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Interview

Meet the Sun and Co. Team: Silvia

By | Community, Interview, The Team | No Comments

Sun and Co. team is growing! Silvia recently joined the team as our Digital Marketing Executive. Let’s get to know her a bit more…

Tell us a bit about you Silvia!

I grew up in a small town called Treviso, about 30km from Venice, Italy. But I’ve been travelling and living abroad for most of my adult life. After living in London for 7 years, working as a Programme Manager for London Business School and later as a marketing executive for a private university, in 2017 I got rid of most of my stuff, packed my life into a 23kg suitcase and went travelling for two years around the world. I worked as a Program Leader for Remote Year and then went backpacking solo throughout Central America for a few months. Until I met Jon at the Freedom X Festival last summer and found out about Sun and Co. And here I am!

What do you at Sun and Co?

I help running Sun and Co.’s social media platforms and support the overall digital marketing strategy.

Outside of work, what do you love to do?

Spending time in nature, walking, running and being active as much as I can. Of course I love travelling, and I’m always planning the next trip! I’m currently enjoying exploring Javea and its beautiful surroundings.

If you had to describe coliving in one word, what would it be?  

Sharing.

What do you think makes Sun and Co. so special?

The people that run it and the people that come here. I think Edu, Jon and Sienna have done a great job identifying and communicating the values that are at the foundation of Sun and Co. and therefore attracting the right type of people: passionate, inspiring, adventurous, kind, open-minded, curios and with a growth-oriented mindset. The Sun and Co. community is so welcoming and open that ‘family’ is truly the first word that comes to mind.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone looking to become location independent?

Being location independent is not just a ‘cool’ way to live. It’s a choice of lifestyle and it comes with pros and cons. It’s not for everyone and it’s ok. Make sure you really identify your core values and what you want your life to look like before taking the leap. Then buckle up and prepare for an epic rollercoaster ride!

What is your favourite thing about Javea? Every day is a sunny day!

Biggest surprise since joining the Sun and Co. team? How quickly and effortlessly they managed to make me feel at home.

Quick round off!

Favourite place you’ve ever traveled to: I have too many!!

Beach or mountain: Beach.

Carry-on or big suitcase: Backpack.

Coffee or tea: Coffee and green tea.

Summer or winter: Javea any season!

3 Most Used Apps: Whatsapp, Google Maps, Spotify.

Favourite Song at the moment: Tal Vez by Paulo Londra.

 

We hope you enjoyed getting to know Silvia a bit more! Check out the rest of the Sun and Co. team’s interview if you missed them!

An Interview with Jennifer Lachs, Founder of the Digital Nomad Girls Community

By | Digital Nomad, Guest Blog, Interview | No Comments

Entrepreneur and founder of the ‘Digital Nomad Girls’ community, Jennifer Lachs is nothing but positive energy!

At Sun and Co. we had the pleasure to host her community of remote workers and female entrepreneurs twice already, and she’s coming back for the third time in June 2019 to run her Digital Nomad Girls Retreat.. Guess where? At Sun and Co. in Javea, of course 🙂

We sat down with Jennifer to talk about how she got the inspiration to start her business, the joys and challenges of life on the road, and how her view of ‘digital nomadism’ has changed with time.

Without saying anything about work, tell us a little bit about who you are and what you value.

I’m a bit of a contradiction actually. In a way I’m a free spirit, but I also have a very analytical, scientific mind. I’m an adventurer, but also a chicken. I love backpacking, exploring all corners of the world but am happiest in Disneyland.

I value friendship and connection, freedom of choice, freedom to explore and the freedom to learn new skills and reinvent myself.

I love food and think it’s one of the greatest pleasures in life to discover new dishes from around the world. My favourite dishes are ceviche, soup dumplings and laksa soup but I love everything to do with noodles or dumplings.

So, what do you do that allows you to be location independent?

It’s a long story, but now I run my own business called Digital Nomad Girls. It’s a community that brings together location independent women from around the world. I’ve run retreats and also have a membership site ‘The DNG Inner Circle’, a virtual coworking community that travels with you.

