Lessons learned as a digital nomad: Lulu of Lulukilla.com

 

Tell us more about yourself! What are you up to these days?

I’m Lulu, a digital nomad (focusing in social media and digital marketing) from Boston. I’ve been traveling since last October when I decided that a 3 week vacation shouldn’t end. I am a curious INTJ and always exploring new places in the cities I wind up in.

Lately, I’ve gotten back into regular yoga and meditation practice and am quite obsessed with mountain biking. I bought a bike for 310 Euros here in Portugal and it’s my main mode of transport, anywhere from 20-50km per day! Also, biking the trails is such a rush, although I did have a bad fall last week and have 3 nice scrapes from it 😉

I currently have one main client and a few smaller ones, but my time is pretty open to volunteer with dogs 4 days / week. Ultimately, I am looking to find a way to merge my passion for animals, vegetarianism, sustainability, physical activity & digital marketing expertise into a lucrative career.

Lulu Vietnam

How long have you been a digital nomad? How did you get started?

I started officially in February in Vietnam when I realized I could make more money continuing my career abroad.

Prior to that I did bits of trade work at a dive shop, a circus hostel and some others. Once I made the choice, I set up shop at Dreamplex (a spectacular coworking space in Ho Chi Minh City), and started to reach out to my colleagues from Boston. I landed a quick content writing gig that funded me for a few months and now work primarily with a yoga brand.

Digital Nomad

What has been your best and worse experience as a digital nomad?

The freedom to work when I want and where I want. I am still trying to balance the exact amount of work that is suited to me, as well as obtaining an hourly rate that is fair for the work I provide – but I have so much time to grow as a person and volunteer. There have absolutely been times I wanted to go home (I don’t really have one other than my parents spare rooms), but I’ve stuck with it and am stronger for the experience.

Benagil Caves

My worse experience has to be here in Faro, Portugal, where I wound up with bed bugs at a hostel in town. The place was pretty clean, but the owner did not address the issue immediately and even though I moved rooms I ended up getting attacked 2 times. Other guests got bitten as well. It really is psychologically disturbing to have this sort of experience.

Faro

Have you encountered any safety issues as a female traveler?

I’ve been really lucky, nothing has been stolen and I have never been directly in harm’s way. I remind myself daily that I am not invincible and try to take necessary precautions.

However, one AirBNB guy invited me over for “dinner with friends and a roommate” as I was considering moving into the spare room – the roommate and friends never showed up. I tried to act normal and proceeded with wine and dinner but was totally creeped the entire time. Then he tried to kiss me. I declined the advance, but wish I had been more ballsy and told him I was leaving as soon as things got sketchy. Seriously. F that guy. Thanks for the reminder, just blocked him on Facebook 😉

Was it difficult finding social media and digital marketing jobs?

I had 5 years of digital marketing experience from when I was living in Boston, the brands I worked for are consistently a draw for future clients.

In addition to that I brand myself consistently across my personal social media channels and blog. This “brand” is definitely not for everyone, but my authentic self shines through and I attract brands that align with my own voice.

What would be your advice to an aspiring female digital nomad?

Have more of a plan in mind than I did. I decided to make the change while on a vacation and missed out on my annual bonus at work as well as selling some of my belongings that could have equated to more travel money. I also had no savings – seriously though.

Additionally, get out of debt first and foremost (I did it 1 week before I left the US). Dig yourself out of whatever hole you’re in – eat beans and rice, don’t go out drinking, and get a part time job. The reason I can keep going is that I live frugally and have almost no overhead – with debt and loans this is much less possible.

Follow Lulu on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and her website.

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