Digital Nomad in a Creative Agency

Our Campaign Storyteller Tamera shares her thoughts about transitioning from full-time corporate work to becoming a creative digital nomad.

This time last year I was waking up anxious at the thought of leaving my full-time job to pursue a freelance career. I had never worked freelance before although I juggled several extra projects in my spare time, and it felt daunting to leave a secure job while there was an ongoing pandemic. However, I had time over the past two years to accept that working in a cold office with no sunlight, for an archaic capitalism centred business was not for me/ I probably could have told myself that before those two years, but at least now I know for sure. Being freelance also means that I usually only have a maximum of two days a week to any one project, which has enabled me to be more focused on my work and tasks for each day, I have also found myself more inspired and intrigued by my own potential to create.

Prior to full-time work, in 2018 I went on my first solo trip to Costa Rica for one month. It was a challenging and joyful experience and I realised that trips and days out alone was something I wanted to do often (of course the pandemic put a pause to that). Therefore my new found work environment combined with the opportunity to safely travel again meant that I could now try solo travelling as a Digital Nomad. I decided to visit Lisbon, Portugal for one month in March 2022. My team were excited for my trip and it felt reassuring to be with people who supported my decision to work and pursue my interests and goals without challenging it. Picking a place that was the same time zone as England also made the overall working experience easier for me. Before picking my locations I usually seek online advice from other Black women solo travellers to learn about their experiences and gather tips, of course we can all have completely different opinions, but I have always found this useful and managed to find activities or places where I can safely fulfil my cultural interests and needs.

One of the things I have noticed about working abroad was that my focus and enthusiasm towards work didn’t decrease, if anything it was the opposite. I think people assume that it would feel as if you’re losing 'quality' time on your trip by working. But if you see it not just as a holiday, but as an opportunity to live and emerge yourself in a new location, it helps you to contemplate how you can incorporate this healthy balance of work and adventure into your normal day-to-day. Staying in a co-working/living space also helped me to connect with other Digital Nomads who understood when you were on your laptop for work vs Netflix. For those curious about doing the same thing, I stayed in a Selina which also offered a co-working office space, however I felt sitting on the rooftop in the sun suited me much better.

We often feel as if we have to choose between our different priorities and aspirations, but it is becoming increasingly possible for us to have more choice, to find ways for our careers to fit into our lives and not the other way around. I wanted the time to seek inspiration, connect with people outside of my circle and reassess the way I live my life day-to-day. Yes it feels easier to do these things when we are outside of our normal routines, so to ensure that I don’t leave these things on the other side of the plane, I’ve kept a weekly journal and written a list of ‘Lessons to take with me’. Nothing on that list is profound, in fact it’s hilariously basic. Most of the things we need to live happier lives, have a sense of fulfilment and enthusiasm towards our jobs, relationships and hobbies, we already know. Sometimes we just need reminding. It’s not about travelling to find these things, but stepping outside of your comfort zone and being open to what you receive.

Being a Digital Nomad is a large part of our future, but I think we have to tread carefully so that it doesn’t become a situation where you are forced to overwork due to the luxury of being able to work remotely and save time on commutes. Rather it should be a part of a larger conversation surrounding work culture and boundaries, (fortunately I work with individuals who would have hopped on the plane with me, laptop in hand, sunscreen in the other. ) I’d also like to note that for those who are considering to work and travel in this type of way, make sure that you take your actual work detoxes too, a week off eating and reading in a park - the dream! Extra flexibility regarding our careers doesn’t substitute for complete rest. But it is amazing that we have the ability to incorporate more of it into our everyday life.

Safe travels.

- Tamera


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