This interview is part of our Love Mondays series, bringing you stories of digital nomad couples from around the world who love their Mondays! You can read more about the series here.
Radhika and Johnny are the couple behind the travel blog Full Time Nomad. They have been travelling full time since October 2013, making money by running their online marketing agency. We caught up with them for a quick chat.
What made you and Johnny want to become digital nomads?
Johnny: It was a gradual process actually. But at the very basic level, when I realised that we could potentially live and work from anywhere… I knew we had to make it happen! Almost two years into this, I’m still motivated by that but the benefits of being your own boss and having a flexible work lifestyle also drive me to keep going.
How do you make money while you travel – tell us some more about your online marketing agency
Johnny: We have a marketing agency that helps clients reach their customers online; via social media, blogging, content, email, advertising and more. Basically, we’re your marketing wingman on the internet.
How did you start your online marketing agency? What were the biggest challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
Johnny: We both worked in digital marketing before we quit our jobs and became nomads. So, it kind of all just fell together after a number of people we knew asked us to do some work for them. We decided if we were going to take on clients, might as well be professional about it so we set up our agency.
Our challenges were that neither of us had ever worked in an agency environment before. Talk about jumping in the deep-end! So while we knew the work, the administrative side of the business like managing client expectations, documentation, invoicing etc was completely new to us. We did a LOT of reading and asked friends for advice. We also learnt a lot from mistakes. It was challenging at the start but now we have proper processes in place so it’s not as stressful.
Radhika – you grew up in India, a difficult place to get visas to many places and where not too many digital nomads come from. Do you travel on an Australian passport? How does your family feel about your not so traditional path?
Radhika: (Laughing) Oh visas… how I love and hate you. I travel on my Indian passport and that means I can’t wake up tomorrow and say, “let’s go to Spain!” I have to wait at least two weeks for the visa processing to happen.
It’s not impossible to get visas, it’s just a process. Some places are easier than others. I just have to be organised and have every piece of paperwork (and more) ready for visa applications. Shedding a few tears also helps sometimes. (Laughs) I am a visa expert these days!
It used to really annoy me at the start but now I’m just grateful I can travel. There are people in the world who are a lot worse off than me. I just look at visas as a necessary (but evil) part of the travel process now.
My family, especially my parents, are the most supportive people in my life. I’m sure they were skeptical when I told them I was leaving Australia to go to Colombia but they never challenged my decision. They’ve always encouraged me to do what makes me happy, so that’s what I did!
Could you ever imagine returning to Australia to live?
Radhika: At this stage…. Not full time, no.
We love Australia and miss our family and friends so we see ourselves spending large chunks of time there each year. But, I’m not sure when we’ll go back to living there.
Radhika – you are a self-confessed introvert. How have you found meeting people when you’re on the road? Was this difficult for you at first? And how’d you overcome the challenge of being an introverted traveller?
Radhika: Meeting people was the thing I was most terrified about at first but now it is my favourite thing about travelling! People aren’t so scary, I’ve realised.
Johnny is very gregarious so that really helped me. I used to watch him interacting with people and take cues from that. I also noticed that to keep a conversation going all I had to do is ask lots of questions! Over time, I just realised that if I held back from interacting with people, the only person missing out was me.
I still get nervous about meeting new people but I don’t let it hold me back any more.
What do you love the most about your lifestyles?
Radhika: The freedom! The flexibility to fit work around our lifestyle and not the other way around. Travel is obviously our biggest motivator but being able to work as we travel has changed the way we travel.
We love being able to dig our roots in, live in places for a little while and understand the inner workings of a culture. We would have never been able to do this without the freedom to take our work with us wherever we go.
As a couple, what do you find to be the biggest challenge to be working and travelling with each other full time?
Radhika: Exactly that… being with each other 24/7. When you move to new places so often, sometimes the only company you have is each other. And while that’s great, sometimes you just need a break!
We both believe a healthy relationship needs spaces in its togetherness. So we’ve been actively working at doing a few things independently. We are also trying to factor in at least one holiday a year, without the other. It helps us stay sane, rekindle the spark and continue being appreciative of each other.
Are you a digital nomad couple and would like to feature in our Love Mondays series? Drop us an email.