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It’s never too late to start something new. Interview with Palle Bo

It's never too late to start something new. Interview with Palle Bo

Today we interview Palle Bo, he is a long-time radio producer from Denmark. With a background in advertising, he started in radio in 1985. At the age of fifty, Palle Bo made a decision to change his life. He sold his house, his car and all his furniture and became a digital nomad.

Could you start by talking a little bit about yourself?

I’m a long-time radio producer from Denmark. With a background in advertising, I started in radio in 1985. In my career, I’ve has been a morning host, sales manager, station manager, syndicated phone pranker on radio stations throughout the country and on national radio, co-founder and still co-owner of 17 radio stations.

In 2007, I founded the production company RadioGuru and in 2016, I became a digital nomad and is still producing radio, podcasts and sound design.

What made you decide you wanted to be a digital nomad?

I could see that my children would graduate and move out on their own, and I could run my company from anywhere since 99% of my communication with clients was on e-mail and phone.
Since I wanted to travel and see the world for a few years, I sold everything (my house, car, furniture) and took off in July 2016. It was only my plan to travel for two years, but now, I’m getting close to five years and have no plans of stopping any time soon.

What is your favourite aspect of your job role?

Doing radio, podcasts, and sound design started as a hobby and a passion. And it still is. Someone once said, “If you work with what you like, you never have to work a day in your life”. So true.

What do you wish you had known before you became a digital nomad?

Before I started travelling, I was doing a lot of networking and very little sales. I wish, I knew how important it was to still nurture the relationships online when you don’t meet in person. I felt the ‘out-of-sight-out-of-mind’ for a bit, before I started reminding potential clients and my network in other ways that I am still working. Now, I’m in a good spot with a lot of interesting clients.

Could you tell us about The Radio Vagabond and Radio Guru?

RadioGuru is my production company and where I make my main income. I have clients asking me to write and produce interesting radio campaigns, find voiceovers for online videos and TV commercials (in many languages), and then I help launch and produce podcasts. Some of them, I’ve been helping out to do it themselves, others I’m producing and co-hosting, and then I have been the in-house producer for The LEGO® Group since 2018. First, I produced and hosted two seasons of The LEGO® Technic Podcast and then they hired me back to produce multiple podcasts as a part of their adult product, LEGO® Art. Here I’ve worked with Lucas Films (Star Wars), Marvel Studios, Disney Animation, Warner Bros (Harry Potter) and Andy Warhol Foundation.

The Radio Vagabond is my travel podcast, where I document my journey. This is a passion project that is turning into a business too. I work with different brands, tour operators, and DMOs (destinations marketing organisations). But mostly it’s my way to share inspiration for other digital nomads and people who want to see the world.

What are the best cities for digital nomads from your experience?

This is always hard to say. Like asking me to name my favourite child. There are the typical three digital nomad hotspots (Chiang Mai in Thailand, Bali in Indonesia and Medellín in Colombia), but I would also say that Cape Town is a great place. There are so many places where it’s easy and attractive to be as a nomad. NomadList.com is a good place to do research.

Do you think it is more difficult to emigrate when you are 50 years old, what advice would you give to a person 50 years old or older who is considering becoming a digital nomad?

No, I don’t think so – even though I hear it all the time. It takes a bit of courage and can be an out of comfort zone feeling to leave your house and the good comfortable life you have, but I feel that becoming an ‘empty nester’ with the kids leaving home, is the perfect time to do it, if you’re able to work remotely.

Share one resource that every digital nomad should be aware of

I already mentioned NomadList, but I would encourage people to look into TrustedHouseSitters.com (where you can stay for free in exchange for looking after a house and pets), Couchsurfing.com (where you can stay for free and meet the locals), and Hotels25.com (that searches all the major sites for accommodation in one search and finds the best rate). Also, I would highlight NomadCruise for a place to become part of the community.

What’s the best thing about the digital nomad lifestyle?

When you live in the ‘rat race’ and do more or less the same things every day, time flies by quickly – and faster the older you get. As a nomad time moves slower because you’re putting your brain to work all the time. And you do that as a nomad. I’ve been a digital nomad for five years, but it feels like twenty. For my friends back home, it feels like one or two years. I did a TEDx talk on this topic.

What has been your biggest challenge?

The networking part I talked about earlier. Other than that, I can’t really think of any.

You are a five-time winner of the Danish Prix Radio Awards, as well as a finalist at Cannes Lion 2011, and a winner of the prestigious national Creative Circle Awards in 2012, and together with LEGO® in 2019. What does winning all these awards mean to you?

