Digital Nomad Stories

Nomad Bestie Daan about Coliving in Valencia, Spain

September 25, 2023 Anne Claessen Season 2 Episode 149
Digital Nomad Stories
Nomad Bestie Daan about Coliving in Valencia, Spain
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

How do you manage your work-life balance while staying in a co-living space? Our guest, Daan Klomp, has some insights to share. 

As a remote support specialist and a digital nomad himself, Daan takes us through his journey of working remotely and co-living in Valencia, Spain. From his time in hostels and Airbnbs to immersing himself in co-living spaces, Daan shares how he keeps up with work amidst the unique distractions that come with a nomadic lifestyle. 

Listen in to hear about his exciting adventures across countries and his first-hand experience of different cultures far from regular tourism.

Connect with Daan:


Connect with Anne:



Anne Claessen:

Hey Nomads, welcome to Digital Nomad Stories, the podcast. My name is Anne Claessen and, together with my co-host, Kendra Hasse, we interview digital nomads. Why? Because we want to share stories of how they did it. We talk about remote work, online business, location and dependency, freelancing, travel and, of course, the digital nomad lifestyle. Do you want to know more about us and access all previous episodes? Visit digitalnomadstories. co. Alright, let's go into today's episode. Hey Nomads, welcome to a new episode. Today I'm here with Daan Klomp, remote support specialist. He is actually also kind of my roommate because we've been living in a co-living space in Valencia, spain, for the last week and a half. So Daan has been super fun and he wanted to come on the podcast to talk about his digital nomad story, remote work and probably also our co-living experience. So I'm very excited to have you here on the show, Daan welcome.

Daan Klomp:

Yes, thank you so much, Anne. It's super nice of you to have me on your show, really excited. I've listened to a couple episodes first. So yeah, overall really looking forward to recording this together with you and sharing all kinds of stories for the listeners.

Anne Claessen:

Excellent. Well, why don't we start with? What does life look like for you, Daan? What is a typical day for you?

Daan Klomp:

I'm from the Netherlands and I'm also traveling a lot. I work here for a Dutch company and we sell software to hospitals. It's a remote company that practices holocracy and my roles are primary in the support circle.

Daan Klomp:

I have my own apartment a very small village in the Netherlands and even though I really like the Netherlands, I also like to travel a lot, and it once started with going to hostels, going to Airbnbs, discovering parts of Asia, europe, sometimes even in the Caribbean, and since that I started working remotely. It also has shifted to being a digital nomad, working remotely, experiencing cultures in a different way compared to regular tourism, and that is what I've been doing now for a year, and so far I've done it in three different places, and this in Valencia is my third. The first one was in Romania. I was staying at Bucharest. I rented an Airbnb, just chilling a bit in the city, meeting new people, and in the weekends I went to see the country.

Daan Klomp:

For example, I went to the mountains to go hiking. Absolutely lovely to go out there and really experience nature. The second one was in Morocco, in Marrakech, and that time I was staying in a hostel. That was quite tough because there were also a lot of tourists in there.

Daan Klomp:

So, yeah, those people came for, like, partying while I was focused on working and also, of course, a little bit of enjoying the city. And now this is my third place as a digital nomad in Valencia, living in a co-living house really cool. It's my first time and so far, so good. I really love it. Like you said in the introduction, we're neighbors in the house.

Anne Claessen:

Yeah.

Daan Klomp:

Sleeping in different rooms, but living together. So yeah, really cool.

Anne Claessen:

Yeah, pretty wild, Like we were talking about this earlier. It's so wild that we just decided you know what we're going to do, let's just go to a country like a different country in Valencia. We'll just go to Valencia and live in a house with like eight strangers. That sounds like a great idea. Who came up with that?

Daan Klomp:

It's really really a strange concept, but it's also such an amazing experience.

Anne Claessen:

Yeah.

Daan Klomp:

It made so many different people and really get to know them. Well, normally when you're like in an Airbnb or in a hostel, you see people, but here in actually not actually living with them and by actually living with them, you really get to know these people, what their passion is, what their purpose is in life and, yeah, just learning also a lot about other cultures. Really like it. It's so different compared to like regular travel options. So, yeah, I'm a big fan.

