Building Connections as a Digital Nomad with Liz Scully

Join Wayne Turmel in a captivating conversation with Liz Scully, founder of Rethink Central and a seasoned digital nomad, as they explore the art of building connections while embracing a nomadic lifestyle. Liz shares invaluable insights, practical strategies, and personal experiences on how to forge meaningful relationships, network effectively, and create a supportive community while working remotely and traversing the globe. Discover the secrets to maintaining connections across time zones, the power of mastermind groups, and the joys and challenges of living as a digital nomad. Whether you're a remote worker, entrepreneur, or simply curious about the digital nomad lifestyle, this episode offers essential guidance for building connections and thriving in a location-independent world.

Key Takeaways

  1. Building connections as a digital nomad requires reaching out to friends, colleagues, and networks in new locations.
  2. Meeting people in new places involves regular interaction and making an effort to connect.
  3. Mastermind groups provide valuable support, accountability, and a safe space for asking questions and receiving feedback.
  4. Mastermind groups can be beneficial in various contexts, not just for entrepreneurs.
  5. Having a supportive community that understands the challenges of running a business is essential.
  6. Technology, online communities, and social media platforms play a crucial role in connecting with like-minded individuals.
  7. Maintaining relationships with people in different time zones requires flexibility, understanding, and intentional communication.


00:02:19 - Introduction of Liz Scully and her background as a digital nomad.
00:04:36 - Challenges faced by digital nomads in building connections and creating a support system.
00:06:45 - Importance of reaching out to friends, colleagues, and networks in new locations.
00:11:26 - Process of creating a network and life as a digital nomad.
00:11:28 - Approaches to meeting people in new places and the significance of regular interaction.
00:13:06 - Definition and benefits of mastermind groups in various contexts.
00:14:57 - Importance of having a group that understands the challenges of running a business.
00:16:38 - Strategies for meeting new people and building connections while traveling.
00:18:05 - Role of technology and online communities in finding like-minded individuals.
00:19:01 - Strategies for staying connected with people in different locations and time zones.
00:21:01 - Importance of investing time and effort into building connections and maintaining a support system.

Related Episodes

Featured Guest

Liz Scully holding a cupcake in her hand

Name: Liz Scully

What She Does: Founder of Rethink Central, Business Strategist, Keynote Speaker, and Founder of the International Mastermind Certificate Program

Notable: Liz Scully spent 20 years working on big Hollywood films - she's won an Emmy and her work is multi-Oscar nominated. Now, she's a business strategist and a Mastermind coach and KNOWS business can be ridiculously fun as well as highly effective. She's Irish, nomadic and as confused as everyone else why she has an English accent.

Additional Resources

Order The Long-Distance Team

Remote leadership experts, Kevin Eikenberry and Wayne Turmel, help leaders navigate the new world of remote and hybrid teams to design the culture they desire for their teams and organizations in their new book!

View Full Transcript

00:00:07:21 - 00:00:36:05
Wayne Turmel
Hello, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the Long-Distance Worklife, the podcast, where we try to help people whom we work work remotely or in hybrid team situations or generally just trying to keep the weasels at bay in the workplace. Welcome. Welcome. We're here to help you thrive and survive. This is a Marisa-less episode, or, as they say in French, an episode

00:00:36:08 - 00:01:03:12
Wayne Turmel
sans Marisa, which I did just for her benefit. But that doesn't mean it is without entertainment. We have my friend Liz Scully with us. Liz is a coach, a full time digital nomad. She is the brains behind Rethink Central and I am going to introduce you to her now. Liz. Hello from London.

00:01:03:14 - 00:01:06:23
Liz Scully
Hello. What a delight to be here. Thank you for having me.

00:01:07:01 - 00:01:11:08
Wayne Turmel
Oh, you really need to raise the bar on delight, but that's okay.

00:01:11:10 - 00:01:17:17
Liz Scully
I have a low threshold of delight. There is nothing wrong with that, my friends.