It means recognition and that potential clients becomes aware of me and my production company. Down the line it also means I get asked questions like this one – and it makes me feel good. Also, it’s a good excuse for cracking open a bottle of champagne. Other than that, not much.

What are your plans for the future?

To keep doing what I do until one of my kids starts producing grandchildren for me. And they say, it won’t be any time soon.
It’s my plan to visit every country in the world and keep documenting everything in The Radio Vagabond Podcast.

What is a digital nomad?

A digital nomad is a person who uses the Internet to perform his occupation (freelance, freelance) and/or to sell his knowledge (freelance, entrepreneur, businessman) to other people or companies.

Thanks to new technologies, he/she works remotely from different countries around the world.

In short, these are the two fundamental characteristics of digital nomads:

  • Living while travelling. No sedentary lifestyle.
  • Working with online media. Time and geographical flexibility.
  • Therefore, digital nomadism is a philosophy, a lifestyle and a socio-economic movement that began to develop at the beginning of the 21st century. It is the logical response to a change of cycle, the transition from the industrial age to the new information age.

What is NOT a digital nomad?

Although the term digital nomad is often confused with a traditional traveller, there is an abysmal difference: we always (or almost always) carry our work in our backpacks.

This situation causes that for digital nomads travelling changing country and/or city every two or three days does not make sense. It does not mean that we do not do it sometimes, but the vast majority of times we are looking for a stay of weeks or months (even years) in each place.

The digital nomad does not spend all his time visiting the typical tourist places wherever he goes, but he is always looking for something more:

  • Personal projects for personal and professional development.
  • A collaboration with another professional.
  • Learning a language.
  • Getting to know a culture in depth.
  • To practice a sport.

Tips for Entrepreneurship at 50 and over

Unlike what people think, entrepreneurship is not just for 20-year-olds. According to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, in 2012 nearly a quarter of new businesses were started by entrepreneurs 55 and older

  1. Dedicate yourself to the activity you are really passionate about.

You may have dedicated yourself to a certain activity that was economically convenient, but not really exciting; it may be because of obligation, family or comfort; basically, you may have had a job that did not make you really happy.

Therefore, if you find yourself in the need to look for a new path at this point or to start working for someone else, the ideal opportunity to dedicate yourself to what you have always wanted is now.

  1. It’s all about balance

Find a balance between the physical and mental capacities that you have and the task that you want to develop, the relaxation time must be taken into account, as important as the productive, relying on partners and remembering that you must learn to delegate, being realistic and sincere with your own possibilities; thus avoiding demotivation in the face of new responsibilities.

  1. “Tell me who you go with and I will tell you who you are”.

Listen to young, dynamic and optimistic people; reinforcing in this way, the spirit and updated with all trends and innovations, taking as a reference the rebelliousness, nonconformism and fight for what you want.

A good meeting point can be the coworking centres where you can establish a relationship of synergy between workers, for young people providing additional energy, freshness and knowledge of new technologies; for veterans providing security and consistency in decision making, experience, the strength of years of work and a very important feature, the seriousness that conveys confidence.

  1. Take advantage of your experience

Entrepreneurs of a certain age tend to have a long professional history in most cases, therefore, more credit experience to obtain loans to get started. So, seen from this point of view, age is a positive value.

  1. You are not alone

If the new project is based on disciplines that you do not know how to handle or are interested in deepening (online marketing, IT, etc.) study the possibility of partnering with an expert who can make up for these shortcomings to advance in the business.

Tips for digital nomads in their 50’s and over

Age is not a barrier. In fact, age and the experience that goes with it can be a major factor in the success of remote workers.

  1. Keep costs in mind

The accommodation should be comfortable and quiet and should have fast wifi. These costs are non-negotiable. Some destinations for digital nomads such as Tbilisi, Bangkok, Panama and Mauritius offer modern and affordable amenities.

  1. Medical insurance

Health insurance is something we don’t often think about when we are younger. But it would be irresponsible and absolutely unwise to travel without comprehensive travel and medical insurance at this time.

  1. Travel equipment

Back pain can occur for a variety of reasons, but one thing is for sure, backpacks will aggravate injuries. Young travellers can handle backpacks.

Many digital nomads use the Roost or Nexstand. These “new” inventions should also be essential items for older laptop entrepreneurs. Years of hunching over desks take a toll on our neck and upper back.

  1. Long-distance travel

Cheap tickets are great. But as we get older, the harder it is to recover from flights that involve multiple layovers. Saving a few thousand kroner is great, but best to avoid them.

  1. Immigration

There are many countries where retirement visas are available for people over 55 as long as they can prove a regular income.