Nikki Tate-Stratton on her life as a climber, author, sailor, and publicist.
What do you do professionally?
I write children’s books on a wide variety of subjects. I work with many different international publishers in a variety of formats. In addition, I produce audiobooks, work as a freelancer writer, a reviewer and as a freelance publicist. I also teach workshops; some online and some offline. The virtual classroom part of my work has really taken off recently.
How did you come to be living a digital nomad lifestyle?
I had a full-time government job but was able to cut back my hours gradually as my writing work built up. Eventually, I was able to drop the government and focus solely on my writing.
What do you love most about your lifestyle?
I love being able to travel and work as an author whilst enjoying the flexibility of my schedule. I’ve been able to indulge my passions by combining them with work; I’ve always been able to write a book or article on the topic. Examples have included farming, climbing and horseback riding. I never feel bad about putting time into these experiences because I will probably use what I learn somewhere along the way.
Is there anything you don’t you like about your lifestyle?
Not much, I really do enjoy it. Like any freelancer, the lack of a predictable income can be difficult to deal with.
I don’t like accounting and billing and have never enjoyed having to sell my work but fortunately, I recently got an agent who is doing that for me.
What do you find most challenging about being a digital nomad?
Saying no to the distractions – it’s way more fun to go and play so it’s difficult to be disciplined sometimes. For example, I’m going on an Alaskan cruise soon and I know there will always be more fun things going on than working on my laptop.
Sometimes several books will come in the same time with the same deadlines so it can be difficult to get them all done time.
Also, as a freelancer, I always need to be planning the next work projects so I can never fully concentrate on the current project.
What tools, equipment and platforms do you use and are you happy with them?
- Adobe Creative Suite subscription for creative productions (script writing, video production, audio editing, etc.)
- A combination of cloud (iCloud and Google drive) and local storage since I don’t always have internet access. This means keeping track of where files are can be a challenge especially since I don’t always have space to do an auto backup. Sharing docs can sometimes be difficult when the people on the other end have limited experience with technology (which is surprisingly common in this industry)
- I have tried various solutions for task management including Thinking Rock, Evernote and some specifically for writers, but I have never found one that I really like
- Macbook Pro
- External hard drive passport (I use two – a Seagate, and then an Ultra for archives)
- iPhone 5S
- Olympus micro ¾
- Handheld digital recording system
- Stack of SD cards
- My trusty paper day timer/bullet journal!
What would you like to have that you don’t currently have?
- I’m always running out of space on my phone so a wifi-based drive to keep data on would be useful,
- A bigger data plan on my phone (can be a problem) – this is the reason I don’t Periscope.
- More space on my local – especially when doing video editing
- A good receipt scanning app
Of all the places you’ve worked which were your favourites (and why)?
- Cooper Island Beach Club in the British Virgin Islands because it had a great ambiance, good coffee, excellent wifi, and good company – a great place for an author!
- Pirates Bight on Norman Island in the British Virgin Islands before the restaurant opened for the day because it had great wifi, great tables, and a great location (although sadly no power!)
Where have you traveled and worked and where do you plan to travel?
- Nevada on a horse (book tour)
- Iceland (as production manager for an independent TV show)
- Across Canada
- From BC to LA for trade shows
- I also freelanced in Florida for several years
- The Caribbean
I would love to circumnavigate the world on a sailboat.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m pretty much living my dream career. Next summer I plan to combine my interests in sailing and climbing by living on a boat in Europe and writing about both.
I would like to be more involved in creating a feature film and spend more time doing performance storytelling.