Interview With Michelle Smit

1: Please introduce yourself ( and your family if traveling with you ) and tell us where you are from?

Hi, my name is Michelle Smit. I am a 27-year old woman from South Africa but really I am just a woman of the world

2: What made you take the leap into leaving your home country?

I left at 22. I was working as a photographer in Cape Town and I was miserable. The hours were killing me and I kept coming home in tears. I realized I had to do something huge and drastic to change the direction of my life. I decided to go and work on international cruise ships as a photographer as my first job!

That was the catalyst for all my adventures thereafter. I then moved to Vietnam, and then traveled Europe and moved there.

3: Are you digital nomad/s traveling full time or taking many long trips or have you settled in a new country?

I am a digital nomad. I work entirely online and have for the last 3 years. Recently I moved to the Netherlands and have settled with my Dutch boyfriend there for now.

It is fantastic traveling within Europe, so easy to do so it suits me well.

I live between SA and the Netherlands mostly, but intend on moving to Bali and living in a few other places! The world is my oyster and I can barely stay in one place for longer than 8 months.

4: The big question, how do you sustain yourselves financially?

I am a full-time online ESL teacher, recruiter and course creator. I have my own online business which helps coach and guide others into the online English teaching industry. I launch a 4-week program a few times a year and personally mentor a group of people into becoming successful online English teachers.

My company will also expand to teach all different types of ways to make money online.

5: Looking back, what are the best tips you can give others wanting to do the same?

My best tips would be:

1. Just start. Whatever you want to do, just find a way to do it. Chunk the scary big picture down into small sizeable daily or weekly steps and it will all become much more manageable. Take a step a day in the direction you want and you will eventually get there.

2. Be organized and have a plan of action. If you have a solid plan in place to leave your job, or country, that will really help alleviate any nerves or reservations when making the jump.

3. Invest in good equipment, spend a bit more money on things such as laptop, webcam, camera etc. These things can become your money-making tools so avoid things that will break easily.

4. Travel insurance is non-negotiable. Factor it in.

5. Create a realistic budget and always factor in excess money needed each month for things that go wrong (sick, things breaking etc)

6. This may sound silly: But start meditating. The most successful, inspired people in this world meditate. Do yourself a personal favor and incorporate meditation into your daily life.

This simple activity, just 15 minutes a day will lead to massive results in your life such as increased happiness, focus, clarity and productivity and much less anxiety.

6: How different is your life now and what are the most positive results you can share with us?

Life is very different and just SO much better. Living in a conventional 9-5 job was suffocating for me. I was deeply unhappy and felt there just had to be more to life! Since I have gone on my journey of exploration and travel, I have learnt so much about myself, the world and how to understand, connect and deal with ALL types of people.

Not to mention I learnt how to earn money online and create an online business! I could not learn all that in books or school. It took going out there and really experiencing real life things to develop the skills that I have. My mind is open to so much more and I no longer feel limited.

The fact that I can live in the Netherlands and South Africa and ‘chase the summer’ as I like to call it, is incredible. I am a true sun-baby and I would never survive living through countless European winters! The biggest positive result is the mindset and mentality change that has come as a result of doing this, I feel so much gratitude and abundance in my life now because I get to ‘choose’ how I live my days.

7: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers to inspire them to take the leap?

1. Stop saying “I will do it when I have more money, when the kids are older, when I meet my partner, when I am happier etc” This is a story we tell ourselves ALL the time.

But you will KEEP telling yourself this and prolonging what you really want to do. Decide right now that you ARE going to do what makes you truly happy. If that is quitting your job and traveling, then take a step every single day to making that happen. The best time is right now. The present moment is really all you have so use it.

2. If something scares you, it’s a good idea to do it.

Keep pushing yourself to doing things that scare you, keep growing and evolving. Nothing big and exciting happens inside of a comfort zone.

3. Invest in yourself first. Do courses, keep learning and find personal mentors who have the results you want and be inspired and learn from them. This has been an incredibly rewarding thing that has helped me SO much.

I have invested money into myself and some programs which have transformed my life. So, find something/someone that speaks to you, and invest in yourself first. Keep sharpening your own axe and you will become unstoppable.

8: Do you have any blogs, websites, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or other social media we can follow you on?

My website is You can also follow me on Instagram at digiteachesl. If anyone is interested in learning about the online ESL teaching industry then have a good look at my website. I run free training several times a year as well as a 4-week digital program whereby I mentor a group of people to becoming successful teachers.

Download the FREE cheat sheet: The First Four Steps to Becoming an Online English Teacher and be first to hear about the training (Next free training will be end of March)

Digital Nomad Interview