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In our Digital Nomad Girls interview series, we feature interviews with Digital Nomad Girls from around the world with interesting location independent jobs. This month we meet Digital Nomad Girl Sienna Brown, founder of Las Morenas de España
Hi Sienna! Please tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Sienna and I’m the founder of Las Morenas de España (a site focused on diversity and cultural immersion in Spain) and I also run communications at Sun and Co. (a coliving space in Javea, Spain.)
I’m originally from New York but have been location independent for the past 3 years living in Spain. (p.s. this is where we held our 1st and 3rd DNG retreats, check out what we got up to here and here)
Although I don’t move to different countries often, living abroad has allowed me to create a balanced life and do meaningful work while also travelling the world. Becoming location independent has opened up endless doors for me both personally and professionally.
It’s amazing to see how embracing and adapting to life in a different country can teach you so much in such a short amount of time.
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What is your location independent job?
Las Morenas de España (LMDES) hosts events and retreats around the country, which allows me to travel frequently for work. My communications job at Sun and Co. also gives me the freedom to take off and work remotely, which allows for me to travel quite often. Aside from that, I also have quite a few speaking engagements throughout the year.
How did you get into this line of work? How can others do the same?
Three years ago, I quit my communications job in NYC because I was looking to create a life abroad. As I built my own business with LMDES, I was simultaneously teaching English, which allowed for me to deal with the visa process abroad quite easily.
Quite often, people start their journeys without a sense of patience or understanding that it’s a process and my biggest piece of advice is to take it slow and find what works for you.
Once LMDES took off, more and more work started coming in to help people find community and take the leap to move abroad themselves. Life came full circle last spring when the due diligence of immersing myself in Spanish culture and creating a name for myself led to the job opportunity at Sun and Co., and I had to say yes.
What motivated you to pursue a life as a digital nomad?
I think that most people envision DNG’s as travelling the world all of the time and never stopping, but for me, I pursued this lifestyle because I wanted the time to enjoy life and not be overworked. Living in Spain previously was one of the happiest moments of my life and I wanted to bottle up that feeling, which is what inspired my move back.
I think it’s so important to live a life that we’re proud of, and I feel like I’m living my truth each day. I was motivated to create a sustainable lifestyle where I was truly happy. Now, that looks like me doing work that I love, living in a beautiful city, being able to travel when I want to and also helping others realize that they can do the same.
Did your friends/family/colleagues think you’ve gone crazy? Were they supportive?
I’m so lucky that my family was extremely supportive throughout the entire process! Although it was/is really hard because I’m so close to my family, I’m blessed to be able to see them at least once a year.
My mom was the most supportive and knew that the move would be for the best… not to mention, it gives her the perfect excuse to travel to Europe more often with my little sister!
Although being away from loved ones is really hard, it’s always satisfying when they see you truly happy and living your best life… in turn, making them proud!
What do you struggle with most when you work and travel?
I think the biggest struggle when working and travelling is finding a routine. I’m someone who is big on habits and efficiency, and things can be thrown out of whack when you’re always on the road.
My way to deal with it is by always keeping a morning routine, no matter where I am in the world and also being more patient with myself and deadlines while travelling.
We don’t go to new places to be behind our computers 24/7, so I find a way to do 1 or 2 extremely important tasks in the morning and then explore in the afternoon.
I also prepare myself before I know I’m headed away and do as much as I can so I don’t feel guilty while on the road!
How do you connect with and meet people when travelling?
I LOVE using Instagram to connect with people while on the road. I’m always using the app, so when heading to new places I make the most of it. I also use my current networks. I’m grateful to know a lot of people in a lot of places, so I normally share that I’m headed to a new place and, odds are, I’ll get recommendations of who to meet there.
Before heading to a new place, I also do a bit of research on cultural happenings in the area and then I head there solo. When I do, I almost always meet someone interesting!
What advice would you give a girlfriend who wanted to start out as a digital nomad?
My advice would be to take the time to find what works for you when you’re starting out as a digital nomad. I think that society has over-idealized this vision that living abroad or being a DN, meaning you’re always on the beach and never doing work, but it’s just not true.
I think that all of us need to find what works for us to figure out if we want a home base, if we want to be on the road all the time, how often we really want to be travelling, etc.
Also, realize that life happens in waves and embrace the slow moments. When you’re first starting out it’s vital to take your time with the process.
Quick Fire Round:
When I feel lonely, I … call my grandmother and have a good laugh.
My favourite digital nomad location is … Jávea, Spain. Ironically, I live here now!
The one item I always pack is … my journal.
My favourite digital nomad tool/app/resource is … Whatsapp
In 5 years time, I want to be … financially independent and in a loving relationship.
My all-time favourite quote is … “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” – Nelson Mandela