A little over a year ago, my husband, our 2-year old daughter and I boarded a plane to Spain — the first one of 18 planes in 12 months — to embark on a big adventure. Project title: paternity leave abroad.
After a short stop in Madrid, our second plane brought us directly to La Palma, La Isla Bonita, the first of 18 locations in 12 months. Our luggage decided to arrive two days later. So much for a perfect start.
But apart from that small incident, things went rather well. Our careful planning, which lasted months, has been worth every single minute and allowed us to relax, discover, and … work. While my husband got to test dozens of new playgrounds in his temporary role as a full-time dad, I was spoiled with workspaces close to nature. Nothing boosts my creativity more than a panoramic view.
Here are my workspaces of the past year, including my all time favorite: Parua Bay, Northland, New Zealand. Gotta 💜 being a digital nomad. Would I do it again? Anytime!
November/December 2017: Puertito de Güimar, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.
January 2018: Teror, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain.
January 2018: Hong Kong.
January 2018: Hong Kong. Digital nomad setup.
February 2018: Riana, Tasmania, Australia.
February 2018: Riana, Tasmania, Australia. With co-workers on the inside and the outside.
February 2018: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.
March 2018: Parua Bay, Northland, New Zealand.
April 2018: Auckland, New Zealand.
April 2018: Benoa Beach, Bali, Indonesia.
May/June and August 2018: Nogent sur Oise, France.
July 2018: Chemnitz, Germany.
Since September 2018: Nantes, France. With a view over the Loire River… to be continued!
Which fabulous digital nomad workspace can you recommend?
Can you imagine an even more remote place to work from than Tasmania? I can’t — for now.
Me and Tasmania — Tasmania and me
Last February, I was lucky enough to spend 4 weeks on that “small” island South of Australia’s main land. Yes, I wrote Australia. Tanzania is a very different story. Please stop asking me about life in Africa. 😃
During my time in Tasmania, I worked 4 days a week and had 3 days a week to explore Tassie with my little family — my favorite travel companions.
We changed apartments once to explore as much as possible and therefore stayed 2 weeks in the North of the island, then 2 weeks in the South. Tassie is an island on which you can easily end up in very remote spots, like we did in the North. We stayed in a small cottage in Riana. Our next (human) neighbors were 500 meters away. To get to our house by car, we had to open and close 3 fences to prevent the cows from changing the fields that surrounded our cottage. It’s been a remote dream!
Our cottage in Riana, Tasmania
Moving down to Hobart after 2 weeks almost felt like a shock. People. Cars. Buildings. A city center! Though admittedly, our cottage in Hobart with a view towards Mount Wellington was in a calm neighborhood. Only a few wallabies visited our garden each evening.
That clocks are ticking differently in Tasmania can be seen on dialogues like this one (with Gerke, the landlord of the Riana property):
I: “So how come the street you live in has actually your family name? Is it pure coincidence? Gerke: “Nah. At one point, Tasmania decided that all roads got to have a name. So someone suggested to give it my family’s name as our house is the oldest in the street.” I: “And when did that happen?” Gerke: “A few years ago.”
Makes me wonder if they actually had internet access before they had a road with a name… but I forgot to ask!
Please click through the 2 albums below and read the captions to learn more about our fabulous four weeks in Tassie.
North (Riana and around)
Cradle Mountain — my favorite National Park in Tasmania
This boat shed is from the 1940s and still one of the most popular photo motives in the Park
Pink ripples in the sky above our cottage in Riana
You never see them coming, but once you’re back home they are all over your shoes and trousers
Saw a few too many of these during the bush walk around our cottage
A superb fairywren, whose feathers turn bright blue for the breeding season
…in front of our cottage window
Love the different materials and matching colors in this photo
Still wondering why I felt like in New Zealand?
Wild wallaby at Fernglade near Burnie
Fossil Bluff in Wynyard
Sulphur Creek on a sunny day
Not the kid friendliest beach…
…but certainly worth a visit from a geological point of view
Wilderness magic at Leven Canyon
Great view point in Leven Canyon (not a drone photo!)
“Bacon” formations in the Gunns Plains Caves
The “wedding cake” in the Gunns Plains Caves
Penguin spotting during sunset hour at Lillico Beach
Tassie devil up close
Wings Wildlife Park discovery: white kangaroo
There are no koalas living in Tasmania’s forests; this little fellow was imported from the mainland
South (Hobart and around)
Hobart, Tasmania on a cloud free day
Sightseeing in Hobart
Remote beaches are so typical Australia
Shell galore East of Hobart
Look who found their new balance ;)
Tessellated pavement at Eaglehawk Neck — believe it or not, this is a 100% natural rock formation; nothing man-made
I did not expect the Tasman Arc to be that big — quite impressive and a great surprise
Russell Falls in Mt. Fields National Park
Mt. Fields National Park, Tasmania
What other remote work places would you recommend?
