We’re so excited to share this – TLL featured on The Offbeat Life podcast! I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with the lovely Debbie Archangeles, founder of The Offbeat Life for a chat on her popular podcast. Guests on The Offbeat Life share similar values to Cooper and I. They seek ways to bring more global experiences into their lives, weaving work, travel and lifestyle into an immersion of other cultures.
In this episode, Debbie and I talk about ways to take your work on the road. We highlight great tips for anyone dreaming of an ‘offbeat life’ adventure! In particular, becoming a digital nomad, remote worker or expat abroad.
How can you travel longer, live and work from anywhere?
Have a listen to Cooper’s and my story, hopefully we can share advice that motivates you to take the leap!
Debbie and I had a great chat about house sitting too.
Because house sitting is a fantastic enabler of a freedom filled lifestyle that suits remote workers and digital nomads to a T! This sentiment is everything that inspires our own podcast, Freedom and Four Paws.
In our Offbeat Life chat, I cover the top mistakes newbie house sitters make – find out how to avoid them, listen on:
If you have been considering a new setting for your remote office, here’s why you should look no further than to work from Kalamata in Greece as a digital nomad! With its vibrant atmosphere, excellent amenities, and commitment to sustainability, Kalamata is ideal for digital nomads. After visiting recently and having a new-found interest in remote working ourselves, Cooper and I started imagining what it would be to like to live and work here. Following are are five of our insights as to why you should consider working from Kalamata as a digital nomad.
This wonderful spot is the economic, commercial and cultural centre of South Peloponnese in Greece. It is the capital city of the Messinia region and serves 100,000 people every day. Kalamata is a modern all-year round bustling destination with a rich history and a multitude of attractions. Nestled at the apex of the Messinian Bay, it is known for its stunning coastline, lush mountains, and delicious local produce.
Why work from Kalamata in Greece as a digital nomad?
Kalamata is renowned for its Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. This creates a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. You can enjoy hiking, swimming, or simply relaxing on the beautiful beaches. Kalamata’s beach, a long stretch of sand and pebbles, is one of the city’s main attractions. It is frequently awarded the Blue Flag for its cleanliness and the quality of its facilities.
The cityscape is a fascinating blend of old and new, where contemporary architecture coexists with historic buildings. The Old Town of Kalamata, situated at the foot of the Kalathi Mountain, is a must-visit area. Its narrow alleys, traditional houses, Byzantine churches, and the imposing Kalamata Castle, offer a trip back in time. The modern city, on the other hand, is vibrant and lively, brimming with shops, cafes, and eateries.
Culture and history
Kalamata is also a city of culture, hosting a variety of events throughout the year. It is home to the International Dance Festival, which is held every summer and attracts performers from all over the world. The city also houses a range of museums. These include the excellent Archaeological Museum of Messinia and the Folklore and History Museum.
Find out more about all that’s on offer in Kalamata. Visit the Municipality of Kalamata’s website here. Start by browsing the ‘visitors’ section.
Kalamata’s famous foodie delights!
Kalamata is known worldwide for its olives and olive oil. This produce is considered some of the best in the world. We would agree – especially after having the chance to attend the city’s annual Food Stories event (pictured below)!
The local cuisine is a gastronomic delight. Traditional tavernas serve a multitude of dishes made from fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Food lovers will particularly enjoy the local markets on every Wednesday to Saturday. Score deals on the famed Kalamata olives, local honey, figs, and the region’s renowned wines.
Kalamata is a city that charms its visitors with its diverse offerings. These include beautiful natural scenery and vibrant lifestyle, rich history and cultural heritage. And let’s not forget its delectable local cuisine. Whether you are a history buff, a nature lover, a foodie, or a culture enthusiast, Kalamata has something for everyone.
5 great reasons to work remotely from Kalamata in Greece
Which brings me back to why you might want to work from Kalamata in Greece as a digital nomad! Obviously before planning to move here to live and work, you need to check your eligibility. If you’re not being sponsored to move, you may be eligible for a digital nomad visa in Greece. Here’s more info on that.
Our five pics for why this is a secret gem on the digital nomad map:
Awesome lifestyle opportunities in Kalamata for digital nomads
Kalamata offers an amazing quality of life – great weather and a lively atmosphere year-round. The cost of living is reasonable, making it easy for digital nomads to enjoy the many attractions and activities here. Whether you prefer spending your days lounging on the beach, hiking in the nearby Taygetos Mountains, or exploring the bustling city centre, Kalamata has something for everyone.
