we have–Walmart. So the imprint of German culture in other countries looks different. And now of course there's immigration from people all over the place. So you know, you can get Mexican food or Indian food <laugh> and go to you know, different types of temples or religious organizations that have a presence in each country and especially in major cities. So, or you can go to Chinatown like you can get the taste of different cultures in different cities but the US culture, because we're such an exporter of entertainment and commerce <laugh>, it's more ubiquitous.
Kristin: And so it can be interesting to just just observe a little piece of home from home everywhere. Right. But I wonder what that would be like let's say if you come from a country like Honduras that you go to all these other countries and it's a long time before you see okay there's the society <laugh> or you know like there's the Italian club, Italian American club and there's these sorts of things but it's not as in your face as being from the US and it can be hard to escape that. And sometimes I wonder what it would've been like being a nomad even as recently as the sixties or seventies. Like I have a friend Jeanie who speaks eight or nine languages. And she's Costa Rican and she lived in Egypt back in the eighties and she's one of the, I guess original nomads in this era because there was still freedom of movement in many places and she lived in all these different countries but she still travels a lot. But it would've been, you know, without cell phones and without Google Maps and without the internet and so many of the things that we're so accustomed to today that have so many benefits and can make the world smaller. Yeah. And less intimidating but at the same time more uniform in a way, don't know what I'm trying to say. <laugh>.
Kristin: It's just an observation.
Julia: Yeah. It's like that way of living and the lifestyle it comes with also changed lot. Like when I think back when I started traveling, I try to be like, it's cheap as possible. I have my backpack, I have my laptop and I go to these hostels, hang out there and hope they have wifi and there's like nothing, it's like a smartphone to check out okay, what's the wifi speed or like your checkup front with like Google reviews,
Julia: How's the wifi of that place? And I was like, no. It's like probably a bad surprise if it's not working. But at something interesting Pieter Levels from Nomad List mentioned in a tweet, I think it was yesterday or two days ago Was about how that changed all these like mid twenties kind of friends of ours now they don't do the hostel thing anymore. No one goes and stays in a hostel in like a 10, 15 bedroom dorm for like $5 with this backpack and moving around and just like traveling Southeast Asia or through South Africa or South America. And right now they all have like a good salary because they got their university degree and they are like okay cool, I wanna go and travel and stay at an Airbnb with like a beautiful condo with like a nice pool in there. And I think also social media plays such a big role in it because they see it on social media. It's like, oh if you travel you're gonna post all these beautiful pictures of like me holding my coffee with a beautiful view and like ideally in infinity pool
Julia: But no one is gonna do that anymore like with dorms. So I'm also wondering like how the hostile culture is like affected by that.
Julia: Because then those were our, our original communities, you know like right now as remote professionals we're seeking all those communities and like connecting with like-minded people. But like back in the days that was like the hostel was the place to go to to find like-minded souls.
Kristin: Yeah. Maybe 20 something year olds are still doing it. But then a lot of people are also getting into remote work as teenagers and maybe they go straight from high school to Instagram remote life and they skip the hostels. And also we could still save a lot of money if we lived in hostels. <laugh>, A lot of you traveled. Yeah, a lot. Although it's not as comfortable and maybe if you're working, you don't want like drunk tourists and backpackers coming in your room at three in the morning but it is something to keep in mind. Definitely. I remember staying in cabinas in Costa Rica for $2 a night and being afraid of bedbugs <laugh> luckily I don't have to worry about anymore and eating all my meals from the little super mercado convenience store ramen noodles. Well what are you finding are some of the attributes that are most attractive in a destination for Wifi Tribe? Well first let's tell people what is Wifi Tribe for people that haven't heard about it before because I have mentioned it before and I've had people tell me on the phone, I never heard of that. So what is Wifi Tribe and how do you choose your destinations?
Julia: Yeah, so Wifi Tribe is a co-living community for remote professionals and what we offer is one month long destinations, one month long chapter is what we call it. Like a chapter is like equal to a trip. We just like use a different term for that. And during those chapters we have between 18 to 25 people coming together in one location in 40 to 50 different places around the world currently. And from there we work together, we go on weekend adventures together and it's basically to find like a common ground for everyone that is interested into remote work, to look for other passionate souls about like that kind of travel lifestyle to take like the ambition seriously. But it's like still have fun in the downtime. So it's about like okay in the morning we get up together and we do a workout and then like some of them like are working from home, others head out to cafes and as like everyone else is working during the day, like usually like it's normal seven, eight hours on the weekends we head out to explore the country.
Let's say we are in Costa Rica and we call like a little jungle adventure or like we go on a surf trip altogether or we recently had a group staying in Port Viejo and then they had out for a weekend trip over to Panama and check up Bocas Del Toro. Yeah. And stuff like that is happening. But in like in a space where friendships happen really fast because it is like that common ground of like shared values and shared interests plus you're living together, it's like a cool living situation. So yeah, your bonds are formed very intensely and usually last for a really long time if not like a lifetime. I mean can't say lifetime right now because we haven't been there yet, but people getting married as well. Like we have multiple couple, it's like finding their soulmates there. Wow. Which is great. And yeah but also like really deep friendships.
I mean we've been around for six years now and there's a lot of people that still join us for trips. Like there's what I usually say, there's like different levels of being a digital nomad. Like everyone starts out as like level one, which is like okay cool, let's move around one to two weeks and being really ambitious about like seeing the whole world, being really excited. They might hit like a trouble burnout after six months. It's like okay give me a break. Like this was a lot and have no even no space to process all the experiences. Yeah. Level two then it's like okay let me slow it down a bit, let's go one month at a time. And then they go once, once at a time and I was like okay cool. I'm in a place for one month at a time now but I'm missing people <laugh>, I'm missing those people I can co-work with.
