Here at Travel Latina we are always looking for ways to empower and motivate Latinxs all over the world! Which is why we are spotlighting a Viajerx each month to share their stories with us!
We start off by interviewing this month the wonderful Laura Gonzalez whom participated in the program Remote Year in which she experienced living and working abroad for a full year. I personally was very inspired and excited to interview Laura, as she was the only Latinx that I knew about participating in Remote Year. With a lot of courage, financial discipline, and developing and preparing her professional skills, Laura was able to make her dreams of travel a reality. Check out our interview with her below.
Camel trekking in The Sahara
Travel Latina: Tell us a little about your background.
Laura Gonzalez: I’m originally from Barranquilla, Colombia where there is always a party and the weather is a constant 90 F. I moved to the gorgeous and tranquil state of New Hampshire in the United States during my early teens. Although I will always love the gorgeous state of New Hampshire, adjusting was probably one of the most challenging aspects of my life. I graduated from the University of New Hampshire in Manchester with a Business degree, my concentration was in Sales & International Marketing.
TL: Congratulations on recently being named an Ambassador for Remote Year! The digital nomad lifestyle is a fairly new thing I would say, it has got a lot of spotlight in the last two years or so. How would you describe this type of lifestyle to someone who knows nothing about it.
LG: The digital nomad lifestyle consists of having the freedom to work from anywhere on the planet with an internet connection. You are basically free to roam around the globe, as long as you maintain your work responsibilities. I worked from traditional co-working spaces and from my bed but also worked from the beach. Even a castle! My favorite thing about a digital nomad life is being able to explore new places, immerse myself in new cultures, while continuing to make a living.
TL: What is Remote Year? How did you find out about it?
LG: Remote Year brings together 50-80 inspiring professionals, freelancers, entrepreneurs, and adventurers to see the world during an unforgettable year of personal and professional growth. I had seen ads on social media platform and it was something that interested me from the get go. It became real when someone I went to high school posted about starting her Remote Year experience. Your monthly fees covered your living space, co-working space, flights, and professional & social events.
In Rabat, Morocco running a hackathon providing web development and marketing consultation to an education start up.
TL: What was your remote work position?
LG: I decided to be my own boss while on Remote Year. I was a sales and Marketing strategist for a few small businesses in the health and education industry. I also did Spanish tutoring and translation.
TL: How were you able to fund your program participation? (Savings, scholarships, work – pay as you go?) A lot of people are afraid to take the leap into these type of programs for financial reasons, what advice do you have for those that may find money as an obstacle to participate or to travel in general?
LG: To fund my Remote Year experience as well as the many other (unexpected) side trips and experiences, I used a combination of work-pay as I went on with the program, as well as savings from my travel fund that I started back when I was in college. Travel has always been a priority in my life, hence I have always made a priority to save for it.
As for finances, my tips for someone that is looking into a Remote Year or a similar experience is to do the following:
- Already have a travel fund to cover at least 3 months (better if 6 months) of your life abroad in case of unexpected situations.
- Try to be as debt free as possible.
- Make travel your priority and really make an effort to save for it.
- Establish clients if you are self-employed before you begin your program.
TL: How do you keep a work-life balance? I would imagine people would think this is challenging to have when your mind may be in travel mode.
LG: When you decide to become a digital nomad (whether it is for a month or years) it is important to shift your mindset — This is your normal life now…treat it as that! Tour your new home, attend parties with your new friends, have spa days (generally way cheaper than at back at home) check out amazing restaurants, but also stay in and watch netflix, cook your own meals, Skype your family and friends from back home, read books, paint your own nails! Try to stay grounded in order to feel balanced.
TL: What countries did you visit while in Remote Year?
I lived and worked from the following countries: Portugal, Morocco, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, and Argentina.
TL: Which was your favorite country? Do you have a favorite experience you would like to share?
My favorite country was Morocco. I lived there in September 2016 which was month #2 of my Remote Year experience. Living and experiencing Morocco was one of my wildest dreams. I’ll never forget the one morning I climbed up a sand dune to watch the most gorgeous and intense sunrise. I stayed there for a while overlooking the Sahara.
TL: Do you have any final words for Viajerxs reading this interview?
LG: Unanimously, the year I participated in Remote Year was the best year of my life! It allowed me to live out my intense passion for traveling and experiencing new cultures while also evolving personally and professionally. I realized how privileged I am to be living my dream and I want to let everyone know how possible it is. I would love for more Latinx travelers who are interested in experiencing the digital nomad lifestyle to to take the leap and live out the dream! Make intentional yet flexible plans for what you want your digital nomad lifestyle to be and go do it!
Hiking The Seven Rila Lakes in Bulgaria.
Since finishing her Remote Year abroad last year Laura took yet another leap and moved to sunny San Diego, California. She had never visited the city before and did not know many people there. Nonetheless, she followed her intuition to move there and is now working for a technology company as a Business Development Manager for the Americas. Laura wholeheartedly believes in the power of daily visualization and meditation as this helps her live her best life. When I met Laura, additionally to her titles as a world traveler and business boss, I thought she should really consider adding life coach to her resume. Laura’s spirit of positivity radiates when you speak to her! It is no wonder she made her dreams of living a Digital Nomad life a reality!
Follow LG and her adventures on IG @lgsworldcrush
*All photos provided by Laura Gonzalez.