In the past I was a chemist and then became a freelancer after backpacking and gallivanting around the world for nearly 2 years.

What inspired you to start Digital Nomad Girls? Did it come from a lack of representation or more of a longing to create community?

To be honest, a bit of both. After travelling for a good few years I was really missing having close girl friends. And at the same time I noticed I was often the only girl at coworking spaces or digital nomad events. The online business world can also be quite loud and a bit overwhelming for women I think. So I had the idea to start a Facebook group to meet other girls who were trying to do the same thing as me. And it seemed there was a big need for it at the time.

How would you say that working remotely has impacted your life?

Wow, it has completely changed it. I studied chemistry and have a PhD in it too, so most of my 20s were spent in research labs and immersed in academia. Once I broke free from this to travel the world I knew there was no way back really. Being able to work remotely has opened so many doors. I think if I hadn’t discovered the digital nomad lifestyle I would either be working in a chemistry job I’d resent or be stuck in the work-save-money-travel cycle.

But more than that, working remotely has allowed me to meet hundreds of amazing women (and men) from all over the world, make new friends and even become an entrepreneur. It’s opened a lot of doors for me.

What’s the biggest thing you struggle with while on the road?

Well there are a few things actually, and I think it’s super important to talk about the ups and downs of this lifestyle. Work-life balance and productivity are definitely big challenges but if I had to pick just one thing I’d say it’s a lack of community. Thankfully, I am meeting incredible people all the time and I make new friends quite easily. But it’s hard to have to say goodbye to new friends all the time, and it doesn’t really get easier. That’s why online communities are so important for us digital nomads.

You’ve been here with us at Sun and Co. a few times. How would you describe your experience here to someone who is on the fence about coliving?

Yes, twice already! And well, I’m a little biased because I think you guys are amazing and that Sun and Co is incredible. Apart from the beautiful house and the lovely town (seriously, Javea is dead cute) I think you’d struggle to find many coliving spaces that care so much about their colivers. As soon as you arrive at Sun and Co you feel like you’ve arrived home. The other colivers were always super friendly and open, the vibe is very relaxed, no-pressure but fun and a bit adventurous. I would love to spend time at Sun and Co every year, to get lots of work done and hang out with awesome people.

If you’re on the fence, don’t even think about it anymore and just book! I can’t think of a single thing that I don’t like about Sun and Co. Oh well, maybe that there isn’t one in every city.

Being a digital nomad full-time can sometimes be hard. How would you explain your personal transition over the years from constantly traveling to choosing one place as your “home base”?

Yes it can definitely be exhausting. I think after 3 years of almost full time travel including 1 year of jumping from city to city every month while working basically full-time, I needed a break. It’s hard for a digital nomad to say, ok, I’m staying here for a while and I won’t move. But you have to listen to yourself and your body. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with travelling slowly, or having a home base. I think that’s so important to know.

At the same time, what I am experiencing now is that it’s equally important to listen to yourself when it’s time to move on. It’s easy to get comfortable and get used to your routine. But too much of that is also not good and I noticed over the past months that I was getting itchy feet. I was nervous to hit the road again full-time but since booking the flights I am just excited to travel more again and explore new countries.

When do you feel you’re happiest?

Woah, that’s an awesome question. I think when I am meeting new people and making new friends. When I’m connecting with people who have similar dreams and goals as me. I think some of my happiest weeks have been during the DNG retreats, two of which were in Javea.

Oh and when I eat really good food with my boyfriend Simon.

What is one thing you wish you knew before starting your location independent journey?

There’s no right or wrong way to be a digital nomad and travel. Don’t listen to the gurus, to people who want to teach you how to live this life. You have to figure it out yourself and your travel style also adapts over time.

One thing you can’t leave home without?

Oh so many. My ear plugs and sleeping mask for practical items and my hula hoop for fun.

Imagine that you had one month to travel anywhere in the world (money not being an issue), where would you go and why?

Such a hard question. (20 minutes later…) My first thought was India but it’s such a cheap destination that I think I’ll go with Italy. I absolutely adore Italy and would love to drive around for a month, take cooking classes, stay in little villas, eat cheese and drink wine all day. Sounds like a dream.

