Home > Remote Workers Q&A > CarouLLou

CarouLLou Works Remotely

26
Years Remote
Home
Preferred Workspace
No
Home Base

Founder,
Nomad Residency

Founder
Digital Nomad
Self-Employed
Digital Nomad Life
100
% Time Travelling
PAST YEAR: 31 Cities 21 Countries
CAREER: 200 Cities 85 Countries
*All figures approximate as of October 2016
CarouLLou
Interview with Remote.co

Early 90s, even before I started to live abroad, I became location independent… I started a ‘press clipping’ and communication business, going around with my floppy disk between my apartment and a little office I had rented. So all I needed was a computer, a phone, a photocopier, and a fax.

Then, when I left my home country in 1994, I had set up a little telemarketing organization with 2 people taking phone appointments…and I had arranged to manage everything by fax, providing them with prepaid phone cards so that it wouldn’t cost anything to communicate with me.

I also started my ‘life potentials’ and ‘business strategies’ consultation business, also all managed by phone and fax. And eventually, word of mouth, I had clients all over the world. At the beginning, It was costing me a fortune in long distance phone calls (like 60 cents/minute from Asia), but I still took my chance as I had the vision that it would cost less and less over time…(and wow, it sure did!)

Following those experiences that I could deal with my clients from distance…from wherever I was, to wherever they were…I really felt freedom, and the unlimited potential of that way of life! So from that time, I decided that whatever I would do, whichever business I would start, projects I would get involved in, or investment I would make, it would have to be completely mobile and manageable from distance, no matter where I was in the world.

Then in 1998, when I was living in Bangkok, I had my first email and launched my first websites…

All and all, I would say freedom and unlimited potential were always my main motivations. In terms of freedom of movement, it’s wonderful to feel that I am wherever I am, always by choice…and for as long as I want (only limitation being each country’s regulations. But even this doesn’t feel oppressive as it’s just part of the things we need to accept). And also being able to leave whenever I feel it’s time to go, whether it is for personal or external reasons.

Just do it! (You are probably doing lots of things remotely already…on the phone and by email…so imagine now if you go fully remote, all the freedom you will have.)

But set yourself some discipline…

And make a plan for your social life…

If you work from home, get dressed as early as possible…and go out as much as possible (at least once a day…)

I was always my own boss during all my remote worker’s life… I always had an entrepreneurial spirit and was never really made to be an employee…

But for my clients, especially for my consultation business with sessions over the phone, I soon avoided telling them where I was unless they asked. I had realized that for many, it was putting a psychological barrier…like if they were worried they were disturbing me on my vacation, or like if it was too complicated…

Freedom of living around the world… Waking up whenever I wake up (no alarm clock)… Being able to choose if I’m alone or in a social environment.

Typically, I’m doing my stuff, every late morning and every early evening… Whether it’s reading the news, monitoring my businesses, creating something new, or just posting…

And every afternoon, my husband and I do activities outside and have lunch somewhere… we’re usually out between 4 to 5 hours out each afternoon…

I have no more Sunday blues, no more Monday stress, ever since I work a little every day, and do something special every day… It feels like I’m on vacation every day… (I decided to go for that routine in the mid-2000s)

Don’t really try to avoid it… I love so much what I do, it’s actually hard to pull me off my computer…

Social isolation… until you make the effort and find your strategy to build a social life…

Time zones challenge… Not always in the same energy as people you need to interact with (most difficult is having to call a bank in the middle of the night)

Legal and tax structure… As an international nomad since 1994, I had to figure out in which jurisdictions I should register my companies and where I could acquire personal residency status while being able to live and travel full time around the world. Lots of experts specialists in their own jurisdiction, but still never heard of anyone who has all the international knowledge, able to take in consideration all the interrelated aspects of a nomad’s situation as a whole, which varies largely depending on countries of citizenship, legal residency, businesses incorporation, ever changing physical location, etc… My structure has evolved along the years and I was even inspired to start a business offering some solutions to nomads and wannabe expats: NomadResidency.com.

When I started, It was very important for me to work outside to feel the social stimulation (that was at the time I was working all day long, 5 days a week). Early 90s, there weren’t any co-working spaces as today…so I had rented a little office in a multi businesses center… Then when I started traveling in 1994, it was actually my dream to have a co-working space…so I did on many occasions initiate arrangement to work in an open space in either shops or a company’s offices. Rest of the time, I was working in little cafés and hotel lobbies, calling those my offices (back then, I could only upload through dial up at the end of the day). Eventually, came the internet cafés…but it felt like I was among the very few working, while others were there more for leisure…(at one point, I made a deal with an internet cafe in Barcelona and published an ad inviting other entrepreneurs to join me to make it our co-working space… We ended up a small group and had a lot of fun!). For the phone consultations, I was doing them as much as possible from phone booths or call centers… So I was always using strategies to be outside and to get the feeling that I was among people…

But I kind of stopped working outside my home in the mid-2000s…following various lifestyle changes, it just happened naturally… One of them is that I decided to work 7 days/7 but take every afternoon off… It is also around the same time that my length of stay in each city went down to between 1 to 3 months at the time… (However, I still sometimes use public spaces, but only when on the move…like at the airport.)