Anne Claessen:

Yeah, I think it's also very interesting because you've got kind of all the options right. You would stay in a hostel with all the partiers and then you're working. But you also stayed with Airbnb and then now co-living, so you covered all of it. So it's co-living your favorite.

Daan Klomp:

Yeah, yeah, I think for vacation I would rather stay in a hostel, because I don't know why, but I don't want when I travel, I don't want to spend like a month in one place for at least travel, for leisure, but when I'm working remotely, this is definitely my option to go to. You have your own place within the house and this is co-living. We have your own bathrooms. Also, we have a shared common area, the living room and the kitchen, and all five kinds of things together what really makes the experience for me compared to, like, the two other options mentioned before. So, yeah, I think that in the, in the name of future, I will keep doing this one, working remotely.

Daan Klomp:

It's really really well organized and a really great experience.

Anne Claessen:

Yeah, how do you manage work while also living in a co-living space with all these different people with all their own work and preferences, and also in a new city? Like it's quite wild when you arrive and all everything is new and everyone is new and then you have to work. Like how is your mother sad?

Daan Klomp:

It's a really good question inside our house with the co-working space and for me I don't really work there because there's too much distractions for me and I also have to make a lot of calls and be in a lot of meetings and I think that people might get annoyed by it after a while hearing me all the time on the phone and for me just also to. I rather work in my room. It's also better for my focus and I try to keep the same rhythm of work that I normally have in another lens so that even though it is flexible the work that I do, I like to keep the rhythm in it and this way I think that I can maintain focus and keep achieving the things that I want to achieve would work.

Anne Claessen:

Yeah, I think it's important, especially when you're here for a month. You cannot really not be focused for a whole month at work, like they will notice.

Daan Klomp:

Yeah, yeah, this is also true, like when the weather is like super nice it's, you might want to go out, and that's fine too if work allows it at the moment and then maybe later, in a later moment, you could catch up with the work that you've missed. So like I don't want to be there that there's a difference with the work that I'm doing back home compared to with the work that I'm doing here.

Daan Klomp:

Yeah, I want to be on the same level or even higher, even because some believe that we're in a really inspiring environment and seeing so many intellectual people working all kinds of stuff really inspiring on achieving more personally, but also with my work. Yeah so yeah.

Anne Claessen:

Very cool, right? So can you share more about what you learned in that, in your experience here in the co-living? So far, I mean, it's only been a week and a half, but you know you mentioned it's an inspiring environment.

Daan Klomp:

Yeah, yeah, I mean I'm left that you can share. What I say. I think that the environment is really inspirational, and so what I think that I've learned is really new insights in life, also about what you eat for food, what you drink, also in the environment, I can really gain some new insights.

Daan Klomp:

Also a bit of mind shifts in how I see certain things, and I think this also has to do with like, because you're here living together, you're born in a more deeper way than you normally would do with, like all the travel and seeing different cultures coming together and sharing inspiration, sharing insights really helps you to develop a human being, and I think that's learning from each other is the way to go. It just gets you a lot of insights in life.

Anne Claessen:

Yeah, I think that's it, and maybe also in work. I also want to talk a little bit about work.

Daan Klomp:

Oh, I don't you know. Yeah, of course that's funny. I'm a bit nervous, I don't know. Okay, let's talk briefly about work, yeah.

Anne Claessen:

So you didn't mention before and I already know a little bit about this, but you did mention that you work in a company, in a holocausty company. Can you explain briefly what that means, because I think it's very interesting for email workers.

Daan Klomp:

Yeah, so basically normally an organization will be really structured to top down so yeah, maybe the board of directors, slash, shield, etc.

Daan Klomp:

Going down, you have the manager, the team manager and the workflow, and holocausty really has a different perspective on this. We don't work with hierarchy, we work with responsibility and you see it back in the roles that we have. So all we see is a practice for your organization that works with circles. You have one super circle, the circle for your organization, and inside that circle are different roles and other sub-circles, and the sub-circle could be, for example, for me could be support, and inside that circle you also have multiple roles.

Daan Klomp:

Every circle and all the roles have a purpose of course, the title, and besides that they have accountability. And the difference, the biggest difference. I think that in Holk or Sea, the one that has the role that has accountability is the one that's responsible. There is not like a manager that you can point to like oh yeah, he's the manager. I don't know, ask him. Of course you can help us for both from other roles, but it's more about more taking ownership, fixing your own things, and I think the work works really well with, especially working remotely, with highly motivated people that really share a common purpose for working towards something specific.

