FREELANCE DESIGN & PRODUCT INNOVATION STRATEGIST, TEACHER
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO COME ON REMOTE YEAR?
As a full-time freelancer who loves to travel, I craved community and professional support, all while still wanting to be more transient. A few years ago I came across the artist Candy Chang’s wall “Before I Die”. Without hesitating, I wrote, in huge block letters “WORK ABROAD”. I walked quickly away, looking over my shoulder, and shelved the silly idea, since how could I make that happen when I couldn’t even decide where (abroad) I wanted to work and live?!
... About a year later, I found out about Remote Year, and the rest is history.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON FOR THE YEAR?
Identifying new organizations and clients who I can help with my product design and strategy know-how, helping others form and grow their own start-up and business ideas, keeping up with all my clients, and finalizing a course I’m planning to teach about Product Design for Social Impact.
WHERE HAVE YOU LIVED/TRAVELED TO PREVIOUSLY?
I’ve lived on both coasts of the the US, as well as Germany and Italy. Travel has taken me enough places to know I want to see many more, including: Iceland, Sweden, Paris, Austria, Berlin, India, Thailand, etc.
HOW DID YOU FIND YOURSELF A REMOTE ROLE?
Simply put: I created it! I left a job at a start-up (I was their Product Innovation Manager, in charge of sourcing new social impact products, creating supply chains, designing the actual products, and packaging them too, phew!) when we realized Remote Year wasn’t going to work with what my future role held with their company. So, I fell back to being a freelance graphic designer, something I had done on and off before. Being back in a freelance and project-driven role has motivated me to take advantage of both my down-time, and my busy moments.
WHAT DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?
The best thing is that no day ever looks the same: It changes depending on the city, the weather, my clients, my commute, and my time-zone. Usually I’ll wake up, make coffee, do some yoga, walk to the co-working space, work, be tempted by a cafe or a RY event, and find something cool to do in the evenings. Being self-employed, it’s a lot of constant upkeep and word-of-mouth marketing, in between long stretches of actual, you know, hard work. It fits in perfectly to the RY lifestyle, and gives me lots of flexibility to go see a monument or take a day off to go surfing while I’m waiting for client feedback. When i’m busy, I’m known to disappear for days at a time to get a project done, but I like the flexibility, because it means my time is my own: instead of waiting for others to get back from their 9-5’s, I have a vibrant network and a new city to enjoy each month.
DESCRIBE YOUR REMOTE YEAR EXPERIENCE IN 3 WORDS.
CATCH THAT WAVE!
WHO DO YOU HOPE TO BE BY THE END OF REMOTE YEAR?
A participant in a global community. Someone who is enjoying a more active lifestyle filled with friendships, new places and a simpler way of living: focused outwards.
WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF BEING A DIGITAL NOMAD?
Having the pressure to “see everything” before we move on to the next city. This is our lives we’re all still living, and friends and family at home sometimes don’t get that. We still have client deadlines. Bad days. Missed calls. Unexpected bills. We’re not just taking a sabbatical for a few months, vacationing in new places, and able to see everything. My “To-See” list is always getting longer, even after I’ve lived in a new country for a month!
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO OTHERS LOOKING TO BRING TRAVEL INTO THEIR LIVES?
Do it! Take the leap. Traveling has helped me grow my worldview, create a global community, and realize that the world is so small, all at the same time. Creating new opportunities can come just by changing your mindset, and travel changes you for the better -- Always.
YOUR FAVORITE DIGITAL NOMAD HACK?
Rome2Rio for sure! As someone who is constantly showing up in new countries, we don’t have the local knowledge of how to get to other cities or countries when we arrive. Say you want to travel to Montenegro from Dubrovnik: is it cheaper to fly? Rent a car? Drive? Take a bus? Plug it into Rome2Rio and the site will give you all the options. Great stuff!
WHAT BOOK SHOULD EVERYONE READ?
I don’t think everyone will enjoy the same thing, so I’ll suggest one that really hit home for me lately: As someone who has a hard time picking “one” career path, and as someone who can’t find motivation to work on something if I’m not passionate about it, I’m really digging “The Renaissance Soul” by Margaret Lobenstine. It’s all about successful life design for those indecisive, enthusiasm-driven people, and ultimately tells us we don’t have to pick one passion, nor can we pick all of them. A great read, and really validates how all individuals can thrive if they have the right tools.
3 THINGS YOU CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT ON THE ROAD?
I didn’t realize I would appreciate kitchen appliances so much! I can’t live without: My foldable drip coffee maker (I boil water and have a coffee every morning, helps me get ready for the day), my Manduka travel yoga mat (it’s the only thing that holds me accountable) and a “hey, whatever!” attitude: things happen. Life happens. What really makes it worthwhile is how you respond to all of the stressors and challenges on the road.
IF YOU HAD TO BE STUCK ON AN ISLAND WITH ANOTHER REMOTE, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
The great thing about Magellan as a whole is, you’d be so set with any of us on the island, because we’re all good at something completely different. Its rare to feel everyone’s individuality so fiercely. Nathan would climb to get us the best coconuts, Martine and Samantha would cook up something incredible, Patrick would figure out how to distill (and drink) our own alcohol, Phil would pay some pirates to save us, Phillie would fashion a surfboard for some killer sets, Paul would have us ponder the societal pressures of being stuck and how we could become better people from it, Rosa would keep you laughing, and Dylan would help us figure out some secrets of the universe in the meantime.
WHERE ARE YOU IN 30 YEARS?