How to Travel With Purpose as a Digital Nomad, with Nini Fritz | DistantJob - Remote Recruitment Agency

How to Travel With Purpose as a Digital Nomad, with Nini Fritz

Gabriela Molina

Nini Fritz is a remote team-building coach. She is the founder of the remote team-building company “The Work Happiness Project,” where she focuses on helping virtual teams make stronger connections than Wifi through meaningfully disconnecting from technology. Her mission is to humanize the digital work environment and boost remote team bonds.

Nini Fritz

Read the transcript

Luis [00:00:20]:

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to another episode of the distant job podcast. I am your host, Luis. And as usual, we’re here to talk about building and leading awesome remote teams and remote work in general. My guest today is Nini Fritz. Nini is the chief happiness officer. Sorry. Chief Epinist at Work Officer at the Work Happiness Project. She is the head of culture at Nomad’s Giving Back, and the cofounder of Hi Connect. She is also a certified bucket list coach. So Nini, welcome to the show.

Nini  [00:00:57]:

Thank you so much. Someone did his research.

Luis [00:01:01]:

Yeah. Well, you get this is this is far from extensive. Right? So if you want to add anything that you do, you know, Go go ahead. Right? You are you I’m I’m very happy to have you here because it’s I’ve interviewed, right, a few people that are that are all in in remote. Right? But not nearly enough. Right? I I I like talking with people like you, who are trying to find new and exciting ways to make remote work work. Right? Work better, hopefully, for all of us. So, yeah, it’s a pleasure to have you. And and, please, do you think it it is Do you think that I missed something important that you would like to to add to introduce yourself? Well,

Nini  [00:01:53]:

I would definitely add myself a noun a professional pancake tester, but at least professional. I don’t make money from it yet, but I think my experience and knowledge is definitely broad enough to probably add that to my LinkedIn CV as well. Yeah. Well, you help you. One can dream. — background. You you hit the nail on the head.

Luis [00:02:20]:

One can one one can dream about becoming a a professional pancake. experts. Though, I suppose that that is one thing that that is not entirely easy to do remotely. Right?

Nini  [00:02:33]:

I mean, you can always add a pancake block, but — Yeah. — I was thinking I can actually monetize the bucket list coach. Pancake testers shouldn’t be the issue.

Luis [00:02:43]:

Exactly. Let let me ship you a a pancake so you can test it. Right? Something like that. But But but, yeah, but, yeah, I am I I have to say, I am a pancake fan. Right? So so I’m right there right there with you. Right? My my banana pancakes are my are my favorites. That is actually that is actually one of the first things I cooked to impress my now wife. Right? It was a banana.

Nini  [00:03:09]:

So — Oh, in Germany, we have that saying that love goes through the stomach. So if you impress someone with your cooking skills, like, Exactly. Like, eat your own, make your way into their heart.

Luis [00:03:20]:

Exactly. Exactly. With that that banana pancakes with Nutala, the breakfast of champions.

Nini  [00:03:28]:

Now you’re married and have a baby. There you go. Exactly that.

Luis [00:03:33]:

That’s it. Thanks to the pancakes. But but yeah. So tell me a bit about how you came to remote work. right, tell me the story of how you started remote work and how it impacted your career.

Nini  [00:03:47]:

Yeah. So where shall we begin? Back in 1994, I was born. No. We a little bit later. No worries. Well, I think my my real journey actually started as soon as I started writing my masterpieces. And, of course, to come up with these thoughts of, you know, what’s gonna happen after? Where do I see myself? And, yeah, while I was writing my thesis. I was mostly working from coffee shops instead of the library. And then I always saw people around me, like, working on their laptops and kind of feeling inspired and impressed that they have the freedom to just work for me and actually make money while they slurped their coffee while I’m writing my thesis here. So I think that I already, like, planted a seed in my head that I knew deep down, like, I wanna be one of those people having the freedom to just, you know, bring my laptop and work from anywhere. No. But to be honest, I didn’t even know that remote thing was, like, such a trend. I thought it’s only for, like, the super cool people and the very

Luis [00:04:55]:

which now I consider myself. Well, I am pretty cool, I have to say. Right?

Nini  [00:05:01]:

I should be part of the club. But, yeah, I just thought it was, like, much more difficult to get a foot in the door, and you need some, like, proper experience first before you can even get started and, like — Yeah. — have this whole, like, CV build up before you can, like, become an independent freelancer. So what I did instead instead of applying for a company, I basically yeah, took a gap year. I called it the bucket list year and just gave myself a full year of taking off the things I’ve always wanted to see and do and, yeah, learn and travel to and everything. And, damn, I thought by the end of the year, I probably, you know, got this fun and excitement and all, like, this this this crazy ideas out of my system to be ready for the corporate world and to be ready to settle. And ironically, a few months into my bucket list year where I already ticked off some really cool stuff. I came across a TEDx talk from this guy called The Bucket List guy, and he gave a very holistic blueprint of how to write a personally meaningful bucket list and — Mhmm. — know the importance of — Yeah. — taking action on our goals and dreams. and fast forwarding maybe 6 months later. I moved to Australia. I reached out to the guy who gave this TEDx talk, and ask if I can meet him. I that he really inspired me to do some really cool stuff. I never thought was possible. And turns out on my 25th birthday, which was exactly the like, on the day, the end of my backup is year where I thought, you know, now I should be having a job. He actually called me and offered me a job to work remotely for the bucket list coaching company. And yeah. So it turned out that this whole year of, like, just back a listing around actually not knowing what I’m doing, hoping it would give me clarity on what I wanted to do. leds to the fact that I spot my year of bucket listing for, like, a whole bucket list live. And then I joined the company as a global marketing manager to go over the marketing department remotely, of course, needed to be in alignment

Luis [00:07:24]:

with — That was the bucket list company.