00:01:17:18 - 00:01:29:01
Wayne Turmel
That's true. So here's the deal. You and I met in the jungles of Guatemala, which sounds like a far more interesting story than in fact.

00:01:29:01 - 00:01:33:05
Liz Scully
Yeah, it really does.

00:01:33:07 - 00:01:44:12
Wayne Turmel
But since then, you are. Well, why don't you tell us what you do? What is? Rethink Central. Give us the the wonder that is Liz in a sentence or two and then we'll say, Excellent.

00:01:44:12 - 00:02:05:19
Liz Scully
So I am a mastermind evangelist and a business strategist. So I work with micro-businesses and very small businesses helping them grow. It is an absolute delight. I work with lots of entrepreneurs and really the focus of my business is one without the pain. Really. It's a delightful thing.

00:02:05:21 - 00:02:34:17
Wayne Turmel
Well, it sounds delightful. And so what I wanted to talk about today is as a digital nomad and as somebody who works remotely from wherever, one of the big knocks on this and it is true for some people to a fairly large degree, is the sense of social isolation that comes with I mean, yeah, yes, it's lovely to be left alone to get your work done.

00:02:34:19 - 00:03:00:00
Wayne Turmel
And the flip side of that is while you are working, you are alone. So I know that you have a system for doing that. I want to talk about being a digital nomad and then hopefully a little bit about what is a mastermind group and who should care. But that will be at the end of our conversation. So let's start with you're a digital nomad.

00:03:00:02 - 00:03:07:14
Wayne Turmel
COVID grounded you to a degree, but you were all over the place for a while. What is digital.

00:03:07:14 - 00:03:40:00
Liz Scully
Anyway? I really was all over the place for sure, so I gave up my last real bricks and mortar home something like 2011, and since then I haven't had a real home. I just move about, which is fabulous. And my last home was in Bangalore, in India, because I was working for DreamWorks there and I have just spent a lot of time bouncing between New York and various places in Europe.

00:03:40:00 - 00:03:59:02
Liz Scully
I spent a lot of time in Budapest. I spent a chunk of time in Malta. I am very big time in Guatemala, which is weirdly, it's one of my safe places. I just want to go home for a while, which as someone who doesn't have a home for me, that is Antigua and Budapest, but New York, so it's great.

00:03:59:07 - 00:04:03:09
Liz Scully
It's lovely, delightful. In fact, I would I keep using.

00:04:03:11 - 00:04:29:08
Wayne Turmel
Okay. So right now, most of the people who are listening to this are, as I am, wage slaves, kind of working for somebody. And we like the idea of being able to work wherever we are and we have that capability. But doing it is easier said than done when you land somewhere. I mean, well, let's start with when you land somewhere.

00:04:29:10 - 00:04:35:22
Wayne Turmel
How much do you know about where you're landing? What does the process of becoming a nomad look like?

00:04:36:00 - 00:05:05:23
Liz Scully
So the actually being completely location independent and running a business that is location independent are two separate things. So first of all, I move my entire business online and then I became location independent. But arriving in a new place, I have done a reasonable amount of research, particularly I normally say an Airbnb. I spent I spent last couple of years, maybe four or five years where I spent so much time in having these.

00:05:06:03 - 00:05:26:21
Liz Scully
They started asking me to the annual conference. Why would I go like, what is the benefit to me? I could see the benefit to you lot because you're going to have a like an actual customer in the building. But really, why would I do that? So I have researched exactly where to live, by which I want to know how far is the local supermarket?

00:05:27:01 - 00:05:46:19
Liz Scully
Can I get decent wi fi and the biggest research I do on obviously because because I can live anywhere. I need to check that I want to live there. So I've looked at cultural stuff and what's going on with museums and transports and all of those kind of things that we all do. When we pick somewhere we want to spend something.

00:05:46:21 - 00:06:11:17
Liz Scully
The biggest thing is a nomads, but I spend my time doing is getting people to run speed tests on their Wi-Fi and send me the results because I will live nowhere with slow internet. It is of no use because if you spend if you spend any time running video conferences, which is my entire life, you cannot do it with slow internet and you can't trust someone to go, Oh yeah, yeah, no, it's fast.

