Johannes Voelkner has built a conference at sea for digital nomads and has cultivated a community of 1500 loyal cruise participants. Hear how he did it.

Johannes wanted a way to meet fellow nomads and travel South America together. In the process of scratching his own itch he inadvertently stumbled into creating a thriving business and community of nomads who meet bi-annually on a cruise ship to grow personally & professionally. Hear his story of how he did it and what he learned in the process.

Show Notes

Time   Topic
0:02:06   Welcome and context
0:03:59   What is the Nomad Cruise?
0:07:56   Can you describe what was the first cruise like?
0:13:01   How do you find the perfect timing for a cruise?
0:17:18   Can you name some of the ideas that didn’t work?
0:18:46   Is there a reason why all your ideas are around digital nomads?
0:20:28   What is your greater vision?
0:25:24   Why did you settle in Mallorca?
0:30:07   What will you speak about at the Nomad Summit in Chiang Mai?
0:34:03   What are the things that you are working on at the moment?
0:35:44   What is the community model you are trying to build?
0:36:58   What is one book that profoundly affected you in some ways?
0:37:41   One person you’d love to have dinner with?
0:37:54   What is your favorite tool or hack that saves you time, money or headaches?
0:39:13   One piece of music or artist that is speaking to you lately?
0:39:36   What important truth do very few people agree with you on?
0:41:02   If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 20 year old self?


Nomad Cruise
Remote Year
WiFi Tribe
Nomad Summit Chiang Mai 2020
Dynamite Circle
The 4-Hour Workweek
Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It… and Why the Rest Don’t
Asana Templates



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Sean Tierney: 02:06 All right. Welcome everybody to the podcast. I am your host, Sean Tierney, and I’m sitting across from Johannes Voelkner today. Johannes is the founder of Nomad Cruise, which is what it sounds like. It’s cruises for digital nomads. I’ve actually been on two of them now and it’s basically a business and personal growth conference at sea with a sprinkle of magic that I don’t really know how to quantify it, but we’ll get into that. Johannes has built the cruise from scratch to a team of six and it has a community now of 1500 past cruise participants and alumni. And he also, Johannes started the very first Facebook group for digital nomads, which now has over 40,000 members. So he is currently scouting other initiatives now around building community for digital nomads. Johannes welcome to the show.

Johannes: 02:51 Thank you. Great to be here today.

Sean Tierney: 02:55 Let’s just set the context. Paint the picture here for where we’re at. So we’re in or I’ll let you describe it while we are in Koh Tao.

Johannes: 03:02 It’s actually a place where I did my first diving course 15 years ago, and now we suggested after our last cruise to have a reunion here because I think it’s a really beautiful place and you don’t, there’s much more in the world than Bali. So we went here to this little Island and I’m glad to meet you here. How do you like the Island?

Sean Tierney: 03:23 I like it so far. I I two to over about 10 years ago. And I just went yesterday, got recertified and had a wonderful dive here and yeah, it’s a beautiful Island. I think it’s a great choice. We had I remember Ben Lakoff and I had actually reached out and said, Hey, we’re thinking about Sri Lanka. And you said, no, no, no, hold off. We’ve got something planned and then this was a good choice. So yeah, I’ll be with it. So your language should be pretty good though as well. Yeah. Cool. Well, I’m super excited to talk about you know, we’ve been kind of chatting. We had a little mastermind session last night. So I figured we’d dive right into it. So the crews, how do you, what is the nomad cruise? How do you describe it to someone who’s never heard of it before?

Johannes: 04:03 So I think that if I would describe it and you ask 10 other people who have been on the cruise who would describe it, everyone would tell you something different because it’s really how people live throughout this experience. But basically we are meeting with around 300 to 500 people on a cruise ship. Usually we are crossing the Atlantic and at the same time we do a Skillshare conference and we really try to not just deliver valuable content but really connect the people that is actually our main objective. Because as a nomad, we are kind of oftentimes a little bit lonely or in different places. So it’s great when you are nowhere to have a great community. And that’s what we try to build in 10 days and give you friends for life when you join this course and learn things and get so inspired that afterwards you really want to make some things happen.

