The latest in my World Travellers Series is Sarah from USA who works at Anyplace and travels as she works.
Who are you?
I’m Sarah, a marketing manager, writer, and remote work expert, who’s currently traveling solo around the world.
I kickstarted my career in agency settings working on PR, content marketing, and SEO initiatives for six years. During that time, I convinced my CEO to allow me to work remotely full-time while traveling, and he approved. Since then I’ve been worked across five continents as a digital nomad.
More recently, I traded the agency life to join Anyplace, a flexible housing market for digital nomads. At Anyplace, I spearhead content marketing, SEO, and PR efforts with an awesome team of like-minded digital nomads.
Where are you from?
I’m originally from Newburyport, Massachusetts. I also studied and worked in Rhode Island, California, Hawaii, and Italy before becoming location independent.
Where have you been?
While I don’t keep count of the countries I’ve been to, I’ve traveled and worked remotely across five continents: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
I’d say I’ve been an avid traveler for more than 10 years, but I officially sold everything and began traveling full-time 2.5 years ago. Since then, I’ve spent 1-3 months in each destination.
Where are you now?
I’m currently in Dahab, Egypt.
What are the top 3 places you’ve visited?
It’s so difficult to pick just three! But I’m a big hiker and foodie, so I’d have to say Argentina, Switzerland, and Japan.
What is the best travel experience you’ve had?
I spent six weeks traveling throughout Argentina, and for two of those weeks, I unplugged from work, rented an SUV, and road tripped through the unpaved roads of Patagonia with a fellow digital nomad.
The flexibility of the SUV meant that we arrived at destinations before the shuttles did, so we could explore without a tourist in sight. We heard the cracks of the glacier at Perito Moreno Glacier, watched the guanaco’s run freely throughout the mountains of Torres del Paine, and drove hundreds of miles without a glimpse of anyone else on the road except for ostrich families and other wildlife. Patagonia is one of those places I plan to return to someday.
What is the worst travel experience you’ve had?
Negative travel experiences are inevitable and I’ve had my fair share of mishaps, but I’m a firm believer that the benefits outweigh the challenges during long-term travel.
My most stressful experience was when my laptop malfunctioned.
As I mentioned, I first began my digital nomad journey by pitching my CEO to allow me to work remotely full-time while continuing to work with an office-based team. I felt a huge sense of responsibility to always be connected and exceed performance expectations as the first person in the company to test the waters as a digital nomad. So when my laptop screen malfunctioned in the Canary Islands without a backup device, I had to quickly devise a plan to get access to a MacBook with an American English keyboard.
I decided to hop on a plane Malta where they had MacBooks with American English keyboards in stock. When I arrived, they diagnosed my laptop and promised to fix it in seven days for free under AppleCare (life savior). Without the possibility to rent a laptop in the area, I purchased an iPad Pro to work from for the week, which was much more difficult than I expected. Then, the repair company mysteriously had a rental I could borrow a few days later. In the end, my laptop was fixed and I had a new iPad Pro that I could use as a second screen moving forward. Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches.
What is the funniest travel experience you’ve had?
Believe it or not, the digital nomad community is tight-knit. The funniest moments I’ve had are running into people around the world when I least expected it. For example, I met an American digital nomad at a coliving space in Tenerife, but we lost touch. Nearly two months later, we ran into each other at a digital nomad meetup in Buenos Aires, and a few weeks after that, at a coliving space in Bariloche. It’s always fun to see familiar faces as a solo traveler.
If you’re someone who often stays at coliving spaces in popular digital nomad destinations, it’s likely you’ll run into someone you’ve met when you least expect it.
What is the scariest travel experience you’ve had?
When I first arrived in Guatemala, I took a private car for a 3-hour drive from Guatemala City to Lake Atitlan. My friend had been living in Panajachel for a few years, so she set up the transfer with a friend who was not an official taxi driver.
About 1.5 hours into the drive, we were stopped at a military checkpoint on the edge of the jungle. Almost immediately, the military urgently our driver to step out of the car and interrogated him for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, they angrily interrogated my friends and I in the car in Spanish, however, only one of my friends spoke Spanish so she led the conversation. It was tense and we didn’t understand what was happening.
After the interrogation, our driver hopped back in the car and drove away laughing. He shared that the military thought he was kidnapping us, so he had to call our friend in Panajachel to prove that he was lawfully driving us. The military was actually there to protect us. It was reassuring after all, but scary and uncertain in the moment.
What is the most random job you have had on your travels?
When I was still a student, I interned for an English-speaking media company in Florence, Italy for five months. I had no idea what to expect from the internship before arriving, but it ended up being a highlight of my time abroad.
I spent 20 hours per week making video content featuring businesses and important figures around Florence. That meant I could explore the Uffizi gallery during off-hours, get access to new markets before they opened to the public, and privately meet local shop owners who had dedicated themselves to their crafts for decades. It was such a unique way to get to know the Florentine community.
How do you fund your travels?
I’m a Content Marketing Manager at Anyplace, a monthly housing marketplace with properties all around the world. As an advocate for the digital nomad lifestyle, it’s a dream to work with a like-minded team while building a product I truly believe in.
I’m also a freelance writer and often cover topics related to digital nomadism, remote work, and travel.
What 3 tips would you give a new traveler before they set off on their adventure?
One of the first tips I got from a long-term traveler was to realize that if I need something, I can buy it there. There’s no need to stock up and carry items in multiples — become flexible and try different soap products, stop blow-drying your hair, and wear less makeup.
Second, I’d suggest not to plan too far ahead. One of the major benefits of the digital nomad lifestyle is flexibility. You never know who you’ll meet and when — keeping your schedule flexible will allow you to change your location based on that. And if you don’t like a place or feel comfortable there, you can move on.
Third, I’d recommend creating a budget and applying for travel credit cards out of the gate. I’ve earned free round trip flights from the U.S. to Japan, London, Bali, Hawaii, and more just by using my travel credit cards as usual. And as for a budget, set aside money for the essentials and monthly bills, but also consider building up your emergency fund and investing along the way. I’m so happy I did.
What are your future travel plans?
I plan to spend several months exploring Asia when the borders open and it’s safe to do so. I love night markets, hiking, and warm climates, so I’d love to explore Taiwan, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand.
Sarah Archer is a Content Marketing Manager at Anyplace who works remotely while traveling. She’s passionate about developing content and PR initiatives that help digital nomads find housing options. When she’s not working, she’s likely hiking a new trail, eating pho, or mapping out the next destination.
Thanks to Sarah for being the latest in my series of World Travellers! If you travel the world and run a travel blog or are a travel writer, please get in touch, you can be featured, either e-mail jonny (at) dontstopliving (dot) net or head to my contacts page and get connected! You can also subscribe to Don’t Stop Living by filling in the form below! Safe travels!