Ever since I went on a plane for the first time at six years old, I knew that I wanted to travel forever. Actually, I’m writing this article sitting on an airplane. Go figure! After that childhood turning point, one thing led to another and now I am hosting a travel program for remote workers in South America.
Before even finishing university, I had already lived in the US and Italy – as well as backpacking across Europe. Since then, my only two passions that remained in time have been to travel and to meet new people.
9 to 5 (more like 9 to 7)
I thought I needed to do the “right” thing. That was, finishing my studies and getting a real job. My dream, my passion, was dead… or so I thought. Don’t get me wrong. I loved my traditional job. I enjoyed being around people, but my desire to start working in the travel industry never left my mind.
Then came Groupon. I started working in their travel department, but guess what? They needed me in the consumer goods area. I got promised they’d move me to travel one year later. That trip never happened.
My time there was like being on a dream incubator. Everyone there would talk about what they wanted to do with their life, projects that they had in mind, and what career path they ideally wanted to follow. All that honesty between work colleagues was new and surprising for me, and – you guessed right – it brought my dream back to life.
Travel like a rockstar
In 2012, I packed my backpack full of clothes, books, a sleeping bag and a tent. I spent the entire year travelling around this beautiful continent named South America. I met amazing people, all with different stories behind them – young backpackers, old wine makers, experienced digital nomads, and brand new hostel owners.
Travelling alone was liberating, but also lonely at times too. Although during both the highs and lows, I knew I had made the right decision. I would never be the same person again.
During my year off, I realised something. I’d never not work in the travel industry. Destiny was kind to me and I got what exactly what I was looking for. Hostelworld, which became my favourite brand since Europe, offered me a Business Development position in Brazil, and I was going to overlook Latin America.
There, I got a taste of the Digital Nomad lifestyle. I had the opportunity to keep travelling, while working around Latin America. I met hundreds of hostel owners, organised trips and events, and I even got to attend the Hostel Conference in Dublin. I was living the dream. My dream.
But as we all know, some things don’t last – and this was one of them. Nine months on, they had to close the Brazil office and I had no other choice than to go back home. I took the long way though – taking an eight-day boat on the Amazon, staying a month in Colombia, then to Peru on a three-day bus.
My ticket to the digital nomad life
Once back home, I scored a role at Cloudbeds – a hotel management system company. It was a BDM position, but it was different. It was remote. I got to be in Cusco, Arequipa, Santiago, Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Colonia and Bogotá, all while working remotely.
I started co-working. I met lots of likeminded people who were on the same path. I learned that people visiting a new city for less than a month just wasn’t enough – because they needed to fit in work everyday. It was different than being a tourist. Also, there was the issue of loneliness.
I witnessed this first hand. Nomads were trying to do things in their spare time, but because of a lack of time or local knowledge, things often didn’t work out. Me, a local and world traveller, played the tour guide part often.
My journey steered in another direction: part digital nomad, part tour guide. I have teamed up with other wanderlusters like me. Together, we’ve designed a travel program that promises to be a life changing experience for all its participants: “The Nomads – Cowork & Travel”.
30 souls. 6 months. South America.
We’re looking for 30 intrepid souls, location independent professionals to join our tribe and live in South America for six months in 2017 as a community.
We’ll hit four major cities with great wifi, of course. Lima, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and Santiago de Chile. To get to know a city, we know how important it is to feel like a local. And that’s how we’re going to roll. We’ll stay in a place for at least six weeks.
While our nomads are busy working, we’ll arrange the accommodation (private rooms), office space nearby, transportation between the four cities, lunch during weekdays, and tours and activities for all the group. If somebody in the group wants to learn Spanish, salsa, tango, go for a swim or anything else, we’ll find the best option – at the local price.
While we know that simply being abroad leads to huge personal and professional growth, we want to give our nomads more. We organise different talks between the group, where anybody can share the project that they’re working on. Also, we will be offering personalised networking, so that the nomad can get to know relevant people for his/her purposes in each city to share ideas.
Think of The Nomads like your family, on the road.
The journey never stops
Being a digital nomad has been a one-way ticket ride. One thing led to the other, and I can say that I combine my carrier with the two passions I still have: to meet new people and travel like there’s no tomorrow.
After the many twists and turns I’ve had in my life, I think there’s one lesson that stands out: you must follow your dreams.
I sure have.
If your nomad ears are burning, come on over to The Nomads website. If you want to join Diego and live a life full of freedom, we’re offering a $500 discount if you sign up in August. We can’t wait for you to join our family.