- Travel Topics
Can you start by giving us a little bit of background about yourself and your blog. How did you start traveling? When did you start blogging, and what did you expect readers to get out of it?
Of course, we’re Celia and Jonas a digital nomad couple from Denmark. We met nearly 6 years ago and started dating after knowing each other for 6 months.
We’ve always enjoyed travelling, and instead of buying lots of expensive stuff we always saved up for travelling. We managed to go on some pretty big vacations together, even though our budget was tight because we were both students.
When we got in to making money online, we found this amazing network of location independent online workers, and we started working towards getting there so that we could travel and see the world while working online. Now we’re finally doing it!
We started the blog in March 2013 to write about our future travel plans. On June 25th we finally set off and did a 3 months long bike ride from Copenhagen to Rome while blogging about it.
We want to document our travels and also inspire others to do the same. We believe that everybody should really follow their dream and live a life they enjoy. We know how hard it can be to go for this lifestyle, because many people have a very narrow view on how you should live your life – and they’re not afraid to tell you what you can’t do.
We are here to tell you that you can do it and we’re here to inspire and help the best we can. We’re not rich at all. Many people can’t believe how little money we actually spend when we travel.
Let’s talk experiences – what has been the best experience you’ve had on the road? The worst?
Luckily, we’ve had lots of great experiences and not so many bad ones.
Some of our best experiences have been couchsurfing with locals. Celia never thought she would dare to stay with complete strangers, but once we did it it was amazing. We have been cycling around Lyon with our own personal tour guide who we couchsurfed with, we’ve played pétanque with French people in the middle of the night, we have eaten oysters with friends from all over the world in Monaco and lots of other amazing things. These are experiences that we would never have gotten, had we been too afraid to meet new people.
Also, just experiencing our own continent, Europe, in a very slow way by cycling through it was a huge experience. We saw that Europe is actually an incredibly beautiful continent. We always thought that we had to go far, far away to see such beauty, while we’ve been having it in our backyard for this whole time! Amazing.
Some of the worst experiences we’ve had include ending up on insane roads with no bike lanes and heavy traffic! Riding in to Rome, we even had to hit the highway for a few minutes – not cool! We were very scared. Luckily we survived without a scratch each time! Phew.
What are some of your interests outside of traveling?
Celia: I’ve always loved music, and I used to take singing lessons and play piano and guitar. Now, I just sing for myself and listen to lots of music, but I definitely hope to take some piano lessons while travelling!
I’m also very interested in cosmetics and skin care, and I have a very popular beauty blog in Danish. It has been hard to mix my old beauty blogger life filled with events, goodiebags, treatments and coffee with girlfriends with the travel blogger life with only carry-on luggage and always on the run. However, I got a friend to blog with me who’s still in Copenhagen and can live the fashionable life, while I travel. Whenever I’m back in Denmark, I go to events and feel glamorous. This is the perfect combination!
Jonas: I enjoy watching football (soccer), but I don’t spend as much time on it as I did when I was younger. Now I only watch the big games and my favorite Danish team, Brondby, and the Danish national team.
I also really enjoy reading. When we were on our bike ride I didn’t read very often because I was to tired after a long bike ride. Now I try to read books for a least two hours each day. I start with non-fiction and before bed I move into the world of fiction. It really relaxes me. I must admit I also read a lot about diets. Mostly about the paleo diet.
What are your upcoming plans, both travel and non travel?
On December 9th we fly to Ft Lauderdale in Florida. We plan on staying there for a few weeks and hope to couchsurf a lot to keep our expenses down – Florida is expensive, you know!
After that, we fly to Mexico and plan on travelling with bus through Central America and stay for some time in the countries there. We are slow travelers and enjoy to engage with the locals and have time to get some work done.
We also hope to have time to explore South America (Jonas really wants to see the Football (soccer) World Cup in Brazil next summer) until August when we have to go back to Denmark to sell our apartment. When it’s sold, we’re hopefully on to backpack through Asia for some months before travelling to Australia and New Zealand.
Our non travel plans consist of building our online businesses more. We want to have more economic freedom, since we spend lots of time turning each coin and worrying about money.
You just completed an incredible bike ride across Europe; what were some of the highs and lows of the bike journey? Would you do it all over again?
The main high is definitely that we actually did it! 3744 km (2327 miles) on two city bikes, with no training, no bike equipment and in our normal clothes. People thought we were insane and at times we actually doubted that we could do it. But we did! That’s huge for us.
Also, as mentioned before, meeting incredible people was amazing and experiencing Europe in this way was so great. We’re much more positive towards travelling through Europe now, and we hope to do it soon.
When talking about lows, we were extremely tired and exhausted every day. Biking all day on heavy city bikes are really tough and we just wanted to go right to sleep. However, we had to set up the tent every day and that was a pain in the …!
Also finding internet was a test almost everyday, and combined with the exhaustion we found it very hard to keep the blog updated and work for our clients.
We would do it again, but not right now! We enjoy travelling way slower now. 😉 But it was definitely an amazing trip and we’d love to cycle in the US or in New Zealand. In time we might be crazy enough to do it all over again…
What is it about the US that makes it your favorite country? What are your plans when you go back there in December?
We have both lived in the US for 4 and 5 months and we just love the whole atmosphere there. The people we’ve met have been extremely warm and welcoming, and we both love how Americans greet you on the street and smile at you – that doesn’t happen in Denmark where people are way more reserved.