Or for something more exotic, definitely Japan. I’d love to see the cherry blossoms and eat my way around the country.

Lastly, where do you see yourself/what do you see yourself doing one year from now?

One year from now I might still be in Mexico or maybe in the States on a road trip. I’ll still be working on DNG and my membership site, the DNG Inner Circle, and I’ll be organising a retreat in Mexico. Or maybe I’ll be back in Europe and living in Sicily for a few months.

Rapid Fire

Window or aisle?  Window

Carryon or overweight?  Overweight!

Favorite city you’ve visited? Sydney

Favorite tool for remote work? Asana and Bear

What song do you currently have on repeat? The Moana soundtrack

Anything else you want to share?

I’m so glad that there are spaces and communities like Sun and Co. who make the digital nomad experience so much easier and more fun. Thanks for what you do guys and I can’t wait to return soon!

Where can we find you on the web and social media?

You can find me on my website digitalnomadgirls.com, on Instagram and in my Facebook Group.  

Interested in joining the next Digital Nomad Girls retreat in Javea? Get in touch with Jenny and mention you’ve heard of her through Sun and Co. to get €200 off the normal price ticket!

Diverse Representation As a Digital Nomad; An Interview with Kit Whelan

By | Community, Digital Nomad, Interview, Remote Worker, Travel | No Comments

Kit Whelan is one of those passionate people that you meet and instantly feel inspired to be a better person and change the world. We had the honor of spending time with her at the 7in7 conference as well as afterward, as they hosted the Nomad House here at Sun and Co. 

We decided to sit down with Kit to hear a bit more about how she’s able to be location independent, the importance of diversity in the digital nomad world, how we need to be redefining the future of work in the next 20 years and so much more! 

Without saying anything about work, tell us a little bit about who you are and what you value.

I LOVE this question! I’ve been a digital nomad for 9 years and the only thing I miss about muggle life is being able to have a cat – I’m a certified crazy cat lady! The best thing about my life is my awesome community of location independent humans all over the world who support me through life’s ups and downs. They help me become the best person I can be. I’m never without my amazing friends.

Aaaand does running a conference count as work if it’s an all-volunteer project? Because I started a conference to make more friends. That’s how important community is to me 🙂

I also plan to travel in space one day, hopefully to Mars.

So, what do you do that allows you to be location independent?

I’m a social media consultant, mostly for small luxury hotels.

 

Tell us a little bit about why you started the 7in7 conference.

“This bromad culture turned off so many people that a lot of my friends refused to call themselves digital nomads. They couldn’t stand to be associated with those types of people. Something had to change.”

 

We started 7in7 out of frustration. First, frustration with the lack of representation in the nomad community. EVERYWHERE you looked it was all straight, white, Western men. Every conference, meetup, article, podcast… all white guys talking about how to “crush it” at life. This bromad culture turned off so many people that a lot of my friends refused to call themselves digital nomads. They couldn’t stand to be associated with those types of people. Something had to change.

Secondly, frustration that there were so many events geared toward getting people into the location independent lifestyle, but nothing for those of us who had already been nomads for a while. We had already figured out the basics – starting a business or getting a remote job, the logistics of travel, etc. But there’s so much more to life than that: building a community, being a socially responsible global citizen, deciding whether or not to have kids on the road… we needed a space to have these conversations.

So, we started our own.

As for doing it on seven continents… that bit is just for fun! 🙂

 

Since starting 7in7, how have you seen your network change?

Oh my gosh! People say if you want to increase your visibility you should speak at conferences… that’s true. But if you want to increase your network, and fill your global village with wonderful humans, start your own event! I have met such incredible people over the last three years! And they introduce me to their friends, and their friends, and on and on. Anything I need, there’s someone in my network who can help me get it. They push me to be better. They offer their skills to create a better world. They are everything to me.

The focus of the conference is for “experienced digital nomads”.

 

Tell us a bit about why you chose to focus on those who have been traveling and working for years.