Sean Tierney: 04:56 So I, I’ve been to a number of conferences and I would put it in the bucket of a conference. It’s essentially, you know, it’s, it’s a, an event that a lot of people come to to get something out of it, which is what I would define as a conference. But it is a really special type of conference. It’s not just business information you’re, you’re disseminating, it’s like real community that, that bonds because at the pro

Johannes: 05:16 Conference, usually what you do is you have, you have 20 conversations or 50 but they’re all like two, three minutes. You never really have the chance to meet someone properly because you always feel like you’re missing out to meet the person, another person that could be valuable for you. And I’m here, the focus is much more on actually meeting people and because we are stuck on the same boat, we have this opportunity that basically you have no other choice then talking and meeting

Sean Tierney: 05:43 Lots of new people. Yeah, yeah. That’s a, that’s a a magical constraint that really yields a different outcome. You know, you can, you can get that from any type of land based conference. I feel like it is, you need to the boat that, that delivers that.

Johannes: 05:58 Yeah, there are not many places where you could do something similar like an Island maybe or a resort or something. But even there you could often from an Island you couldn’t run away. But it’s very hard to find similar places for that ship is actually really amazing. Yeah.

Sean Tierney: 06:15 So I guess like the question I have is what was it that possessed you the first time? Usually like I’m just going to fill a cruise ship full of nomads. That’s just a random thing to do.

Johannes: 06:23 No, I never had this expectation and to be honest, this was a thing that I was thinking about for five minutes about this cruise. And then I kind of posted the idea because I was quite upset that oftentimes I have ideas and then I think about it for way too long. So I was just like, okay, let me just post this and see if people like the idea to meet on a cruise ship and go across the Atlantic there, what the normal cruise is now is something way beyond than what we had on the first cruise. We learned so much every cruise we are learning something new how people kind of take that concept and develop it further. But in the beginning it was really like a meeting on a cruise ship and then I saw like, Oh wow, there’s 100 people joining. Maybe I could actually turn this into a business. So there was not much thinking like I would take over full cruise ship or whatsoever. Maybe this will happen in the future, but I actually don’t even think so because it gets more complicated the more people you have on the ship. And I’m also you, we couldn’t give you the same rates if we would take over for ship because they, you pay for exclusivity.

Sean Tierney: 07:36 Right. Can you just, what I think is fascinating is, so I gave the keynote that opening keynote and one of the things I tried to extract a lot of lessons from the different people that I’ve interviewed. And your story is very consistent with like the remote year and the wifi Tribe story in that you just kind of threw it out there, you posted it, you posted this thing and it just kind of like you hit some kind of nerve where people immediately gravitated around it. Can you just take us back to that and just describe what that first cruise was like? How did it come together? How did it turn out and what did you learn?

Johannes: 08:07 So I think the important thing to know and why this worked and maybe there are other, so that people can maybe learn from this and think whether this applies to their current situation was I had been traveling for four years and I really tried to meet a lot of nomads and it didn’t happen, but I started in 2010 already. And at that time in Bali, there was not even anything there or there were just like the first coworking space was maybe just started, but it was really the very beginning of this whole thing. And so basically I was really, I really liked this idea of traveling and seeing the world, but I didn’t like the idea of every time having the same conversation again. And there were a lot of other people I think who had experienced something similar and this term digital nomad came up, but there were not really venues where people could meet.

Johannes: 09:03 So where do you meet online? And I had started this Facebook group, which already had 5,000 members. And basically when I, when I had the idea about the cruise, I knew like it was like I was doing the right thing at the right time because I, there were not many places where nomads could meet. I wanted to really meet people and other people wanted to meet each other as well. And maybe someone would have said, let’s meet on an Island, or Oh, there’s a cheap hotel down there in Spain. Let’s meet there. Maybe there would have been 100 people, but I just had this moment when people were so ready to meet up again. And I had organized small events before that so that then I could really capture this. But this was all based on a lot of work that I did in the past before.

Johannes: 09:52 But like if people are in the situation where they feel like, you know, I should get this people together because we don’t have our space and this could be for any type of business or entrepreneurs or like niche. Yeah, this was the right thing at the right time. So we met on the ship, we were like over 100 people and I am, I just said like one week before guys, let’s let’s do some skill sharing. Whoever wants to do a workshop or something cause we have so much time on the ship, we should do something. And then people just posted their ideas what they want to do. And we said after three days we’re going to meet. We had some, a dedicated meeting place and I talked a little bit to the cruise ship company, but it was all very random, very unorganized, organized. It was just me by myself and I was really scared actually to go on the ship cause I, I knew like 20 people of these 100 who were coming there. But in the end it all worked out and everyone was really happy about this experience.