Daan Klomp:

And, yes, one of the nice things is you, so normally you would have a function, like you're applying at a company for, like I don't know, a web developer, and this will be your job. This is the one that you apply to, and if you want to have a new job within a company, you need to maybe apply for the job. And in Holk or Sea it works really different. Yeah, of course, you also apply for a sort of function, but you apply for a role and it will be like your core role and you can take multiple roles.

Daan Klomp:

So, for example, you're the web developer and you're in the web design circle, for example, you can also take different kind of roles that are in the circle. But you can also take roles outside of that circle. For example, like, maybe in culture, you like to organize some things for the company. There might be a role for that and you could ask the circle the one that's responsible for the circle to have that role. So it's one of the really nice things about it is you work at Soda first and you can really energize the things that you really like to do. And also one thing so like I have difficulty for you or you don't find the time to really energize it. Well, you can give the role back, and that's also we try to not make a point out of it.

Daan Klomp:

You can just do this and yeah, for me that's. It works super well. You can just focus on the things that you really like to energize. And, of course, sometimes there need to be the unsung shitty things. That's normally. It can be all fun, but I'd like to believe that, like, following the 80-20 role is a good example 80% needs to be fun, 20% can be less fun, and I think that, with how you proceed, as is definitely possible, would also suggest that, if you're looking for a new organizational structure, to really look into this, because I think it's really gets the best out of people.

Anne Claessen:

Yeah, I think it's been really interesting to learn about this because I have been a business school, but I think it was like too early for this, you know, like I graduated 2018.

Anne Claessen:

And I think this is pretty new, right, and like it's growing pretty fast. Maybe it already existed, but maybe it was not that well known, so it has been really interesting to learn about this, but also to see you work, you know like to see what you do and how it works exactly for you as a remote worker, because what I think it's really interesting you just do a bunch of different things. Basically, you can really pick and choose. Okay, this is what I want to be responsible for, or what I want to focus on, and this is something that I don't want to focus on and be responsible for. So that, like picking different things that you want to do, and, even though it's not a traditional role, you just do a very different things, for usually it would be for different departments when you come in a combined. So I think that's been really interesting, yeah yeah, for real.

Daan Klomp:

And also we don't have like an island culture where you have like certain people that are like the developers and certain people like are in support, some people are in sales and no one's talking to each other Now in holocaust seed, because you can have like roles also, like in multiple circles, you can really get to know the whole company, working together with everyone. So, especially for like companies that now have an island culture, who really look into this and see, oh hey, what can we learn from our sensational structure like this? Because I believe that in my company we don't have an island culture at all. Everyone really knows each other. So, yeah, and even though we're a remote company, we come together every month and then we have an assembly and we start normally the day with some work we do together, we can do some meetings and afterwards normally we do an activity. And this can be all kinds of things maybe something just for fun, but can also be like a team-bounding activity one, or maybe something to personally grow. Think about a meditation session combined with a coaching session.

Daan Klomp:

So yeah that's how we also try to combine the remote parts also with the offline parts of work, and you need to be there like once every two months and it's hosted every month, so I think that this is not too much to ask for. It's also really nice to once in a while, see your colleagues and catch up a little bit and also have a little bit of fun.

Anne Claessen:

Sounds pretty good. How did you exactly get here, like how did you? And now in Valencia, working remotely for this whole acoustic company, doing a bunch of different things.

Daan Klomp:

Okay, so from the beginning, like I was born in, yeah, maybe not that far back, but maybe like career-wise.

Daan Klomp:

Yeah, career-wise, I think that's especially when I was a teenager I really started to feel like I need freedom and when I was in high school, like everything was so super straight you need to be there on time and follow this class at this time, this class, this time. You need to do this. Then here's the deadline. Here's the deadline, and for me, this really didn't work out like not at all. The teachers also know this. I don't know if you can say this here, but, yes, you can. So, yeah, after high school, I went to art school and studied video design, and what I really liked about art school is, even though we had to do assignments as well, it was really free. It wasn't said like, oh, you need to do it this way, you need to do it in this way. No, it was like really finding out your own way in this process to getting somewhere. I think that, even though I'm not doing anything specific, with the skills, like the hard skills that I learned there, the soft skills, like thinking about freedom, et cetera, there's really I really see that coming back to me even now, after like eight years.