This being said, although I don’t really use co-working spaces for the time being, I still believe it is awesome… It is like my dream came true! And it is certainly not out of question that I join some in the future… I really think it is such a great solution to help avoid isolation.

All that I need is a laptop and my smartphone.

Yes…wherever I live at any given moment. At time of answering this interview, I am in Tokyo… so here is my work space.

remote desk

We always select apartments that are very centered, in the heart of lively areas, full of daylight, with a happy feeling, and with an unobstructed view. And usually the first thing we do when we move in, is put the table by the window.

I prefer not to focus on saving money… I prefer to focus on making more…

People I work with are people and/or companies with whom I’m in co-ventures or with whom I have some kind of partnership. Those kind of relations are already largely remote by nature.

The biggest pain are the time zones…but a small price to pay for such a free life… (Since I always have been the one mostly on the move, I always refer to and set appointments in the time zone of the people I interact with.)

Nomad Residency offers International services to Nomads and Expats:

  • Personal Residency (Investment programs)
  • Business Residency / e-Residency (registration)

Remote for life 😉  I really can’t imagine otherwise…

Being able to live my life with my entrepreneurial and international spirit… I still see potential everywhere in everything, and I feel the sky is the limit. Self-confidence that I can always start new projects.

“Local” in my case means wherever I live… And my social life in each country really depends on how long I live there. Actually, it has a lot to do with how long I ‘intend’ to stay there. So right from the beginning, my ‘time projection’ influences how my social life evolves and it also depends on whether it is my first time there, or if I’ve been there before.

Ever since mid 2000s, ever since we stay for shorter periods of time in each place, besides my husband, my social life consists of sometimes family and friends visiting, sometimes with old friends living locally, sometimes new ones…but most of the time, it is with any new people spontaneously appearing in our life, and with whom we share a special moment and feel a special connection with! Of course, after we leave, our friendships keep ongoing through social medias…

As for my ‘nomads’ community, connection is mostly online…but I also sometimes travel to meet them in person, like I sometimes go to conventions, etc.…

At time of answering this interview (September 2016), I’ve been a remote worker for 26 years, nomad for the past 22 years, and have visited and/or lived in 85 countries. So because of remote work, I’ve been able to discover the world while living my business life and expressing my creative side…

Wherever we travel, I’m always with my husband…as we made that choice together and he is also remote in everything he does (and/or we do). 

But we are far from our family and from childhood friends… So our “golden rule” is that we visit them at least once a year… We also invite them to visit us. And we are in regular contact through Skype, emails and social medias.

I have to admit there is a blurred line between work and life…as I love so much what I do…and somehow all is interrelated because all that I’m involved with, business and/or artistically, is related to my life and inspired by my passions and topics of interests. My business ideas and projects often start with things or services I use myself…

Whenever it’s a bicycle city, we get a bicycle… If not, we walk a lot (using as little as possible motor transportation)… And, as often as I can, I get my dose of dancing!

We do not have a rigid schedule. We eat whenever we’re hungry.

But in general, we eat quite late (especially since we lived in Spain).

We eat local as much as possible. Best for health, digestion, and cultural experience!

Lonely, never…

But isolated, I did at the beginning… So I came up with a few ideas to overcome this challenge. I knew that typically, people naturally develop friendships and partnerships in the workplace or at school, often over lunch or coffee… So I kind of tried to recreate a similar environment. Here is how I used to do it at the beginning of my nomadic life with my Brainstorm Lunches initiative (that was before co-working spaces and before social medias).  

Nowadays, since I am outside many hours every afternoon, I do not feel the isolation anymore… And I am also part of various communities online and offline (for which I even travel for, like attending conventions etc.).

And although I do not currently use co-working spaces, I still think they are fantastic option to help avoid isolation…

As for my family, at the beginning, yes…as I’m different and I made unusual choices. They always have been supportive, but they couldn’t really understand what I was doing or working on… Probably because I have been rather discrete, involved in so many projects and have always have been rather untraditional. They were also concerned for my security. But for already a long time, they’re happy for me and they’re not concerned anymore…

Other people have been fascinated…some others at times have been judgmental, some even thinking it was some kind of escape… But now that it is trendy to be ‘nomad’, people are mostly inspired and/or admirative…

I’m so urban and I have so many favorites… All the following cities are places where I feel home, and where I would always love to go back to (from East to West):

Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, London, Amsterdam, Madrid, Rome, Istanbul, Mumbai, Bangkok, Tokyo…just to name a few… 😉