Nini  [00:07:27]:

Yes. That was the bucket list company from this Tethys guy that I randomly found in my travel exciting career. Nice. And I stayed with the company for 2 years. I was mostly based in Sydney. And they were in Melbourne. So every 3 months, they flew me down to the headquarter meeting. And at one point, I realized pretty decent at creating ads and, like, broad branding the concept, but I’m a people’s person. I sometimes feel very, like, lonely and isolated just sitting in front of my desktop all day, not talking to anyone. Yeah. And and I thought, you know, that the freedom to work from anywhere should not come at the sacrifice of feeling connected, feeling this sense of belonging, feel like you’re being part of something bigger. And if you like people, actually, get your chance to talk to people, hang out with people. Yeah. So I took the coaching license that I made with the bucket list company for myself and basically ran off to start the work happiness project. and focused on team building for remote companies.

Luis [00:08:38]:


Nini  [00:08:39]:

Yeah. Just blend the best of both worlds and — Nice. — throughout the year, like, extended my workshop offerings and, like, fine tune my approach, but it all just started with a bucket list. And Okay. So

Luis [00:08:52]:

so let me go back a little bit there. Not necessarily remote work related, but I am curious. Right? So during that year, one is the thing that sticks that that stuck with you the most. Right? Of all the items on your bucket list, I have no idea how many how much you add. I’m sure that the most impactful one was not the one you thought would be the most impactful one. Correct? That’s how these things tend to go.

Nini  [00:09:17]:

Well, yes and no. Yes. I think it’s an easy one to say which one was the most impactful one. Okay. But I think I was just kind of it shifted something in my head. I was like, if that is possible, and it was the first thing that I ticked off, after I’ve watched a video, like, this tennis talk that made me realize, like, nothing is impossible. You know? It’s kind of there’s a Roger Vanister running a mile under 5 minutes, and then suddenly, everyone could do it. It’s just breaking this limiting belief that you know, whatever you put on this list is possible. So it was, in fact, meeting the davai Lama. Alright. — stands. and, yeah, it was early into my bucket list journey. And I’m like, if that is possible, after, like, 3 weeks in the planning, like, literally watch the video, sat down, goodle, where does the dalai Lama come to? Can you meet him? booked, like, a cheap ass, sixty year old flight to Lithuania, found a guy on couch surfing. I could crash it that trip cost me, like, a hundred bucks for the ticket to see him and end the flight. Stay there for free. And, yeah, it was, like, maybe 2 or 3 days. So it wasn’t expensive. It didn’t cost me a lot of time. It honestly didn’t included a lot of planning. It was more about coming down with, like, a tangible action staff and doing it, and that was the magic. And I think that belief system just set the pathway for all the rest of the the things that I wanted to accomplish. No. That that that’s very cool.

Luis [00:10:57]:

Right? And that is that is an interesting that is a good lesson, you know, for people four people. I think that people overthink how hard — Yeah. — they they think things are. Right? Yeah. I mean and even people and and people usually say when we say thing when we say stuff like that. Right? Because I I you know, I was in in your shoes once. Now I am an old man. Right? But but people used to say, well, you can do shit like that. because, you know, you you don’t have commitments. You don’t have a family. You don’t and that that’s not that’s actually not true. Right now, right, I have a baby. Right? Yeah. And — Congratulations. But the but but the only thing that that means is that I have to peg more shit. Right? Yeah. Because the the reality is that I can and and I have. You know? Obviously, you know, after they’re just worn, it’s it’s probably not that say. But but, you know, you know, after after, like, 6 months, you can just, you know, grab them and it’s great. You know, you can jump queues in the airports all along. It’s it’s it’s actually easier. It’s actually easier. Right? You just the only the the only thing is that, you know, it it they don’t even pay forever. Right? So — Yeah. So so I I think that people over complicate. I think that people over complicate travel. Right. I I think that people make a big deal out of things, like, you know, finding where the the the the Dalai Lama is hanging out, you know, and going to meet. I think people over complicate a bit. That they they they build like this this huge list of obstacles. When in reality, they just have to serve themselves with, like, 3 to 5 key things. And then, you know, the rest just flows.

Nini  [00:12:39]:

Yeah. A 100%. And it’s not just And it’s not even just about traveling. It’s about, like, the little things, you know, everyday life that we find excuses for. And mostly, it’s, like, time, money, deep doubt is actually fear, excuses, but, you know, we mostly use, like, time of money. But, yeah, once we realize that that’s not what’s holding us back and that it’s much easier to overcome when we so often just underestimate ourselves, Yeah. I think it’s just about, like, a pattern in a limiting belief system that we need to overcome to realize, like, honestly, everything you put your mind to is possible. You just need to have a powerful why. Like, you just really need to want to do it from an intrinsic motivation and not, like, let’s say, like, an external motivation. But, yeah, I think then you can always find a way to make it work.