I can miss those people that I can have business conversations with or like I need for like a hot seat or a mastermind to get some feedback and yeah like passionate about like similar things. So that's usually like level three. Then when we are coming to play's like okay cool, I'm looking for a community. I wanna connect with people and create like those experiences together. And I think that's where wifi trap is like an amazing place for those ones that are interested in because we don't have a fixed outline of like a program. The only thing that is fixed is like accommodation, new space to work and there's wifi and that's gonna be 20 amazing souls that I wanna connect with you and wanna get to know you. But everything else is like open. So the whole experience is curated by the community and on Tuesdays we have something that's called Travel Tuesday.
So the whole group gets together, we cook together a meal or we go out and hang up by the beach or have like a campfire and like we are sharing and talking about okay cool, what do we wanna do this week now? What's everyone interested in? What are other things that like people can offer? What are your skills? Do you wanna give a skills share? Who would be interested in a skillshare? And that's how the community curates a whole experience. So it's never the same not of program where's like okay cool, we wake up in the morning and then we have like, okay work out breakfast work lunchtime skillshare. It's not like every day is the same. Yeah, every day is different and you also can decide to participate in the activities that you're interested in. It's not like it's mandatory to join for everything.
It's like you take your time, you say no to a couple of things because it doesn't fit in your schedule or there's a master around it. Sometimes even like the groups split up too because of like 25 people. It can be like 12 and 13 people go different directions. The one group goes, I don't know, for a kayaking trip for like two, three days and the other group goes camping for example, it makes it really worse because we put all the effort in designing the community. Like it's a curated community, you apply for it, we take you through interview process and there's multiple steps of like getting accepted. And I think also now we reestablish a yearly fee to be part of the tribe to make sure that every year says again, okay I still align with your values, I'm still interested in like what you guys do and I'm still willing to connect. If you don't align anymore you might just like hang out there or like participate. Not as much in our Slack channels where we communicate. So to make sure everyone is like still really engaged and it's like something people really really want. We're trying to keep it still like small. So right now we have like ground to like around a thousand remote professionals coming from like around 65 different nationalities and to keep it all diverse. Yeah.
Kristin: Would you say there's an average age or is it kind of all over?
Julia: I would say that most of the people are between 25 and 40. That's kind of like we're at place but there's like people to join us in their twenties. There's people to join us in like 45 or 50. I mean we're also maturing, right? So we started six years ago and it's kinda like a life cycle of like a member and people like the community grows with like us, like everyone getting older as well and there's like new generations of people basically coming in. We say have the same right now with our chapter hosts, the people who are joining our groups on the chapters and making sure everything works out logistically. Yeah. So we have like a first generation of chapter hosts and like chapter hosts like our superstars. They have like amazing personalities to make sure like everyone gets along and have everyone together in one room.
So from that perspective, Diego, my co-founder, I think Carol who's doing operations, we had a girl called Commander. There's like this group of chapter hosts, they've done it for a really long time taking care of everyone's needs and like at some point like okay I gonna shift it so we kind of like step back now and not doing a hundred percent because right now in Bali , yeah then it's like a new generation of chapter hosts coming but like you're hiring new people, you're training new people and yeah it's just really exciting to see it's like how the dynamics change and, but also really fun. Some people join, our members join us like 15 times. I think other people join 10 times. I guess it doesn't have to be also consecutive chapters. Like it's okay for you to say okay, I wanna travel once a year or twice a year. Other people like love the journey. Like we always try to have in our calendar have like a journey so you can pick like okay I can do like three countries in Asia or three countries in South America in a row. if that's what you want. But you can also cherry pick like your favorite ones.
Kristin: Have you had families also or just singles and couples?
Julia: We have singles, uncoupled. We currently believe that we don't have the right setup for families because that would mean we need to be able to accommodate like kids as well. And that's something that's still on our mind and still on our radar. Like from day one we've been asked that question, I was like, oh can I bring my family? Can I come with my kids? And yeah. So having like a fixed permanent location will like, it's just for families I think that would be a goal. Or even like the thought of chapters for families. So yeah, like in one location, let's say for six months because you're traveling with kids and they need the stability as well. So six months, but then the whole group, let's say three or four different families move together to a different place. So the thought of like the social support system is not getting lost because usually if you leave a place they could leave for friends behind but they come along with you.
Julia: 00:30:13 So like giving them that stability by moving the whole group basically would be interesting. I met one guy Quilat, he's from Israel at Bansko Nomad Fest and he's focusing on families and it's really interesting and he was his family. He was there with like his wife and his kids and we were hanging out and suddenly the whole group was like so happy to have a child around. I was playing with the kid like he was literally like here. I don't wanna compare it to a dog was literally like a dog. Like everyone was like, oh my god, I wanna cuddle with like the baby and I wanna help 'em to walk and I wanna carry 'em around. And like they, they literally have like 20 babysitters for free.
Kristin: I could see how that would be very convenient as a family because that's the way it used to be before everybody was separated into boxes and apartments and houses. They have that saying it takes a village to raise children and now it's like this modern day nomadic village where not necessarily other parents are taking care of your kids but also other travelers <laugh> where, you know, you never need a babysitter because you just have unlimited people to help out <laugh>. That's so cool. I wonder what this new generation of kids will be like. I used to think that when I lived in Costa Rica. How interesting. Cuz I would meet other international families there and there were all of these children that were either transplants from other countries or that were born and raised in Costa Rica but they didn't look Costa Rica and, but I guess that happens everywhere anyway, you know, especially in the US and well every country where people come from other countries and they have their kids there, but what is the look of the people of that country? You know, when everybody's coming from different places, it then becomes just an international melting pot. Which is so cool cuz I used to be so shocked when I would hear these little blonde-haired kids speaking fluent Spanish <laugh> but like Costa Rican Spanish and they didn't look traditionally Costa Rican. But yeah, I don't know, that was a long time ago. So they're probably just there living their lives like normal.