Sean Tierney: 10:53 Yeah. Well and what, how, how crazy far it’s come at this point. Like for the people listening, they’re not going to be maybe familiar with it, but it is really well refined. It’s now run almost like it reminds me of bar camp in some senses. It’s kind of an unconference aspect. But then there’s like planned speaking slots.

Johannes: 11:11 Yeah. There was no, not big structure. And basically my main idea was not about meeting on a cruise ship. My main idea was I was traveling in South America by myself and wouldn’t it be cool to meet a lot of nomads on a ship and then we all arrive in South America at the same time and then we can travel South America together. And then if I want to go to San Diego to Shelia or two, one is Iris. I would just say like, hello, who’s down there? And then, yeah, someone is here and exactly, this is what happened. It was not really about the cruise itself, it was about what happened afterwards. So these days a lot of people join the cruise and they go home afterwards. But that’s not really the idea. The idea is that you go on the ship and then you really experience what is happening afterwards, which is what we are doing here right now. And you can see how this time actually after the cruise is also so valuable. And now you’re going to be living here in Koto for two months and was just planned for a few days, right?

Sean Tierney: 12:11 Yeah. So there’s for people listening, so we’re in COTA, but we’re not solo here. There’s probably 30 or 40 other cruisers that are holdouts now. So the cruise ended whenever that was maybe two weeks ago. Yeah. And all these people have now kind of gravitated towards this place that we’re at now. And so we’re just continuing to travel and it’s almost like this little tribe after nomad cruise that’s now going about, you know, getting a bit smaller every day. Yeah. Like whittling down. But it’s really, it’s boiling down to like really core interesting people that want to keep traveling together. So it’s, it’s super cool. Okay. Well for the people listening that want to extract, you know, ideally like the lesson here, that sounds like you’re saying that the timing was everything so, but just saying stumble into good timing, that’s not really like a, a deterministic, you know, you can’t just, you never know. How do you know when you’re like, when you hit the nail on the head for timing,

Johannes: 13:04 You never know. You try things all the time and sometimes you do it right. I tried a lot of things before and they didn’t work and this one worked. And but what I learned from this was like that you don’t need to, like oftentimes we are thinking like, Oh we need to have in order to organize this or I need to buy a house to start a co-living or I need to do this. Like there’s always like an easy way to do the same thing and you don’t even need to, I mean, working with the cruise ship industry is not easy with such big numbers. But if we just said like, let’s just meet there, that was possible to do it like this. And then they were listening to us and they’re like, I think oftentimes people think first too much about the money that they can, how they make the money. But you should first try to prove the concept or thing, like how can I actually do this? But for everything that people do, there’s usually like an easy way how you can test it and how you can do it without much budget or without much help. Yeah.

Sean Tierney: 14:08 And that’s very consistent. So I used to run the lean startup for Phoenix and it’s very consistent with the lean principles of like what is that smallest MVP? How do we validate the code?

Johannes: 14:17 Yeah. And then move on to the next. Yeah. I always talk about the lean startup as well. When I, when I talk about, I think the cruise is a perfect example of lean startup because it was just, there was no website, there was nothing. It was just an idea and an idea and like, ma, let’s meet on this ship and if it’s a cool idea that is at the right time, usually like you would actually get better feedback if you just share an idea versus I’m selling this. So it’s always good to first share the idea with whatever you do, right? Because the idea, you’re actually asking people for help, but versus when you say like, Hey, I’m going to sell this retreat and people are like, Oh no, I’m not going to, Oh, it’s too expensive and I’m not going to do it. But if you develop it with other people together, then it’s kind of cool.

