Name, age, where you’re from and where you live now
Andrea Valeria, 29, born and raised in Panama City, Panama. I’m a digital nomad now, so I move every 3-6 months to a new place.
You are the first digital nomad I’m featuring in this series! When did you start living that life?
I have officially been a digital nomad for over 2 years now, but I have been pretty nomadic ever since I completed my undergrad degree.
What made you decided to do that?
I don’t get attached to things, places or situations easily. That’s one of the main characteristics a digital nomad should have, because you will be saying goodbye a lot (to people, places, things, routines, everything). Since I love traveling and I was able to become location-independent, being a digital nomad made sense to me.
What did you do before you started doing what you do now?
I’ve been a TV News Reporter, a freelance Event Producer, the Director of Operations of a photography company in the US … all those things have taught me all the necessary skills to do what I’m doing now. They also taught me what I like to do, and what I wouldn’t want to do again.
Where all have you lived thus far?
I have lived in Panama City, Missouri, Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Big Island (Hawaii), Oahu (Hawaii), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Mexico City, Playa del Carmen (Mexico) and Boquete (Panama).
I know this is a question you likely get a lot, but how do you make a living? I know you make vlogs for different companies, right?
To make a living, I’ve been diversifying my income. My main project is ‘it’s a Travel O.D.’ and my vlogging. I make vlogs for different companies. I also have independent consulting jobs in Recruiting/Hiring, and social media strategy/branding. I started a cleaning company which I sold, as well. So, I make a living by getting creative and doing a little bit of everything.
What are some things that would surprise people about the digital nomad lifestyle?
People think we’re always on vacation, and actually, most digital nomads I know work 40 hours a week or even more- because we love what we do. It’s often assumed that since we’re traveling so much, we’re lonely, but in my case, I’ve been lucky to meet digital nomads wherever I go. It’s not a lifestyle that is for everyone, that’s for sure. However, I do believe that the good aspects far outweigh any downsides.
What have you found to be the best part?
My favorite part is the location independence and the freedom to make my own schedules. Managing my times and working at off hours is an amazing feeling. Those might seem like small things, but they really do have a positive impact on my overall happiness.
What have you found to be the worst?
Discipline. It can be hard sometimes to push yourself to wake up earlier, turn down social events or complete tasks when you don’t actually have a deadline or anywhere to be. You have to get in the right mindset. It can sometimes feel like a bit of a vacation when you’re in a new place, but you have to remember you have to hustle and get work done regardless of the surrounding.
What advice do you have to people wanting to live the digital nomad lifestyle?
Make sure you have a business that you can do remotely (or that all your services can continue to be offered while you’re traveling). As soon as you have enough clients, work or projects, you can start being a digital nomad. You can even have one full-time job that happens to be remote. There are no wrong or right ways to do it!
Where do you get inspiration for your vlogs?
From everywhere – anywhere from the comment section of my Instagram posts to conversations with friends. A lot of the questions people ask me are good inspiration, as well. If people want to know, they might want to watch a vlog about it, too. So, the key is to be aware of your surroundings, and write down every single idea you get.
What do you hope people get out of watching your vlogs?
I think they want to know more about the full-time traveling lifestyle- so, it’s a mix of information and motivation. I explain how I live the lifestyle or I showcase the stories of people with interesting travel-related projects. When people watch my vlog, I want them to be inspired to get out of their comfort zone and pursue their passions. I also like entertaining people. Sometimes my vlogs are funnier than they’re informational. It’s a mix, but they’re always from different locations and cities. They’re a good representation of who I am.
Where do you hope to go next?
There are lots of places I’ve never been, and they’re all on my list. That’s because I love going to a place for the first time. Sometimes opportunities arise out of nowhere, and I take them. That means I often end up going to a place that maybe wasn’t even on my radar. I don’t really do research or pick places with too much time in advance… I just go.
What are your vlogging goals?
I vlog because it allows me to have a creative outlet while showcasing my skills. Vlogging has led me to meeting people I get inspired by and to being part of exciting projects. I wish to continue doing that. I mix vlogging with my other passion which is traveling, so I would like to continue doing both. I will soon be publishing a book about vlogging, too.
Tell me about your childhood a little bit. I know you have mentioned growing up in Panama and then moving to the US. What was that transition like as a kid?
For the first 10 years of my life, I was an only child. That meant I had a lot of time to myself, and I used most of it to play with computers and make videos. Yup. I truly have been doing the same thing since I was a kid. When I moved to the US for college, I was able to meet other creatives and to do hands-on work at my college’s TV station. So, that’s really when I discovered that working in teams can be cool, too.
Which culture do you feel like you identify more with?
I will always be Panamanian, and identify with Panama’s culture- no matter where I live. However, after living for over 8 years in the US, I can say I’ve become somewhat of an Americanized Latina. I lived there for most of my professional career, all of my higher education and most of my formative yeas, so it makes sense though.
I like picking up little traditions of every country I visit, which is the best souvenir of my travels. (And all the mix of accents I acquire every time I live in a different Spanish-speaking country. haha!)
How has it felt to travel back to Panama as an adult?
Panama is an ever-changing, multicultural hub, so it’s always interesting to go back and see how much it has changed over the years. This last time I’ve been living in Panama, I’ve been in a part of Panama that I hadn’t even been to that much before. So, it’s been great to get to know other parts of the country, which weren’t where I grew up.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I am 100% a night owl. I can respond to emails, have meetings and do some tasks during day. However, all of the editing, writing and content-creating magic happens at night. I work best from about 6pm to 3am.
What’s your biggest vice?
Diet Coke, which is my replacement for coffee. I drink a lot of water, but I must have Diet Coke with every meal.
What do you love most about yourself?
That I am completely happy being on my own. I don’t really need to be in a certain spot or type of place, for example. I adapt pretty easily to different scenarios, which is why I pick up my bags and move so often.
What’s your favorite color?
Purple, black and white.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
The day I realized how cool it was to be doing something I truly enjoyed, I got a tattoo that says “do what you love.” I did that not only as a celebration, but also as a reminder to always work hard to continue to do just that. To me, turning your hobbies and passions into your job/career is the easiest way to achieve happiness…. so, if that’s a goal for you, remember that you can do it, too.