We also love the availability in the US. Lots of stores and supermarkets are open 24h, which makes it possible for you to live your life exactly as you want. In Denmark it’s still quite new that the stores are open on Sundays. The selection of products is also massive in the US. Oh, and we find everything to be extremely cheap compared to Denmark! 😉
In 2011 we visited the Grand Canyon in Arizona and we loved it. To us, the US has so much to offer no matter what type of person you are – and we love that. It’s also great to be able to communicate with people without them misunderstanding us. English is the only language beside Danish we speak fairly well.
Celia – you mention in your about me that your move to San Francisco changed your life? How so? What that your first time living away from home?
I moved out when I was 17, but I just moved in with Jonas, so in a sense you can say that my stay in San Francisco was my first time living away from home – it was certainly my first time in a completely new place where I had to start from scratch.
To explain why it changed my life, I have to mention that I had just recently dropped out of Law School. It turned my world and my beliefs upside down. Before, I was a very straightforward person. I never took a gap year, I feared the unknown and I thought that everybody who didn’t just study to get a degree and a great job was wasting their precious time.
But one day I realized how depressed the life I was living was making me. I began having trouble getting out of bed in the morning and preferred to just lay in bed all day, staring into the wall. I needed to focus on what made me unhappy: Law School. So I dropped out and that left me completely “naked” and a mess.
I needed to go abroad in order to score some points for my application for Copenhagen Business School, where I thought I wanted to study.
Next thing I knew, I was boarding a plane for San Francisco. I had scored an internship there, but everything happened so fast. I cried all the way over there, but when I finally got through Immigration, I fell in love with San Francisco and its amazing people.
During my stay, I met the most inspirational people. One person stands out in particular, a great author named Joe. He asked me all the right questions. He had dropped out of Law School, too. He had spent 6 years trying to make it as an author before succeeding and nobody had believed in him for those 6 hard years.
I met so many crazy people and they really made it impossible for me to hold on to my old conservative ways of seeing life and other people. It made me a much more open person. I believe in the good in people now and I’m much more positive now.
Returning home I knew one thing for sure: I was not going back to college to chase a dream which wasn’t mine. I was going to take responsibility for my life and start focusing on realizing my dream.
Celia – have you been able to keep up with your beauty blog while traveling? How has it changed while you’ve been on the road?
Well, it has definitely been hard! Backpacking and beauty doesn’t really go well together, but I have held on to some products and have been creative when writing posts for the beauty blog.
Luckily, I had my friend Amalie join me on the blog before I started travelling. She lives in Copenhagen and has been able to take over many of my products and write about them on the blog. She has really been a superstar, and I’m so lucky to have the best partner working on the blog with me – I would really hate to see it disappear into the mass of forgotten blogs.
The blog has changed a lot and I’m more doing reviews on products that can be used for multi-purposes, I’ve talked a lot about my favorite products and I have been doing posts on my “used” products. Before I had sooo many products that I would very rarely use any of them up. When travelling and only carrying the minimum of essentials, I’ve been using lots of products up! Luckily, our readers seem to love these posts – lucky me!
Jonas – you mention in your about me that you weren’t happy with the American education system when you studied abroad? What didn’t you like about it? How is the education system in Denmark different?
In Denmark you have a lot more freedom during a semester than you do in the US. In Denmark each course only has one final exam in the end of the semester. At least this was the case for my field of study – it’s not the same for every field in Denmark.
In the US we had a lot of exams throughout the semester. The exams that I had in the US were only based on memory. You had to remember a lot of unimportant stuff because the teacher just wanted to test if you listened. In Denmark the exams are based on your general understanding of a subject. The small details aren’t that important because you can always look them up.
But to be fair there are also a lot of problems with the University system in Denmark. You can pass an exam without any skills in the subject. So if you don’t like a subject you don’t really need to spend much time on it. But for an individual this system is the best.
So I liked the Danish system because I had time to read the books that I really wanted to read. My point is not to make a Danish system, it is actually that people shouldn’t go to university if they don’t like the courses. You really have to think about why you want to study. My reason was that I liked Media and therefore Media Studies seemed to be the right place for me. But the only reason why I finished was because I could just skip all the subjects that I didn’t have any interest in.
In the US I would have been forced to think about if Media Studies was really the right thing for me, because I would have spend a lot of time on subjects that I really didn’t like.
You can educate yourself without the university. If your only goal is knowledge then you don’t need a piece of paper from the university.
Jonas – have you been able to continue running your own company while traveling? What are some of the challenges you’ve come across?
It has been very tough at times. Especially on the bike ride because I was very tired when we arrived to our final destination each day. Sometimes it was even impossible to find a good internet connection. If I don’t have access to the internet then I can’t work.
Once we finished the bike ride it was easier to get work done. But we have decided that we need to travel slowly because it gives us more time to work. It’s also a much cheaper way of travelling.
When I worked in Denmark I worked from home because I didn’t want to use my time on public transportation every day. When we travel I pretty much have the same morning routine as in Denmark. Every morning I begin to work no matter what. This way it’s very easy for me to get work done.
I only need my computer and an internet connection. If we are going somewhere where there is no internet connection I don’t plan to get any work done in that period.
“Celia and Jonas have been a couple for more than five years and started their new lives as digital nomads in June this year. They write about their travels on Nomadic Danes. Celia is a law school dropout and Jonas has a Masters degree in Media Studies. Now, they both work online and enjoy not having to set an alarm each morning! Connect with them on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter “