In late April I spent a week in Morzine at the inaugural Nomads Camp hosted by Action Academy. In the mornings we had workshops, in the evenings we had talks (one of which I gave) and during the day we would work on our own projects, collaborate and brainstorm with each other, and enjoy the amazing French Alps with runs, cycling, yoga and even some hot tub action!
Waking up each day to that fresh mountain air was the perfect start to a day of inspiration and adventure. I interviewed Action Academy's Co-Founder, Doug Stidolph, to find out more about the camps, his thoughts on the fast-growing trend of 'remote working' or being a Digital Nomad, and how you can join the Adventrepreneur community! As you can see from my travel blog (below), we had a lot of fun!
1. How would you describe Action Academy?
Action Academy is a hub for the growing number of adventure-loving entrepreneurs, innovators, and digital professionals who are looking beyond their lives in the city, for opportunities to combine work with sport and travel. Ultimately, it's for anyone who loves adventure and wants to create a lifestyle more in-line with their personal values.
2. Where did the idea for Action Academy come from?
In early - 2016 I decided to relocate my work to the Alps for 8 weeks - both as an experiment in working remotely and - as a committed adventure-lover - simply to be in the mountains!
I found my time out there extremely productive, as well as meeting other digital entrepreneurs who’d found exactly the same thing. Why did we ever think running web-based businesses would be any harder here than back home!?
What followed were several small-scale events across London and Morzine, which revealed there was a real desire to explore this adventurous side in the digital and startup communities...something we’ve been happy to do!
3. Tell me what it means to be an ‘Adventrepreneur’
The Adventrepreneurs are the members of our community! Despite their diverse backgrounds, everyone who joins us is united by shared values; mainly ambition, outgoing nature, adventurous disposition and a desire to make the most of their lives. One of the challenges working away from the city is finding other like-minded entrepreneurs and freelancers to connect with - not just digitally, but in-person (human interaction is so important, and so underappreciated today), so with the Adventrepreneurs you have this network where the community can reach out to discuss challenges, ideas, travel plans, or help for their projects. It's a social network as much as a business one, and that's amazing.
4. Do you think anyone can be a digital nomad?
We get asked this a lot, and the full answer requires some qualification - but the short answer is YES!
For those who are new to the term, 'Digital Nomads' are those embracing the relatively recent freedom of digital working. People who set their lives up so they can do day-to-day work virtually anywhere in the world. At one extreme it’s a new form of backpacking - some nomads travel the globe, absorbing a wealth of experiences and cultures and utilising the cheap cost of living in the developing world - whilst simultaneously working on projects serving a global marketplace.
Naturally, the freedom available is tied to your circumstances; however nomadism doesn't have to be a 365-day-a-year commitment. Many founders and freelancers with families find ways to travel for a few weeks at a time, whilst there are an increasing number of progressive companies allowing staff to work from home 2+ days a week - talking it through with your manager/director will often lead to a trial run. Who knows, you could start a company trend!
5. It was amazing for me to spend the week in Morzine at the first Nomads Camp, what was the aim of it?
We loved having you there! It’s something we felt the community was asking for - a short-term co-working camp somewhere exciting, where our members could mix their work and play with other likeminded adventrepreneurs!
6. So it’s not just a holiday then?
No; but it's certainly a preconception we're asked about regularly. There are still a lot of people who believe that if you're working somewhere beautiful - and around something you love - then it can't be 'real' work.
Put simply, we're providing our attendees a better balance of work and lifestyle. It's hard for some to understand, but when you're involved in a startup - or working as a freelancer - often all you want to do is work! By enabling attendees to work - whilst surrounded with opportunities for adventure - we provide them some balance. In Morzine some worked their mornings before skiing in the afternoon, some went paragliding in their lunchbreaks...and others woke before dawn to welcome sunrise from a mountain-top before starting their working day!
7. What was the highlight?
The group highlight was the last evening; which saw us run a team dash into the newly-unfrozen Lake Montriond, followed by a beach party on the mountain...not a bad start to the weekend!
My favourite part has been seeing the impact it had on our attendees - we’ve stayed in touch with them and it’s amazing hearing how that week has changed their outlook and working-life.
8. If one of my readers were to join the next Nomads Camp, what could they expect to experience there?
It depends on who you are! The experience is unique to everyone who joins us, but we’ll guarantee you'll meet great people, go on adventures, absorb new ideas from our workshops, and leave feeling inspired (if not with a whole new perspective)...that's just what our previous attendees told us though, so best to ask them.
9. What does the future hold?
We're working on a range of Nomads Camps throughout 2017 and 2018 - We'll be back in the mountains of Morzine this Summer between August and September. Later in the year we're running kit-surfing co-working camps in Croatia and hopefully Bali too!
We're a passionate community of like-minded freelancers, entrepreneurs, business owners and adventurers. Each exploring how to create a life where our work and passions align. Join the community! Check out my travel vlog in case you missed it: