Please introduce yourself; who are you, where are you from, where are you currently, and what do you do for a living/currently? Please include the kids’ ages on departure day.
We are Nikolaj Astrup Madsen and Michelle Rødgaard-Jessen. We both grew up in Denmark, but Michelle is mixed (half Danish, half Taiwanese). We’ve been living abroad for many years including 4 years as full-time digital nomads. When we had kids we decided to move back to Copenhagen, Denmark and now we travel 3-6 months a year with the kids.
Our kids are Kai who will be 5 years old at departure and Iris who will be 2,5.
We are both digital entrepreneurs with backgrounds in digital marketing. Nikolaj is working on multiple projects at the moment and Michelle is running her company, Maanawork, where she helps people get started as freelancers and existing freelancers with their business development.
Why did you decide to get involved in this project?
When we were traveling as digital nomads before having kids we started thinking how we could continue the lifestyle with kids. That’s when Nikolaj got the idea to create the traveling village, which is finally happening now.
What kind of interests do you have?
Nikolaj is a runner and loves to run in the mountains (one of the reasons he can’t stay in Denmark for too long periods as there are zero mountains here). Besides that he loves bouldering and is into city planning and how to build intentional communities/eco-housing.
Michelle loves training with the kettlebells and is into winter bathing, learning new languages (she speaks Danish, English, Spanish, and a bit of Portuguese, Mandarin, and German. Her goal next year is to improve her Portuguese), writing, and personal development. She also plans to learn knitting.
Tell us some interesting random facts about you guys. Don’t hold back, this is your time to shine
Nikolaj started his entrepreneurial career because he wanted to become a DJ when he was 17 years old, but nobody wanted to hire him, so he started his own company.
Michelle can’t get enough of dumplings.
How do you educate your kids?
We’re using the unschooling philosophy and hope to continue doing that, but it depends on the kids. Maybe we will do a bit things a bit more structured if it works better for the kids.
What do you think will be the most difficult about this experiment?
Finding a good balance between the social and our private life and need for alone time. We also see this as a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so we also think it will be a challenge to get as much out of it, as we know is possible, while also having a balance with our own family life (not to mention work).
We also think it will hard for our kids occasionally to be with so many new people in different cultures.
What kind of work groups or projects would you be excited about joining on the trip?
Both: Making activities for the kids – creative projects and trips. Hikes.
Michelle: Discuss business with like-minded people who also prioritize the way we do with kids.
Nikolaj: I would love to do some kind of intensive learning projects with a few other villagers. It could be anything from a month-long martial arts class or maybe building a startup together while we travel.
Will you be working while we are traveling?
Yes, we will both be working as we do now.
What do you hope to learn or take away from joining this experiment?
Friends for a lifetime, amazing experiences, expanding our horizons, meeting like-minded people, that our kids will learn so much and have friends for life.
We also see it as an experiment and maybe the experience can tell us more about how we want to live in the future.