Julia: Yeah. It's just beautiful, you know like everyone getting along with like, especially with kids, it's like they don't have any judgments. Yeah. If they see someone might look different then they do like there's like, oh it's just another human. Yeah. They're not like that much in their head as like some other people are and it's like okay I'm just gonna play like I don't care how you look, how you speak often. Like they don't even have to speak the same language. That's the fun part. And so often I've seen kids now, especially by traveling, they don't even speak the same language but they still get along. They still figure out like a way of playing with each other just with the body and sign language and using hands and feet to communicate but they still get along. It's so cute.
Kristin: Yeah. There's so many ways of non-verbal communication. That's always been very interesting to me as well. Ever since the first time I went to another country, which was, well I went to Canada once but then when I went to Italy for the first time and was hanging out with local kids and other travelers from different countries that were on our tour group and I must have been 17 years old and I remember thinking how are we all communicating? How are we all hanging out when everyone speaks a different language? I don't know, there must be other ways I have to research that more <laugh>. I mean of course there's facial expressions, there's gestures, but it's definitely a cool experience. And then why did you even start Wifi Tribe to begin with? How did you have that idea six years ago?
Julia: So for me, I was still in university and university was like not my favorite place to be <laugh> <laugh>. I was like, it was not my favorite way of learning. I like more like practical, I love to learn as I'm on the go. Me too. And I was studying media management with a focus on online marketing and I was like okay cool. I wanna learn more about SEO and how I can like rank up things or whatever. And started as like a little freelance business already in Germany and helping people to set up online jobs, like get their products ranked and yeah. And had my first client and then I had my second client and then like word of mouth and kept going. I was like suddenly I was like haven't even finished my university, like a full business going. I was like, okay, help <laugh>.
Anyway, I finished that. I was like, okay cool, if I can work from anywhere, if I can work from home and I don't have to be in an office because that was already remote work, I didn't have to go somewhere to work on someone's online shop. I could just check in. So I was like okay cool. I could just also go somewhere else. But now I was doing it at that time everyone thought I'm crazy and I was like, okay, cool. As I mentioned earlier, I pack my backpack and like you stay at a hostel and I booked a ticket to South Africa, which was my first country to work remotely from. Yeah. And then I kept traveling mostly through Africa for two years and after two years I was like, okay cool, it's fun to travel but at the same time I'm really missing that connection.
Like I'm really missing that mutual trust that you can have like everyone being together was like having the same interest and like having the respect and open mindedness of like how everyone's living their life. Because when you're in a hostel and you're sitting there with a laptop back in, what was that, 2013, people look at you and it's like I crazy. I'm like, what are you doing? <laugh> And yeah, so shifting away from that I was like okay, I wanna connect with people. I mean there was like only a few co-working spaces but that was not really a thing at that time. So I was meeting up with my friend Diego, which I haven't seen in a few years and he was working for in different startups as well with his girlfriend. And we got together and I was like, we kind of have the same feelings, like we really wanna be together with other remote professionals but there's nothing out there where you can find them.
So Diego's half Bolivian and then we said, okay cool. Like why don't we go to your house in Bolivia, stay there for a month and see, who wants to join us and work together. And I was like cool. So the thing we both did then we wrote up a Facebook post because Facebook was still a thing at the time and <laugh>. So we posted and suddenly friends responded and we got like eight people together and we went to Bolivia to stay at his house and work remotely with eight people from the house. Obviously no one paid anything for it because it's just like, hey, it's like our house and just come and you just book your flight and we meet there. Yeah. And there was no website, there was no name. So after one month there and everyone sharing it then on social media, the experiences and what they've been doing, there was like more interest coming and people were like, well where are you going next?
Like we wanna join <laugh>. I was thinking, no, no, no, no <laugh>, there is no next <laugh>. But then we thought about it and I was like, okay, let me see what's like close by. We're thinking of Costa Rica. And then I like went on Airbnb and checked for houses and other platforms and Costa Rica is kind of expensive because like every time you book something or you decide to go somewhere, you find the property, you secure the property and when you ask the property secure you can ask other people to share the cost for it or or pay you for it. So it's always like putting something up front. So that was like the hustle at the beginning of like, okay, how are we gonna secure multiple locations in advance with no investment in just our savings and making sure we can get this. And then taking the risk of like, okay, what happens if we don't fill it up?
Julia: And that's a fear of like starting something new. Yeah. But we went with it and then we gave it a name and then we gave it a logo and then created a website and took our first bookings for Nicaragua because Costa Rica was too expensive. <laugh> <laugh> and we all had it to Nicaragua and yeah, never stopped since then.
Kristin: Wow. So when was your first trip in Nicaragua?
Julia: That was May, 2016 I think.
Kristin: Okay. And now you have over a thousand people that are alumni?
Julia: Yeah. Oh, they're like still active in the community. Yeah.
Kristin: Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. That's amazing. And I'm just looking at your locations here. I actually applied to Wifi Tribe, I told you this before, before we met and I ended up not going because I was just looking for a destination and dates that lined up with where I was. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But I'm still planning on going in. I might have talked to Diego, I forget who I talked to on the phone. <laugh>. But you have, let's see, coming up when people are listening to this, let's say the end of the year,
Julia: There's also like the new locations for 2023 being released very soon. So that will be like a lot more in the calendar, a couple of weeks. <laugh>.
Kristin: Okay. Yeah. We've got Spain, Costa Rica, Mauritius, Argentina, Oman, Egypt, Goa, India. I definitely wanna go there. Mexico. So very cool. And right, as I was mentioning before, what are some of the things that you're looking for when you choose these locations?