Terrific remote working amenities
Kalamata is well-equipped for digital nomads, offering top-notch remote working facilities, such as the fantastic co-working space Phaos ΚΟΙΝΣΕΠ (House by Phaos). The city is continuously investing in its internet and infrastructure, ensuring that you’ll always be connected and able to work efficiently. With reliable Wi-Fi and plenty of cafes and public spaces to work from, you’ll find it easy to stay productive in Kalamata.
The Work From Kalamata website is quite new too. Browse it here for more information about working remotely in this region.
This wonderful place is committed to environmental sustainability. Its people and leaders are passionate about taking care of their own backyard. The municipality is actively involved in European initiatives to make a real impact on the environment. Kalamata is one of the European Commission’s 100 ‘smart cities’ across the EU that have committed commit to a goal of climate-neutrality by 2030.
By choosing Kalamata as your remote work location, you’ll be supporting a community that is taking active steps towards a greener future.
Getting around in Kalamata, Greece
Navigating Kalamata is a breeze, as the city is compact and easily walkable or cyclable. If you prefer public transportation, the city’s bus system is efficient and regular, making it simple to get around. Need to travel further? There’s a quick bus to Athens (pictured below) that runs along a new highway, getting you to the capital in under three hours. And with an international airport located in Kalamata, exploring the rest of Greece or Europe is just a flight away.
History and culture – what can a digital nomad immerse in while living in Kalamata?
Kalamata is rich in history and culture, offering an abundance of attractions for you to explore during your downtime. Discover thousands of years of history as you visit ancient ruins, historic castles, and archaeological sites. The local food and wine scene is also incredible, with an emphasis on fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Immerse yourself in Greek culture and cuisine while you work remotely in this stunning city.
Kalamata offers an unparalleled experience for digital nomads, combining a fantastic lifestyle, excellent remote working amenities, and a commitment to sustainability. With easy access to both the city’s attractions and the rest of Greece, Kalamata is the perfect destination for those seeking a unique and fulfilling remote work experience.
Got questions or comments? Let us know in the space below or get in touch on social media :)
Split in Croatia – if you’ve not been, you should know it’s a favourite stop for travellers and digital nomads alike. Imagine a city bathed in the warm, golden glow of the Mediterranean sun, gently lapped by the crystal clear Adriatic sea, and brimming with ancient history. The city is a perfect blend of tradition and modernity, and a haven for remote workers. But, as luck would have it, during our week-long visit, we were greeted not by the usual sunny splendour of Split, but by persistent rain and storms.
What to do as a digital nomad in Split… in the rain?
Even the stormy weather couldn’t dampen our spirits. Instead, it offered us a unique perspective on this Croatian gem. We discovered that Split has a magnetic charm that can be felt whether it’s bathed in sunlight or soaked in raindrops. This post is a guide to spending 48 hours in Split as a digital nomad, whatever the weather.
Morning – get a taste of the best coffee in town
Kickstart your day at D16, widely known as the best coffee spot in town. Numerous digital nomads have blogged about this spot and recommended it. While it is small, you could definitely pull up a seat for an hour or two and get some work done.
As we were walking in, two American travellers happily announced to us how good the coffee was. A good sign!
The friendly and laid-back atmosphere makes it a perfect place to get some work done early in the day.
Late morning – settle into a co-working space
Once you’ve had your caffeine fix, head over to Smartspace. We like this place because of its central location. If you are a digital nomad on a deadline, for €20 you can drop in for half a day and work. In exchange for paying for space, you’ll enjoy a stimulating environment surrounded by others working remotely. The good wifi, comfortable working stations, and a community of like-minded individuals create an environment conducive to productivity.
The other great thing about a co-working space like this is the people you meet. Sometimes working remotely can feel a bit isolating, and finding your tribe really helps. You can read more about that here.
Afternoon – lunch and work on the spectacular waterfront
Once the clock strikes twelve, make your way to the waterfront and settle into a quiet spot at Basta Bar. Not only is it a fantastic restaurant, but it also welcomes remote workers looking for a scenic spot to work. Just keep in mind that they don’t start serving food until midday, so plan your schedule accordingly.
You can come here in the morning and find a quiet spot to work, and drinks are still served. This spot was recommended in this blog about some of the best cafes and restaurants in Split to work as a digital nomad.
Evening – retiring at lux local accommodation
After a productive day, head back to New Lux Villa Merissima. We found a great deal on this gorgeous property on Booking.com. It’s a comfortable place and more than just a hotel – its common area downstairs is a great place to work if you’re stuck finding space in busy cafes and restaurants in Split. Plus, after a long day, there’s nothing quite like the comfort of a lovely temporary home.