Luis [00:13:35]:

Mhmm. Okay. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So that’s so I guess that was what you that was how you became a certified bucket list. scope, right, was when you joined that company and did the marketing. And yeah. So so you mentioned another thing, right, which is that you’re a people person. Right? And — Yeah. — and the marketing work made you feel a bit lonely. Right? And and, obviously, this this effect is different people in in different ways. Right? I’m I’m I’m an assumed introvert. Right? Even an introvert like me, we we we need some some social connection. Right? So I do like, you know, hanging out, you know, right, every now and then bringing a couple of friends for drinks or going out to dine, etcetera. I I can’t just be I’m not introverted to the level where I just be okay. being in armit. But but I I’m pretty cool about, you know, just just working at my my laptop, you know, like, for 8 hours. But right, and this is a big but there there’s other problems, for example, getting out of the house, right, getting some sun, getting some walk on it, etcetera. Right? that is something that I have a challenge with. Right? Because I can I feel myself, you know, getting grumpy and unhealthy. Right? But at the end of the day, you know, by the time I end work, it’s like, oh, no. It’s too late to get out of the house. So — Yeah. — so there are things depending on each person on on our, you know, on our strengths and weaknesses, let’s say. Right? There are different challenges to to doing the the remote work. So you had this challenge. How did you I mean, you you gave me the macro view of how you solved it for your self. You left your job and you built your company. But how exactly did that did that improve the situation?

Nini  [00:15:27]:

Like, 1st and foremost, to what you just said, I wanna quickly address that. I think accountability is the key. So if you, you know, like, I’m happy with your your habits and wanna create, like, a lifestyle change and could only just be, like, know, working 5000 steps a day, find an accountability partner, like, get an accountability app or something like that really is the key to that? And now addressing your actual question, so you you you wanna know, like, how I had the focus to build my business or how — Yeah. Go ahead. — actually. we can get to that. Right?

Luis [00:16:09]:

Eventually. But but what I mean is how did you structure your business in order to get more of that personal connection. You know? That’d be great.

Nini  [00:16:18]:

Yeah. Well, to be really honest, in the beginning when it comes to, like, structuring my business, like, building up my business. It was more of, like, learning by doing. I knew what the end goal was, and that was creating more meaningful connections in the digital workplace and, like, make people feel more connected from a, like, holistic well-being approach. But the tools to get there in the beginning, I didn’t know. Like, I had my bucket list coaching license, and I’m like, yep. I have this 12 step blueprint, so which is basically based on, like, an acronym called my bucket list. And then for every letter, you have one specific bucket list category. So m would be and meet a personal hero. which is the first letter for me was the Dalai Lama. So that’s why the first one I took down. Tea would be taking lessons, and then You get, like, 50 suggestions for every letter, and then they can pick whatever is personally meaningful to them. And in the end, we set a countdown, and people take their first step of action, break down their goals into, like, tangible action bites. So it’s a very, like, bulletproof, actionable, workshop to conduct some. Like, I got the workshop. I set up the slides. I got something that’s ready to run. But then, you know, the the the major challenge is, like, how do I get it out there? You know? How do I get it? to people? How do I let people know that I exist when I have, like, no references? Like, which company is gonna book me? with the funny name as bucket list code if I have, like, no references whatsoever.

Luis [00:18:04]:


Nini  [00:18:06]:

So, yeah, I knew quite quickly that sales is not my favorite thing to do. I study business. I know my numbers, but I’m a people’s person. I wanna focus on being the best team building. and culture facilitator I can possibly be. Yep. And yeah. So I knew that that’s where my energy should should should be heading to. So, yeah, maybe, like, 2 or 3 months into my own journey, I thought I just have to find a way to work smarter and not harder. And then I thought the best and easiest way to multiply what I’ve got and came from a very purpose driven intrinsic motivation to just, you know, connect as many people as possible and, like, create a positive impact in as many people lives as I possibly can. So I just teamed up with team building companies around the world and, yeah, pitched them what I was doing Had a, like, a bunch of different workshops by that time and ran little workshops, mini workshops with their core team. And luckily, conversion rate was above and beyond. So pretty much every team building company that at least live and got me to do a workshop for their team, took me on this part of their portfolio. And, yeah, then they already had the network. They had the companies they worked with and was based on a commission based model. So they just got commission whenever. They sold my workshop, so they were happy. I was happy. The teams were happy. And then, of course, quickly the word-of-mouth. spreads, and then you get more confidence. I was getting much more confident inviting LinkedIn posts about what I was doing. And yeah. And you just build up your network. You connect with like minded people in the industry. And sooner or later, Boom. You got your network. You got your online community of Fellow, YouTube work, work, changemakers, and

Luis [00:20:15]:

Yeah. Yeah. But but, you know, I think you’re underselling yourself a a little bit because it it’s it’s not right. It’s it’s definitely the plan is not complex, but it’s definitely not easy. Right? And you you mentioned sales at the beginning. Right? That’s the at the beginning, you have that chicken and egg problem where — Yeah. — you don’t really have referrals. Right? You don’t really have testimonials. that you need to get clients. But to get them, you need to get you need to get clients. And and like you said, you know, sales were not your your favorite, you know, your your favorite thing. But I assume that you needed to grind through that initial. initial phase. So what was the the the mindset like? What what was the strategy that you used to to make that initial sales period where you are pitching yourself, right, to to make it to take it into something that you enjoyed and you could excel it.