My standards would be:
a reasonable internet speed
the modem nearby, to be able to turn it off and on again if needed
an affordable place to rent for work and living (I’m working from home, not at the beach like people tend to think)
While our 2-week vacation in Bali earlier this year wasn’t flawless, we had a fantastic time there. The little one especially liked nasi goreng (fried rice), mi goreng (fried noodles), dancing and pool time, while my husband and I enjoyed all the temples, traditions and green landscapes. Bali really had something for each of us.
I can’t deny though that we suffered from the heat. While adults can more or less deal with 30°C and higher, young kids struggle. Our daughter is usually a good walker, but in Bali 200 metres were waaaayyy too long for her. So we had to do a lot of carrying, which isn’t enjoyable under such conditions. You might wonder why we carried her instead of using a stroller; the road and pavement conditions make it impossible to go for a walk with a baby buggy (especially in Ubud).
So we did a few trips with our Deuter Kid Comfort (which is a life-saver) and spent a lot of time in taxis to visit different places in the cultural Centre, relaxed East and buzzy South of the island. Word of advice: if your kid is too small to properly sit in a regular car seat with a regular seat belt, you should pre-book your taxis with a service like Bali Bubs, who do not only offer airport transfers with baby conform vehicles but also rent out baby equipment if you plan to travel light. We were lucky in a way, as our girl is way too tall for her age and was comfortable and safe in the middle seat of the taxi back bench.
Time wise, two weeks were perfect without being in a constant rush. Quiet days are essential when travelling with kids and so we spent 7 days in Ubud, 4 days in Amed and 5 days in Benoa Beach. But even the lazy days at the hotels were an adventure (pools, restaurants, kids club, …), so I would have been glad to stay for a third week.
Our accommodation was always kid friendly, which is why we can recommend:
The gallery below is chronological. Read the image captions to discover Bali the way we did and learn more about this beautiful place in the heart of Indonesia.
My favorite temple photo! Pura Tirta Empul is a holy place for buddhists and we were lucky enough to experience this wonderful Hindu Balinese water temple in the quiet morning atomosphere before the tourists rushed in.
Getting ready for a bath in the holy water…
…of Pura Tirta Empul in Bali.
Judging from the faces, gestures and screams, even holy water is cold.
Most temples in Bali come with ponds full of koi, which symbolize good fortune, success, prosperity, longevity, courage, ambition and perseverance.
We were surprised by some of the daily offerings made by Balinese Hindus, especially the ones including real bills.
Welcome to the jungle, welcome to Bali!
Enter and enjoy!
Loved those amazing details in Balinese stone art.
Another example, from a Balinese temple in Ubud.
Small detail from a Balinese chair #WoodCarving
View over the rooftops of the Ubud outskirts as seen during the Campuhan Ridge Walk.
Just strolling down the streets of Ubud and stumbling across the Water Palace.
Now that’s a Starbucks location! #OnlyInBali (Ubud)
The beautiful rice terraces of Tegalalang.
It’s hot in Bali. Even stones threaten to sweat if not protected. :D
Bali is a scooter country. That’s how the kids go to school here!
…full of souvenirs and kitch.
The landlord of our Ubud accomodation recommended us a very nice Balinese dance show at the Peliatan Royal Palace in Ubud.
Look at this costume; the headdress and ornaments are fantastic!
Visiting a traditional dance show in Bali is a must for travellers.
We loved how they dance with their faces, even the eyes move in the rhythm of the music.
Hand positions and gestures, the mudras, are also extremely important for Balinese dancers. To see these dancers in action and listen to some Balinese music, please have a look at my video further down below in this blog post.
The king of the spirits, a lion-like creature, is a popular character in the Balinese mythology and can be found in most dance shows as well as various temples and palaces.
Tirta Gangga Water Palace was a great location to discover more characters from the Balinese mythology.
Tirta Gangga, …
…the Koi pond invites you to walk over water.
A protected idyll and home to many animals…
…and colorful flowers.
My daughter and I loved it here!
Is there anything more Balinese than Mount Agung, a temple and frangipani in one photo? Amed was our location of choice to explore the waters around the island. We had a couple of snorkeling days. Check out the video below to get an idea of the underwater landscape near Amed.