Of course, your stay in Split shouldn’t be all work and no play. Make the most of the dry spells by joining a walking tour. We found several great options on Airbnb Experiences, run by passionate locals who can show you the hidden gems of this historical city.
If the weather doesn’t cooperate, don’t fret. There are numerous food and wine experiences available on Airbnb too. Or you can try sites like Get Your Guide or Viator for a huge variety of local adventures.
Food experiences in particular can be a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the local culture and learn more about the region’s unique offerings – all while staying dry!
Bonus tips – where to eat
For quick and healthy meals, try Good Food along the Split Waterfront. The ‘Magnificent Seven’ good bowl is as delicious as it is affordable. For breakfast or brunch, you can’t miss Feel Green – I highly recommend the Buckwheat Bowl. Lastly, for a lovely dining experience with good prices, head to Kavana Bar & Cuisine. Cooper and I had excellent experiences at all three of these places.
Split offers a rich experience for digital nomads and remote workers, even when the weather is less than ideal. If you’re after more inspiration for wet weather activities here, this post offers further ideas. And if you’re looking for info on how Croatia attracts and supports remote workers, take a look here at what the Croatian National Tourist Board has to say.
The city effortlessly combines work and leisure, providing a wide range of options for every preference and budget. We can’t wait to return (to hopefully share some sunny weather excursions with you).
Often when we think about remote work and community it’s easy to imagine some sort of YouTube or TikTok dream. You know, the one where everyone lands in Bali, operates from a cool coworking (or co-living) space, and enjoy coffee and nights out together? They swap contacts and support each other, often collaborating and finding freedom and fame by the beach.
I’m sure it is like that for some people.
But for many, finding community while we work remotely isn’t that simple.
Cooper and I recently relocated back to the UK on an Ancestry Visa. We love living in England. There’s so much opportunity here professionally speaking. Socially too, in the right situation. I also love most things about working remotely. We have the tech and the know-how to get things done easily. Many employers ‘get it’ too, so there’s no clock watching across time zones – trust exists. And, there are some wellbeing benefits associated with not having to be ‘on’ all day in an office.
Why then, last weekend over lunch, did it dawn on us that we feel a bit “meh”?
What’s going on with remote work then?
A CBS report we spotted on YouTube, shared that now over 17 million Americans call themselves digital nomads. That is, they are Americans living and working in other parts of the world.
In a stat that surprised me, CBS reported that two thirds of these so-called digital nomads were not freelancing or setting up their own businesses. Not at all. They are in fact working remotely for an American-based company.
And this is just Americans we’re talking about here. What about remote workers from all other corners of the globe?
There are now dozens of countries in Europe alone that offer what’s called a Digital Nomad visa, and we’ve seen plenty more options to apply for the same sort of thing around the world. In fact, Colombia is one of the latest off the rank to offer a digital nomad visa, and it’s quickly gaining traction as one of the most popular! (count us in…one day!).
A digital nomad visa enables the holder to legitimately work remotely from a different country, complying with tax rules and enjoying temporary resident status.
‘Remote working’ and ‘digital nomads’ are not new concepts, but they are now far more common than pre-COVID. Cooper and I have been interested in this space since 2019 and I am blown away by the changes we’ve witnessed since going through a global pandemic. Obviously, there are significant workforce challenges being faced by employers due to this change, but this post isn’t about that (although with my ‘Internal Comms Manager’ hat on, I could write a few posts about it…).
I’m in a position to work remotely and experience the benefits and drawbacks of it for the first time, which is how we’ve ended up writing this piece.
Remote work and community
Back to community. I wonder if there’s a tendency to undervalue it when it’s there? From neighbours to friends and colleagues – the incidental banter, conversation and learning that goes on is important for our own development.
With millions of people around the world now working remotely, not all of them can possibly be living that happy collaborative Bali dream.
As a remote worker, you may find yourself in a country where your first language isn’t as widely spoken – this can potentially make it harder to find your tribe. Similarly, if you’re in a regional area rather than a capital or big city, there may be fewer networking opportunities.
Cooper and I have been exploring what works for us and wanted to share our experience in case it helps anyone else in a similar situation.
1. Local area – sports and recreation
The first big tip from us is to find a local sports or active meetup. Often the mere act of getting involved trumps the ability to communicate in your first language. Cooper, being more sporty than me, has always made heaps of friends by proactively asking around for how to get involved in anything from footy to running clubs.
It takes a bit of guts to get yourself out there, but this path usually reaps rewards and long-term friends.