Nini  [00:21:12]:

Well, basically, I just pitched myself to the team building companies. So I kind of found, like, an mediator to be like, alright. I just have to pitch it to them. And if they like it, they have a professional sales team of experienced salespeople. Yeah. So they were pitching for me and sold it. So — Right. — I basically got the calendar invite the booking request. luckily, like, I think my first client that actually lent me or, like, my team building company landed for me was Facebook. So — Wow. — anyone quick Facebook.

Luis [00:21:50]:

Yeah. That that that is an interesting client, right, to have right at the start.

Nini  [00:21:56]:

I think my Katie and I, I think my first five were at HubSpot, kept Gemini, and I, Facebook, Dell, and, like, I don’t know some government institution in Australia. And, like, you know, like, maybe 6 months into it, and I had these logos as my references.

Luis [00:22:17]:

That was very chill.

Nini  [00:22:19]:

That was really, really cool, and I’m so grateful. And, like, ever grateful to my team building companies, and I still collaborate with them. And, yeah, I just have so much love and gratitude and, like, now we really develop more than, like, a business relationship and seeing that one of them founders, it’s, like, really became kind of my my mentor friend that I see as kind of, like, my, yeah, business adviser who really helped me to grow and, like, gave me the winks that I needed.

Luis [00:22:52]:

You got it. Awesome. So so tell me a bit about your tell me a bit about your your remote workday. Right? What is the usual workday and the life of Nily Fritz?

Nini  [00:23:05]:

Well, today was a very usual workday, I would say. So I’m I’m based in Bali. for most of the year. So 6 to 8 months, I’m I’m in Valley, then the rest is Europe Australia. probably soon in the US as well. So all over. But in Balaji — — yet. Yeah. Just been there in April. Yeah. Oh, for

Luis [00:23:30]:

for the remote running remote? Yeah. Yeah. Wow. I guess we missed each other because I was there as well.

Nini  [00:23:38]:

That’s why we actually met.

Luis [00:23:40]:

Oh, I’m sorry. I it’s just a blur of people. I’m I’m I’m sorry. No worries. I was like, I don’t wanna publicly embarrass you on your podcast, but I was doing — Oh, no. No. No. No. That’s that’s fine. That’s that that that that’s absolutely fine. Look. I I I’ve you know, I have a packed schedule, and I have and I’m not sleeping. So and the podcast listeners know.

Nini  [00:24:02]:

Attendends. I did in Portugal. So all good. Yeah. Yeah. No worries.

Luis [00:24:08]:

Yeah. No. Well, well, you’re welcome to come back anytime. Right? Thank I might be back in September, actually, for not a conference. So — Well, that yeah. That then we’re we’re happy to that I have this thing that whenever podcast guest come to port I get some drinks. So you know? And now you’re — Okay. — now you’re on the list. This time, I’m not going to forget.

Nini  [00:24:28]:

Fantastic. Okay. it.

Luis [00:24:31]:

But yeah. So okay. So you what what does that look like? Right? You why so why Valley? You know? And why most why most of the year? Right?

Nini  [00:24:44]:

Well, finally, I just ended up in Bali because I was in a visa run from Australia, like, I was very happy in Australia. I had no intentions to leave. But my visa expired after, like, a year, a year and a half, So I quickly went to Bali to apply for another year and wanted to go back, but I was here for a day and was privileged at the borders. for the next year and a half. So I quickly knew I probably need to build a new life from scratch and could have hit me worse than ending up in Bali. And although, it was not my first choice, grateful that things happen the way they happen because here I really, really found, like, an amazing community of like minded people. kind of fell into this remote world because, you know, it’s like a hub for digital nomads. Like, amazing infrastructure for co working spaces. Great communities. I love to serve. I’m not very great, but I just love it. Yeah. Same. This is the same here. So So yeah. Johnny, Kate. I’m going, showing up, and sometimes it’s just the paddle off. But, yeah, so it feels good to me, Neil. It’s mostly the paddle up for me. Right? So that’s — I couldn’t just thought of the panel of shame when I just, like, flap around and not even catch your way.

Luis [00:26:04]:

It’s, like, look, it’s fun. Well, look, it it it’s nice just to be in the water and then the sun and the people. Right? You know? Even if you’re not particularly tall. You know? serve is one of those sports where I think that that that that you can really, really suck at it and still have a lot of fun. It’s it’s not true for most sports. Right? Yep. Right. If you’re playing soccer and you don’t touch the ball in the whole game, that’s kind of a down there. Right? That’s

Nini  [00:26:35]:

That’s true. Oh, yeah. And, like yeah. And I think also no sports can, like, fast and make or break your ego. You know? Like, sometimes you have catch these phasing wave and you think, like, you totally gotta figure it out and, like, wondering why you were ever so hot on yourself. And then next tire you try to catch a wave when you’re just, like, embarrassedly, like, fall and, like, pouring your face, whatever. within the same ten minutes. Yeah. But it helps you to have your ego and, like, learn so many lessons about life.