Yes, this is a bit controversial. We are the only event I know of for experienced location independent people (those who have been at it for more than one year) and that’s intentional.

When you’ve been a nomad for 3, 5, or 15 years, you often find yourself in spaces where you are the most experienced person in the room. You end up being asked questions by everyone else, and of course, you’re happy to help! But why only go to events where you’re the one providing the value? At 7in7, everyone who comes has something valuable to share. Everyone can challenge you to be better. Everyone understands your lifestyle. You aren’t a subject of curiosity here… you’re with your people.

“At 7in7, everyone who comes has something valuable to share. Everyone can challenge you to be better. Everyone understands your lifestyle. You aren’t a subject of curiosity here… you’re with your people.”

 

 

Let’s talk a bit about representation in the world of remote work and travel. Now, more than ever, it’s easy for anyone to create their own platform and following. Do you think it’s a good thing or do you think that it adds to the rest of the noise in a world that people think is over saturated?

It’s SO important that there are more platforms being created every day because everyone has their own story to tell. In 2010, it was so exciting to meet another nomad in the wild that you were immediately best friends. Now, there are hundreds of thousands of us all over the world. We all need to find our people somehow. Especially those of us who haven’t felt represented in the wider space: queer nomads, nomads of color, transgender nomads – visibility is EVERYTHING.

It’s also important to find people who share your interests beyond just travel. I have a “Nerdy Nomads” WhatsApp group where I talk with friends about the latest comic book movies. I have a “Cat Crew Nomads” Facebook chat where we send photos of cats we find all over the world. Of course, you don’t have to create a platform to find these friends, but it is a fast way to do it! I have a Facebook Group for feminist nomads who listen to my podcast – and they are wonderful! I would never have met half of them if it weren’t for my podcast.

That being said, I encountered someone recently who thought that being a digital nomad meant you had to have a fancy Instagram presence. That’s not the case at all!

…those of us who haven’t felt represented in the wider space: queer nomads, nomads of color, transgender nomads – visibility is EVERYTHING.

 

How do you see the digital nomad sphere changing in the upcoming years?

Good question! I’m working to make sure we expand what it means to be location independent. Of course, it can mean traveling to 20 new cities every year, but it can also mean working full-time remote and having the opportunity to live in a small town you adore or stay home with your children or care for an aging parent or work part-time as a SCUBA instructor. The future of work – and life – is flexible. That’s what we need to redefine in the next 20 years.

 

How would you say that being location independent has changed your life?

A decade ago, I could never have imagined that my life would look like this. It’s everything I never knew I needed. I am in charge of every aspect of my own life. I live where I want to, I work how I want to, and I play when I want to. It’s the most empowering thing. I feel so much more confident.

 

What advice would you give someone who wants to run their own business and travel often?

I would say trust yourself and don’t worry when you make mistakes. Nothing is irreversible. When you fail, just get back up and try again.

 

Who is someone that you admire (whether you know them personally or not) and why?

Can I list every woman I know?! I get inspiration from all my friends!

But, keeping it simple, I’ll say Leanne Pittsford. She founded her own conference, Lesbians Who Tech, back in 2014. It was because of her example that I knew I could handle running my own conference. She’s turned her values into a tangible global community that has helped thousands of people.

My best advice is to find friends who make you want to be a better person.

 

After the 7in7 conference in Barcelona, you stayed at Sun and Co. How would you describe the experience here to someone who has never been before?

I loved Sun and Co! Immediately after we arrived everyone agreed there was something about the space and the town that was just so soothing. You can’t help but be relaxed and productive there! There’s guaranteed laughter and support every day!

 

If you could give yourself one piece of advice before starting your location independent journey, what would it be?

I made an entire podcast episode about this! Basically: stress less.

 

Imagine that you had one month to travel anywhere in the world (money not being an issue), where would you go and why?

I’d go around sub-saharan Africa staying in all the best hotels in each city and the most expensive eco-lodges on safari. Flying first-class in between! There’s so much of that continent I have yet to explore, but money and time always get in the way!

 

Lastly, where do you see yourself/what do you see yourself doing one year from now?