Julia: Well number one is definitely a stable internet connection because if like there's no stable wifi then we can't take a group there. It's like otherwise everyone's gonna be unhappy and frustrated. Yeah. And like that doesn't work. And that's also one reason like we get a, like every year we ask our communities like, okay, where do you want to go? And I think that's also very important for us to like on how to run the company. It's like always involving the community, like cultures for us, everything. And then, but also, uh, staying in touch with the community, asking them for feedback nonstop. And it's very generous with it. Like they really a lot like helping us out with it. Like where they wanna go. Like even when they find locations and new places like hey you should check this place out. So based on that, we'd love to hear that. But sometimes like they don't consider what the infrastructure is in those places. Yeah. So there might be someone, oh my god, I really would love to go to, what do we have like a very small island in the Philippines
Kristin: Where there's little to no internet or it's all mobile.
Julia: Exactly. So yeah, Philippines for example is on our radar and we really want to make it happen. But it's also about like finding that spot. Like to actually have the ability that can host 20 people to be on phone calls to work and like this gets tricky. Like it's in that sense, the places are limited until the technology catches up.
Julia: <laugh>. Exactly. <laugh>
Kristin: Until Elon, Elon internet comes through. Really changes the world.
Julia: <laugh> gonna travel with our satellites in the backpack. Yeah. <laugh>.
Julia: Oh yeah. Infrastructure's number one. Second one is safety. We always want our community to be safe. So we definitely check out regarding crime rates and like wanna make sure people feel safe. Also like safe in the area where we are staying. So one is probably based on our calendar is the time of the year, the weather, the events that are happening. Um, also considering the community events. So for example of like Nomad Fest is happening, trying to be somewhere close to that or even like back in the day. So it was like the DNX conference was happening in Lisbon. So we made sure we had like a chapter in Lisbon happening. or there's like the day of the dead coming up in Mexico. So we have a chapter before that. Right now we have a group in Edinburgh and that's during French Festival. So looking also like to connect with some other local events that are happening and the reason why people want to go there and give them like the helping hand to find accommodation and the community and like the friends who dike experiences places with Right. Is like you wanna share your journey and you wanna share your journey with people who have been there as well. It's like so fun then.
Kristin: Yeah. I haven't been to a lot of the places on this list like Bariloche in Argentina, Dahab in Egypt. Haven't been to
Julia: Bariloche was really exciting. Yeah. Because Bariloche is one we did for the first time this year and it was so well perceived and it's like, yeah because usually we always go to Buenos Aires. I was like, okay, what are other places? And I think that's where it comes to as well is like the places our community really loves and see is there another town we can show you around? Because the country is so big, You wanna do weekend adventures. So it's like really just like, I don't know, Iguazu Falls or Patagonia. Like it would be lovely if you can spend a month in that area, a month in that area and like experience different places. That's something where we're trying to work on a bit more. It's like, okay, give you different options. Like even if you've been to a country, is there another destination that would be really exciting. That was the case with Patagonia. It's like, hey, let's go to Bariloche, go hiking and be also like in a snowy destination, rather always in the sun. Always chasing summer as like usual. Digital nomad lifestyle but also like embracing the cold. Again,
Kristin: I, I've been doing that. I'm thinking of going back to winter this year. I did do the endless summer for quite a few years. But there's benefits to experiencing winter and places too and it's so beautiful as well. Yeah. Especially for people that come from warm places. Like if you're from the beach in Mexico or from Florida like me, then yeah you wanna sometimes get something to change it up.
Kristin here, hope you're enjoying today's episode. If you're a fan of the podcast and you'd like to support, you can join 50 other superstar listeners over on my Patreon page for just $5 per month or a voluntary donation of your choice at patreon.com/traveling with Kristin. That's p a t r e o n.com/travelingwithKristin.
You started working remotely basically in college it sounds like and then. You became a co-founder shortly thereafter. So you went from university to working in hostels to co-founding this company that also is working remotely in different countries, at what point did you start to experience burnout?
Julia: Well, <laugh>, topic shift, energy shift, <laugh>
Kristin: Segway. <laugh>. You're welcome.
Julia: Oh, very subtle. Well done, Kristin. <laugh>. Um, yeah, I mean as I said, everyone knows the first three years of a startup is like a mess. It's like you are gonna work your ass off to get where you wanna be and there's so much doubt and there's so many times that you wanna throw the towel and it's like can't do it anymore. But you keep going because you love what you do, you're passionate about it. You started something and there's already community behind it and they're like very excited for it. So okay, you're just gonna keep going. So what happens is that we've been all traveling nonstop for three years, like Diego and I and two more chapter hosts we had at that time. And it gets like really exhausting and we haven't had like the capacity yet to employ more people to help us out with that. There's like a limit of like the budget. So what happened is for three years I was changing locations every month with one week in between to travel to the next place to set up the next location before the next group arrives. Then you're responsible for the needs of like 25 people and you keep doing that for three years.
Kristin: Oh my gosh, that's a lot.
Julia: It's all about like balance, right? So right now we have like something in place for chapters where it's like, okay, you run three chapters and then you got two months off because we know how exhausting it is. So it's all about balance. But at the time I didn't have that balance and because I was so focused on everyone else's needs and completely forgot about my own needs and every time something that came up that was like a negative thought or I wasn't feeling well, I was like, okay cool. How can I numb me right now? Let's go to a new restaurant, meet new people, go to a new location, go on a new adventure next weekend trip and let me plan some like I was the master in distraction,
Kristin: Deflect, distract. Yeah.
Julia: Yeah, a hundred percent. Yeah. But then also I was in a relationship at that time as well, which was a long distance one. Obviously my partner came and visited me on some of the occasions, which was nice, but also put like a strain on the connection because like, yeah, you feel like you wanna spend time together, but it's hard to do that. And they wasn't able to follow me always around. Obviously if you're like in the place of burnout, you also have a hard time holding place for holding space for others. Basically when like my partner would ask me, he's like, Hey Julia, how are you doing? How are you feeling? I break out in tears because I can't tell you like I was so disconnected from my body, from my emotions that I couldn't even tell you how I feel. I had no clue.