Sean Tierney: 15:02 Well you get their buy in, they feel like they’re co-creating it too. So that’s really important. So did you, on that first one, did you actually brand it nomad cruise or did you like midway through say, Hey, we’re a nomad cruise,

Johannes: 15:13 You said like digital nomad cruise. We just had a Facebook event and then what we did is, because I realized like, okay, well this might be a cool thing. So like two weeks before we made a website and I, Sasha, who is now here with us as well, I was like, calm, let’s do a cool logo and let’s sell some t-shirts as well. And we made one flag and basically, so kind of we created the brand, but the people did not buy into the brand. Like we just said, like, it’s like if you would say like, I’m going to, exactly. You can say like, let’s do a diving meet up here in Kyoto for digital nomads. We do a diving meetup and then like one week you’re like, Oh wow, they’re 100 people coming there. Let me actually give this a name, like digital nomad divers. And and then you have a brand and you didn’t even have this before. You just take the picture and the flag and you have the proof of concept and we use this picture to sell the next cruise where 200 people actually came already.

Sean Tierney: 16:18 So that I think is a really key lesson is that you focus first on just validating the idea and didn’t worry about anything. Like you said, like about trying to make it formal and ticket sales and brand and all that. But once you saw that you had traction, then you retrofitted a brand and like actually made it look like a real

Johannes: 16:34 In the moment I saw that there are people interested in it and I can develop this further and there might actually be a way to turn this into a proper nice business. Then I invested into the brand and I invested into more resources. But in the beginning, really this was a five minute idea because I was, I was thinking, this is really, really cool, but let me not think about this too much because tomorrow morning I’m might already be thinking like, I don’t want to do this. So I was just like, okay, let me just post it and see what happens. And then some people, it’s a shared it and it worked so fast that I had no other choice than just going for it.

Sean Tierney: 17:13 That’s awesome. So you say you had tried other things before the didn’t really pan out. Can you name any of the like experiments that you tried that didn’t work?

Johannes: 17:22 So two months before I posted the cruise, I like before I started the idea for the cruise, I actually started a coworking space in Tarifa in Southern Spain and I had already the office and everything and and I think it would have worked out, but then I basically just focused on the cruise. I did, I made an ebook for digital nomads with the destinations and it was before this all nomad list came up. And I think that if I would have attached my little ebook to a online community, I would have made something really big before even anyone was thinking about digital nomads. That didn’t work out because there was not, I didn’t have enough skills and experience. So I think a lot of the things are just like, sometimes we have good ideas, but then oftentimes we fail because we don’t have enough skills yet. We don’t have enough experience. So the idea works and even like selling it works. But then we still need to learn all the other basics of sales, marketing, copywriting, or find good people who can help us to make this happen.

Sean Tierney: 18:30 Well, the trick, it seems as always like early on, you don’t have the money to afford to hire that great staff. So it’s like, what can you get done with just your skills? And so you gotta just to the point where it was working enough where you could then justify like, okay, we have something here to do this. Yeah. Yeah. Cool. The theme it sounds like is nomads, like is there a reason that you’re all the things you’ve tried or around that space?

Johannes: 18:55 I actually had another business before that and which was card’s in therapy. That is a where I, my mum to build an online business and miraculously this worked out really well and actually I’m still making money of this even after 10 years without much work. So this allowed me, like, I built this passive income business, which allowed me to travel the world and experience the nomad lifestyle without, you know, having too many clients and to worry too much about the internet because I could just focus on this one online business. And, but that basically led me into the nomads space much earlier than anyone else. And they’re, yeah, so they’re tried a lot of different things, but I was also like very often, very often I was very hesitant to try something. I thought many times like, Oh, should I do this? Should I do this? Not like basically the, the cruise only came four years after I had basically written the first ebook and I had already a website. If you Google digital nomad, you will find my website in the top three or something. And all these things I did without ever really making more than a thousand dollars or something.

Sean Tierney: 20:14 What is that website? Just web blog. Travel. Web work. Travel. Okay. I was going to ask you about that cause I saw that in your LinkedIn. So that is the site for the ebook thing. Cool. Awesome. Do you have, so you have this working business now, like the nomad cruise. I know you’re thinking about some other things centered around community and whatnot. Like, do you have a, a goal other than making money, like is your mission it’s centric to nomads or what did, like what is your grand or vision or what are you trying to accomplish? I guess

Johannes: 20:44 So I think that a nomad life also something like a personal development. Like, so in the beginning I was just fixing my own problems. I was just like, and that’s also a good thing for entrepreneurs, right? Like when you think about something, I w I thought I want to travel with more people. How can I meet people? I made an ebook for people too who would be interested in this, that I can meet. I made a lot of things to just meet more nomads cause there was nothing really there. And so I was kind of fixing my own, my own problems. And now I think that, so I’m not 100% sure even where this whole nomad life is developing. But yeah, the what was the question again?