Daan Klomp:

After art school, I started working at several jobs.

Daan Klomp:

One is sales, which I thought I would like.

Daan Klomp:

In the end I was like, no, I'm just making money for a boss and whatever I actually do, the purpose of making a lot of money wasn't my purpose.

Daan Klomp:

And then afterwards I went to the hospital and daddy offered me a trade, a project to study for healthcare management and also learn a lot while on the job, and they gave me a lot of freedom to do it and I really had a good time there, had a lot of fun, learned many things about our healthcare sector in the Netherlands, and when I was done studying I thought like, do I really want to be like a healthcare manager that just commits almost his life to the job?

Daan Klomp:

I was like, no, that's just not me and I really like to be free a lot, and work can also be a form of freedom for me. The freedom is to work wherever you want in your own face, and for me that wasn't possible in the hospital. So I started to look at companies that could offer this and that's how I ended up with Lucy, and now I've been working there for like a year and a couple of weeks and, yeah, so far, so good. I'm like super happy, absolutely have no intentions to leave, so- you have to say that because it's a podcast.

Anne Claessen:

So what if the boss is the boss.

Daan Klomp:

There's no boss there's no boss. But still, I really wouldn't want to leave and I don't see myself working anywhere else. Yeah, so yeah, I'm really happy with where I am at the moment, with the company that I'm with and also the freedom that they provide.

Anne Claessen:

Yeah, I need work four days a week.

Daan Klomp:

Yeah, yeah. So it used to be like a regular company a five day work week, but since I believe two years, then switch to a four day work week to give yourself the extra day for yourself. You can use it in all kinds of way for one extra day for your mental health, getting your house together. If you have, like children, it could be the one day it could make a difference and you can use it today for all kinds of things. They also provide a small budget for personal health, less growth. You can use it by like you can go to the gym, you can take boxing lessons, you can also use it for coaching or for books, et cetera, and I think that's really good, that they really try to promote the way how you live your life and be in a healthy way.

Anne Claessen:

Right, it sounds very supportive. Right, it's not just like, okay, do work, go, go go. Give me all the results, but it's also like how can we make it According to experience and how can we make it Also work life balance right? I mean that four day work week is mainly, yeah, Work, life balance.

Daan Klomp:

Yeah, I agree, and yeah, sometimes you need to work over a bit when it's like super busy, but then maybe one week later it is less busy and you can just say, yeah, okay, I'm checking out earlier today because I'm done. Yeah, no one's going to ask you like, why do you stop? Because we expect people to take their ownership, so we trust them within the company with this responsibility.

Anne Claessen:

Right and can you also travel wherever you want, or do you have to stay in Europe or at the same time zone or other anonymous fictions?

Daan Klomp:

The one rule is that when you travel, you need to be able to do the same work as your home place. So for me in the Netherlands, so for me it would maybe be difficult if I would go like really far and I needed to make a lot of calls from, like Asia or South America, and South America would also be like really difficult because, compared to Europe, you need to work in the middle of the night and I'm an idol, but not that big of an idol.

Daan Klomp:

So maybe going to the East would be more a viable option and also it's your responsibility to check if you're allowed to work there. I was at the digital nomad in that country. The company isn't responsible. If anything happens, it's your own fault, and I think that's really logical. It's your choice to go abroad. No one is forging you to, and, besides that, the country needs to be safe.

Anne Claessen:

Yeah, yeah.

Daan Klomp:

So don't go to like a war zone for some reason.

Anne Claessen:

Oh no.

Daan Klomp:

They'll go to like yeah.

Anne Claessen:

Okay, yeah, that all makes sense. So it sounds like you're pretty open to whatever, as long as you can just do your work. And yeah they don't have any negative experience because of your travels.

Daan Klomp:

Yeah, exactly yeah.

Anne Claessen:

So how does it work with having an apartment in the Netherlands and then also traveling? Do you rent out the apartment or like, how much time do you usually spend in the Netherlands and how much time do you usually travel?

