Emma Shimmens is the first to volunteer to share her story in “season two” of this Woman of the Week series. I have the pleasure of sharing this interview with a marketing lead, where Emma tells about what that means, how she came into this role, and what an average day looks like for her. She also gives us her best travel tips and some amazing stories from her adventures so far. Read her story and check out her own travel blog for more about this amazing lady!
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF?
Hey, I’m Emma! Since gaining a degree in Zoology, I’ve been a Secondary school Science teacher and have also worked in a top Digital Marketing agency in London. I’m now travelling the world while I work, through having a fully remote job. My partner is able to work remotely as well so we’ve been going wherever the wind takes us for the past 18 months! Top locations so far have been Thailand, Malaysia, Spain and Portugal 🙂
I’m also the author of the Nomad Emma blog—the main aim being to highlight that continuous travel is possible through being a remote worker. The lifestyle has completely transformed my life in SO many different ways and I’m now getting increasingly passionate about trying to help other people explore remote working opportunities.
WHY DO YOU TRAVEL?
I became passionate for travelling at the age of 16 when I decided that I wanted a year out of education ahead of attending university. Two years later, I embarked on my first solo trip and travelled to Namibia, South Africa, Malaysia, Borneo, and Australia over a nine-month period. A mixture of volunteering and traditional backpacking meant that I had an amazingly varied experience and met people from all corners of the world.
Even though I returned to England to study and get into the world of work, the memories of this experience have remained with me and I’ve never been able to shake the feeling that more travelling was on the horizon. I love the perspective it brings, the people you meet, and the cultures and food you experience along the way. I believe that travelling is one of the most amazing things you can do with your time—it’s become one of my true passions in life, and I’m so glad I’m now location-independent and able to do it for as long as I want 🙂
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR WORK?
I’m the Marketing Lead for a completely remote, nonprofit organization that provides online UX design courses. The role requires the perfect mix of my marketing and educational knowledge and skill set, and I love working in a small team full of motivated and inspiring individuals that work and come from countries all over the world.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO THIS JOB?
After gaining specialist digital marketing training and experience in a top London agency, I spent six months researching and applying for remote roles. It was a fascinating experience that really opened my eyes to all the weird and wonderful opportunities that exist within the remote and startup world. After progressing through several interview processes, I received the exciting, life-changing email that meant a door into the remote working world had finally opened.
I started working remotely in January 2017 and haven’t looked back since! It’s completely changed my life for the better and I’ll forever be grateful that I persisted with the process, and made it out the other side to embark on the lifestyle of my dreams.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY AT WORK LOOK LIKE?
I’ve recently started getting up early—around 6am—and commencing work as early as possible… normally by 7am. I work through until lunchtime, with a Skype video call mid-morning breaking up my otherwise interruption-free morning of concentrated work time. I then either round off my working hours immediately after lunchtime, or have a break and do another hour or two in the early evening.
This transition to starting work as early as realistically possible—rather than waiting for the more traditional start time of 8-9am—has really revolutionized my daily routine and freed up a lot of hours. It’s surprising how much you really don’tneed a lie in the vast majority of the time!
HOW DO YOU BALANCE WORK AND TRAVEL?
When travelling, it’s very easy to fall into the habit of trying to do absolutely everything possible in the local area. Seeing as we’re working full time while travelling, we have to tone it down a bit and ensure that we’re prioritizing blocks of quiet, concentration time each day for us to get our work done. If we lose our jobs, then we also lose our lifestyle after all!
We therefore tend to travel between locations at the weekends, staying in places for a minimum of 3-4 days (normally a week or two). This allows us to work andfully experience each location we find ourselves in, all without jeopardizing our professional lives or making ourselves too tired.
WHAT’S THE BEST LESSON YOU’VE LEARNED FROM YOUR TRAVELS?
Funnily enough, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned (and am still learning) through my remote-working, location-independent lifestyle is that you can’t bring everyone along with you… in either a physical or mental sense.
Despite wanting your loved ones to experience what you have, the majority of them will likely not be able to. It might be that they are tied to a specific location for work or simply don’t have a desire to travel. Whatever the reason is, sometimes it’s not necessary to explain what you’re doing or why you’re doing it… and, similarly, it’s alright if they don’t understand your lifestyle. Love them regardless and appreciate their mindsets for what they are, no matter how different they may be from your own.
SHARE ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE TRAVEL MEMORIES.
IF YOU COULD SHARE ONE TRAVEL TIP WITH OTHER WOMEN, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Don’t take toiletries! The weight they add to your baggage is just insane and you really can get pretty much anything you need when you get to the destination 🙂 I travel with the absolute bare minimum when it comes to toiletries now—just my favourite perfume and specialist hair product—and get the rest wherever we’re headed.
Another tip I’d like to share is that it’s important to be able to travel both in a group or couple andon your own. Even if you have a partner or friend that you frequently travel with, it’s good to keep mixing in solo trips. Travelling on your own throws up completely different situations and ultimately builds your confidence, knowledge, and abilities to the highest level possible!
THANKS FOR READING EMMA’S STORY!
Looking for more interviews? Head to our Woman of the Week archives for the full library.
I’ve also created three freebies to help you plan your next adventure:
- 50 Practical Travel Tips from Solo Lady Backpackers (a 6-page PDF)
- 20 Tips for Sustainable Travel (a checklist)
- and 30 Jobs to See the World.
After you join the mailing list up, you’ll have access to all the freebies, AND get the password to the Global Directory! The directory will connect you to my recommended resources for each country and tons of travel topics. All blog posts I recommend are written by traveling ladies. From logistics to inspiration, the Global Directory will help you find the info you need no matter where you’re going.