Sean Tierney: 21:29 I just like, do you have a, like a mission beyond making money? Is there some kind of like theme or grander goal that you’re trying to accomplish with the nomad cruise?

Johannes: 21:39 It’s personal development. Yeah. I think it’s like that people learn. I think that a lot of people become nomads because they’re, ah, you can almost say running away from something even if no one would really claim this. But like there’s some things that they’re not happy with. Like I had a very, very big breakup. I was going to get married actually. And then I became a nomad cause I didn’t know where to go. And oftentimes I feel that a nomads are in a big shift or they had a really crazy experience that made them like, Hey, why am I living this life that I’m living now? I want to make a big change. But oftentimes, so they start to travel and they start to want to see the world and do different things and that’s awesome. But I also think that many of them, I think that we are all on this path together and we need to build like a, so I want to really help them to build a location independent business. But also grow personally and not just go into like traveling and seeing Thailand or whatever. That’s not the I feel like some responsibility for this, like because we are organizing these events and my goal is that people actually end up with a cool location, independent business and that they also, but also they don’t need to travel. They, they kind of feel happy in their environment and with their connections and stuff. And I do not have yet the right answer but that’s kind of where I want to want to go.

Sean Tierney: 23:09 Interesting. So you don’t want to be a part of the problem in terms of like taking people off and like escaping and running away. It’s like you feel kind of I dunno you, you want to help them actually succeed and building their business?

Johannes: 23:23 No, I mean we are doing the, everything we do on the cruise is like encourage people to think about their, what they want to solve, what they want to. And it’s not like people running away, you can say running away, but you can just say like, yeah, you know, like I come from a small home, small town. I don’t want to necessarily live there all my life. So you just want to have some change. Right. We all went to have some, but it’s not just about traveling, like people love to travel, but there’s some other reason why people become nomads. Usually 80% I would say that that’s, I don’t know if you agree, but

Sean Tierney: 23:57 I think every, yeah, I mean I’ve, I’ve had an interesting cross section of interviewed a lot of them and I think everyone enters at a different angle. But I think that is probably a consistent theme is that there was some transformative events. Like when I look back at it, it’s usually some kind of low point or something happened. Like you say a breakup or a cut from your job

Johannes: 24:15 Almost die. Or they just, or their, their friend dies and then they’re like, Oh shit. Like life is short. It’s like a wake up. It’s oftentimes, it’s some kind of wake up a thing where you’re like, okay, I want to change something. And that’s why people start this. And that’s why they get super excited about it in the beginning. But they will also realize after a while, like, Hey, I actually need to make these connections. I need to have deeper connections. I need to settle at one point as well, but do I really want to be settling back at the place where I came from or do I want to find another home? So it’s a whole big journey and some people, I think it’s good for everyone to experience this. But yeah, it’s good and it w it’s going to be interesting. It’s super interesting to see how this is all developing and, and where this is going. But I think we all like the first real generation of many people doing this. And I’m in, let’s say in five years, we know a lot more. We can have a much better vision where the nominate thing is developing too, right?

Sean Tierney: 25:22 So, yeah, absolutely. I agree. You ended up settling in Majorca. W so you traveled around, you nod for awhile and then you picked my Orco. What was it about that place?

Johannes: 25:32 So I wanted to have a place that is easily reachable. That is I think so. I mean, I wouldn’t say settling, I would say investing time in places where I want to spend my future. And I wanted to invest some time in my Yorker because I think that this could be a place where I can spend much more time in the future. I like, like I learned, I like beaches and it’s super well connected is probably the most well connected place after Barcelona in Europe. Like I can get easily to, to Germany or to whether like some bigger cities are more better connected, but like as a small Island it’s amazing for that. It’s one of the most beautiful islands in the world. It’s actually also super affordable in some places, not everywhere. But it has everything you kind of want and need on a small Island and a beautiful place. And I also, it’s a great place for me to also on the one hand, living in a really beautiful, amazing place, but also having like friends and visited, like parents coming to visit me without having to maintain all my social social circle all the time. Like actually people come there to visit, which is also really nice.

