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Meet Linda McCall: Co-Founder of Nomad Stays and Business in Barefeet, CMO, and Digital Nomad Mentor

Are you curious about what it takes to be a successful digital nomad? Look no further than Linda McCall, co-founder of Nomad Stays and Business in Barefeet, CMO, and digital nomad mentor. Linda's impressive career spans across multiple industries and continents, making her a valuable resource for anyone seeking to navigate the world of remote work and entrepreneurship. In this blog, we'll dive into Linda's story and gain insight into the lessons she's learned along the way. Whether you're just starting out or looking to take your digital nomad game to the next level, Linda's wisdom is not to be missed.

1: Linda, you have lived, worked and obtained residency in many places! Tell us about your journey and what inspired you to live the expat/digital nomadic life?

I have always loved living and working in other countries and my first experience living abroad was moving to Hong Kong, back when I was in my 20’s. After 5 years in the Australian military, I left the military and I had the opportunity to live in Hong Kong so I said “yes”. I worked as a swimming instructor and an English teacher. However, when I first arrived I remember crying out of frustration because everything was just so hard and completely out of my comfort zone. But I soon got used to how things worked and lived a bustling happy expat life in Hong Kong for just over two years. Then I had an opportunity to Live and work in Saudi Arabia working in Riyadh as crew on a private jet for the Minister of Finance and the Minister of foreign affairs. That was when you couldn’t travel into Saudi as a tourist. You had to be invited by the King. As I was crew, I was living there in the Marriot Hotel. After I left my Flying (flight attendant) career I, learnt to Fly planes as a Pilot of small single engines. After going solo I thought being the pilot was much more fun the being the Flight attendant so that’s why I left my job as a flight attendant. Now I fly for fun. When I left my flight attendant job, I started my own business in Health and Mindset coaching based in the Noosa Area of Queensland Australia. I did that for three years and had a great customer base, but I had the itch to travel again. So I said to my partner one time while we were camping for a weekend; “wouldn’t it be great to do this full time and live on the road” He looked at me and said “maybe not now but lets try for a year from now” - that was 9 years ago. Sure enough, a year later we had sold up everything and went on the road. While traveling Australia as digital nomads we discovered a problem. We couldn’t easily find longer stay accommodation, but we saw a lot of empty hotels apartments and that’s how my partner came up with the Idea of 'Nomad Stays'. He then Built a platform and that was how 'Nomad Stays' came about. We decided that the market was not big enough in Australia and at the time the French were inviting innovative ideas to France so we applied and we gained the French Tech Visa. Because we both had strong tourism related backgrounds and hotel industry experience we naturally because Cofounders. So that is how I became the Cofounder of Nomad Stays.

2: You have been quoted saying - “I firmly believe that adventure is worthwhile for the purpose of building personal, physical, mental and spiritual courage in life and business." Can you talk more about your own experience and what challenges you faced along the way and how you overcame them?

I think I mentioned quite a few already, but I find that in my life when something amazing happened in my life I was also taking huge leaps of faith and saying yes to the adventure. I said yes to the opportunity of living in Hong Kong when other people said no and I learnt things I never imagined I could and it helped build my confidence. I said yes to trying to become a flight attendant when people said there is no way for various reasons, I tried and applied maybe 5 times to get the job. Then I said yes to the challenge of applying for the job in the middle east when people thought I would never make the grade, but I tried and pushed past all the negatives. I always wanted to learn to fly but I thought being a pilot was only for smart people and challenged myself to be the pilot and I did. I decided I would ride across America solo on my motorbike, and I did, from San Jose to New York. I said yes to taking my life on the road full time not knowing what it would look like exactly and so many wonderful things came from it and I said yes to the opportunity of being a Cofounder and moving to France.

Can you see the common denominator?

I said yes and gave it a go.

