Tea talk: Nicole Kelner, lady nomad, experience crafter, entrepreneur
For this Tea Talk, we sat down with digital nomad and self-proclaimed startup fairy, Nicole Kelner. Nicole is an advocate of instilling tech and coding skills in schools, and of women’s issues. She’s been traveling the world, helping businesses get off the ground while growing her own – and has learned a ton along the way. Learn more about Nicole’s story below!
Location: Temporarily New York
Day job: Designer/Marketer at The Coding Space
Hobby / passion project: Lemonaid.io
Life motto: Find something that makes you smile and do that everyday.
If you could do anything at all, what would it be?
I’m doing it! I am currently working with my best friend at his startup, The Coding Space, which is an after school program to teach middle and high schoolers how to code. I get to work on anything from design to marketing to event planning. I love getting to do a little bit of everything, that’s why I have always worked with startups.
In my free time, I also started an online support community for women to talk about the sweet and sour parts of life, called Lemonaid. Finding meaningful work and travel is very important to me.
You’re the program manager for Hacker Paradise. What is Hacker Paradise and what do you love about it?
I just finished working for Hacker Paradise and I loved facilitating memories. It was a special experience to be in charge of creating events and activities that participants will remember for the rest of their lives.
You’re a nomad, designer, writer and community builder. How have you managed to incorporate all of these passions into your everyday life?
I like to have side projects at all times. So right now, I’m working on design and writing with my day job, and at night I’m building Lemonaid. In a few months, I will be nomading again. I love being able to balance my passions in different ways. They take a different shape every few months and I just like to open myself up to these opportunities.
You’ve been to 47 cities in the past two years! What are the top lessons you’ve learned from your experiences?
Oh man, I have learned so much! I think my favorite tip is to use “the law of two feet,” I heard about this at a retreat I went to back in college and it is the concept that you have two feet, and you have the power to use them. If you are in a place that you don’t want to be, move. Go for a walk.
Another is to be open-minded. You have to accept local cultures, new environments and all sorts of things you would never expect. If you’re being closed-minded, traveling is no fun.
Finally, try everything. Whenever I’m invited out to something I’ve never done before, my default reaction is to say yes. I started salsa dancing in Chiang Mai because a friend invited me to. Now I go salsa dancing every week and I am absolutely obsessed with it.
What are your favorite tips for remaining productive while working on the road?
I like to set goals for my week on Sunday. I outline my personal and professional goals and I break them down by the day. So I have a set of tasks I need to do each day. For me, I don’t set hours, I set goals and make sure that by the end of each day they are met. This means, I can go for a swim or do yoga mid-day as long as I get them done.
What are the best resources for anyone wanting to make the shift to nomadism?
I wrote up a massive brain dump of everything I know about nomadism on the Huffington Post called “The Ultimate Guide to Being a Lady Nomad” — it’s a great starting point!
What are your favorite tools and processes for staying organized and productive?
Lastly, what’s your favorite cup of tea?
I love Moroccan Mint tea! I discovered Moroccan food while living in Paris, and go through serious withdrawal without it. The mint tea at the end is so refreshing and delicious.
Have a question for Nicole or someone you’d like to see us interview? Leave your questions and ideas in the comments below!
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