Sean Tierney: 26:53 Yeah. Well I have a similar thing, Lisbon, like it’s definitely an attractive place. There’s no shortage of friends who want to come and stop by and see. You said it was cool for that. I got to go to, is it? Ghada is in my Yorkers at the place cause I got to go there about a year and a half ago for my buddies for it was beautiful. And they have the kite surfing, which you’re a kite surfer as well. So I don’t know if that’s an attraction for you. That was it. To have kite surfing

Johannes: 27:18 The North and they have a kite surfing in a camp ostia in the, in the South. It’s not amazing kiting, but it’s okay. But I also, yeah, so I did that. I did kinds of a lot in the past and I want to focus on more other things as well. So it’s not so important for me. But again, I want to say like it’s not necessarily settling, it’s just like investing time into certain places. And I think that that is important for all nomads actually. That in the beginning, like maybe in the first year we kind of travel a lot, but then it’s kind of important that we go back to places that we really enjoyed and really built like more meaningful friendships and relationships. Instead of just jumping around the word like crazy for forever. That’s not really healthy. Agreed.

Sean Tierney: 28:07 And do you think my Yorker might become like another hotbed, like another, I don’t even know if I’d say nomad hub, but like a place that would draw type of people. A lot of people

Johannes: 28:17 We’ll move them. It’s like the, the places and things that you can get there are, have a great price. It’s so well connected and it just makes sense for people. Like, if you went to have a your own apartment, it’s a great place to move from anywhere in Europe. And I see people already doing it. It’s not so well organized yet, but it just makes sense.

Sean Tierney: 28:43 Where, are there any other places like my Yorker that you see being similar, like potential future destinations? Or do you not want to share that? I think so for example, well,

Johannes: 28:53 I actually wrote this ebook a long time ago. You know, like my first ebook, which I think is still for sale on my website, I’m sure. I think, yeah. And all these places. So what I see is I started out as a backpacker and I was not a nomad, not at all. And there was like 15 years ago when I started to travel and really go to a lot of places around the world. And there were all these backpacking destinations like Bocas Del Toro in Panama San Juan Del suer, Nicaragua quarto here, Copan yang Krabi. Like all these places where the backpackers were, have actually been going since over 20, 30, 40 years. They were all developed, some kind of nomad hotspot. There will be coworking spaces that will be all these things and some will just develop faster and some won’t. It always depends a bit on someone who’s doing, running the community or who’s taking care of it, who’s promoting the things. But actually I think that every kind of place that is a trap attractive to millennials has got the potential to become a normal hotspot. Cool.

Sean Tierney: 30:07 I want to shift gears here. So you are going to be speaking shortly at the nomad summit in Chiang Mai. What’s your talk about?

Johannes: 30:14 It’s going to be about how to build a location independent business while traveling the world. And basically there went to share about more like some, like the, my major learnings on entrepreneurship and how you combine this with traveling because I actually think that you can’t really build a business when you’re traveling nonstop. But if you implement the right habits or the right techniques or you take it slow and you, you continue investing into learning and, and doing more things, then you, then you can do it. So, but you need to be aware, like you need to be aware of some things. I think in order to rec really build a business and not just and have the right values that you prioritize over actually traveling to do that.

Sean Tierney: 31:07 Is there any like the meat of it that you can share, the gist of that in terms of what you see going wrong with people that fail building a location, independent business, water treatment?

Johannes: 31:16 So I think that the major thing is that and that in included myself as well, is that we have as a number one priority freedom. If your priority is freedom, you want to do whatever you want to do, like live where you want, do what you want. You kind of get this mentality of, you know, you just take things very easy or you’re taking shortcuts, you’re just going to cheaper places because that’s what you can afford. And a lot of things like that, but you don’t really focus on growth. And this is what, when you versus when you’re an entrepreneur, you should have like, okay, I’m building this business, I want to do this properly and this allows me to travel the world. But this is my number one priority that if I want to do some phone calls, so I want to do this, I’m going to go there, or I will organize my life into that version.

