In this interview series we share the stories of real Digital Nomad Girls who’ve all created a life of travel and freedom. Nothing is as inspiring as meeting real people living the life that you’re dreaming of. Find out how they did it!
This week we meet Digital Nomad Girl Anna, marketing & communication consultant & DNG Retreat Alumni from Reunion Island.
Where are you from, how old are you (if we may ask 🙂 and where are you currently living?
Hi! I’m Anna, I’m from Reunion Island, a small tropical island near Madagascar, I just turned 27 and I live in Paris at the moment!
What is your location independent job?
I run a Marketing & Communications Consulting business ☺
We met at the first DNG Retreat in Javea, yay! What made you join the retreat?
I can’t believe it’s been a year! I heard about the retreat over the summer (I think it was via Instagram!) and I instantly got really excited about it. I was going through a weird phase at that time. I felt very lonely, even amongst my friends who didn’t really get what I was doing for a living, and meeting a bunch of like-minded girls in a beautiful location (Sun and Co is such an amazing place!) sounded like the perfect thing to do.
What did you get out of the retreat? What was your favourite part?
Wow, so many different things! I think the most powerful thing I got out of the retreat was the result of our mastermind sessions. I started the retreat unsure of my strengths (I couldn’t even make a list of what I was good at…) and constantly questioning my legitimacy as a consultant. Being able to help other people, hearing things like “wow that’s a great point!” made me gain more self-confidence and that’s such an incredible feeling!
Who would benefit from joining a DNG retreat?
Literally everyone!! Whether you’re not a digital nomad but are interested in this lifestyle, or you’ve been location independent for a while… I honestly think that only great things can result from a DNG retreat. Whether it is getting to know amazing people, making work connections, opening up your horizons…
What has happened since the retreat?
So many amazing things! I built a collective of like-minded freelancers (most of them who I actually met at the retreat) in order to help our clients’ work on their branding initiatives. I also started a coaching business on the side, to help and support women who would like to become entrepreneurs and start their own business.
On a more personal note, some of the girls I’ve met at the retreat have become some of my best friends. I still can’t believe how much the DNG retreat changed my life, no exaggeration!
How did you get started with your location independent job/business? How can others do the same?
I don’t know if I’m really location-independent, since I have a base in Paris and even though I’m thinking about a change of scenery, I think I’ll keep a base in France in any case. I love having a home! But I do travel quite a lot, whether it is to visit my clients, or just to discover a new country…!
I started this business 18 months ago when I quit my previous job as a Marketing Manager for a German start-up, I didn’t feel like working for a company again, and I thought about freelancing for a while, just as a transition. Looks like the transition is going to be a bit longer than expected 😉
To start a business in general, I think you need to be ready to commit, work hard, and be fully dedicated to your goals. Now to start your location independent business, I think you need all of the above, but you really have to make sure to listen to your own body, and build a (very) strong support network around you. Being on the road and working at the same time has its very specific challenges and to me, being mindful of your own rhythm is the right was to go.
What made you pursue a life as a Digital Nomad?
As I said before, when I quit my previous job almost 2 years ago, I was emotionally drained and all I wanted was to be independent and feel free. I didn’t feel comfortable in a big (or even smaller) organization, I didn’t understand why we all had to be in the subway at 8.30am, when that same train was completely empty 40 minutes later. “Climbing the corporate ladder” didn’t excite me at all.
I felt very different from a lot of my family and friends and my craving for travel and new adventures was obviously stronger than ever. I wrote and dreamed about creating the life I wanted to live, and it became a reality when I came across the Digital Nomad Girls Community. I finally met like-minded girls! I wasn’t alone anymore!
Did your friends/family/colleagues think you’ve gone crazy? Were they supportive?
I think some of my friends/family/colleagues still think I’m always on vacation. I stopped counting how many times I’ve heard “You’re living the dream!”. It’s true, I am, but I also built this reality, from scratch, it’s not easy every day, like any adventure.
I try to be very honest about my everyday life, so that from the outside it doesn’t look like my bank account is being filled up while I’m having cocktails on a beach in Bali… Because that would be so far from my reality! The type of reaction I get from people is generally positive though, which makes me happy!
What do you struggle with most when you travel and work?
Finding the right balance! It’s really hard for me to sense when it’s time to stop working, to stop moving around, to switch off, breathe and go take a walk. I still struggle with that guilty feeling I have when it’s 3pm on a Thursday and for some reason I’m not working. Even though I worked for 14 hours straight the day before.
I should feel completely okay with going to the movies in the middle of the day but for some reason…I still don’t. It has everything to do with what I was mentioning before, knowing yourself, listening to your own rhythm. When you travel and work, I think it’s also hard to find balance between working, socializing and wanderlusting. It’s so hard to get rid of FOMO!
How do you connect with and meet new people while travelling?
The DNG Community is obviously a great resource. I usually go to cafés and coworking/coliving spaces and try to socialize there. I also always try to live with other people (in –nice- hostels, or in “communal” living type of spaces), instead of renting a place by myself for example. It’s always easier to meet people that way!
What advice would you give a girl friend who wanted to start out as a digital nomad?
Jen Sincero said “On the other side of your fear is your freedom.” I completely agree with her. Oh and also, you are a badass! So go forth and make awesomeness!
Quick fire round:
When I feel lonely, I…
text my friend Maya who lives in Williamsburg, VA (USA). Unless it’s 3am over there, I almost always get an answer right away, and she always knows how to make me smile!
My favourite digital nomad location is…
Sun and Co, Javea, Spain!! Perfect location, amazing energy, fascinating people ☺
The one item I always pack is…
my set of Stabilo point 88 pen (and my notebook, obviously) 😀
In 5 years time I want to be…
financially free and working more on my passion projects!
My favourite digital nomad tool/app/resource is…
maps.me for their amazing and very practical offline maps accessible from anywhere.
My all-time favourite quote is….
“Oftentimes your authenticity is your activism and being as true to yourself as possible is the first step toward revolution”. Amandla Stenberg
And my 2nd favorite one is “Figure out what you need to do to be the heroine of your own story.” –Ava Duvernay
And if you’d like to join our retreat in September, there are still a few spots left. Find all the info here.