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What I learned from being a temporary digital nomad

Woman using a laptop and phone on the beach

ARTICLE SUMMARY

With this in mind, we sat down with Amy Ramage, Founder, MD and Creative Director at Célibataire, to find out what she learned from being a temporary digital nomad when she swapped her studio in East London for Athens.

THE PERMANENT LIFE OF A DIGITAL NOMAD MAY NOT BE FOR EVERYONE.

However, packing up your laptop and embracing it temporarily can be an extremely rewarding experience. It can also be very advantageous for your business – giving you the time you need to reset, refocus, and be reinspired.

Amy Ramage, Founder, MD and Creative Director at Célibataire

With this in mind, we sat down with Amy Ramage, Founder, MD and Creative Director at Célibataire, to find out what she learned from being a temporary digital nomad when she swapped her studio in East London for Athens.

Amy founded hybrid design studio Célibataire in 2022, with the mission of making the web a more beautiful and intuitive place. She has 20 years’ experience crafting transformational brand experiences – that drive business growth and success – for the world’s most ambitious brands.

Incredibly conscious of the way Célibataire does business, Amy believes in operating ethically and sustainably – for people and the planet. She is passionate about working with and empowering women-owned brands and businesses. And prides herself in building long-lasting relationships with colleagues, clients, partners and peers.

WHEN SETTING UP A NEW BUSINESS, IT’S DIFFICULT BUT VITALLY IMPORTANT, TO GET THE WORK/LIFE BALANCE RIGHT.

And I will hold up my hands and admit that I’ve been guilty of tipping the scales and putting work first. It’s been a whirlwind year for me – exiting a business and a week later starting up a new one. As such my focus was very much on ensuring new clients were onboarded and serviced to the highest standard.

However, fast forward to August and I’d been finding it hard to really focus. Even though I had been away in the summer, it had been hard for me to truly switch off. The business was always on my mind. In hindsight I was potentially suffering from ‘founder’s burnout’. It became clear that a change of scenery and a new routine was needed.

A REMOTE-FIRST APPROACH AND TRUST IN YOUR TEAM

As business leaders we do everything we can to help our employees lead balanced lives. We know that offering flexible working is one of the most important ways to achieve this. With this in mind, I’d set my business up as remote-first right from the start with hybrid working baked in.

From London to Yorkshire, and Europe to the Pacific, my team have become experts at working together in different locations. It offers us choice and has enabled the business to truly become an advocate for making work ‘work’ however and whatever that means for the individual. And it offers the work / life balance we all aspire to. Being open to the concept of the digital nomad – albeit temporarily – is an extension of this. And it was about time that I practised what I preached and lived out our values.

September felt like a good time to get some space to clear my head and be reinspired. Both the team and the business were in a really good place. I trust my team and things were running smoothly. The bags were packed, and East London was swapped for Exarcheia, Athens.

GOING OUTSIDE THE COMFORT ZONE

Now I may be a sucker for punishment, so I decided to add another curve ball to my new digital nomad experience. I chose a city that I’d never visited, but one that had been on the ‘places to go’ list for a while. I knew no one and was completely outside of my comfort zone. It was both thrilling and terrifying at the same time.

Although I was safe in the knowledge that Athens is a city that is set up for the digital nomad. It has a number of co-working spaces combined with the internet connectivity I needed to be able to work effectively and efficiently. Plus, as a bonus, it’s only two hours ahead of the UK. There was really no difference between being in my studio or apartment, than the one in Athens – other than the weather and a stunning view of the Acropolis!

From a ‘headspace’ and inspiration point of view – it was amazing to discover a new city while working remotely. If you’ve ever visited Athens, you’ll find it vibrant and buzzing, but what you’ll most remember is the friendly people. The kindness of strangers made the experience of being a digital nomad all the more inspiring. From other business owners to those working in the cafes, co-working spaces, shops and restaurants I visited, they have become friends and were all willing to impart pearls of wisdom along the way.

A CHANGE IS AS GOOD AS A REST

As the proverb goes, change is as good as a rest. It’s so important to act on what you need when you need it. Self-care is not selfish, it’s self-respect and knowing when you need to put yourself first will make you a better leader after all. Being a temporary digital nomad gave me a change of scenery and the space I needed to think.

The vibrant city and the people of Athens were a source of inspiration. I can honestly say, it was one of the best things I have done. I highly recommend any business owner – who can – to take time out, when you need it, to focus on you. Travel undoubtedly broadens both the mind and one’s perspective and gives you space to hear your own inner voice. I for one will make the temporary digital nomad life a regular thing and will be encouraging my team to do the same. Why not dip your toe in, too?

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