#WTART Update 01: Who I interviewed for the book, why I did, and how we met!
Ok.. this might be the longest Kickstarter update I've ever written.. but if you really want to have the full story, here it is.. :)
Whenever I work on a book, I try to conduct the interviews in a way that feels as if you’d be having coffee with a friend. As if you’d be sitting at a table with someone you know and trust, having the opportunity to ask them the sort of questions you’re most curious about.
As freelancing in the creative industries is a rather new trend, it might be that you don’t have such a wide network of trusted freelancers that you could ask what you’re most curious about.
When interviewing for Work Trips and Road Trips I asked about everyone’s background. I asked about the setup of everyone’s business. I asked about everyone's relationship to travel, about their time management, and, of course, about budgeting and finances. I wanted to make the interviews inspirational and simultaneously practical.
When I first started researching who to interview for this book, the first two names I wrote down were Kaitlyn Reed and Natalie Howard. I met Kaitlyn through her boyfriend who was an active member of Somewhere.com, of which I was the community manager. Taylor and Kaitlyn have been living on Airbnb for more than four years, which you can read more about on Airbnb’s blog (and soon and in more detail in #WTART).
Natalie, another Airbnb story, was staying with my dear friends, Christian and Sarah, when I was also staying at their apartment in Berlin. As coincidences go, we were both heading to DNX, the Digital Nomad Conference. While talking to Natalie, I realized she might be one of the smartest gals I’ve ever met. And so, here you go, I knew she must be a part of this book!
Then, I knew I’d also like to talk to Liz Wellington who I met online while writing My Creative (Side) Business. The incredible Emma Gannon mentioned Liz’s article in her newsletter (that you should subscribe to: http://eepurl.com/cokDqr) and I couldn’t help myself, but had to disagree with Liz’s arguments. Apparently (and luckily), you can become friends with someone you disagree with on the internet, which I think is pretty cool!
Anyway, I knew I wanted to talk to Liz because she’s incredibly reflected and has very witty thoughts about a lot of things, as you’ll soon read.
But it’s not that I just meet people online. There are also people I’ve met in real life. Like Theresa Lachner, a sex blogger and an experienced digital nomad, who – even though she runs a blog – manages to go completely undercover and offline for several weeks, was once sitting at a table next to me. She’s a mutual friend of Tim Chimoy, one of the first digital nomads from Germany.
Another person that immediately came to my mind when I was thinking about who to interview was my friend Michele, a photographer. I met her in the door of a book store and because we’ve known of each other for awhile, we started chatting and it led to five years of friendship and counting. What I find fascinating about Michele is that she has a dog and still manages to travel regularly.
I was also damn lucky when I met Dani Bradford at the 99U conference in New York last year. We both signed up for Ryan Holiday’s master class and ended up chatting before the talk. Dani has worked for National Geographic and – let’s be honest – if someone tells you they’ve worked for National Geographic, you pretty much want to talk to them. So there you go, that’s why you’ll read more about Dani! Consider me a fangirl of this power woman!
Then, there is Vanessa Bruckner. One day, I received a message on Facebook from our mutual friend Cristiana Ventura (you might remember her story from This Year Will Be Different). She met Vanessa in Bali and because Vanessa and I are both from Vienna, Cris decided we had to meet! We did and now, here you go, Vanessa is a part of this upcoming book.
But it’s not that I knew everyone in person before I interviewed them. There were quite a few that I looked for online. I contacted Benson from WorkHardAnywhere.com and asked him for referrals. He said I should definitely talk to Yasmine Akermark, the founder of GoTibba.com, and Stephanie Danforth, a freelance graphic designer. He sent me reference articles and I knew he was right! I contacted them right away.
Then, I also sent a message to Marc Weldon, who participated in the Remote Year. I asked him whether he had an illustrator in his group that he could connect me to and that’s how I met Lauren Hom! LUCKY ME!
I also really wanted to have someone who did something with food, so I sent a message to Joe Serra Jr., whose project I supported on Kickstarter, and within minutes, he said I had to talk to Yana Gilbuena. I contacted her on Instagram after she hadn’t responded to my email for several weeks and this is how we got to chat!
When I first met Kayleigh Owen, a digital project manager from London, we were both in a really difficult place. I pulled myself out by writing This Year Will Be Different; she pulled herself out of her hole by cutting back her spendings and going on an eight month long journey to work with charities.
Then, there is Becky Burton who I met through our mutual friend Joshua Black. Josh supported This Year Will Be Different on Kickstarter and he gave the book to Becky during her farewell dinner. I don’t really know how it started. Becky quit her job in New York to move back home to take care of her mother who was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she she had to make freelancing work to be able to spend more time with her family. I only met Becky months after I interviewed her, so when I edited Becky's interview and sent it to her for approval, she more or less changed all of it. Most certainly for the better, as it made me cry!
You’ll realize that Becky's a really good writer and you’ll probably want to order one of her books on Amazon immediately after you’ve read her thoughtful words.
Having talked to Becky and Kayleigh about their very social intentions when they decided to shift priorities to make space for their personal lives, I knew I also had to talk to Jule Müller, who cut back on work to help refugees when they first arrived in Germany. As practical as her interview is, it’s also extraordinarily moving.
Last but not least, there is Laura Karasinski. Laura is an extraordinarily talented designer that’s cutting back on work to be able to explore the world. She was the last one I talked to when compiling this book. With her, I mostly talked about the concept of “enough” and when to say “no” to a client when you get more requests than you can or want to handle. She’s, quite frankly, incredible and on top of everything else, she also sleeps ten hours a night!
I tried to talk to women who work in different fields. I talked to an event planner, an illustrator, a brand consultant, a photographer, and some other fields from within the creative industries.
When I work on these books and once I finish editing these interviews, I start thinking about the storyline for the book. And so, I’m currently writing the articles that will accompany the wise words of the women I introduced you to above.
As of now, and while the interviews are done, I’m still writing my parts, so if you have ideas for the book, don’t hesitate to contact me! I’d love to hear your thoughts and reminders on what I shouldn’t forget to address in my writing.
See the Kickstarter page here.