Judith Bez runs her own online business and travels with her partner.
Interview by Tal Bright
After spending 6 months in Bansko they have recently decided to make it their new home base.
How long have you been a digital nomad?
I started my digital nomad journey 5 years ago.
At first I had a part time job at a publishing house and did marketing for them and after 2 years I left and became self employed full time .
How do you make a living working from anywhere?
I have a website about travel gear and equipment. The site is in German — Germans love to travel!
My site is for everybody — from travellers who stay at hotels or take cruises to those who go trekking in adventurous places.
I test travel gear and recommend the best equipment. I have about 50–60K visitors per month on the site and I use affiliate links: When somebody makes a purchase through my links I get a small commission (about 2–15% per sale).
What made you decide you wanted to be a digital nomad?
The first time I hit the road was after university in 2011. I felt it just opened a door in my head that I couldn’t close.
I came back home, suffered from travel blues, tried to go back to a 9–5 job and to fit into the system, but couldn’t. I couldn’t even watch documentaries because I had such a longing for distant places.
There came a moment when I said to myself I had to change something.
I used the money I had then to buy a flight to New Zealand and worked at backpackers’ jobs there. I didn’t use my return ticket…
After 2.5 years I came home and decided I wanted to do something else and that is how it all started.
Do you normally work at coworking spaces? And why?
It’s different from place to place. Sometimes I work from home, it depends on my mood and the project I’m working on.
I totally enjoy having a community around me, especially at coworking spaces where you have people who understand you and I don’t have to explain what I’m doing.
I love the community and you can learn so much.
What do you like about Coworking Bansko?
When I came here I wanted to stay for a month, just to have a look, and it ticked all the boxes.
What I like about the community here is that it’s rare that anybody asks what I’m doing and how long I’m travelling. For example, in Thailand I was asked those questions several times a day — it seems this is what defines you over there, but here people are more interested in you as a person than as a worker.
I felt a sense of community from the moment I walked in here.
What do you like about the town of Bansko?
I like the mountains, especially in combination with the Mediterranean climate, and the low cost of living. After about 6 months we’re buying a home here.
I also like that it’s a bit rough compared to Asia, but if you keep smiling at the locals and make a little effort to speak Bulgarian they will smile back.
I also like that it’s not so big, people in shops recognise me and people greet me on the street. It makes me feel at home.
What do you wish you had known before you became a digital nomad?
When it comes to travelling in general, one should not hesitate to dare. When you travel, doors will open, you will find ways to do things that you never thought about.
I saved a sum of money to dare to hit the road, but I could have left earlier.
Don’t hesitate, because things will turn out fine, they always do.
It’s especially because of the people you meet on the road — you learn so many things and find so many opportunities while travelling.
What’s your favourite thing about this lifestyle?
It’s the freedom. I feel it when I lose track of what day it is…
I work more than I did before in my 9–5 job, but I can get up when I want, without an alarm clock. It feels much more natural and healthier. I can take time off when I feel I need to.
When you have a 9–5 job and you say “Thank God it’s Friday” and when you work only for your next holiday…. Remember it’s your life!
It’s gives you great freedom when you are the master of your own time and can see the world.
How many hours a day do you work on average?
I work at least 6 hours a day and I work mostly 6 days a week, but it feels different.
When I’m writing content and I’m stuck, I can easily change tasks, work on design for example, and then go back to writing.
How do you stay productive while you travel?
Coworking helps me a lot with productivity. Having people around me gives me motivation to work.
Another method I use is to decide on a fun activity at a specific time in the future, that’s like and anchor for me. Then I decide that until that specific time I’m going to work.
What apps do you use and recommend for digital nomads or long term travellers?
Google Translate, Airbnb and Shazam (if I hear a song somewhere in the world I save it and it reminds me of that place).
What are your plans for the future?
I really can’t think more than 5 years ahead, everything beyond that is vague.
I hope Bansko will be my home base I will still be travelling to all the places I haven’t been to yet and maybe even someday travel with a family.
I want my business it to grow, with more collaborations with companies.
I also aim for diversification. I want two or more extra jobs beyond this business, such as teaching yoga.
About the author
Tal Bright was a Nomad in Residence at Coworking Bansko in May 2019. She’s been a digital nomad since 2009 and is currently sharing her knowledge on her travel blog, brightnomad.net, and works as a content creator.