Luis [00:27:05]:

That’s true. That’s true. Anyway, you do we we will back to we were talking about your your Globe Trucking. You you you have, like, do you have something like a a plan, you know, where you I spend, you know, x months in ballet, and and then, you know, I go I try travel around? What is the what what is your plan? Your usual structure,

Nini  [00:27:28]:

I guess? Well, for the last few like, 3 years, it actually kind of naturally evolved into music statement, a year in Volley, then I spent, like, My summer is in Europe. So normally between, like, July October, I’m I’m in Europe. Now I’ve just been back to Australia to actually facilitate an off-site workshop for a company, and I realized, like, I still freaking love this country. I’m not done yet. It’s, like, Dx you didn’t get over with, and you thought, you know, you had a happy relationship with Vale now and then — Yep. — we get week back to the x and you’re like, oh, shit. I still feel all the feels. So I think I’m definitely gonna spend some more time in Australia again, like, at least for another, like, 3 months a year. I’ll probably make use of my second year visa that I still have open to apply. But, yeah, like, pretty much having a polyamorous relationship with cities or places in 3 on three continents.

Luis [00:28:30]:

Yeah. That sounds great.

Nini  [00:28:32]:

I love the idea of just having multiple home bases. I also figured out that, like, different parts of the world are, like, kind of the best different lives that I’ve built up in those places, they bring out, like, different sides of my personality, which I all embrace. They’re all part of me, but, like, they’re just being more nurtured in different places. So I think I’m just, you know, what in order to create the best mosaic of my personality, I spend time in different places to, like, nurture all these sites. And, yeah, it’s an adventurous journey, and I always feel like, you know, like, they stimulate me in different ways, which then always helps also to, you know, create new workshops and, like, share my experience when it comes to happiness at work because that starts with happiness alive. So, yeah, gotta practice what you preach. Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely.

Luis [00:29:34]:

I I want to before we move on to the rapid fire questions, I want to to ask you a bit about a couple of your of your projects or projects that are not necessarily yours, but you’re heavily involved. So first, I wanted to talk a bit about nomads giving back. right? And I wanted to specifically talk about it because one of the big things, right, that I that I vouch for in remote work is that remote work is a way to enrich, you know, to enrich certain countries and certain towns that that might be, you know, dying off a little more. Right? Obviously, you know, recently we’ve seen it in the news, right, that there are some negative consequences to the to the digital migration. Right? You know, most often when when locals get get priced out of the sourcing market, right, in some capitals or some main cities. And, you know, obviously, there is some balance to be struck there, and that usually is up to the local authorities. Right? But in general, right, what I’ve always witnessed is that when a when a town, you know, often it’s a sleepy town or or town that that’s kinda stalling their own development, and they are revitalized when — Yeah. — they become a a remote work hub, so to say. So I’m a really huge believer in that. But then, you know, when I was researching for this interview when I learned about nomads giving back, righty, it’s it’s about what my note says, right? The note that I made at the time is that no one’s giving back is about empowering the knowledge to give back to the local community that they call home away from home. So can you tell me a bit about more about that and the listeners? And why did you volunteer? Because you you have a volunteer position, I believe, to work at that. Yeah.

Nini  [00:31:34]:

Yeah. I also have to correct and I say I have not updated on my LinkedIn. Actually, I’m no longer, like, taking over the role as the people in culture — Nice. — head up. But I definitely was. I just felt like I was living up to my own expectations that, like, the effort it deserved. So, yeah, I stepped back, but I think no one’s giving back is probably one of the most beautiful, hard and purpose driven institutions I’ve ever come across. I still, you know, participate in the events and, like, Tarik, the founder is like, a good friend of mine who’s normally based in Valley. And if you meet him, he’s just, like, the kindest, most genuine guy who comes from this very hard driven mission.

Luis [00:32:22]:

I’ll get him on the show.

Nini  [00:32:24]:

Yeah. Like, I’m happy to to connect you. Yeah. He’s a — I hope you do. — travel and businessman. But, yeah, I’ll I’ll definitely try to connect you. But, yeah, his mission is in the name. No one’s giving back. And kind of closing the gap between this discrepancy of, like, know, we’re, like, the the wide westerners coming here to, like it started off in Colombia, I think, Colombia Valley. and just — Yes. — you know, like, work remotely and, like, make good money and then take over cheap places and live our luxurious life. Like, no. Like, we just wanna be part of their culture. We don’t wanna build up, like, a parallel world. Like, We wanna share our experience. We wanna learn from the locals. We wanna dive into the culture we call home, and yeah, also, like, share our skills with them. So they also have, like, this Nomed Skillshare program where we can actually us as, like, digital nomads can teach them certain skills so they can actually become nomads themselves. They become become, like, so media manager, whatever, I think, graphic designer and stuff, like, things that you can do as a digital nomad and then, basically, You can support them, like, pay a sponsorship for them and, yeah, give back by helping them to join Anomed Track as well. And overall, just, like, culture likes changes. Like, we’ve had a coffee class, We just have regular meet ups where locals come, and then digital nomads come, and we hang out, we play iConnect, we, yeah, just, like, merge instead of having these 2 parallel worlds of, like, worthy aspects you go to locals. because the reason why we travel and, like, you know, put ourselves out there and — Yep. — find new homes of choice is is because we’re generally interested And, yeah, there’s a reason we’re there and not that the country were born.