Johannes: 32:13 I’m not going to take the cheapest accommodation, but I’m just going to make sure I’m going to earn a little bit more money so that I can afford something that is nice. And I see that a lot of people are more driven by that, by the, by the freedom versus actually saying first like, okay, business is very, very important, but I want to have a fun time building my business. So if you just change that mindset a little bit and you say like, okay, well, you know, I don’t know where I’m going to be in 10 years, but in 10 years I want to make sure that I have a really, really nice business or I’m making progress in my position, in my remote work position or as employee. But I see that most nomads are more driven by the freedom and they need to change their value. And this included myself as well, so I’m not pointing fingers. I did the same. Right.

Sean Tierney: 33:05 Well the irony is it’s like if you prioritize the financial freedom that other freedom will come about naturally.

Johannes: 33:11 Exactly, exactly. Well, it depends on if you always focus on growth then with each growing you get more problems that you need to fix. So you need to kind of, at one point you need to say like, okay, I stop now and now it’s just about having more time available and automization. But you can build a nice business or you can build your business in a way and focus on, you know, living a more healthy life or whatsoever. And then you will hit. Yeah, freedom has discipline, right? Like if you have the right discipline, then you can have all the freedom in the world that you want. Freedom is not taking shortcuts and making, living cheap for $1,000 a month. There are a few people who do that, so I’m not, don’t want to point fingers.

Sean Tierney: 33:57 Well, so are there, you’ve gotten the cruise to the state that it’s in. Are there any other optimizations you plan to make to that? Or like what’s, what’s the future? What are you working on now? Where’s your head at?

Johannes: 34:07 So we want to do, develop the cruise much further, but to be honest, there’s not so much that we want to change on this. The cruise itself, it’s more about what we do after the cruise or what we do before the cruise or whether we’re going to bring more people on the cruise. Or whether we keep it the Sam and just do a few more. But the concept of the cruise, I don’t think we’re going to do too much changes. I think it’s, it’s good and it’s just like small things that we want to change. What we want to do as well though is we want to move more on land. We don’t always want to have to meet on a cruise ship because actually cruise ships are great place to connect people. But once people are connected, which they can have like once or twice, you know, the, these connections, we can also meet in places like hotel or in or, yeah. Or in my Yorker where we’re going to have a big reunion for everyone who has been on the cruise before. That’s our plan to have a reunion. And but we also thinking about more like a membership membership, global model where we have reunions and different places around the world and, and really like make it easier for people to plug into places with ambassadors and things. But it’s nothing that something I like to think about, but we need to take things step by step. Yeah.

Sean Tierney: 35:28 Do you, so just to throw out some names because maybe these are useful to people. Like I’ve done intonations, I’ve played around with that community and various, there’s the dynamite circle, which is more of like an exclusive, like higher dollar business focus thing. I’m thinking like meetup, which is generally available as public. There’s no charge to it. These are types of community things. Are you, where do you see in that landscape? What are you trying to create? Like fitting within [inaudible]?

Johannes: 35:54 I think it would be something in between international and dynamite circle. Okay. So, so and so there’s a, there’s a, it’s important to have each of these communities and it always depends on what is there. But what we want to make easy is for people to kind of really have like a face to face contact and not just something that is totally online in, but in many places around the world. And it’s not so much about like business growth, which is communities like dynamite circles or entrepreneurial organization. Many, many others, ones as well. But more about just community and connecting. And, but of course it’s important for us to bring across the growth as well. But this can be more like as part of events. Cool. Awesome.

Sean Tierney: 36:48 Well I think that’s probably a good place to wrap up. I do have a final little part, it’s called the breakdown. So are you ready for the breakdown breakdown? What is one book that is profoundly affected you?

Johannes: 37:02 Well, I’m going to say the same like most people or many people would do. It’s the fall work week. It’s what I actually built in the beginning to make all these things possible for myself and that has really impacted me. And now I really like books like scaling up. That’s, that’s another one. Scaling up. Yeah. Cool.

Sean Tierney: 37:25 Yeah, four hour work week is a given. It’s probably eight out of every time people I interview say that one. But it is, it’s a

Johannes: 37:31 When it just came out and then that’s why I’ve been quite early in this whole thing that I have been. Yeah. Like thinking about these things. Cool.

Sean Tierney: 37:41 What about, what is one person you’d love to have dinner with?

Johannes: 37:45 One person, I think Michael Jordan, because he’s been my idol when I was very young. Yeah. Awesome.