Sure I was worried about failing and that is just how I learn. It’s OK to fail as long as your learn and keep going. I remember my first solo flight, it was the scariest thing ever because on the final test flight they got the chief instructor to do some circuits with me that morning to test if I was ready. And I got a flat tyre on taxi and we had to go back to the mechanic to change the tire. That made me nervous because that kind of thing on landing could have caused an accident. But my instructor had faith in me and got me to do a few circuits with him after it was fixed after that as we taxied back to the terminal he go out of the aircraft and said “OK I want you to take her up for one circuit, land and come back the the hanger for a debreif, so off you go!” then he proceeded to announce it on the airwaves “pilots solo in progress” So, everyone at Caloundra airfield was watching!! Nerve racking, because if you stuff things up in a airplane it’s not pretty. Anyway, after that successful solo, that was my new proof point that if I could be the Captain of my own plane I could do anything. So, now I continue to challenge myself in life and be curious about and think “what if I could…”

3: Congratulations on ‘Co-Founding Nomad Stays’ What is the business? How did you start this venture and what is it like being a Co-Founder?

Thank you, that’s very kind. 'Nomad Stays' is an extended stay accommodation booking platform specifically for digital nomads and remote workers to book one week or one month instantly. The company opened at the beginning of Covid 19 so it actually helped us build the business because, the world was educated on the concept of the digital nomad and what it was like to remote work. So, we grew consistently during this time and continue to grow into 73 countries. We are very niched in our market and are very specific. I became the CoFounder of Nomad Stays because I had relevant experience in the hotel and travel industry. I also have a passion for marketing so I have been heading the Stays and Marketing Team as well as juggling everything else. Mark the founder is the smarty pants here, he’s the one who built the platform from scratch because he knew what he needed and searched the world for something that would suite what we needed but nothing really fitted our needs. Being a Founder and CoFounder of a startup is an adventure and it changes everyday. It’s a lot of what I call 'Bumb-Clenching' moments and it is constant, so I think you need to be creative and just continue to keep trying. When things don’t work you need to create new systems and when they do work you need to create new systems. You need to be tough and flexible because everything is changeable so agility is the key and you need to take care of your time and health because you can find yourself working 14-15 hour days. Luckily we have our chief happiness officer that we travel with,Dakar Dingo. He is our dog that we bought from Australia and has now traveled to 21 countries. He’s very well versed on getting us off the computer as we go out for walks and he keeps us laughing. He’s 13 years old this month and getting on but he’s a great companion to travel with. He’s very good at his job. He likes to be in the meetings and hates to miss out on meeting people.

4: What advice do you have for fellow female digital nomads who are looking to build a strong community?

Community is created from a need. A need to share and need to learn more or a need for connecting with like minded people, so finding that need is called Niching. So just ask yourself, “What are their pain points? And how can you help? While traveling around Australia and now Europe we often volunteer our time to mentor at startup weekends and help new university students to get their ideas off the ground. We help them pitch their ideas and connect them with other people who might be able to help them. I also used to help businesses in Rural Queensland to get there ideas off the ground and I continue to help others as we travel. During Covid we did a lot of interviews with entrepreneurs and was very active on social groups helping others. We also take on Interns to help them get jobs by teaching them skills they need to get jobs and 80% come out of the internship with employment or they stay with us as contractors.

5: As a mentor, what tips do you have for females who are feeling stuck in their careers, stuck in a place they have lost interest and need a real change?

I have been there a few times and the way I did it was I challenged myself with a proof point. “If I can do this (ride solo across America, complete a training course or learn to fly a plane)……. then I can do anything” Tough challenges are great to give yourself because it builds inner strengths and you learn to push through the through stuff. The second point would be to say ‘yes’ even if you think it’s going to be hard. Third point would be - If you fail try again and again and keep going till you get some success, because in the effort you will find an opportunity. Fourth thing is always ask “how can I help” and how can I be of service to others. Always help out. I would also say if you are unhappy in your job and you are not serving others to your full potential, find a way to serve better or find something where you are going to serve other better. Focus on giving and receiving as a flow. Surround yourself with people who do what you are passionate about. Keep learning, learn to breathe and do the scary stuff daily.

6: You have served in the Australian Military! Wow - what was that experience like and specifically as a woman?

I joined when I was only 19 and it was for me a natural progression because I was an Airforce cadet when I was at school. I always wanted to serve in the military and it was the thing that got me jobs, working with royalty. It gave me the experience that carried me through my entire life. It gave me the understanding of loyalty, camaraderie, courage and discipline. These values and experience of basic training gave me the edge on everything I have done and I still have deep friendships from my time in the military. It was the thing that enabled me to speak as a young person. As a woman, I don’t think it really made much of a difference to me as I was not trying to become a pilot back then only a flight attendant and they still wouldn’t accept me so I left the military to try and get a job as a fight attendant out in the real world and I did that and more. I do know it was a struggle for some woman in the military but not for me. I am just grateful for the experience because it was a gift that has just kept giving.