Luis [00:34:33]:

Yeah. Well, that that that sounds lovely, and looking forward to that interview. So please do do make the introduction. Now I you mentioned playing iConnect. And that’s the thing that I wanted to to talk about about next. You’re the you are the cofounder of iConnect. which is the first digital detox game. So why is a digital detox game? What does that entail? Is it — And and actually, less backup. So sorry. Yeah. I I have a better question. How did this come how did this come to be? Right? Why was the how did you feel that you and your cofounder feel that the world needed this? Why is the story behind it?

Nini  [00:35:15]:

I mean, wanna apologize for always starting off back in the years, but I actually run my math in communication. about the effect called fubbing. And fubbing is phone snubbing, and it means basically ignoring the presence of the offline person because you’re so busy engaging in your online communication. But when you sit at the dinner table, looking at your phone instead of talking to the person in front of you, you’re fubbing. So I wrote my thesis on that and just researched, like, the psychological effects it has on our self confidence and our mental health on, like, trust, intimacy, bonding, and all of it and no surprise. It’s extremely detrimental in terms of human connection and relationship building. Because what you’re doing is, like, giving a person in front of you that the the impression that whatever is going on on the phone is more interesting than what you’re trying to tell them. And, yeah, I thought, you know, my my thesis was way too important to be the drawing dust on my shell. So after my backpacking trip to Nicaragua when my phone got stolen on my third day. And I realized like, wow. Does it happen? Actually, Yeah. It just happens when you preach about get up your phone, and then your phone gets stolen. Sure. I realized and, you know, it’s actually really beautiful to depend on people instead of technology. So I started giving talks and raise awareness on on my thesis. But eventually, I was like, well, I’m actually, you know, one for the positive news and not just talking about the problem without having a solution. So I thought, you know, why not just simply create something that makes people more interesting than social media and, like, come up with something that is entertaining, that is like a, you know, a connection tool to actually get off their phones and start having better conversations. And because nobody likes small talk, I was like, I might just have to come up with better questions. So I started off actually by myself. I did it by myself for, like, 2 years as a passion project. coming up with the design, found like a graphic design on fiber, coming up with the questions, and produced, like, the first batch on a crowdfunding kickstarter campaign.

Luis [00:37:50]:


Nini  [00:37:51]:

Then I was hosting the opening session at a festival here in Bali with the game. And one of my friends joined, and she then, for the first time, heard the story of like, the reasoning behind iConnect. And she really loved it, and she was just on our way to, you know, kind of wanting to become an entrepreneur and, like, do her own thing. So she basically joined me as a cofounder and chipped in with some like, as an investor to cover the global production. And, yeah, then we finally had the the funds and completely revamped the design and, like, made it look much more professional and colorful, and then pressed the button and printed a few thousand games. And now we’re, like, running offline events, connection events, like, I connect them pancakes as a thing, unplugged dinners, speed dating, networking, events, and co working spaces, I use it for team building as well.

Luis [00:38:57]:

And, yeah, it’s a beautiful connect — Yeah. And that was a and and not and it helps you remember because now I remember how we met. Right? Now I remember. Yeah. You were playing remote work bingo.

Nini  [00:39:10]:

Yeah. Yeah. I brought it to starting remote because I’m like, well — There you go. — kind of strangers. How about we skip the small talk?

Luis [00:39:19]:

Exactly. Ex exactly. See, no. But but but it’s great because because, see, that that’s that’s how my brain works. Right? Yeah. You know, I I I meant I must have met 200 to 200 people, you know, during those 2 days. It was very overwhelming, especially for an introvert like my like myself. but but but the game stuck with me. Right? I’m happy that

Nini  [00:39:43]:

I get it with the fact you don’t remember my face. but you do remember the

Luis [00:39:48]:

— Well well, you know, that that’s you know, I’m let let’s let’s just take it as a compliment to your game. Right. And to your to your strategy.

Nini  [00:39:58]:

David, that is. Yes. I agree.