Daan Klomp:

The schedule that I'm now working to is one month in the Netherlands, two months abroad, and I bought it a couple of years ago, before the housing prices really skyrocketed. So, I really can't complain a bit about the prices that I need to pay. I'm not renting it out Also because my mortgage, or what you say, is the one that provides the mortgage. They don't allow it with my current mortgage and if you did it and they found out, they can take back the mortgage and then you can lose your apartment.

Anne Claessen:

And.

Daan Klomp:

I don't wanna risk that. It's just too valuable for me and I think that also I want to be kind of digital nomad that also has a home base. In the end of the day, I couldn't see myself giving up my home. In the end, I really like it. I wanna get back home and all my stuff is there and everything is just the same way as I left it.

Anne Claessen:

Yeah, yeah, I definitely learned that that is actually really valuable and also I also now see it as a form of freedom, the freedom to come home, and before I thought, no, having a home it holds you back, it's the opposite of freedom, right. But now it is actually freedom to have a home, be able to go home and let you sell it. All your stuff is there, so you also have to feed entities, have stuff and not live out in the backpack.

Daan Klomp:

Yeah, exactly. And also if you, for a time, wouldn't want to travel, so you don't have to look for a place to stay, you just have your own place, and for me that's like super, super jail. That's why that is also something that I see as a sort of freedom to have this.

Anne Claessen:

Yeah, exactly what other places are you planning to go to? Do you have any plans or a bucket list or anything?

Daan Klomp:

Yeah, what's next? Kind of difficult because I have so many things in mind.

Anne Claessen:

Yeah.

Daan Klomp:

Like. For leisure, I would want to visit either Sri Lanka or Nepal, but for working, then I probably also want to visit the more south-eastern parts of Europe. I just walk from there. I really get to know the culture. I'm also a really big fan of mountains and the winter in the mountains, especially so in February, for example, maybe I would want to go to a co-living in the snow for a month, just skiing in the weekends, working during the week, and that's also something that really makes me happy. I'm really like the peace of the mountains compared to the busyness of the cities.

Anne Claessen:

Yeah, yeah, exactly, that sounds also pretty cool. I mean, I won't actually not go to the mountains, especially when it's snowy, but I do understand that other people are OK, you know.

Daan Klomp:

I don't know why, but just the peace of the nature, the fresh air the silence. It's really good for a month or half.

Anne Claessen:

Yeah, and being active, I think.

Daan Klomp:

Yeah, just in summer or spring you could go out just hiking, even autumn if you're looking for the weather, and then winter just skiing. You can also hike in the snow, but for me I would definitely go skiing on the mountains.

Anne Claessen:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. So one thing I noticed here in the co-living I did not expect this at all and that everyone really focuses on staying healthy by eating relatively healthy food, but especially if everyone goes to the gym and everyone goes also to a different gym, which is really funny, but it is for so many people a priority. You also go to a boxing gym.

Daan Klomp:

Yeah, that's correct. I started now like nine months ago, with kickboxing. I really fell in love with the sport. It's a way of sport to really get all the stress out of your body, really focus on something different, and it's also nice that you really improve week by week.

Daan Klomp:

See a lot of progression. Well, for me at a normal gym after six months, I would find it really hard to see constant progression at the time. And for me, kickboxing is just constant improvement and it's really social. So you do it with a lot of other people, with different trainers, so you also get to know many people. And in spring, when I was visiting Thailand, I also did for a week Muay Thai. It's the Thai form of kickboxing. It's a bit more deep.

Anne Claessen:

Elbows and knees.

Daan Klomp:

Elbows and knees, there's more options to it and I also really enjoyed that for a week, doing this daily for an hour. And now here in Valencia kickboxing is not super common. They have it here, but now I signed up with a normal boxing gym and I'm also learning a lot from normal boxing trainers. Yeah, and super fun, and also meeting the local Valencia community that has been doing this for way longer. So overall, yeah, also really like the sports that I do, and the heat is something that I'm not really getting used to yeah same.

Daan Klomp:

Sweating, sweating like crazy. When I come back home from the gym and I'm so wet I've taken a shower or fallen in the water or something, and I think if people see me walking on the street, it's like walking death. Like this guy. He's so wet, he's so wise for sweats, but yeah, just so good for your health to do this.