00:06:11:23 - 00:06:34:03
Liz Scully
No, no. Show me, show me the speed results. So before I choose to work to live anywhere, first of all, I check I once points of interest, then I check that the work conditions are fine. Now, you can also do this if you want to check this. Co-working is everywhere, but my job is speaking to people. So if you imagine sitting next to build a co-working session, they would hate me.

00:06:34:05 - 00:06:44:07
Liz Scully
That woman, she never say never shuts up. So fast. Internet, That's a big thing. Can I get really fast? Internet.

00:06:44:09 - 00:07:13:00
Wayne Turmel
So you've determined that this is a place, right? You like the city or you think you're intrigued by the city enough to want to spend some time there? And you've done your research and you've found a place that fits your your criteria and you arrive. Now, how do you make yourself to home? And by the way, you're keeping your business going or keeping your boss from firing you because you're not working and things True.

00:07:13:00 - 00:07:36:08
Liz Scully
So the big the big learning and gosh, this took me a long time to get together is that when you change countries, you need to spend take off at least three days. There's the day before you leave when you're closing down that particular country, there's the travel day and then there's the day afterwards when you arrive, at which point you need to buy a sim for your phone.

00:07:36:13 - 00:07:56:14
Liz Scully
You need to make sure that your internet works. You need to go and actually locate that supermarket we talked about, make sure that things work because there's always something that's missing. Yes, you have a bed, but you have no sheets or you have. And this this is a nightmare for an Irish person. You have an apartment and you have teabags, but you have no cattle.

00:07:56:16 - 00:08:19:20
Liz Scully
Now, that has to be dealt with immediately for obvious reasons. So those three days, you just need to accept that you are going to be doing things that are not work related at that point. So either do it on the weekend or make sure that you've schedule time off to deal with that. And I mean, I have done long contracts where as well as running my own business and working with other people so they expect cool times.

00:08:19:20 - 00:08:43:03
Liz Scully
And those those again, like any long term job, they're going to give you time off. Surely if they're not changing job, I like at some point people are going to allow you to have time off and some of that is going to be spent in that reassessment of where you live because there's always just a certain amount of life maintenance when you switch countries.

00:08:43:05 - 00:08:50:08
Wayne Turmel
Life maintenance, what are the breaks? And the obviously not having a tea kettle would be.

00:08:50:10 - 00:08:50:20
Liz Scully

00:08:50:20 - 00:09:02:17
Wayne Turmel
That's a horrible thing and a very unpleasant surprise. What are the big life maintenance things that people don't think they're going to encounter and do?

00:09:02:19 - 00:09:23:23
Liz Scully
So like really strangely, like when you move all the time, there is a certain set of food that you like. We all do it well. We have our regular supermarket shop, so if you have just done that in, say, Budapest and you go moving to Malta, you have to eat up the food in one country before you start.

00:09:23:23 - 00:09:43:07
Liz Scully
Boy, you get fresh in the second country. So you need to make a decision about whether or not you will go to be the sort of person that moves half a pound of rice from Budapest to Malta because you are too cheap to let it go. Or are you the sort of person that's just going to be forcing your neighbors to take your exit?

00:09:43:09 - 00:10:04:05
Liz Scully
So it sounds ridiculous, but if you move all the time, you spend a lot of time thinking, Didn't we have some strawberry jam? Oh, no. That was three countries back. Where is the jam? Do we have jam? So there's just like a certain there was a certain level of food that if you live in one place, you can assume that there is like a few things that are staples.

00:10:04:05 - 00:10:18:13
Liz Scully
If you move into a brand new house every three three months, you have to put all of those staples in place and you can end up in the ridiculous position of carrying tea bags around the world. It's it's foolish.

00:10:18:15 - 00:10:27:19
Wayne Turmel
Are you a once you've found your spot, you nest in and it's fine, or are you a third location kind of worker?