Luis [00:40:00]:

Exactly. But but, yeah, that’s That that that is that is super interesting, and and I do find, and that that’s a whole other podcast. But but I do think that we could stand to to gamify, right, and not gamify in the bad sense of just, you know, get you know, give people badges if they are well behaved or if they work a lot. Yeah. Right? But we could stand to gamify the the way we do work a little bit more because, you know, work should be fun, right? Work should be fun. And actually, you know, typically if you’re doing something that you love, which I hope Get becomes more the case as the as work is detached from a physical location. Right? Yeah. Hopefully, you’re you’re working in something that find interesting, and that’s fun for you. But then there’s all the connective tissue around you doing your work that tends not to be not that much fun. Right? And then I I do believe that we could work on that on making that more fun. Yeah. Definitely. I could

Nini  [00:41:04]:

reboot. You know, in the end, we’re just like all human beings behind the job we’re we’re doing. So we have interest. We have stories to share. We have a whole lifetime behind us. Not the whole lifetime, but we have, like, a few decades behind us with the stories to share. And I think that’s actually the glue that connects and not, like, you know, how good of a marketer are you? It’s like, that’s not how you’re gonna be remembered with by your colleagues, but, like, the laughter, the memories, the, you know, the vulnerability moments, like, all of that is actually what makes the human connection and then also positively impacts, like, the culture and, like, people wanting to stay with a company because they feel like they got someone they trust. They got someone who truly knows them. And Yeah. Hope that works.

Luis [00:41:58]:

Oh, it’s it’s awesome. It’s awesome. So let’s finish with some rapid fire questions. you can take as long as you want to to answer. Right? Though I see it’s getting dark there, so I don’t want to drag this too much. I want to be respectful of your time. a few times. So what does your virtual office look like? Right? And by your virtual office, I mean, actually, you know, usually the the apps and tabs that are that are opening on your computer once you you know, where are the apps and tabs and websites where you where you conduct most of your business? Though if you want to add some some bit of hardware that you feel is particularly good, please also do so.

Nini  [00:42:39]:

I mean, that probably come with the basics. because I’m trying to, like, not overwhelm myself with tools. So LinkedIn is my go to in terms of connecting. LinkedIn I mean, of course, I’ve used Calendly for just making bookings much easier. I mean, the standards, honestly. I wish I could give you some, like, wow advice, but, like, Zoom, Calendly, LinkedIn, Slack, of course. And, yeah, I’m pretty boring.

Luis [00:43:15]:

Oh, other than nothing less boring. Right? I’m I’m I’m I’m a digital minimalist myself. Right? I I usually eat my this drives this drives some of my some of my work work colleagues nuts. But my my stance on productivity apps and work apps It is as much as I can do it, I stick with the default apps that come with my Mac and iOS. Right?

Nini  [00:43:41]:

Like, there’s certain things I don’t like, for me personally, I mean, for if I work for a company, I get it. But for me personally, like, I don’t need to track a lot of things. Like, I got my to do list then manually. Like, I just take off my goals. I have, like, accountability trackers that I set up for myself, but that’s, like, still a very traditional pen and paper version. I just love doing

Luis [00:44:06]:

Yeah, no, pen and paper are great, right? I just don’t stick with pen and paper because I I like I find I like the I like the discipline to scan stuff, to scan my notes. Right? So I end up going back to digital notes, but but I do especially in brainstorming. Right? When I feel I’m stuck, it’s really helpful to open up the notebook, the the dependency of the notebook. I’m just and just scribble a bit. So so so so definitely. Alright. So what purchase have you made in the last 6 months that has most positively impacted your work life?

Nini  [00:44:45]:

My tickets are running remote, I think. Wow. Nice. That was a good purchase, I would say. Yep. And other than that, it’s more like the investments in myself. Not necessarily a tool that I’m using. Basically, my coworking space, I think. signing up for co working space, signing up again, I would say, really helped me to get into my deep focus zone, like, that I just don’t enter as much when I work, like, from a cafe or, like, even from home. Like, I’m best I’m most productive when I’m surrounded by other people working on their professional goals. So yeah, I think running remote in my coworking space.

Luis [00:45:36]:

Nice. What did you enjoy the most about the conference?

Nini  [00:45:41]:

Honestly, I just felt such a massive feeling of gratitude from being surrounded I like minded people who just get me. Like, for a long time, I thought maybe something’s off with me that I, like, have, you know, ethanol goals and, like, I wanna, you know, be successful in what I’m doing because I’m loving what I’m doing, and I just wanna impact as many people as I can. But I also wanna live a life of, like, freedom and choice, and I’m by far, not like a not by far, but I’m not, like, a crazy, crazy traveler who, like, needs — Yeah. — to change countries every 2 months. I just like the idea of having new freedom. Like, working from my grandma, if I want to, or, like, just, you know, stay Bali. Like, it’s it’s up to me So realizing that there are more people like me who just, you know, have purpose driven businesses, but also knowing how to enjoy life and live their life on their own terms and that one doesn’t have to exclude the other. was kind of a big homecoming because, yeah, I occasionally meet those people and and Volley probably more of them, but sometimes I was wondering if there are any people out there about just, like, the black sheep thinking that this is actually possible.

Luis [00:47:05]:

So yeah. Yeah. No. I I I feel you. I have that feeling every now and then. So so you’re not you’re definitely not you’re definitely not not alone. So okay, so I don’t know if you enjoy giving books, but if you do, What are your most gifted books?