Sean Tierney: 37:53 What is one tool or hack that you use to save time? [inaudible]

Johannes: 37:57 Or headaches? I would say Asana templates. Like we have the whole cruise in one template and we make it always a little bit better and then we save it and we reuse it again and again. So like this we can try to keep the quality the same but always make it a little bit better.

Sean Tierney: 38:15 And do you, is that something you’re teaching or showing anywhere or no, not yet. Not yet. Maybe sell. Perfect. Perfect.

Johannes: 38:24 Yeah, but we, we are like making it really, really cool. We have the whole crews in different templates, like schedule a timeline in Asana with of custom fields and stuff. And I think that’s one hack that keeps me sane and makes me sure that the team is doing, running the crews and if they have questions they can ask and then the template will automatically become better.

Sean Tierney: 38:51 Cool. I have struggled. I tried to, I made an honest effort to use a sauna and I ended up just reverting to Trello because it’s easier and I don’t know, it just makes more sense to my feeble brain. But I dunno. Asana, it seems like there’s multiple ways to do the same thing and I could never quite get my head around it, but

Johannes: 39:06 Maybe you, maybe I can show you some things.

Sean Tierney: 39:12 All right. What is one piece of music that speaks to you or musical artist?

Johannes: 39:19 I like sublime, which is quite old, but I, that’s one band that I really, really enjoyed.

Sean Tierney: 39:26 All right. Before you leave. So we’ve been doing jam sessions and I play that Eleven’s what? I got something we will get a jam session before you do. All right. Two questions. What what is one important truth that very few people agree with you on?

Johannes: 39:40 Agree with me on one important truth.

Speaker 3: 39:43 Oh,

Johannes: 39:44 I don’t know.

Sean Tierney: 39:46 It’s a tough one. This is a Peter teal question, one important truth that most people disagree with me on or very few people agree with you about.

Johannes: 39:56 Mm, I would not say, I mean for me personally, I think this, I think like there’s one new thing that I really think about now a lot and it’s combining like thinking about this Maslow hierarchy of needs and the nomad life, which is basically taking us, exploring the word and then looking for belonging and safety and focusing more on business and which explains the whole reason and the whole steps of how the nomad life is from like traveling super fast to slowly to looking for your tribe, like people coming on nomad cruise and then actually focusing more on business and stuff. So I could say like actually that nomads would say like, Oh, I don’t need a Homebase. I just want to do this for forever. I’m like, well, maybe you’re not there yet, but like, look, in two years you’re going to change. So I don’t know. Cool. No, that’s a good one. I know that people will change their perspective on the life and I think it’s all very good. Like what they learned along the way. Yeah.

Sean Tierney: 40:59 Cool. All right, last question. So if you had a time machine to go back to your 20 year old Johannes self and tell yourself any bit of advice, what would you say?

Johannes: 41:11 I would learn to be really more structured very early.

Sean Tierney: 41:19 Really. I, you strike me as like fairly structured. Okay. I’m

Johannes: 41:22 Not structured at all. I’m like quite lazy in a way. And I would learn to to when I do something, like if I do like I never want to do it again. Like I implement some structure or I do some research like prepare things, think about things before I actually do them. On the other end I think that starting something like nomad cruise, if I would have known what it takes in preparation to actually take this to the next level, I would have never done it. But maybe if I would have learned it already in the 20s, I could have done the most amazing crews already after one thing. So learning how to really prepare things before I actually do them and think things through and get, become like thinking in structures and developing processes and stuff. This is something that I like to do and improve a lot. Yeah. Cool. All right, man. Well, best of luck on your talk in sharing mine. Thank you so much for taking the time and they’re super busy. I’m glad we finally got this. Thank you. Thank you for not asking the same questions most people. Fair enough. Okay, thank you. Cheers. Bye.


Sean is host of Nomad Podcast, author of the Nomad Prep eCourse to help others successfully transition to the nomadic lifestyle. Sean is also founder of Problemattic, a global movement to mobilize knowledge workers for good. Read more from Sean on his personal blog or his business blog.

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Nomad Podcast is a series of conversations with nomads, founders and domain experts to help get more people unstuck through transitioning to a nomadic lifestyle. Add your email to get special access to private AMA sessions, pre-release products and other VIP shiz.