Volunteering is a great alternative if, like me, you’re not as sporty as Cooper but happy to have a chat and turn your hand to anything. There are some great opportunities happening in the UK in this space as part of the King’s coronation!
As dog owners, we also always find ‘dog people’ friends at local parks. And you should keep an eye out for interest-based meetups like Yoga or meditation workshops, creative or activity based events.
2. Find an industry conference ora remote work/digital nomad event
If you know a little about us, you have heard us rave about TBEX before. While attending something like this does mean you need to travel, there’s a high chance you’ll connect with like-minded people and form forever-friendships with people who ‘get’ what you’re doing.
There are now plenty of digital nomad and remote working conferences too, e.g. Running Remote just ran a fantastic conference in Lisbon. Again, these attract people from all different industries and parts of the world. But, everyone has the remote work aspect in common. Connections made at events like this are often life-long and continue authentically online despite distance.
3. Check what’s on offer from your company
If your workplace presents remote work as an option, chances are it’s a big enough company to be offering great opportunities for connection too. Get online and have a look over your company’s intranet or Slack/Yammer channels to discover what social groups are available for team members who share common interests and purpose.
Some of these groups offer a unique chance to not just connect, but to make a meaningful difference to company culture, ‘belonging’ and mentoring schemes. If you’re unsure where to start, get in touch with your workplace’s internal communications or HR team who I’m sure will help you out.
Showing up consistently to add your support and get involved helps to add structure and purpose in your day. And, you’re making a difference from wherever you may be.
I’ve found it’s also really important to participate in meetings and video calls where you can, even if you need to juggle time-zones. Having the chance to collaborate and brainstorm with my team mates from abroad first thing in the morning usually adds a spring to my step and sets the tone for my day.
4. Finding community online
This one isn’t so much about just adding yourself to just any Facebook, Reddit, LinkedIn or Slack community. It is about finding which community resonates with you, where you hang out.
Where are you most likely to be so you can authentically interact with an online group and find real connection?
This piece by We Work Remotely offers a few handy tips on how to optimise your favourite channel (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, Slack) to make meaningful connections while you work remotely.
5. Create your own community!
Can’t find a local meetup or online community that’s right for you, or want more? You may not be alone…
Take to Facebook or Meetup and set up an event at a nearby coffee shop, pub, museum or park. You could theme it (e.g. ‘creative meetup’ or ‘expat meetup’) and see what interest you can raise. Sometimes these things take a little time too, so give it a consistent go for a few months to see who you can attract to your online or IRL meetup.
Acting as the connector yourself means you’re making a huge difference to other people. It also potentially helps to add to your professional and personal brand or reputation which can lead to new friends, business leads and opportunities of all kinds.
Here’s our story about how we accidently created our own community, and how we make the most of it now :)
Remote work resources
If you are in a similar situation to us and working remotely yourself, here’s some of our fave resources that support work/life experience in 2023:
By anyone’s standards, we’re living in troubling times. Coronavirus messaging is overwhelming, from the media, governments, employers and family members – how to deal with anxiety of it all then?
With very few details to go on, the only consistent message we had for months was to keep our hands clean and off our faces. Then hand sanitiser sold out! (well, except for the packs of six small bottles that you could buy on Amazon for the bargain price of £75 😠).
Travel plans are out the window and some of us face a very real threat of being separated from family, friends and the future we’d planned because the world is closed, indefinitely.
How to deal with anxiety around Coronavirus
The exceptional pace at which events have unfolded since January 2020 means people are living in fear. Unexpected lock-downs began in China, then Italy which we got caught up in. People worry about empty supermarket shelves, closed international borders and economic collapse.
All of this came out of nowhere. Our travel trends never predicted this in the plan. It’s new, and it’s upsetting.
I know you are stressed. Me too!
Friends have messaged me in tears. Fellow travel writers and bloggers have contacted us to ask, ‘what are you guys doing next?’ Another friend has been stuck on a cruise ship for over 25 days – no port will accept the passengers! If someone walks past and coughs, panic wells inside of us all. Our biggest international airlines have simply stopped flying indefinitely. The business landscape is changing, and many people are without work. It’s madness.
Social isolation is enforced globally, including here in the UK. We’re keeping our distance from other humans. Pubs are shut – it’s bad. That would be a joke if it weren’t for all the other businesses that have closed too. Hotels, restaurants, events, tours, even the famous summer festival Glastonbury has been cancelled, in what would have been its 50th year! Will summer destinations like Ibiza – heavily reliant on seasonal tourism – even be able to open this year?
I would have thought it was all a bit of a crazy media frenzy, if we’d not experienced all of it directly. Unfortunately, it’s all true.