Nini  [00:47:26]:

I just finished my book yesterday, actually. It’s called the our ordinary mind by Mindvalley founder, Vishen Lashani. I don’t know how to pronounce it correctly. And that was incredible. I loved his writing style. Like, his lingo is just right down my alley. It was, like, super informative, entertaining, and, basically, yeah, just putting my thoughts into words in terms of we can create our own life based on, you know, how we see the world and that how we’re told to see the world based on, like, cultural beliefs or, you know, based on what other people tell you that this is how life is supposed to be and kind of guiding you through the process of stepping out of this culture escape and, like, learning to apply your own belief system, bending reality, and actually then creating your own extra ordinary life and inspiring other people to do the same once you’ve found your your mission.

Luis [00:48:34]:

So yeah. Alright. I mean, that that sounds like nothing. Can you give me the title again, please, and Otter?

Nini  [00:48:40]:

Yeah. The code of the extraordinary mind.

Luis [00:48:43]:


Nini  [00:48:44]:

By Vishen Lakhshani.

Luis [00:48:46]:

Okay. Maybe this is We’ll figure it out. We’ll figure it out.

Nini  [00:48:51]:

In Insta and, like, social media analyst just vision. Like — Okay. — v i s h e n.

Luis [00:48:58]:

Okay. So so yeah. Okay. We’ll we’ll look into that, and we’ll add that to the to the show notes. So here’s the final question for you. Right? Yes. let’s say that you are hosting a dinner and in attendance are coming you’re having as guests the some of the most influential people, right, in in the future of work. You know, the the leaders and managers and founders of some of the biggest and brightest companies in the world.

Nini  [00:49:29]:


Luis [00:49:31]:

The topic of the evening is the future of work. So that’s what you’re going to be talking about. But here’s the twist. You’re hosting the dairy in a Chinese restaurant. So as the host, you get to choose the message that goes inside the fortune cookie. Why is that message? Okay. So Yeah.

Nini  [00:49:52]:

Okay. Well, but considering their leaders in the future of work, that means they share a similar mindset, or are they just, like, leaders of some of the biggest companies? Yeah. No. They’re they’re leaders of some of the biggest companies, but the the topic of the evening is future of work. Okay. I would say happiness is the new productivity.

Luis [00:50:14]:

Happiness is a new productivity. That’s so great. That that’s so great. That that that’s so funny. You know, for a longest time, one of our motors in in distant job. Right? Any still there on the website was happiness equal productivity. Right? So so we’re definitely in sync.

Nini  [00:50:31]:

Oh, wow. Oh, wow. What are you? All the fortune cookie messages that could be out there. Yeah. Exactly.

Luis [00:50:40]:

Exactly. We’re very yeah. We’re we’re we’re in sync. So, yeah, thank you so much for playing along, and and thank you so much for for coming on the show. It’s it’s been a — Thank you for having me here. Oh, it’s been an absolute pleasure. Now I would like you to Tell our listeners how to continue the conversation, where can they find you, where can they learn more about — Yeah. — your businesses and the services they offer.

Nini  [00:51:05]:

Absolutely. So feel free to disconnect with me on LinkedIn. It’s Nini Fritz, and I and I. It’s probably gonna be linked into show notes. And if you wanna learn more about my holistic happiness at work, workshops, also offering services more like 1000 based for creating more happiness at work, then check out the work happiness project. And if you actually wanna get your own digital detox game, a box of meaningful connections to connect stronger than Wi Fi, then just click on [email protected]. And, yeah, you can use the code detox 10 that actually gives you a bit of discounts and, yeah, time to get off your device and connect with the people around you.

Luis [00:51:58]:

that sounds that that sounds great. You know, thank you for the discount code for the audience. Appreciate that. Yes. And thank you so much for for being here. you know, hopefully, you know, one one day we should do around 2, that that’s all about gamification and, you know, make making work fun. right, that we we should definitely, you know, schedule that. And and and, yeah, or or maybe we can maybe we can record something live in in September. That that would be cool. Anyway — Yeah. Absolutely. Cool. Let’s stay in touch. Yeah? Yeah. It was an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for being here and see you around, I hope.

Nini  [00:52:37]:

See you around. Thanks for having me.

Luis [00:52:39]:

And thanks for listening to this.

Nini  [00:52:42]:


Luis [00:52:43]:

And thanks for listening to the listen job podcast, your podcast about building, and leaving awesome remote teams. See you next week. You’re awesome.

Nini  [00:52:52]:


Is it possible to thrive in remote work while positively impacting the world? Absolutely! And during this episode, Nini Fritz discusses how becoming a bucket list coach and a digital nomad allowed her to build a company she is passionate about but also to give something back in all the places she goes to. 

Nini shares her passion for merging the digital nomad and local communities through her involvement in the Nomad Skill Share program. She also discusses her journey from leaving her stable job to building her own company from scratch. 

Key Insights:

  • How to build a remote company and succeed at it
  • Nini’s bucket list journey, including meeting the Dalai Lama
  • Why it’s important to integrate with locals and how to create a positive impact while traveling as a digital nomad
  • Insights on the negative impact of phone snubbing 
  • How can remote workers support local communities

Book Recommendation:

Special Discounts

Interested in building stronger bonds with your team? With the code “DISTANTJOB” you’ll have a 20% discount on all workshops for teams by filling out the form on the website. And with the code “EYECONNECTNOW” you’ll have a 5% discount for The Digital Detox Game

Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE so you won’t miss all of the other interesting episodes that we have coming up every week!

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