Julia: 00:46:56 I was like, I probably feel awful, but can't tell you the reason. Can't describe in detail what it is or how it made me feel. Like I didn't have that awareness. So the thing that shifted it for me the most was like, okay, gonna step back from the travel was like I can't do it anymore. Gotta find someone else to do that and not host chapters anymore. But then start prioritizing myself and literally get to know myself, get to know me. And something that really helped me, a tool that I learned from a friend and a coach of mine, Janelle Annette, she's also running coaching programs is something called the feelings and needs to check in. It's basically when you sit like five minutes in the morning down, it's like okay cool. What sensations are arising in my body? Like how am I feeling? Am I hot?
Am I cold? Am I tingly? Is this something and what is that in my body? Then you are check okay, what does a sensation mean? What can I can equal that sensation to? What kind of feeling? Am I frustrated? Am I anxious? Am I excited? Am I nervous? What is that? And then once you know that it's like okay cool, I know how I feel now. How do I wanna feel at the end of the day? Hmm, okay. If I know like, oh, how do I wanna feel at the end of the day? How can I shift maybe from like how I'm feeling now to the end of the day? And then consciously embedding something in your day, I don't know, a 15 minute or 20 minute thing where I can manage, okay, I gonna shift that. Like do I have to have a phone call with a friend?
Do I need to talk to someone? Do I need some alone time? Do I have to take a bath, read a book journal, meditate, do yoga, go for a walk? Like what is it that I need to regulate maybe my nervous system? And like throughout the last couple of years doing that more and more like it really helped me to finally set a routine throughout my travel and work life. Because you can have routines, but if the routines rely on something strong, like you have like the most favorite gym you're gonna go to and like there's a certain course you do at the gym, but that might not exist in another place. Like talking only about like the infrastructure and having all the same things in all the places. And that often very doesn't exist. So what is it that you can give yourself like a routine that energizes you, that helps you to be grounded, but you can take that anywhere.
Kristin: Yeah. That's really helpful. And so does that when you recreated a home base in Germany?
Julia: Yeah, that's when I recreated a home base in Germany for a while, but that's only to give me a space. Also the pandemic really helped there to be honest. Like having a space to anchor everything is closed on. There's actually no other option than like being with yourself right now and think about like what you want. So that was super helpful. I've worked on that before already. But yeah, I think for me my ideal lifestyle for the future is like having a home base or even at least two home bases. Currently I'm thinking about like Cape Town and probably establishing that next year and yeah. And then I have like six months being in one location and six months of nomading. So that like kind of hybrid version of nomad and homebase I think is gonna work out for me the best. But like everyone is different. Like there's no solution that suits everyone so everyone can find what makes them happy.
Kristin: Yeah. What I'm hearing is that there was a combination of things that helped you. It was slowing down, reaching out for help, and then integrating these daily practices and routines into your life that just helps you be present.
Julia: Yeah. I think also avoiding isolation also helps, like being in a community helps being able to ask for help. Because that can be hard too. Like acknowledging that you are not okay right now and you need someone to support you and asking for that support
Julia: And that can be really hard. And I think that's why wifi trip is also great because like that safe space that we created where everyone can share and everyone is accepted the way they are and this respect and the like kindness and yeah. The like you think you gotta be very fearful, like if you share it, but then it's like you're only being met with love and support. That was very life-changing I'd say.
Kristin: Yeah. And also acknowledging that how ambitious it is to work remotely and travel at the same time and take care of yourself and see these places, it's like life already has a lot on the to-do list by definition. Yeah. But then when we're adding these other things on top, it can become untenable at times. Like I just interviewed a Patreon patron on my podcast named Karen and if her episode is out when this one is a link to it in the show notes and she was saying how much she underestimated the output of energy when she got to other countries and how tired she was. Yeah. Just from daily life. And it reminds me to when I first lived abroad in Costa Rica and I just drank coffee all day, <laugh>. Cause I was so tired. Cuz you're learning the language and you're working and you're talking with people and meeting people because meeting people and socializing also expends energy even for extroverts and then finding your way around. and everything like that. So when you get home or go to bed at night, you're just exhausted. Yeah. And then your family wants to check in and things like that. Right. And now it's like having a full-time job at the same time. So I guess having that compassion for yourself.
Julia: Yeah. And it's like totally normal then that you forget about yourself. Yeah. It's like there's so much amazing things happening around me. There's no meetup and like people go hiking, people go for wine tasting and then there's like a whale watching thing and it's like, oh, there's a festival. Oh my God. But also gotta work and also gotta be like, have like amazing productivity because maybe my boss only lets me work for a certain amount of time here. Or this is a trial even worse. Like this is a trial, do my best, but still when have a great time. But then there's people from home I gotta stay in touch with those, don't wanna neglect my friends. How do I stay social? Okay. Right now I don't have to prepare food so I'm gonna order from Uber. The Ubers, the food is very unhealthy.
Maybe you're just indulging in junk foods, suddenly you gain weight and then it's like all the fucking things are happening. <laugh> And like you get it. No wonder you're getting overwhelmed. And then like that happens every time. Then you gotta adjust to a new place, a new culture, a new country, a new language. And it's like that's a lot. Yeah. And you should not underestimate it. Something. That's why it's so important to also manage your downtime and create conscious space in your calendar where you say, okay, Mondays to Wednesdays, I'm not going out, I'm just by myself, I'm at home, I'm cooking at home, I'm doing stuff that I need. And then maybe Thursdays there's like a casual, usually meetups are happening on Thursdays, but like if you want to go out, go for dinner or hang out with friends and like maybe go for a party. Do that on the weekend. But like I think being very strict about that and not having it like transitioning throughout the whole week, it's just like that's when you're like exhausted. Like when you run out of energy.
Kristin: Right. Like you wouldn't go to a conference every day after work. You know, you come home, maybe you watch some Netflix.
Julia: Yeah. <laugh>.