00:10:27:21 - 00:10:48:07
Liz Scully
Oh, I tend to look, I'm because like I said, because my job is talking to people, I feel it's unfair to co-working. Like we will see people in coffee shops having video meetings. Don't do it. It's so rude. Like like go somewhere quiet and do that. The rest of us do not want to hear about the trouble you're having with the accounts department.

00:10:48:09 - 00:11:01:01
Liz Scully
Oh, keep it moving. So I work from home, which means I need to be, you know, safe and warm and all those kind of basic stuff and food and teabags. Obviously, you need teabags.

00:11:01:03 - 00:11:26:07
Wayne Turmel
One of the things and I never thought about this until my daughter went to her massage therapist the other day, and her massage therapist said, You work on the couch, don't you? You have a lap desk, you don't have a real desk and a real chair, do you? And the reason is she's coming in looking like quasi modo.

00:11:26:08 - 00:11:28:13
Wayne Turmel
What about the physical setup?

00:11:28:15 - 00:11:57:00
Liz Scully
That is interesting. So when I'm choosing the abbey I will live in, I am actually scanning for there was a coffee, there is a coffee table I can put my feet on so that my legs are horizontal. There is cushions so that I can keep my desk at the right level. I also always have. I have one of those extendable things my laptop, so that when I am doing video conferences like this, my camera is eye level, simple things like that.

00:11:57:00 - 00:12:20:11
Liz Scully
I have a little kit of things that I am certain of. I also have the world's largest and most edited set of cables for all possible situations. I have more travel plugs and a human ever requires because you can guarantee that when you look at how the the wiring in the place is, whether you know, the distance from the plug to the desk, you want to work on.

00:12:20:17 - 00:12:35:11
Liz Scully
So again, part of that first life maintenance that you're doing that first day is making sure that you're not going to be hunched up and that you can actually manage to run a video conference without running out of battery on your laptop halfway through. Tedious but important.

00:12:35:13 - 00:13:06:02
Wayne Turmel
Now, I, I am like a three day hermit. I can live in wherever I am, whatever confined space for about three days. And then I need to get out amongst other human beings. Grumpy old man that I am. I know that one of the things you do is you help coach people who are going to be location independent to actually have lives.

00:13:06:04 - 00:13:13:03
Wayne Turmel
Yeah. And connect with people. Talk to me. What does that process look like and can you help me?

00:13:13:05 - 00:13:33:08
Liz Scully
Well, I think I think it's very easy to become a technophobe. You're absolutely right. So I have I guess system is probably a strong word for it, but I have friends all over the world and that is not an accident. Many people that become location independent rather than digital nomads, which tends to be much more getting about to much more sort of social.

00:13:33:12 - 00:13:52:12
Liz Scully
But location, independent people tend to be a bit, are they? You have jobs like mine where you spend more time alone. So you have to have you have to have a system to get out there. So before I move to a country amongst the research I do is I ask my friends, of which there are many who do we know in whatever it is?

00:13:52:12 - 00:14:16:05
Liz Scully
Who do we know in Malta? And there will always be a couple of people that you could go and speak to so-and-so, so you make arrangements with them. You look at all the other networks, you have Facebook, LinkedIn, friends of friends. If it's the sort of place where this big conglomerate So I often work for Kodak or Technicolor or Sony or any of the studios, if they have a branch or department in that place.

00:14:16:05 - 00:14:34:03
Liz Scully
So I will speak to my other friends. And you work for Technicolor. Who do we know at Kodak in that country? So you then get a little group of people who are your first contact, and if your friends are kind enough to directly introduce you, they will almost always go for coffee with you. Because, you know, I've got this friend.

00:14:34:03 - 00:14:57:06
Liz Scully
She's really lovely. Cover Go out for drinks so you have some kind of interaction and you have to put the effort. This is the key. You have to put the effort in. So for a couple of weeks, I spend a lot of time ingesting caffeine. I see a lot of people and I put a lot of effort. And because for them, for the person you're meeting, it's just a tiny part of that day for you.

