Chloé Sturm Thibault

Why did you choose to become a Digital Nomad?

I actually never chose to be a digital nomad…I wanted to work in a coffee house or a restaurant for a few months to save up to go traveling…but I tried and I discovered that any job that I have, I get bored and depressed after about 2 months of full time work!
I It is when I took wealthfare to figure out what to do with my life, that with 100% of my time free, it got filled by itself by jewelry creation…When my friends told me at the beginning ”Oh, you could live of it!” I didn’t want to dream and answered ”I could never do that” but I just kept doing what I like, I opened an online shop, put collections in some boutiques in my town, and as soon as I had enough money saved up for traveling (not a lot) I decided to pack all my jewelries with me for a 3 months travel.
When I heard the term digital nomad for the first time, I was traveling since 4 months, I was having a beer with my couchsurfing hosts, and I decided right away that I was indeed a digital nomad, or at least that I wanted to be one. And my 3 months travel was becoming more and more like an undetermined lenght travel….I was heading to India, and thinking to have a total travel of 6 months at the end, but people were telling me ”Well, you’re going to be in Asia….You could visit other countries while you’re there, no? Like Thailand?” I was like…….YES! LET’S MAKE IT A YEAR!

How long have you been travelling, and what countries have you been too?

I have left since 7 months now, I was in Iceland, in France, in England, and now I am in India! When I was in France I was staying with my sister, so I had a settled place, a room for myself, the space to work, but she has 3 children so sometimes it wasn’t easy to get the calm I needed. In England, I was there for one month and a half, and I did Couchsufring all the time there. I was changing place every 2, 3 or 4 nights. Sometimes I would sit in coffee houses to work, sometimes my hosts were nice enough to let me stay at their place. As I work better at night time, I was lucky when I had a room for myself and that I could work until late in the night sitting in the bed!

How do you manage to sustain your travelling lifestyle?

I create jewelries, I take photos of them and put them on my Etsy shop. There is a gemstones shop back in Montreal that send me gemstones by mail, wherever I am, and I send them back the gemstones on wich I made jewelries! And send them a bill! And there is a creator’s boutique in Montreal where I have a collection on deposit, when she sells most of them she contacts me, and we do the inventory, she sends me a check and I send her more jewelries! But most of my incomes are from my online sales! I have an Etsy shop, and when I change country, I just change the location on there, I get informations to the post office and change what I charge my customers for a shipping fee. I actually have always very bad at doing a budget…So I just try to be reasonable, and work harder when I need more money! I have a safety amount in my bank account that I try not to touch, and my expenses come from my day to day sales!

What does a typical day in your life look like?

The hardest part for me is how to manage my time. It is hard to find balance between work and travel. Because I feel traveling is so awesome I would like it to take 100% of my time! But I have to choose when to work, when to visit magical places, meet people, go out and have fun, relax, spend time with my hosts when I am couchsurfing….I like to stay somewhere for more than one month because of that, even 3 months maybe should be my minimum. I try to listen to my intuition on what I feel like doing in the moment. Like for exemple right today I was planning to create jewelries, but I ended up spending a lot of time on the computer doing researsh about marketing, fixing some stuff on my online shop, writing emails…It was simply the right moment to do it because that’s what I felt like doing now! Creation time will be tomorow, or the day after! I am not a good planner and this is the way it works for me, but everyone is different! There is no typical day, sometimes it is pictures day, so I would take all my new jewelries, find the place with the best light to take pictures, then upload them, maybe while I eat, and then edit the photos, and in the night put them online. Or the next day. A few days a week I would have to prepare a bunch of orders, so I prepare the enveloppes, wrap the jewelries, go to the post office and send them away. Some days I need to take care of buying new materials, so either I take hours to shop online, or I go to crafts stores around the town. Wich is hard when you arrive in a new town and searsh for something particular!

What is your advice for aspiring Digital Nomads? Why is this your advice?

Learn from your experiences! There is not a guidebook to explain you how to do it! Just take your bag, and leave for an undetermined time! Or leave for a few months and then extend it! Try it out for a while! You don’t have to make life choices right now, just think about the present moment, and you’ll see after a while if it is what you want to do. People think too much and plan too much. Make mistakes and learn from them!

Where are you heading to next?

I really have no idea where I am going after, and I looove the fact that I don’t know! I am always free to meet people on my way and get inspired to go here and there…There is just too many options and I want to go everywhere, so it is hard to choose! I don’t know if and when I will settle down…I guess I could settle somewhere for a year sometime if I feel like it…I know what I want now, but I could change a lot as I get older and want something totally different in 10 years, so it’s hard to say.

Do you have any general travel advice?

I have a 15 inches macbook pro, and I definitely think it is way too big and heavy to carry around…And I make jewelries so I litteraly travel with rocks on my back…My best advice is keep it light! Take as less as possible with you! Have only one backpack, make it fit in there so that you can move around easily, and get more freedom!

Any last comments, stories, thoughts that you would like to share?

I don’t know when I will find the place that makes me say ”I want to live here forever!”. I love traveling so much, and it is like an adiction, the more you travel, the more you meet travelers that inspire you to add some other places on your list! Any country seem just amazing to discover! And to discover a place, you need to experiment living there, not just passing by for a week and check the ”to do” list of things to see that every tourist do….I have seen the Eiffel tour and I can tell you, this is not what I want to discover about Paris! The Big ben in London, I didn’t even bother thinking about going to see it, I saw it well on the post cards in the tourist’s shops! What I liked in London was to wander in the streets to see the speed people walk, discover restaurants locals like, discover alternative places and communities in the town, discover cool places where young people go out….
Right now I am in India, and I have to accept that I will not see everything. India is huge and I prefer experimenting the life in a few towns than visit everything at once. I may come back someday to see the rest. Because it’s awesome!

 

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