Digital Nomad - Tarek Kholoussy

Image of Tarek Kholoussy
Tarek Kholoussy
Business Name:
Nomads Giving Back
Nomads Skillshare
Social Media:
How long have you been a digital nomad?
9 years
Tell us about your current work, and how it's impacting the digital nomad community or lifestyle
I'm grateful for the opportunity to lead our amazing global team and socially-conscious community at Nomads Giving Back! ( and Nomads Skillshare (

At Nomads Giving Back!, we inform, inspire and empower you to give back to the communities you call home away from home. Through our events, programs and initiatives, we help serve as a bridge between foreigners and local communities and focus on advocacy, fundraising and volunteering - including our free volunteer-matching program that supports our impact partners around the world.

At Nomad Skillshare!, we empower you to learn the skills to live the life you imagined! Our community offers virtual and in-person masterclasses, workshops and courses that teach various types of skills - professional skills (mind), wellness (body), personal development (soul) and giving back opportunities (heart). Through our Skillshare with Impact program, we teach skills to help advance local's professional goals. With our "Buy 1, Give 1" program, every time you buy a course, we give a scholarship to a less privileged student. We teach courses such as "How to Get Your Dream Online Job" and other skills that are in the highest demand in our new world of remote work.
Where was the first international place you started your nomad journey and what was the experience like for you?
My first digital nomad journey took me from the US straight to my motherland of Egypt! It felt somewhat poetic visiting my family's past life before beginning my own future life. My second digital nomad journey took me from the US straight to the Taj Mahal, followed by driving a rickshaw 4,000 km from the top to the bottom of India! I figured what better way to create my new life and find myself than to first lose myself - both figuratively and literally!
How did friends react to your decision to start nomading? Have reactions about your lifestyle as a nomad changed or mostly been the same?
In 2013, I left the corporate world in an effort to explore the actual world. When I began my nomading journey, my friends and former colleagues thought I lost my mind! In some ways, perhaps I did! To leave a successful career that I worked so hard in for many years to build, people thought I was self-sabotaging my career and committing "corporate suicide." And I believed them to be honest. But funny enough, after my first year of nomading and volunteering around the world, I actually returned to the corporate world for a job opportunity that was better than the one I originally let go of. But that didn't last long, now that I could appreciate what was on the other side. In 2015, I left again and never looked back.

The reactions about my nomad lifestyle seem to have evolved quite a bit over the years… from confusion and disappointment to inspiration and admiration. That might sound great but the ironic thing of it all is that MY reaction to their reactions has also evolved… from caring what others think and craving social acceptance to becoming clearer of who I am and less concerned by others' opinions about how I live my life."
What's your typical remote work atmosphere preference when nomading and why: work from your living space during the day; work from cafes; work at a coworking office; or something else?
While I love to visit coworking offices for events and community, I never find myself actually working from one. I find myself too curious to find out what everyone’s doing and catching up with friends to be productive. Plus, I feel like I escaped the office life for a reason, so it feels strange to voluntarily return to one! I’m most productive working from home especially for deep work with no distractions but like to mix it up by working from cool cafes for certain types of work like replying to long lists of messages.
What are some of your favorite remote work tools (aside from zoom & google meet, ha!)
Our globally-dispersed remote team relies heavily on Slack to stay connected and Asana to stay productive! Also, we use our own Nomads Skillshare! community platform to foster relationships and share skills among our team and community.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about the digital nomad life
Perhaps the biggest misconception about the digital nomad life is that there’s one single way of the digital nomad life. Like any group of people, we’re a collection of diverse individuals with diverse ways of life. For example, a common misconception I hear often is that digital nomads only benefit from local communities without giving back. While that may be more common than I’d like, I have the lucky opportunity with our Nomads Giving Back! community to surround myself with thousands of digital nomads who love connecting with locals and giving back to local communities.
The entire world went remote in a flash last year, and many people are considering taking their remote work on the road as a nomad. What would be your top 3 pieces of Advice to a new nomad?
When new nomads ask for my advice, I often share with them insights like these:
  • First, understand and remember your WHY. Why are you pursuing this style of life? And then be careful not to lose sight of it. Everyone is different with different life goals. I often see nomad friends, including myself, intentionally leaving their social norms behind only to find themselves reluctantly following their new social norms with their new community of friends - getting sucked into the “group think” mentality, simply doing what the people around us are doing. I don’t believe that’s necessarily bad, but it’s a rare gift that this lifestyle affords us by being given the opportunity to consciously CHOOSE who we surround ourselves with. After all, energies are contagious - so choose to surround yourself with those who inspire you to be who YOU want to be!
  • Second, connect with locals and give back to the community. As nomads, we benefit from the communities we choose to live in. Otherwise, we would simply choose somewhere else - right? Plus, while we may have some positive impact, we leave unintended consequences - many of which we may not even fully be aware of - such as raising costs for locals, not paying our fair share of taxes while receiving the benefits, diminishing the local culture and indirectly damaging the local environment. Many of us seek to travel to experience a new culture, meet people who are different than us and grow by challenging our assumptions and broadening our horizons. So, we need to try to resist the temptation to revert back to our comfort zone by getting stuck in the expat life bubble and ought to aspire to take full advantage of these life-changing opportunities!
  • Third, set goals but not expectations. Be intentional but lose your attachments. I for one never could’ve imagined where this emotional roller coaster of a life would’ve led me. Truth be told, this wild ride has brought me to a few lower lows, yet many more higher highs. This nomadic life can be dizzying, but also dazzling! We don’t know what we don’t know, so remain open to the life-changing possibilities, embrace the unknown and enjoy the journey!"
What's your hope for the digital nomad lifestyle and community at large as it evolves?
I always believed the nomad movement was going to grow fast but now given the impact of the pandemic on the adoption of remote work, I believe it will grow exponentially - perhaps, 50- or 100-fold within several years. I imagine many people in 2030 won’t believe nomads even existed before 2020! The two macro-forces that held the movement back from rapid growth previously are now propelling it forward. Many large companies who previously handcuffed top talent to the office are now saying there’s no office to return to. And many governments that previously created complex barriers for foreigners are now increasingly opening their doors with attractive incentives. As such, the community at large will not simply grow but with a different blend too - more higher-income, skilled professionals and potentially more who are nomading primarily for cost-arbitrage rather than seeking a foreign cultural experience. With this, will come unintended consequences of increased gentrification and loss of culture among popular nomad destinations. As such, my hope is that we collectively strive to shape the movement for social good - one with less expat bubbles and more bridges to local communities… one that the advantaged foreigners give back to the disadvantaged locals… one that believes that we’re all equal and connected and that inspires more socially-conscious global citizens.
Last but not least - your favorite memory ever as a nomad (that you're comfy to share!) We dare you to pick one!
Life as a nomad since 2013 exploring 100+ countries makes it hard to choose just one favorite memory! One of my favorites has to be running 84 km coast-to-coast across Bali as a fundraiser to support young disadvantaged Balinese children get an education. It taught me how mobilizing the collective power of community can create value for all involved - locals and foreigners alike. This life-changing experience is what inspired me to create Nomads Giving Back!