It’s time to admit we’re in trouble when ‘wartime’ rhetoric is invoked, but admittedly I’d drawn these parallels already.
Coronavirus anxiety has been following Cooper and I for a while, from before our trip to Italy where we were set to attend the TBEX conference, here in the UK and in Australia.
The situation for digital nomads and the Coronavirus pandemic
Last August Cooper and I set off on a grand adventure. For the first time in our lives we let work be a secondary concern. On a house sitting sabbatical adventure (that made international headlines) we had a world of opportunity at our fingertips. We’ve embraced a house sitting and digital nomad lifestyle – like thousands and thousands of others. This lifestyle has been accessible and easy for years now. Living a laptop lifestyle and all of that.
But what happens when you have plans to travel, live and work in different countries, but now deal with anxiety around what’s [not] on offer? The Coronavirus outbreak means for many of us that we need to return home before we want or intended to. When will we be free to travel again? It’s estimated that most airlines will be bankruptby the end of May 2020. A staggering and saddening thought.
I remember the days when there was no competition and there’s no way an average family of four could fly from one city in Australia to another. We had to drive. I imagine it was the same in Europe. Now we flit from the UK to Spain on a whim. Well, at least we could do that three months ago.
Currently we’re in the UK where we have residency, thankfully for a little while yet. We were going to apply for indefinite leave to remain visas this year and stay. But we want to be at home in Australia too. How can we get there when all flights are cancelled? We are without a flat because we’ve been travelling. It feels like our options get slimmer by the day. Where’s safest in terms of wellbeing and the economy? No one knows from one day to the next.
Anxiety and stress: dealing with Coronavirus and an uncertain future
Whether you’re in a precarious situation like us, uncertain of the future; or, you’re feeling down, worried and downright isolated working from home for the foreseeable future, it’s easy to get caught up in the worry mindset. Oh yeah, I get that. There are people trapped in foreign countries right now, with no money or accommodation. Cruise ships with ill passengers being denied entry to ports. Sick with worry – that’s no way to live.
Author and spiritual teacher, Gabby Bernstein, shared very helpful tips that I’ve passed around to friends who are caught up in Coronavirus anxiety. In this blog, she talks about how to claim back a good night’s sleep, and about taking responsibility for your own thoughts. It’s worth a read.
How to deal with anxiety – our own experience
Our ‘new normal’ includes:
limiting the amount of news and social media we’re consuming.
breathing! (don’t forget to do it).
we use ‘spare’ or ‘locked-in’ time to focus on creative projects, like our upcoming wellness travel podcast launch (perhaps timely, given the world’s predicament) – it’s called ‘Exhale’ which is referencing, appropriately, remembering to breathe!
taking the time to reevaluate what’s working in our business – getting prepared and positioned to be available when things pick up again and new opportunities arise out of such significant change.
acknowledging when things get too much and giving ourselves a break – there have been some tense moments over the past few weeks and it’s led to emotional and physical burnout for both of us.
looking for opportunities to laugh and live in the moment.
As I write this, we’re safe at a house sit in the Bedfordshire countryside with our pups Maise and Mole and horses Haze and Roo. Cooper and I went into a 14 day self isolation after returning from Italy, and fortunately we are ok. Our biggest issue is sourcing groceries, but the kindness of neighbours has meant that strangers bring us food and check on us. Beautiful 💕
There are changes happening around us every single day, and we are practising the art of allowing and letting go of the plans we simply can’t make under the circumstances. We have a few options to consider, but are taking this day at a time. It’s taken some time to get to this head space though, to be able to write even this piece in a calm and collected manner. Tears and depression have presented. I’m a ‘planner’ by nature, and right now I can’t plan. It’s tough, but we’re all in it together regardless of status, race or colour. It’s like a disaster movie and we’re all playing a part.
There’s people I work with who hate the term ‘moving forward’, but I this it’s appropriate here and hope we can do it soon. Let’s pray the airlines keep running; that lost jobs are found again; and that we can continue to travel in the direction in which we’re called.
I hope wherever you are that you feel safe and connected, despite enforced social distancing. This too shall pass. And, it’s an opportunity to think about your future and how you’ll embrace change on the other side.
If you have tips or stories on how you’re going through all of this, let us know in the comments or on social media.
Welcome! We are Sarah + Cooper, Aussie expats living in the UK with our Westie dog, London. We like to inspire on how to travel for longer and to live and work from anywhere. Our most popular content here is about seeing the world with your pet, remote working & digital nomadism, and house + pet sitting. Create a global life of your dreams at any age! Subscribe to find out more :)
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