Travelling Bali end of April has been fantastic, just like our eco friendly Hotel Uyah Amed. We had this gorgeous pool side almost always to ourselves during 5 days.
Don’t you want to swim in such a pool too?
Or such a pool?
That’s the waterfall in the pool of Hotel Nikko Bali in Benoa Beach.
Tanah Lot was an interesting place to see; not so much for the rock formation, which is home to the pilgrimage temple, but because of the crazy amount of tourists showing up there to get a blessing during low tide (when you can actually walk to the temple). I have seen nicer temples in Bali (especially since this one is mainly hidden by trees), which means I wouldn’t really recommend going there when it’s not on your way. We arrived here after a 2.5 hours trip in a taxi, passing lots of traffic jams, just to stare at hundreds of tourists. If that is not your thing, go visit another temple. Bali is the country of a thousand temples, so you should find one you like.
Tourist crowd at Tanah Lot.
Sunset at Benoa Beach.
Lucky enough to witness a blood moon in Bali (May 1, 2018).
Can’t get enough? Here are two bonus videos I created.
Enjoy a compilation of various Balinese dancers that appeared on stage at the Peliatan Royal Palace in Ubud on the 21st of April 2018.
Get a feeling how snorkeling in Amed can look like.
On our way from France to Australia earlier this year, we did a one-week stopover in Hong Kong — a great way to make the huge time difference more tolerable for kids.
My weather app had optimistic news and predicted 4 sunny days that week. Check out below how that turned out…
I couldn’t be bothered though. I admit I was impressed by what I saw. Growing up in European cities with architectural height restrictions, Hong Kong was both overwhelming and a brand new photo playground for me. Due to the tall buildings I admittedly couldn’t let go off my GoPro and I took most photos during this one-week trip with it.
So did my 2.5 year old daughter (see second gallery in this article). For some reason she loved getting into photography in Hong Kong and I gave her my GoPro with a lanyard around her neck to secure my precious tool 📷.
Bubble explosion in the streets of Tung Chung, Lantau Island, Hong Kong
High, higher, Hong Kong Central
Hong Kong Island souvenir stalls
I could spend hours in the narrow alleys of Sheung Wan with heaps of art stores trying to bridge traditional and modern tastes
Of dragons and dogs, Hong Kong Island
A kitschy but modern idea at the same time: the digital wishing well in the Hong Kong IFC Mall
Hong Kong graffitti art in Sheung Wan
Man Mo Temple: A beautiful little temple in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island
The Hong Kong Observation Wheel, Hong Kong Island
Overlooking Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island
An impressive location: Tian Tan Buddha
“The Offering of the Six Devas”: Well, two of them at least, praising the Tian Tan Buddha
The entrance to Po Lin Monastery, Lantau Island, Hong Kong
Offerings made in Po Lin Monastery, Hong Kong
Po Lin Monastery is a photographer’s dream, but sadly the holy places are off limit for cameras. These statues are just at the entrance
A beautiful pagoda at Po Lin Monastery, Lantau Island, Hong Kong
The Wisdom Path in the Ngong Ping hills features 38 timber columns that have the Chinese word for the Heart Sutra inscribed on it
And here are my daughter’s takes on Hong Kong:
Let’s get out and explore the streets of Hong Kong
Voila, mum in Hong Kong
Et voila, dad in Hong Kong
While I clearly enjoyed photographing Hong Kong with my GoPro Hero 6, I came across a few situations when I preferred using my regular DSLR, especially for views over vast landscapes, night shots and close-ups. Who would have guessed?
Here are some of my favorite Canon 60D photos to complete the Hong Kong gallery above.
The impressive skyline of Hong Kong Island and Tsim Sha Tsui on a sunny day ;)
Welcome to Hong Kong Real Estate
Probably the most classic view over Hong Kong, taken from The Peak (Hong Kong Victoria Peak)
Can’t say that Hong Kong isn’t very green after having taken this photo on top of The Peak
The first time I saw a bamboo construction area was in the movie Rush Hour and I remember that I thought it was a joke. I learnt in the meantime that it isn’t and actually has quite some advantages, but I was still impressed to see this live. I wouldn’t want to climb up there…
The AIA Great European Carnival as seen from the Hong Kong Observation Wheel
Hong Kong Observation Wheel by night
Panoramic vistas of Lantau Island in the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car connecting Ngong Ping with the town of Tung Chung and Tian Tan Buddha
Po Lin Monastery close-up of the richly decorated walls
Incense sticks, making the atmosphere at Po Lin Monastery even more special