Kristin: That's how it can feel like sometimes. And the other thing that I realize is that we aren't given these tools at five years old. How amazing would it have been if we were taught in kindergarten to wake up and love yourself every morning?
Julia: Yes. A hundred percent. Yes.
Kristin: And just write down five things you like about yourself. That would've been so easy. Or gratitude. Teach us that when we're five years old but no one taught us. Maybe a few lucky people got that. And so now we're all adults who can't necessarily put our finger on what's wrong. In life. How they're searching for answers. And so we can get those answers from books from other people, from podcasts, and I just randomly found this audiobook. So I have an Audible subscription that's on and off that I've had for probably 12 years or something. And my sister shares it with me and probably my mom <laugh>. So in our Audible library there's all of these random books.
Julia: That's so funny.
Kristin: And I'm like, who downloaded this? So one that came up because I've decided to start replacing, watching a random YouTube video, whatever the algorithm gives me or with just making sure that I'm consistent with audiobooks and podcasts. that are giving me something positive every morning. And so I downloaded this book called How to Be a Badass or You Are A Badass Every Day by Jen Sinero.
Julia: Yeah, I know that one.
Kristin: Yeah. Yeah. She's the same one who did, You Are a Badass at Making Money and Oh this is good. You know, I'm the host of this badass podcast <laugh> and she's listening to this and it's so easy cuz it's digestible one to three minute segments. Right. And the one today was just about being present and setting an intention for what you're about to do. I intend to be excited about paying these bills or maybe not excited, but I intend to enjoy myself as I pay my bills this month or before walking into the grocery store. I intend to be in awe that I can drive a moving vehicle to a store where I can have food from around the world at my fingertips and those sorts of things. Like instead of the drudgery of oh I have to go to the grocery store and I have to run errands. Being aware that I'm about to step into this $30,000 vehicle that's gonna carry me effortlessly to a store where I can pick up all of the food that I need to nourish my body. Just little things like that. I think those are the easy things that we can do each day. I've started a new practice, well my gratitude practice has been off and on, but just typing in my phone three things that I'm grateful for every morning,
Julia: Same. Every night for me. <laugh>.
Kristin: Yeah. Sometimes I do it at night <laugh> and then I can look back at what I was grateful for in 2015 and it really makes me happy and it's inconsistent cuz it's like I did it this month and not this month and whatever. But something like that. And then another idea I got from a book that's The Slight Edge maybe, I just put, how did I get 1% better today and how can I get 1% better tomorrow?
Julia: Aw. I love that.
Kristin: So that's a new thing too and you just start to realize all the little ways that you improved in the day. There's still room for improvement but just patting yourself on the back. Yeah. I'm glad that you brought that up because burnout is real.
Julia: Yeah. Like if you shift your energy and if like your mindset shift and if you're creating that awareness of like how you're being with yourself, how you're being with other people, how you're setting boundaries, that kind of starts creating a sixth sense for you, it's like sounding, you zoom out and you get that new perspective of like in the conversation with a person or like start noticing their beliefs and their stories and like how they are treating you because you become more aware by like creating that like body mind connection.
Julia: Because what I said earlier was like the morning routine checking in like how you feel if you do that on a regular basis you suddenly like in a conversation, like you notice a sensation and they're like Oh wait a second, I'm getting triggered here right now. And you can say okay, what does a trigger mean about me? Or like why am I getting triggered? What is the person doing or saying right now that I feel that way? And that's what means like once you have that perspective it never goes away. But I didn't have it for my first 25 or 26 years <laugh> and I was like crazy to think like how unaware I was and how like you are living your life on autopilot. But it's great to know that it doesn't have to be that way and you can be empowered the way you want to feel because our thoughts create our emotions and our emotions create our sensations. So depending on what you believe, you decide how you want to feel. Are you going to buy into that thought that you're thinking right now or that fear or that like story that's happening or just like letting it flow through you.
Julia: It takes a lot of practice but shifting that energy inside of you also shifts the energy in the collective and you notice like how friends adjust or like start treating you differently or how you've been seen differently or like how you're tolerating different things suddenly.
Kristin: Yeah. It and it does have a butterfly effect with other people because we all adapt to the people that we're interacting with at that moment. And we all adapt to our environment a little bit and can have a positive or a negative impact. And one of the things that's helped me is when you're talking about being aware in the moment and of how other people trigger you perhaps or when you start to perceive the patterns and the stories that people tell themselves and then you can start to see the excuses you make for yourself or the stories that you tell yourself. And one of the things I've been thinking about lately is how there's all these little decision points throughout the day where that check-in becomes really helpful. Like last night I was tired but I went to the gym anyway and then I came back and I was just like kind of just tired from the day. Like I went to the gym at 7:00 PM so I didn't get home till 8:30. And then you have this potential of, okay, what do I need right now? What do I wanna do with the rest of my night? What do I wanna eat?
Kristin: Just so that you don't default into just opening Netflix or Instagram or something like that. There's all of these automated behaviors where it's like oh I don't know what to do right now for the next 15 minutes so let me just check my phone.
Julia: <laugh> for the next 15 minutes great. <laugh>.
Kristin: So I was thinking like do I want to practice some DJ stuff? Do I wanna read a book, do I wanna go to the movies? There was a movie on at 9:15 but then I thought okay if I go to the movie then I'm gonna be tired tomorrow. cause it'll get over late. So it's just checking in to see what do you need? Do you need a bubble bath? Do you need to call a friend? Do you need to go for a walk? I really like going for a walk at night after dinner. And sometimes we forget to ask ourselves what we need. in that moment and those are things you can do anywhere in the world. So good tips there.
Kristin: I wanted to get into some of your travel tips before we go because with all of these years of traveling around, I know you have <laugh> some good tips for everybody, but thanks for sharing your personal practice with us.
