Digital MarketingMan travels the world while working and lets his employees do the...

Man travels the world while working and lets his employees do the same

Since 2016, Andy Stoffris has traveled to more than 40 destinations for work (Photo: Andy Stoffris)

The idea of ​​remote working abroad has shot into the mainstream since the pandemic.

But one man from Belgium was living this “digital nomad” lifestyle long before March 2020.

Six years ago, Andy Stoffris decided that everyday life in his hometown no longer served him, so he packed up and started traveling to destinations around the world – while still working full time.

The 31-year-old has since traveled to more than 40 destinations – including the likes of Kazakhstan, Chile, Budapest and Turkey – all while running his own digital marketing agency.

He now spends his weeks working through Airbnb (or short-term rentals), co-working spaces or in coffee shops – and uses his spare time to explore different cities around the world.

Andy currently lives in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, where he plans to stay until the end of the year.

He told Metro.co.uk: ‘I didn’t think much at first, because I think if you think too much you will never jump’.

“I was so excited to take the leap – it’s such a wonderful feeling of freedom and happiness to see new places, meet new people, and know you will do it all the time.”

Andy Stoffris

He runs his digital marketing agency from around the world (Photo: Anastasia Krylova/Andy Stofferis)

This move was possible for Andy because he runs his own digital marketing company, called Sendabee.

After acknowledging that his clients did not need him in their offices, Andy realized that remote work and travel could be an option for him.

After a few initial months in London to see if that was possible, he took the initiative and decided to travel.

Since then his company has expanded and everyone Its remote employees work as fellow digital nomads across the globe, or work independently from their hometown.

He says: ‘I haven’t had any issues with my clients or my team members, probably because we all work remotely and we all have the same mindsets.

“I work with some team members in Portugal, some in Mexico, some in Australia. It’s sometimes hard with time zones to make sure we can make a call together on some projects – but apart from that, it goes very smoothly.

We have found a way to work together, but at the same time we can work alone on different tasks, without waiting for other people.

It’s called asynchronous work – it’s a way of working separately and being able to keep working without getting any answers from team members. From time to time we need meetings, to make sure we get along, but we try to work as separately as possible.

“We all go to co-working spaces to meet and interact with others when working remotely.”

Andy walks

He likes to stay a few months in each destination (Photo: Andy Stoffris)

Andy also likes to “travel slowly” so he tends to stay at every destination for at least a few months.

This way he can learn local customs and culture, as well as strike the best balance between work, luxury and social life – something he says can be really challenging as a digital nomad and requires a lot of self-discipline.

Andy adds: ‘You have to find your own routine and that’s something you gain along the way.

“I work a lot in the morning and then in the afternoon, I have more free time to do whatever I want. Although I also work in the afternoon, it is more comfortable and I can accept (or not accept) any opportunities to explore the city Or meet new people.

So I try to make as much work as possible in the morning, while everyone is still asleep.

This is how I try to maintain that balance – but it’s hard. I have to say “no” often to people I meet, which is a bit painful because you meet very nice people on the way. Often times I have to say “no” because I work full time.

This is a very unique thing – especially in the beginning, when digital nomadism was not so widespread. It was hard to get people to understand this, because they thought I was going to their country to enjoy it as a traveler or backpacker, but that wasn’t the case at all.

“But now, because of the pandemic, everyone understands what remote work is.”

Andy Stoffris

Some of his favorite spots were in Central Asia (Photo: Andy Stoffris)

Some of Andy’s favorite locations are in Central Asia, such as Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, where he stayed for about 10 months before the pandemic.

He continues: “It is quite unusual and exotic, not at all touristy – at least compared to other places in Europe, such as Barcelona or Lisbon. I also liked the hospitality there and the food is good.

“As soon as I have the opportunity again I will go back to Central Asia.”

Andy was living in Italy when news of the coronavirus broke. Fortunately, he was able to catch one of the last trips to Budapest, where he had a property to stay. And while he won’t be able to travel most of 2020, he’s still making the most of it.

He says: ‘I love Budapest, so it was very fun without the tourists. It was nice to see that city empty and I went to some neighboring countries, such as Austria and Slovenia, during the summer.

This year he managed to travel frequently to countries such as Turkey, Albania and Georgia – where he now lives.

He usually uses platforms like Airbnb to book his stay, or other sites for average stays (of about three to six months).

He stresses that a good internet connection is the main thing to look for when booking – thinking so much of your time will be spent on work.

Andy Stoffris

Andy stayed in Budapest during lockdown (Photo: Andy Stoffris)

Andy also says he always tries to learn some language basics for the country he’s heading to next. However, most of the time he can get away with using translation tools or by speaking English.

As a good tourist I try to learn basic sentences. Most of the time locals and seniors like it as they see it, I put in the effort and we try to communicate in some way.

“Sometimes I use Google Translate or other apps that can translate what you want to say directly – or with younger generations in most capitals or big cities, they can all speak almost fluent English.”

In terms of advice for others considering remote work abroad, Andy says it’s best not to overthink it. Also consider whether a lifestyle change is really a good fit for your personality.

He adds: ‘Check if digital nomads are good for you, it’s not for everyone. I would suggest trying to work remotely abroad for a few months and then come back home and see what worked and what didn’t and decide if you want to do it or not.

“It’s a good idea to try it out first before getting into a ‘holistic’ program in the world of digital nomadism, because it’s not that easy.

“There are pros and there are cons, we all see Instagram, we see people enjoying the lifestyle – but it’s not like that in real life, it’s just Instagram.”

So where is he next on Andy’s list?

The employer says it could be Kazakhstan again, the United States, or Canada. But simply, he did not decide.

“I really don’t know yet, he says, `this is the magic of being a digital nomad. In the end, I don’t know where to turn.

Updates about Andy’s adventures and works can be found on his blog at andysto.com

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Contact us by sending an email to MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.

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