Our Founder’s Story

Hi, I’m Andrae, a solopreneur and the founder of Work Wanderers. I am passionate about travel, learning, and community. I’d love to get to know you, but first, here’s my backstory and how Work Wanderers came about.

Here goes – I was, like so many others, molded by society and my family to follow the traditional life path – that of getting a degree, landing a job, and destined to climb the corporate ladder. Through all of this, I never felt comfortable, happy, or fulfilled. I wanted more than the cookie-cutter lifestyle of getting a job, paying bills, having kids, and that being the pinnacle of my success.

I also hated the rigidity and all the red tape. Having to work strict hours, having only 15 days leave a year, and having to get a doctor’s note every time I was sick – was NOT for me. As a young girl, I had dreams of being the president and making a global impact, not a soccer mom, or being stuck in an office. So once I had ticked all the boxes that were expected of me, I finally looked in the mirror and said, WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT? 

I quit my corporate job and decided to travel. I embarked on my first solo Europe trip which was eye-opening and I also joined a youth group travel tour where I knew no-one but quickly made 20 new friends from all over the world. A lot of people are scared to travel alone, but I couldn’t think of anything more exciting! I was finally filled with fire and could breathe, knowing I was making my own decisions about my life and where it was going.

Suffice to say, I raked up a huge credit card bill though and was broke. I had family pressure saying you need to get a job. So I looked for a more flexible company where I thought I could make more impact. It ended up being even worse than the corporate job so after a year I quit and traveled for a few months to Australia & Bali.

I knew I wanted to start a travel business of some sort and when I got back home I did a tour guide course and started putting together a business plan. At this point, I hadn’t really heard of the term ‘digital nomad’ so I didn’t realize there was a lifestyle out there that would be perfect for me. I soon ran out of money again and was forced to look for another job. This time I was more mindful of the type of company I wanted to be in, a startup. Somewhere where there was more flexibility and freedom. Somewhere I had the opportunity to not just be a number but actually make an impact.

Over the next 3 years, I helped build up an online coding course ed-tech startup from 4 people to a team of 45+. I headed up the Acquisition & Marketing departments and became an expert in Strategic management and product development. I also gained more confidence in my own abilities and became the leader I knew was in me. BUT, it still wasn’t enough. I enjoyed the challenge but wasn’t passionate about coding and really wanted to build something of my own.

I had started working remotely every so often and the turning point happened when I was asked to represent the company at a conference in London. Being a startup, they wanted me to attend, but didn’t want to pay for my flights – so I negotiated a deal. I wanted to travel and work remotely so I said I would pay for myself to go if instead of staying one week, I could go overseas and work remotely for 3 MONTHS! 

I got a lot of objections but after about 8 follow-up meetings, I signed my new contract with this in place! Woohoo, finally I was excited about work again and more motivated than ever before! I worked from London, Prague, and Budapest without a hitch and even managed an entire rebrand of the company from 12000 miles away. I was hooked on this lifestyle and my brain started ticking, thinking, why doesn’t everyone do this? It’s an amazing lifestyle AND you get to make money…

Was this a secret I hadn’t been let in on?

I started burrowing into the internet, researching everything on remote work and this phenomenon of the ‘digital nomad’. And then it clicked. This was what I had been waiting for. Finally, I felt like there was a lifestyle and business path I could truly be happy in. I found out everything coliving and coworking related and fell in love with the concept.

Meeting amazing entrepreneurs, freelancers, and remote workers from around the world sounded like a dream. So, I took the plunge and started Work Wanderers, launching the website in October 2018. It would be a travel experience startup that offered coliving/coworking retreats for digital nomads. It was scary and exciting – but I KNEW it was right.

I quit my job 2 months later and started pursuing Work Wanderers full-time. The rest, as they say, is history! We have run successful retreats in Cape Town & Bali, with more locations coming up. We are aiming to give our Wanderers an experience that they will cherish and connections that will last a lifetime and be valuable from a personal and business perspective.

Our Wandering community of remote workers, freelancers and entrepreneurs has grown to the thousands and we can’t wait to keep learning from each other and exploring bucket-list destinations around the world together!

I hope you’ll join me in one of our upcoming retreats. I can assure you, it will be an exceptionally valuable, fulfilling, and productive 3 weeks of your life! Let’s share, grow, explore and give back together

See you there!

Andrae Smith

PS. Join our FREE private Facebook group called the Wandering Community. We are a close-knit group of remote workers, freelancers and entrepreneurs and talk about all things travel, remote work and more! Join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/wanderingcommunity/

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