Life was getting a bit too normal
I wanted to be re-inspired that alternate ways of living and working were possible, and surround myself with a group of badass women. Having attended and hosted a few Digital Nomad Girls meetups in Berlin, I was ready. The timing was perfect – April in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain! Done.
Not a bad welcome to co-living (photo credit to Kris)
Digital Nomad Girls Retreat – I went for the community
(photo credit to Kris)
We were a varied group of seasoned nomads and aspiring ones. Our career fields spanning Facebook marketing, PR, copywriting, web development, food blogging, holistic health coaching to owning a travel business and an online editing company. Employment situations ranged from remote workers, business owners, freelancers, and a couple of people with “normal jobs”. Hailing from the US, Canada, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Germany and Austria, we had home bases in just as many places.
Co-working and Co-living at ReStation
We lived in three co-living apartments that were part of the lovely co-working space ReStation, in a great area and easily accessible to everything. ReStation let us partake in the many events held by their community and use the co-working space as we pleased. I
There was some free time, too.
In addition to the professional offerings of the retreat, we went hiking and explored some caves together, had many tapas nights and lunches, did yoga on the beach and had a lot of chances to get to know each other.
Hiking up a volcano with the Digital Nomad Girls (photo credit to Kris)
Yoga on the Beach (photo credit to Kris)
Jenny also did a great job of making sure the places we ate had vegan options, which was much appreciated!
Possibly the best red velvet cake I’ve ever had – vegan and gluten-free from Mr. Kale in the Old Town
A group of strong, determined women can solve anything
I forgot what it’s like to be surrounded by a group of strong, badass women focused on a common goal. Digital Nomad Girls has become a movement – this crazy idea what we can live and work where we want, when we want. Everyone was so supportive and cheering each other on. I still have a virtual mastermind group with some of my co-retreatees every couple weeks to talk through our goals.
I tend to naturally end up the leader in my day-to-day life, whether I like it or not. While it’s great because I get to do what I want, given that I’m planning it, sometimes it does get old and I want inspiration from other doers.
The Digital Nomad community certainly contains a lot of doers, and I love that. I guess it just takes a certain level of motivation to get up and travel around the world. After 10 days at the Digital Nomad Girls Retreat, I had so much information, inspiration, plans and ideas in my head. I think I’ll need several more months to process it all.
Final Mastermind Sessions (photo credit to Kris)
A mastermind session involves a group meeting together to work out each others’ problems. Each person has 30 minutes to present what they’re struggling with (usually career or business wise). They ask three specific questions, and the group uses their varied perspectives and experiences to provide ideas and advice.
Until the retreat, whenever I heard someone say “mastermind session” I cringed inside. It sounded so pretentious. Why don’t people just say brainstorming, I thought?
Well, I guess I should eat my words. I actually found the mastermind sessions incredibly rewarding. Jenny, the organizer of the retreat and founder of Digital Nomad Girls, made us these adorable workbooks to plan out our mastermind topic, take notes on our sessions and ideas from others’. She also served as moderator, making sure no one got too far off topic.
I stressed over what my topic would be for days.
What if I didn’t have enough to contribute? Did I really have enough “Digital Nomad Street Cred” to be here?!
After lots of discussions with my fellow nomads, I decided to talk about video. I’m planning to apply for a coding bootcamp that requires an application video, and just thinking of it makes me want to vomit. I needed some help. How could I stand out in this video and make my answers to the application questions sound interesting?
I also struggle with having a professional life and an online presence at the same time, and I wanted to talk about that. How can you be honest and open online while working a professional job with colleagues who might at some point read what you write? Having an honest presence online is so important to me, but also terrifying.
It sounds obvious, but just having a group of people make me say my thoughts out loud about something is helpful, and I left ready to make my video and put my new blog online. The mastermind process is something I want to try to bring into my daily life. So, anyone in Berlin, if this sounds like your kinda thing, get in touch!
Fellow retreat attendee Taylor taught us about email marketing and landing pages. Monika went over the copywriting foundation to create a powerful “About Me” page. Chelse hit us over the head with her crazy amount of Facebook marketing knowledge. Nives went over the basics of SEO with us,. Last but not least, we got a virtual skillshare from Alex over at Travel Fashion Girl, which covered affiliate marketing.
By the end of the retreat I had almost entirely finished setting up this blog. Even designing my own logo without thinking I had an artistic bone in my body! Many other members had launched new businesses, online courses and challenges by the end of the 10 days.
I had new photos of myself from our photo walk in the old town, a few more muscles from our beach yoga session and our hike, a new obsession with Canva, and so, so many ideas.
View from our hike in the center of the island
Photo walk in action (photo credit to Kris)
Photo walk in the Old Town (photo credit to Kris)
I honestly didn’t even consider the professional impact of the retreat. My main desire for going was to surround myself with a bunch of rad women who don’t think it’s weird to travel all the time. Now I’m hooked on this retreat idea, and certainly plan to attend another in the future.
(photo credit to Kris)
Digital Nomad Girls Ass, possibly one of the best photos from the retreat (photo credit to Kris)
So thank you to organizers Jenny and Kris, to the Digital Nomad Girls Community. I will certainly see you somewhere else in the world for many more adventures in the future!
Oh, and some of my fellow queer nomads have asked: Yes, the retreat was totally gay-friendly! I think sometimes us queerz get scared off by pink things, but no need to worry. I may have been the only lesbian there, but no one bat an eyelash. Jenny was also really great at catering for vegans, getting soymilk for the apartments and making sure all officially planned restaurants had vegan options. We even went to some all-vegetarian places.
My fellow retreat attendees:
Monika, copywriter and coach/strategist for business women
Nives, food blogger at Nives kocht
Taylor from Remote Like Me
Veronica, Digital Project Manager
Maria, serial entrepreneur and founder of ReStation
Jenny L, former chemist turned freelance and founder of Digital Nomad Girls
Angela, PR and Social Media
Chelse, WebDigital Marketing, Social Media Advertising Specialist
Dianne, business owner of Monumental Tours
Jeneane, web designer, graphic artist and digital artist
Jenny C, full-stack web developer
Jo, owner of firstediting.com
Kris, holistic health coach and retreat co-organizer