00:14:57:06 - 00:15:18:12
Liz Scully
You have no social life. If you don't do this, it's not going to happen. So there's a sort of certain time inequality for this, but many people will take the time to meet you for half an hour. Lovely. If you get on with them. Great. Arranged to meet them again. But if you don't or you know that they're fine, but they're not really for you, then I make another plan like so.

00:15:18:14 - 00:15:39:13
Liz Scully
This was lovely. Thank you very much. But do you have another friends that might be interested in also meeting me? I'd like to meet as many people as possible. And if you do that through all of your networks that very quickly, everybody you meet, you ask if they can introduce you to someone else and you make the effort to see them and anyone you like, you keep making the effort.

00:15:39:15 - 00:15:47:18
Liz Scully
Within three months, I guarantee you'll have a best friend in that country. Pretty much always. This is one to lots of friends.

00:15:47:19 - 00:15:54:19
Wayne Turmel
Here's a question that just occurred to me. So is Meetup an international thing or is that strictly.

00:15:55:00 - 00:16:26:19
Liz Scully
The meetups everywhere? So yes, that was that was the next thing I was going to say is always a good idea to check meetup if you have a special interest, if you're involved in a karate club or a tennis club, see if through that network, if they have a recommendation for the karate people to speak to in that area and then join that, even if you don't simply being part of a club or a snooker team or and of course you can just go to the bar on the end of the road, it's just I don't particularly drink.

00:16:26:19 - 00:16:37:11
Liz Scully
So to me that's not ideal. So you start going somewhere regularly and you make the effort to be pleasant and you accept to be there.

00:16:37:11 - 00:16:38:02
Wayne Turmel
Right there.

00:16:38:07 - 00:16:59:18
Liz Scully
Yeah, you're out. I see that. But that principle is making friends is work. And I think this is where as we get older we get this stuff. We can't be bothered. But if you go somewhere new and you're on your own, if you don't make friends, you will stay on your own. Nothing is going to change. So meetup bars, events, hiking clubs, anything.

00:16:59:20 - 00:17:06:02
Liz Scully
Just you put a lot of work and then it's a lot of promise. It works.

00:17:06:04 - 00:17:31:23
Wayne Turmel
So good heavens, look at the time you want to take a moment, though, and talk about everything we've talked about. It's like settling in and getting the work done, being productive, networking for your career, and that's where things like Mastermind comes in real quickly. When I think of Mastermind, I think of entrepreneurs who are trying to grow their business.

00:17:32:01 - 00:17:43:02
Wayne Turmel
First of all, what is a mastermind group for those who don't know? And then are they applicable to wage slaves like me, or is it strictly for entrepreneurs?

00:17:43:06 - 00:18:05:01
Liz Scully
Absolutely. So a mastermind is a small ish group. So I run a very small, but they can be larger. So they're a smallish group that meet regularly every week, every two weeks, once a month, whatever it is you meet regularly, you discuss things, and then you make a plan, a goal of some sort that you will definitely achieve by the next time you meet.

00:18:05:03 - 00:18:29:21
Liz Scully
So I liked social pressure. You get stuff done. The super simple in them, in in themselves, really simple, but really effective. And yes, most of the ones I run are for entrepreneurs and business growth, but you can have a mastermind for anything. One of the the calls I did earlier in the day was someone was telling me they used to run internal masterminds within a large corporation.

00:18:29:21 - 00:18:48:04
Liz Scully
So the heads of department, so the and all the issues that were coming up regularly within the company, they had a place they could talk about it that wasn't superficial. It was a bit more focused on people's careers. But yes, you can run a mastermind on anything you like building a barn, growing a baby, whatever you like.

00:18:48:06 - 00:19:11:23
Wayne Turmel
What I what I think is really important for a lot of people. There are two things about masterminds that I think are great ideas. I mean, the first is just other human beings that are facing the similar challenges that you are. There's a lot of power in knowing. It's not just to get it to, you know, it's like, Oh, wait a minute, everybody suffers from that school.