Julia: Yeah, thanks for having me. It's just always great as I said, like shifting energy inside of you, shift energy in the collective so whoever might like that's something that resonates to you or you know don't like even hesitate to reach out. Like if you wanna get in touch feel free. You find me on like @pixeljudy on Instagram. I'm also aiming to start a new coaching program very soon called Travel Within.
Kristin: Ooh I like it
Julia: Because everything is travel related here so it's gonna be travel within this time. Yeah for remote professionals and anything like about lifestyle design, how to create like a sustainable remote work routine because as I said like a lot of us like have traveled burnout, like literally like the burnout of like traveling to all these different countries or like struggle to have like routines or reach their goals and this is going to be a place of being there for each other and growing together and just trying to be the best version of yourself and yeah be very compassionate as well. And we are practicing basically what I mentioned earlier of like checking in with yourself and how you can shift from autopilot to you being the pilot and make your decisions of like what you wanna do and how you feel and where you wanna go.
Kristin: When does that start?
Julia: That's probably gonna start in September. I can send you a link Kristin if you wanna put that in a show notes and then we can have like a sign up for a waitlist and I can notify people when it's gone live.
Kristin: Okay. Yeah cuz I know we talked before I was gonna do a call with you, a coaching call,
Kristin: I'll be your first client. Yeah,
Julia: Happy to do that. Yeah,
Kristin: Let's do a quick travel lightning round.
Julia: All Right.
Kristin: While managing Wifi Tribe as you're traveling, what are some of the top apps or pieces of software or platforms that you use for remote collaboration?
Julia: It's Trello to run our scrums and like be aware of all our to-dos. Slack is our main communication tool just because like our whole team is spread all over the world and it's like the best way to keep track of it. HubSpot for managing our community, everything, email, interviews, members, payments, bookings, whatever for regarding travel is managed in that one. And Zapier for automating everything possible to be automated. <laugh>
Kristin: Yes. <laugh> Big fan.
Julia: Yeah. What else? Google Docs. Google Sheets. I think I have something special right now but it's pretty much what everyone is using I feel right now. I mean I'm a huge fan of Notion. I was always like an Apple Note girl, like keep it simple. I don't want anything fancy but Notion does like a revolution for me. I feel like it's still simple but has like more functions. Huge fan of that one. Yeah definitely for cap
Kristin: Yeah I've been thinking of checking that out because I noticed that Safety Wing was using it to share their itinerary for Istanbul with me and I've heard a lot of good things about it. I still use Apple Notes for my personal notes.
Julia: Same. Yeah
Kristin: I have a folder for podcast interviews. <laugh>, you're in there <laugh> all the questions.
Julia: Oh I have one note open. It's called Kristin podcast so I was like <laugh>
Kristin: We need notes for everything.
Julia: Everything. Like my whole life is basically living Apple notes so it's like I can't get rid of it but Yeah.
Kristin: Yeah we all have like our favorite notes. Apps. Yeah.
Kristin: It's a human thing.
Julia: Plus also try so many, you know like you try all these note apps and at the end to stick with the most simple one. Same with the to-do list organization. There's like 20, 30 different ones you try and then at the end it's like yeah stick with the main one. Just like do Trello and like that's it. Or someone do Asana as well.
Kristin: I still use legal pads too because sometimes if I open an app for notes and then I get distracted on a digital device, but I can remember being a little kid and my dad's a lawyer and I would be in his legal office sketching and drawing on yellow legal pads and I still use them today. So paper and pencil is sometimes an easy way too. It's just not very remote.
Julia: You mean these
Kristin: <laugh> and post-its
Julia: <laugh> and post-it. Yeah.
Kristin: Do you have any tips for booking flights or booking tours since you've been booking all of these group flights?
Julia: Oh yes. Okay guys, listen <laugh> listen and repeat <laugh>. Okay first thing open, go to your browser and open a new window but not a normal window, an incognito window because you're getting checked by like a million cookies and you probably haven't cleared your history in ages. So yeah, clear cookies go to incognito window so no one is tracking it. I've done test a few times now researching flies in incognito window and like in a normal one and sometimes there's a price difference in 200 euros.
Julia: Also be aware. So for flight research my favorite tool is called Momondo.
Kristin: Mm-hmm <affirmative>
Julia: mostly because I find the best prices here but then also they give you the chance to look like at multiple days at the same time it's like okay this is my travel day. But if you're flexible you can say okay, plus minus three days for example, you can see like they show you what is the best way or you can have like multiple airports at the same time and they're like, okay, what is the best way to fly here? What's the best route? I know a lot of people use Kiwi as well because they have like nomadic function and I keep it all flexible and to search for, okay if I have like location, I know where I'm leaving from. Let's say I'm leaving from Miami, but then I wanna be on a journey for like three months and we say I want to go to South America. And then it gives you suggestions for different rules based on flight prices, that works as well. But Momondo is my favorite one. That's usually where I book um, my flights through. Regarding booking hotels. I also wanna say regarding prices, be aware with booking.com that they often have mobile prices that are cheaper than the website prices. So you might look up something
Kristin: Through the app.
Julia: Mm-hmm <affirmative> the booking.com app. Yeah. If you have it on your phone, it's cheaper often to book it through your phone than on your computer.
Kristin: Oh that's a good tip. And then how do you find tour guides in these destinations?
Julia: Mostly word of mouth. I mean I pretty much got around all the countries we have on our calendar currently. So I do have like the connections already established, but very often people reach out to us via Instagram and so reach out with a tool comes like, hey if you ever come around like there was girl like in Egypt, she's like a female Egyptian blogger and she's like, Hey if you ever come around like let me know and I can help you out. And that's really fun. But then also very often if we need help we just posted on Slack to our communities like, hey guys, do you know anyone in Honduras that does dive trips for example? And then suddenly five people suggest someone that's still doing dive trips. So it's a lot about like word of mouth and recommending people, the number one way of how people find us is like word of mouth. So <laugh>, that's like a common way
Kristin: and word of podcast now <laugh>
Julia: and word of podcast. Yes. <laugh>.
Kristin: What is one thing you can't travel without?
Julia: Ooh, I mean for sure laptop stand.
Kristin: I'm using one right now.
Julia: Yeah, same. I mean I do love like having like a face-to-face kind of conversation button. Like looking down or looking up. That's one. What else is it? What can I travel without? I do love with my hammock. I do have like a hammock. I always have with me my hammock and my uh fins. So I'm like a scuba diver slash free diver. So I always have my dive mask and my fins with me and I do have my hammock with me, which is like a microfiber thing. Like they use like the same for parachute materials, like it's super light, it's like tiny and that's like, I don't know, a hundred grams or something.
Kristin: Oh okay.
Julia: Super stable.
Kristin: Oh I want one of those. I didn't know you were a free diver and scuba diver.
Julia: That's why I'm heading to Mauritius because in Mauritius you can go diving with whales. So that's a huge bucket of this thing for me like for the last five years that I something I wanted to do. It's like go diving with whales.
Kristin: What kind of whales?
Julia: Sperm whales and humpback whales.
Kristin: That is so cool.
Julia: Mm-hmm <affirmative>.
Julia: You should come <laugh>
Kristin: I went whale watching once and it was incredible from the boat. So I can't imagine from the water,
Julia: Right? Yeah. And if you like go on Instagram and check out content of that of people free diving with whales, that's like next level <laugh>.
Kristin: Wow. Okay, now I know. Great. I'm gonna go distract myself with Instagram for an hour. <laugh> up. Um, what is the first thing you do when you arrive to a new place?
Julia: Unpack my bag.
Kristin: Me too.
Julia: I feel like unpacking my bag is like essential for like feeling home and like I have like certain tools like I'm also traveling with like incense always like I'm a little incense holder basically I place somewhere and I feel like, like certain things I just like put in my room that are like make me feel home. I even travel like a couple of photos, um, that I love having around so I put that up and like makes me all feel cozy.
Kristin: Oh yeah. That's good. And what is your favorite way to get to know a new city?
Julia: I do love researching stuff. Like people think it's insane but I do love booking flights. I do love booking accommodation. People say it's a hassle. Like I really enjoy that part and planning a trip and making sure you get the most out of it. So something I do really love doing and I'm a big foodie is like looking up restaurants that I really like and like restaurants I like, I wanna try food because for me, like a way of emerging in a culture is like trying all the different kind of foods in what they have. So I'll do love doing the research and like go on different blogs, like what's the best restaurant here, where to get the best free food. And yeah, at those places on my Google Maps I create like a new list. I have like probably, I dunno, hundred different lists for different places on my Google Maps. And I was like right now, for example for Mauritius, I would go there and say okay cool. What are the best places to have some food in Mauritius and what they known for. I know they do like for example, rum tasting there or like they're known for growing vanilla or like lots of different exotic spices and like how can I like combine that or like find a nice street food market or a market hall. And yeah, I do love doing that.
Kristin: Yeah. That sounds amazing. I wanna go to Mauritius now. <laugh>, if you had to live in three countries for the rest of your life, which countries would you choose and why?
Julia: Well, South Africa a hundred percent because that just feels like home. Like I've been going there for the last 10 years on a yearly basis, minimum like three months. I say I spent last year from October to this year. April there feels like home and I think that's like to most people, like the first country they travel to, they have like that special connection with that country and like that's for me that just always sticks and it's because people are so open-minded and so welcoming and warm – walk down the street and everyone like talks to you and greets you like even if you don't know the person. And then it's just, South Africa itself has like this huge variety of like landscapes from like desert to savannah to mountains, beaches, jungle, big city life. Like everything is there. Like you have the variety and I think the variety most makes me very happy. Um, I’ve also noticed that I'm the most happy if I have like a town by the ocean, but at the same time they have a mountain there. So it's like Table Mountain, the ocean is like really fun. I think Rio is great, wouldn't be my favorite one to live in due to the safety. So I'm just like that's a little bit like I didn't feel too comfortable but like yeah, South Africa's definitely one. I love Canada.
Kristin: Me too.
Julia: I mean everything from Vancouver to Victoria Island, like all the national parks. I would love to go to Toronto. I haven't been there or Quebec. Um, love to check out the other side of the country, but I could totally see myself like living there just because of the connectedness to the nature. Like I love being outdoors and that's a great place to, to discover some hiking trails. And what else do we have? The Bahamas probably. It was like my favorite country regarding islands. Like I have the most beautiful wildlife I've seen there. The turquoise color of the water when you fly over is just like insane. It just like burns in your memory and like you don't forget that. Yeah. So I think it would be a good mix of mountain and cold and forest to beachy destination and then like a big city vibe that's like would be my go-to.
Kristin: Sounds good to me.
Kristin: Vancouver is one of my favorite cities. And I love The Bahamas too, so I'll have to go to South Africa. It's been on my list forever. So maybe I'll join up with Wifi Tribe later this year. We'll see <laugh>
Julia: I mean I'm also gonna be there from January to April next year, so if you decide to swing by, you're always welcome <laugh>.
Kristin: All right… Well where can people get more information on Wifi Tribe? So you mentioned @pixeljudy for your personal Instagram.
Julia: Exactly. And then it's like WifiTribe.co is our website. We find all the information about uh, how it works, what the tribe is all about, where we're going next, Eris soon you can expect also a 2023 calendar there, so stay tuned for that one. Also our Wifi Tribe Instagram account as the same as the website is also WifiTribe.co. And yeah, feel free to send messages, ask questions, happy to answer all of them and yeah, maybe even see you on one of our trips.
Kristin: Yeah. Alright, Jules, well thank you so much for coming on Badass Digital Nomads today, and hope to see you in person again soon.
Julia: Yeah, thank you Kristin, and thanks for having me. It was so much fun.
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