7: Where have you lived/worked/traveled that you found challenging and where did you love?

I think every time I move to a new country there is a new challenges and moving to France has definitely been an enormous challenge, from the language to the bureaucracy, I knew it was going to be a struggle and it has been but without it I would not know as much as I know today and I am grateful everyday for the opportunity to learn a new language ( which is difficult because I speak English all day in my work) and experience new ways of doing life. Moving to France is far from romantic it’s definitely more like and adventure and I love it.

8: How do you find work/life balance in your busy life?

Well in a bootstrapped startup there is not much work life balance; it's more just run hard. This is a real struggle because you are working often 14 + hour days and burnout is very real. However, I think I am doing OK since I studied a lot of spiritual and alternative medicines (yoga, shiatsu diploma etc) so I use these techniques such us Meditation, Breathing exercises and natural alternatives to ailments.

I travel with Essential oils and I think I have not been to the doctors often, it's a few years normally and generally for something like getting Malaria tablets, injections for travel etc, touch-wood it's never for something serious. I use Lavender essential oils for Sleep and I use Oregano for colds and flues and tea tree oil for cuts or wounds (and for the dog too). I love herbal teas so I travel with tea and I am very connected spiritually with my Spiritual Guides and have a daily gratitude routine. I use frankincense to get rid of skin tags and Helichrysum for bruises. I use baking soda for heart burn and other house hold uses. I use Eucalyptus oil for cleaning and essential oils for perfumes. I love fresh herbal teas like Lemon and Ginger for daily use and just lemon in hot water.

For daily mindset I use my own I Am formula I (intention) + A (action) = m (momentum) three, this is something I use daily to ensure I have mindfulness throughout the day because it's easy for me to wonder off and procrastinate.

I ask myself three questions daily with this formula:

Intention - What is my positive intention today? E.g choose one thing positive and toward intention "love, truthfulness, finish it, drink water, breathe, mind your posture, Smile, laugh, make someone laugh, make someone smile, be kind to yourself and others.

Action- What action do I need to take to get closer to my goals, intention, happiness? Notice what action am I avoiding.

Momentum - Am I getting Momentum? If not why not?

As I am getting into my mid 50's I do struggle with my weight but thats hormonal so it is my challenge at the moment and I am using yoga to combat it. Having a dog really helps for work life balance, because he takes us walking to get us off the computer and keeps us laughing when we get too serious. I think this work Life balance is important and also something that takes a constant conscious effort. I use a daily focus and daily gratitude. I also make time to sit in the sun or walk and ground myself on the earth without shoes to get the negative ions from the earth spending time with my breath work.

9: You have done incredible things in your life from working as a Swim Instructor in Hong Kong and teacher to working for the Saudi Arabian Minister of Finance and Foreign Affairs as aircrew! What did you do to diversify your career so much?

I said yes to opportunities that come up. I did not shy away from challenges I took on. And wow it was sink or swim baby! so to speak “pun intended! I am always open to new opportunities, and I like to see if I can.

10: Lastly, what advice do you have for females who are dealing with cultural differences or even cultural barriers? How does one become adaptable?

Keep smiling, know that you can make or break someone's days. So, smile and choose to make their day even if they are grumpy. Know that everyone is doing the best they can with the information they have at the time. Try to use the language as much as you can. People are generally very helpful and if they are not they are fearful so let it be. It is OK, don’t take anything personally. Listen, don’t react quickly or be offended. Laugh at yourself and have fun, try new things and be open. Be mindful to keep the flow of giving and receiving open.

I have a little rule, if someone gives me a a container with a cake or a plate and I have to return it I always fill it with something when I return it. I am always looking at new ways I can help. I look people in the eyes when I walk in the street and practice saying hello in the culture. Be interested in learning about the culture and the history. Be bendy (flexible)!

Say yes. Be open, practice being happy and watch the world smile back.

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