I love travelling and I’m very ambitious to see more of the world (I have a travel blog as well!). Earlier this year, I looked on Google for business events abroad and/or about digital nomadism. This is when I came across The Nomad Escape, a company that specialises in holding retreats, events and programmes around the world for digital nomads. I scoured their website and social media with intrigue. They had so many amazing reviews and I got some quick and friendly answers to my email questions from founder Michelle Maree. I saw that they had a conference in Madeira called Nomad Island Fest coming up in December. The early bird price was ending in just a matter of days, so I had to decide quick. I worked out that I could afford it, so I decided to just go for it the night the early bird price finished because life is short! I really wanted to go somewhere to learn that’s different to just being online all the time. Oh, how glad I am that I did!
Hands down, this was one of the best business events and professional experiences abroad that I have ever had! Nomad Island Fest was amazing and I’m so pleased it was just as advertised! So many things to cover…where do I start?
I stayed with many of the other delegates in this beautiful hotel in Ponta do Sol called Estalagem, which is also one of two main venues that were holding the many activities of Nomad Island Fest, the other venue being John Dos Passos Cultural Centre. Breakfast and dinner at the hotel are included in the premium ticket that I bought, so every day I sat and ate with different people who were attending. Natural networking lunches every day! The schedule of 7 days consisted of a great mix of different business topic talks and workshops, as well as wellbeing sessions and fun activities.
Many of the Nomad Escape staff are amazingly welcome. I didn’t expect to receive hugs from these people I’d just met, but that was all very lovely! They definitely set a great tone for the whole event. The majority of attendees and speakers I met were also so amazingly friendly and it was like I made instant friends. Michelle also did a brilliant job matching me up with my awesome roommate, Leah, an American sales and marketing company owner who was so great and inspiring to chat to about business and then go hang out with leisurely.
I never felt lonely at Nomad Island Fest, nor was I alone unless I wanted to be. And sometimes I did need to go recharge by myself as I’m an introvert! It’s lovely how everyone is open to just hang out and help you with whatever you need help with! So brilliant to experience this after feeling lonely at other times in my remote working and general career. So many great connections to keep in touch with after this!
Business learning and networking
The general programme of business and digital nomad education was great! I love the little branded notebooks we were provided with and I filled it with so many notes from all the talks and workshops that I went to! I am taking my time to read through, absorb and implement it all.
I didn’t see every speaker because some clashed or weren’t relevant to me, but of the ones I did see, I particularly liked:
- Michelle Maree, founder of this event, talked about her career and travel journey to creating the Nomad Escape. She also did another talk later in the week on how to network as a digital nomad.
- Anna Shcherbyna on the importance of hiring an operations person, and when the best time is to do this.
- Kristin Wilson on how to make money on content creation.
- Jon Miksis on making money from a travel blog.
- Luca Vavassori ran a fear setting workshop.
- Jimmy Naraine on creating video courses.
- Janet E Johnson on how to do TikTok ads.
- Cameron Herold on how to best train your team.
- Marc Dinardo on focusing on what makes you happy in life.
- Chris Reynolds facilitated a panel about 7-figure businesses, consisting of Simone Vincenzi, Petra Fuerst, Tuan Ngyuen, Hozam Mazawi, and Megan Mann.
- Desmond Dixon on succeeding in sales.
Fun and Party!
We had a Jeep tour around the island on Sunday morning/afternoon, which was enjoyable. Although, shame about the rainy and cloudy weather ruining the views and not letting us have the roof down!
There were quite a few parties, both scheduled and unscheduled! The first party was the fun dancey Purple Friday, which is like a regular club night for digital nomads in Madeira. Then the last party was the Great Gatsby party, where we got to dress up like we were partying in the 1920s. Both parties were really fun! I also heard that some people were doing an impromptu karaoke party whilst I was away in the spa with some other folk.
The morning exercise classes being run by a local digital nomad group was great to do to start the day. I hadn’t heard of some of the wellbeing activities before, like breathwork, ecstatic dance and mobility flow, but these were really interesting to have the opportunity to try out. There was quite a spiritual slant to the Nomad Island Fest, which isn’t for everyone. However, I am quite open minded and happy to just go with the flow (no pun intended, haha).
I don’t think I’ve ever been somewhere I felt so welcomed and supported by everyone! I was so worried I might not fit in or enjoy it like some other things I have been part of before. But nope, such a wonderful community and resource that Michelle and the team have produced! I am glad to a part of this community now and I hope to make another Nomad Escape event soon!
I would 100% recommend this event if you’re looking to spend time in a beautiful location, learn lots of valuable things for your business and to network face-to-face with the friendliest professionals from around the world! 😁🤩
This official Nomad Escape promo video will give you a moving glimpse into this brilliant community:
If you’re intrigued to learn more about The Nomad Escape, check out their individual retreats and programmes here.