Tired of corporate job South African cruises with fellow digital nomads

After 20 years in the corporate world Samantha Wolhuter quit her job as a creative director. The first thing she did was take a cruise with digital nomads.

“I was tired of going to work every day to a job I didn’t particularly enjoy for a company I didn’t believe in,” says Wolhunter.

After searching online for information about digital nomads she happened upon Nomad Cruise, a company that organises cruise trips for remote workers and entrepreneurs. She applied right away.

While she was accepted to go on a December trip she was not ready to take the plunge and so she waited. “I got an email in January, paid my deposit that same day and began planning my exit from the corporate world.”

After quitting her job in March she embarked on a cruise from 11 to 25 May from Colombia to Portugal with 150 other digital nomads. “I went for the bottom of the range ticket of €770 — which includes everything: the conference, your cabin, food and drink and entertainment. It’s an unbelievable deal.”

‘I got an email in January for the digital nomads cruise, paid my deposit that same day and began planning my exit from the corporate world’

Along the way she has visited five countries and networked with people from about 15 nationalities.

Today she works with clients creating content, managing campaigns and remote creative teams and is currently working on a project with a team from Italy, New Zealand, South Africa and Hong Kong.

“At the moment I am in Amsterdam, but will be in Hong Kong from the 30th of July for a month or so.”

Her advice is to work out how you can do what you do remotely and then to tell people why they need you to do this for them. “Perhaps the only skills you really need to build on are sales and personal branding,” she adds.

Started on Facebook

Nomad Cruise founder Johannes Voelkner says the idea for the company came about quite accidently, after he saw a cheap travel deal across the Atlantic in 2015 and posted it on his Facebook group. “Three weeks later 100 people had booked so I figured that I could turn it into a business,” he recalls.

It hasn’t been without a lot of fun. Along the way Voelkner and his passengers have visited places like Los Roques in Venezuela, an archipelago with 350 islands where participants went kitesurfing.

Nomad Cruise’s next cruise, planned for September will be the company’s fifth one and Voelkner says it will be the first cruise with over 200 digital nomads.

Prices start from €700, which includes food, drinks and a shared cabin for the two-week cruise.

“Our participants have a wide range of skills. Literally any type of work you can do online. This has led to hundreds of business collaborations but also long-lasting friendships in our community,” he says.

Roaming remotely

Alongside Nomad Cruise, another company We Roam curates premium work-while-travel programmes for remote professionals. The organisation has been in existence since last year and has hosted 70 participants thus far.

We Roam programme lead and public relations officer Micheala Murray says the organisation aim is to ensure that driven, adventurous professionals no longer have to choose between their love of travel and building a career.

The company’s next trip starts in October in Seoul, South Korea and ends in Lisbon, Portugal in September next year.

“We currently have three South Africans in the pipeline to join one of our upcoming trips. They are still looking for remote work — once they’ve secured digital positions we will start onboarding them. But for now, we mainly have Americans, Aussies and Europeans,” says Murray.

The organisation charges participants $2000 per month, which includes all travel arrangements, accommodation, co-working spaces, professional development workshops, as well as cultural excursions and health and fitness events. Though the trips run for 12 months, participants must sign up for at least three months.

“We cap our trips at 40 people to ensure that we don’t compromise on the quality of service we offer. We are in the process of conducting admissions interviews for the October trip but still have spaces available,” says Murray.

She says the organisation’s main requirement for any of our trips is that applicants are 100% employed. “The nature of this employment is up to them and ranges from owning their own businesses or freelancing to being traditionally employed by corporations that allow them to execute their roles remotely,” she says.



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