Last updated on February 1st, 2024
Meet Andrea Valeria, a vlogger, digital nomad, and remote work specialist. Welcome to “Life by Design”. This Discovery Sessions interview series probes inspiring individuals who work online and travel, and people designing their lives around freedom to inspire readers just like you.
Andrea Valeria is Panamanian by nationality and a world citizen by heart. On her website itsatravelod.com, she shares thoughtful insight into the pearls and perils of digital nomadism, as well as useful tips to monetize your side hustles and find remote jobs. I have lost countless hours glued to her Facebook videos and Instagram stories (she’s got quite the knack for those cheeky captions).
Andrea and her lighthearted musings have been featured on Forbes, Expedia, and just about every other list of successful people traveling the world and getting paid for it. If you haven’t seen one of her videos yet, what are you waiting for?
I’ve decided to specifically highlight Andrea’s efforts purely because she was one of the premier faces in the remote working landscape who inspired me to overhaul my lifestyle. Through her various social channels, she visually depicts the possibility of getting paid to do what you love, no matter how outside the box it may be. She also always seems to be somewhere warm, which is certainly my kind of lifestyle. Read on for Andrea Valeria’s perils of wisdom.
Rosie Bell: Where in the world do you currently call home (if anywhere)?
Andrea Valeria: Nowhere in my case. I’m 100% doing the nomad thing. I have one suitcase and a carry-on. Wherever I unpack is home for the moment.
RB: If the world was your oyster and you could live anywhere, where would you choose?
AV: I have one place in mind, but I also feel like I need to kiss a lot more frogs (AKA live in lots of more places). If I keep traveling for five more years, and my heart keeps coming back to that one place, then I’d pick it. If not, I just want to keep being a nomad for as long as my soul desires. Ideally, I want to live in each place for about three to six months. We shall see.
RB: Who in your life fills you with the most inspiration?
AV: Not one single person, but really anyone who is extremely ambitious and driven. They force me to step up and hustle harder. Also, anyone who is grateful for what they’re achieving – especially if they’re a work in progress. I think it’s beautiful to appreciate every step of the way.
RB: Have you ever felt lost in a negative way?
AV: I’m a generally pretty positive person, but I did feel lost for about a year when I was living in a place that didn’t suit me and working a job that wasn’t fulfilling. Thankfully, I changed my ways and started being a nomad, which is the best decision I’ve ever made.
RB: Which hidden gem have you visited that you absolutely recommend?
AV: I’m not even sure if it’s that hidden because there are a lot of Instagram photos taken there but, Bacalar, México, without a doubt. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything that beautiful. (Google it and be ready to be blown away if you’ve never heard of it).
RB: Favourite beach?
RB: Which city is dearest to you?
AV: Mexico City where I lived for five months last year. I was back recently, and it was like reuniting with an old flame… totally exciting all over again. I feel at home there.
RB: What would you say to someone to inspire them to travel more?
AV: I have never met a single person who has regretted taking a trip. In fact, I recently had dinner with a new friend who said: “I wish I would have started traveling sooner.” It’s one of those life experiences that are bound to enrich you and make you a more well-rounded person. No one digs regrets, so I’d just remind them to make sure to have no regrets when it comes to traveling.
RB: What’s the strangest thing anyone has said to you while traveling?
AV: Well, I probably get this one quite often: “Are you on a permanent vacation?” In my case, I’m definitely not. I work while traveling, which is the perfect way to sprinkle vacation elements into your life every single day.
RB: What are some of the jobs you had before you worked remotely?
AV: I was a TV News Reporter in Florida. That’s how I learned storytelling, writing video scripts, video editing, and being on camera — which I use today for the social media and marketing side of my business. Then I was a traveling freelance event producer. The gigs ranged from driving in golf carts around Paramount Studios to wrangling artists and VIPs. What helped me here is all the pre-production research that was done online.
After that, I was a freelance content creator and vlogger. My first official gig as a vlogger was to create eight vlogs for a hotel in Orlando, Florida showing their hotels and amenities — which helped me with content creation and eventually landed me traveling content creation opportunities. I was then the branch manager of a photography studio in Oahu, Hawaii. I learned about photography and tools like Adobe Lightroom. I also learned customer service and accounting which are all things I love knowing as a digital business owner now. Thereafter I was the director of operations for a photography company on Big Island, Hawaii. I managed a distributed team, did payroll and employee scheduling, recruiting, hiring, and onboarding, oversaw customer satisfaction, managed projects, and much more.
After all this, I went remote. I became a hiring and recruiting manager. This was my first full-time remote job. I didn’t have to learn new skills because all of it was part of what I was doing in my previous job. I just had to start learning tools and programs to do the same remote job but remotely.
That’s the cool thing about finding remote jobs — you don’t have to change industries, learn new skills, or do something completely different. You can just identify the skills you already have and apply for remote jobs in the same field. It’s the easiest way to land your first remote job.
RB: What are your tips for people who would like to start working remotely?
AV: Three things that will make you feel like you’re winning at life are flexibility, freedom, and work-life balance. That’s why I love remote jobs so much — because nothing beats getting paid while still being in control of your life and having flexibility. If you’re not there yet, claim it.
I remember having to wait until no one else in the company requested the same days off as me because I couldn’t go on vacation if someone else went too. So, I had to wait to book my flights and tickets which were $400 when I started planning which were later around $800 when I finally got the vacation time approved. Now, that I can pack up and go whenever I want to without having to ask a boss for permission, I’m truly grateful I that can work from anywhere or take time off when needed.
If you’re currently in that kind of job, I’m here to remind you that remote jobs with flexible schedules are out there and you’ll land one soon. Take advantage of all the free resources I have to help you land your first remote job and achieve that freedom you deserve.