From Hollywood to Digital Nomad. Traveling as a creative director, writer and video producer.

From Hollywood to Digital Nomading

Arestia is a creative director, writer, content strategist and video director/producer, originally from Southern California. She is currently doing freelance work as a digital nomad with a few clients in these capacities.

Tell us more about who you are and what you do!

In addition to being a freelancer, I’m also a participant with Remote Year, a program that brings together 75 digital nomads to travel and work together in one new country each month for a year.

I’m originally from Southern California, so I love all beach activities and stay active playing tennis and running half marathons. I also love live music and petting strange dogs. I have a passion for storytelling in all forms, but especially in film making and in live storySLAMs. I believe my purpose in this life is to tell stories that make a difference.

Arestia

How did you transition into a digital nomad lifestyle?

I made the leap into this lifestyle when I was working as the Creative Director of Brand Strategy at The Daily Beast in New York City. I also lived in Boston for many years before New York, and Los Angeles before that.

How did you get started as a video producer?

It all started in Los Angeles, working in major motion picture and television development and production, while doing some writing online on the side. I first worked as an assistant at Columbia Pictures and then at Happy Madison Productions, before moving up and eventually expanding into television.

I loved producing and directing, but I was also looking to further expand and use my talents in a forward-thinking, digital way. A friend was working at an advertising agency and said they needed a producer for their “content” department.

The idea of working for an advertising agency did not appeal to me in the beginning, but this guy was smart and he also made the leap from working at start-ups to advertising, so I figured it was worth checking it out.

And I’m so glad I did! I got to produce incredible films for brands during that time, and learned so much about strategy in the then fledgling world of content before moving on to The Daily Beast.

Arestia Traveling

I’m an aspiring digital nomad. Where do I start looking for a job?

Ask yourself what you are good at and use that talent for your work, whatever it is. Maybe you have a passion for organization – great! Work as a travel consultant AND an online assistant. It is good to remember that you don’t have to limit yourself to one skill set when working as a digital nomad.

When looking for a location-independent job, I’m a firm believer in leveraging your own network. However, you might need to be more established in your career for that.

There are people in Remote Year with young careers but most of them have a full time job and they convinced their companies to let them work remotely. If you have the hustle and the passion to make this lifestyle happen, go for it!

There are also tons of places for you to find jobs, like remoteok.io, We Work Remotely, Working Nomads, & Remote.co.

Name your favorite city to work from as a digital nomad.

It’s really easy to be a digital nomad in big cities – Buenos Aires was a dream. I was living in Palermo Soho and working in a coworking space in Villa Crespo and there were tons of coffee shops to work from. I particularly loved working from Nininia, Pani and Cohu. Palermo Soho was a great place to live with access to fun restaurants, bars, and shops and I could easily hop on the subway to get to other spots in the city.

But I’ve also really loved the less-likely spots. When you are living and working in smaller towns, I’ve found it easier to meet locals who are interested in connecting because I was more of a curiosity. Plus, I love walk-able cities.

South America

What are the plus points of being a digital nomad?

It was an incredibly difficult decision for me to completely change my life, sell almost all of my belongings and leap into this lifestyle, but I’m so glad I did. I’m still working incredibly hard, but my weekends consist of wine tours in Mendoza, glacier hiking in Patagonia, and hunting for Anacondas in the Amazon. Plus, working in an ever-changing, international environment is so creatively inspiring. My ideas are changing, my writing is flowing more freely, and my work is much better.

And the negatives?

There are some negatives of a digital nomad lifestyle – friends only get to see all those amazing weekend pictures, and not the times of sicknesses, loneliness, and frustration.

Figuring out how to balance my life at the beginning was difficult, and it is still something I’m constantly working on to improve. When you don’t have all the comforts of home or a regular job, you have to work that much harder to normalize.

Have you encountered any safety issues while traveling as a female digital nomad?

I hate that I sometimes have to second guess if it would be ok for me to travel somewhere alone as a woman, but it’s an important reality I have had to come to terms with.

I’ve had the occasional incidents of men yelling at me on the street or taxi drivers trying to take advantage (“No, sir, I live here – I know the taxi rate from the airport to my apartment, thank you.”). Thankfully, there have been no harrowing or horrific stories. Oh, I did once get a UTI and a very kind Argentinian female pharmacist helped me out. Watch out for those. I made sure I picked up extra doses, just in case.

Say something inspirational!

If you really want to become a digital nomad, be sure you’re in the position to make it work but don’t hold back on making the leap. There will be so many reasons for you to say “I can’t”, but if you really, in your heart of hearts, ask yourself what you’re afraid of, you’ll see it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to at least try to make it happen. So jump.

Follow Arestia on her website, Twitter, Instagram and Medium. Photo credit: Mike Chino.

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