00:19:12:01 - 00:19:17:11
Wayne Turmel
The second part, I think, is the part that you alluded to, which is the accountability piece.

00:19:17:16 - 00:19:36:13
Liz Scully
Yes. Yes. Accountability is important, but I think there's not only the fact that you've got a group of people that are in lockstep with you moving towards the goals. That's really helpful, particularly if you run a tiny business. It's really lonely sometimes as it is with location, independent stuff. So it's really nice to have a group of people with you.

00:19:36:15 - 00:20:04:01
Liz Scully
But it's also there are very few places that we can indict. Most of us, our family is sick to death of what we do. Yeah. Yeah, that's nice. Yeah, lovely. Dear friends don't really care. They move to the K a successful, but they don't want to hear the ins and outs with the mastermind group. You can have a place where you can ask the questions that are vital to your business, that the people around you are bored witless about.

00:20:04:03 - 00:20:14:20
Liz Scully
But you can also ask questions. I just know sometimes we have very basic questions that are a little bit embarrassing to ask anywhere else. Take it, you mastermind. They will sort it out for you.

00:20:14:22 - 00:20:33:18
Wayne Turmel
Well, it's not just that the people around you are fascinated with keeping you up at night. It's that they don't know squat. Yes. You don't know anything. They only have the information. My bride is lovely, but if I show her the first draft of a book, all I'm going to get is. That's great, dear.

00:20:33:20 - 00:20:55:19
Liz Scully
Yes, yes, exactly. Yes, That's nice. I remember showing sales pages to people. Should it be that color? Oh, just my lovely friends. Yeah. So it's a good place to get feedback. And it's also a great place for when we have because as we know, running a business, doing a job will bring up every thing that could possibly go wrong.

00:20:56:00 - 00:21:12:10
Liz Scully
It's like years of psychotherapy in one go, just for the joy of doing your day to day. And a mastermind is a place to have people say, You know what, This is tough. And we can see that you're you're brave enough to turn up again for another day. That's a big thing.

00:21:12:12 - 00:21:31:04
Wayne Turmel
Liz, thank you so much. You've given us a lot to think about. I mean, if I'm thinking about being location independent, what do I have to do? And it's great. I mean, I dream of running off to Thailand on a fairly regular basis. So. Yeah, well, my wife would have something to say about that.

00:21:31:07 - 00:21:36:04
Liz Scully
Oh, you take your wife with you.

00:21:36:06 - 00:22:09:14
Wayne Turmel
But the idea of meeting other people and creating a network and a life and all of that. So thank you for all of that wisdom. I am going to boot you out of the video room just long enough to close it off. Liz is at Rethink Central. Folks. If you go to our fabulous Web page that Marisa has put all the work into, you will find the transcripts and links to how to reach Liz and all of that good stuff.

00:22:09:14 - 00:22:35:12
Wayne Turmel
Also, if you have not yet checked out Kevin in my new book, The Long-Distance Team: Designing Your Team for Everyone's Success, you can buy that almost anywhere. If you go to, you can buy the book, but you can also get special offers, free downloads, lots of cool stuff. We are nothing if not givers.

00:22:35:14 - 00:23:04:12
Wayne Turmel
Finally, if you enjoy the show, you know how podcasts work like and subscribe. Tell your friends. Tell your neighbors and if you have anything you want to say to us. Comments. Questions. Vicious personal attacks. Topics for future shows. People that we should talk to. One of Marisa's great joys right now is gathering up people's pet peeves and questions so that we can do those special episodes.

00:23:04:14 - 00:23:18:06
Wayne Turmel
That's it. Thank you so much. My name is Wayne Turmel. Thank you for joining us on the Long-Distance Worklife. Marisa will be back next week. Don't let the weasels get you down. Have a great day.

Your Host

Wayne Turmel

Master Trainer and Coach for The Kevin Eikenberry Group, co-author of The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership and The Long-Distance Teammate: Stay Engaged and Connected While Working Anywhere, and trainer of remote teams for over twenty years.

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