Anne Claessen:

Do you pick certain places to go Like, do you pick a destination also for like a boxing gym or like the opportunity to do the sports that you love? Or is it more like you pick a place, you book it and then maybe like a week before, you're like, oh, let's see what I can do?

Daan Klomp:

For this in Valencia I really looked it up, like what are the possibilities of boxing, and then I immediately saw like there's many, many options here in my Valencia for normal boxing. So it's definitely that I'm looking for if I travel longer, for like a month or longer. Well, for shorter, I don't think that I would really look it up first.

Anne Claessen:

Yeah, yeah, that makes sense. So not on vacation usually, unless you go to Thailand. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Daan Klomp:

And Thailand is also like known for Muay Thai.

Anne Claessen:

And.

Daan Klomp:

I just wanted to do that there and experience what it's like to work out in this extreme heat and with such high humidity. Amen, but it was super nice. Yeah really amazing experience and I think that I can recommend it to everyone, also people who aren't into boxing at all to do this.

Anne Claessen:

You will absolutely die from how intense it is. Yeah.

Daan Klomp:

Yeah, for sure. Here in Thailand when you're driving back on your scooter for your gym you're like oh my god, I need some sugar.

Anne Claessen:

The shaky hands of boxing.

Daan Klomp:

What I did in Thailand after after training, there was a smoothie bar next to the gym and I was sitting there for like an hour. Drinking the smoothie no-transcript raising my blood sugar a bit so I could drive home safely. But yeah, it was intense but super, super nice, At least for my in Sri Lanka. They also offer quite some more time, so I'm planning to check out some gyms up there too.

Daan Klomp:

And just it's really nice to also train in different locations, with different people, new insights. We're training with the same person over and over again. Eventually you'll get a certain comfort with the person, and it will be this routine, and by doing this you keep challenging yourself, your body.

Anne Claessen:

Yeah, cool. What's your favorite part about travel?

Daan Klomp:

The part about travel, I would say, like, like normal people would say, oh, seeing the city, but for me, to be honest, I like to meet the people the really experienced in the culture, making new friends. That's, for me, the most important things. I'm like I go to places and like I barely take any pictures because, yeah, I just don't really care. For me, it's like more important all the people that I'm with and just being there in the moment. And I also, when I go to, like now here in Valencia, I'm not directly going to the most touristic spots because, yeah, I don't really care that much, but what I do care about is, like the people that live here, how they live, and I think that's super way more inspirational. Yeah, and also like getting to know fellow coworkers here and the co-living yeah, that's what it's for me about travel.

Anne Claessen:

So it's all about taking off countries on a lens when it's really about the deep connections that you can make with them.

Daan Klomp:

But also that checking off countries of Alistair is also like meeting the cultures there and seeing the differences between the countries where you might have first an assumption like, oh, they're all the same, while they're definitely not, and by going there you can really experience that Every country has their own unique culture. More cultures inside of the country yeah, for me, that is what travel is about just getting more new, experiencing and expanding your view of the world. Yeah, beautiful well said, well said, very well said.

Anne Claessen:

Okay. So if people wanna follow you and see where your travel is next, where can people find you?

Daan Klomp:

Yeah, they can either find me in a co-living somewhere.

Anne Claessen:

Yeah.

Daan Klomp:

No, no, no. My Instagram is d-a-a-n-k-l underscore and that's mostly where I travel things, that things where I'm at at the moment in my stories. Okay, so yeah.

Anne Claessen:

Perfect, we'll add the links in the show notes so if you're listening, you can go there, follow Daan and be sure to be back next week for another episode.

Daan Klomp:

You should definitely.

Anne Claessen:

Yeah, promote us, please. No, but, dan, like you've worked on the show and it was really fun.

Daan Klomp:

Yeah, thank you so much for inviting me. I really had a lovely time doing this. I'm talking to you about this. So yeah, thank you, it was pretty fun.

Anne Claessen:

And that's it for today. Thank you so much for listening. I appreciate it very, very much. I would appreciate it even more if you could leave a review on Apple Podcasts for me. That way, more people can find this podcast, more people can hear the inspiring stories that we're sharing, and the more people we can impact for the better. So, thank you so much if you are going to leave a review. I really appreciate you and I will see you in the next episode.

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