I know EXACTLY where I’ll be! 7in7 Year Four is happening in Australasia, so I’ll be in Australia or New Zealand scouting out venues and finding the best cat cafes!

Rapid Fire

Window or aisle? Always window!

Carryon or overweight? Carry-on only, baby!

Favorite city you’ve visited? This is impossible to answer. Ok, London.

Favorite tool for remote work? Calendly.

What song do you currently have on repeat? My brother’s latest.

Anything else you want to share? Just thinking about Sienna and the crew at Sun and Co makes me feel light and full of happiness! I can’t wait to see you all again!

Where can we find you on the web and social media?
https://twitter.com/kitwhelan
https://www.instagram.com/kitwhelan/
https://7in7.co/

 

Thanks so much for your time Kit! 

If you’re interested in attending 7in7 this year in Colombia, you can get your early bird tickets here!

Meet the Sun and Co. Team: Jon

By | Community, Digital Nomad, Interview, The Team | No Comments

If you’ve been keeping up with our Meet the Team series, we’re sharing a bit about all of our team members so that you get to know us a bit better! Today, we’re introducing you to our co-founder Jon who makes sure that everyone feels happy and at home!

Are you ready to meet Jon?!

What do you at Sun and Co?

I’m in charge of the full Sun and Co. experience. From the first day you contact us until you arrive, you stay until you leave our home.  I’ll make sure all of the events, all of the connections and the operations are going as they should. The community is our biggest asset to Sun and Co., and I’m in charge of making it connect.

Outside of work, what do you love to do?

I love hanging out with friends, surfing, music festivals and watching football.

If you had to describe coliving in one word, what would it be?  

Belonging

 

What do you think makes Sun and Co. so special?

The hosts, the building, and Javea.

Hosts are the most important role in Sun and Co. where our key task is to build up the community. We do it through professional and social events. There is always so much knowledge in the house, and our job is to make our guests exchange it. At the same time, we get to know each other by doing things together, that’s why we host social activities nearly every day.

The building is perfectly designed to make people interact and connect. It’s truly coliving and coworking all under one roof.

Javea is a beautiful Spanish town by the sea and the perfect place to feel productive and inspired. 

 

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone looking to become location independent?

Surround yourself with people you like. Being location independent can be a lonely experience sometimes. So whether you are traveling or based in one place, find your community. It’s critical.

 

What is your favorite thing about Javea?

I’ve been living in Javea for two years. The most important thing I learned after moving here is to understand the rhythm of a town. Life goes slower here. Living in a place like this helps me appreciate the little things more.

 

Biggest surprise since joining the Sun and Co. team?

I take it as something normal but your colleagues being your friends as well is priceless. The working environment among our team is reflected in our guests at Sun and Co. and that’s something essential.

Quick round off:

Favorite place you’ve ever traveled to: Cabo de Gata, Almeria – Spain.

Beach or mountain: Beach!

Carry-on or big suitcase: Carry-on!

Coffee or tea: Coffee!

Summer or winter: Summer!

3 Most Used Apps: Whatsapp, Kiwi & Asana

Favorite Song at the moment: Los Locos Son Ellos – La Maravillosa Orquesta del Alcohol

There you have it! We hope you feel like you know Jon a bit better. If you want to get to know more of our team, feel free to find out more about our visual director Hayley and our founder Edu!

Meet The Sun and Co. Team: Edu

By | Community, Interview, Remote Worker, The Team | No Comments

We’re so excited to announce that over the next couple of months, we’re going to be introducing to people who play a huge part at Sun and Co., our team! Whether you’re already part of the Sun and Co. family or you’ve been waiting to visit us, we’re thrilled to show you a different side of who we are. With these interviews, you’ll get a snapshot of who we are, what we love and why we’re so obsessed with the co-living and location independent movements!

First up… our amazing Sun and Co.founder, Edu!

Meet The Team: Edu

Tell us a bit about you!

Hi! My name is Edu 🙂 I am actually a local, born in Javea in 1985. Sun and Co. is located in a 19th-century old house which belonged to my grandparents. Two years ago I decided to transform it into the home for location independent workers and here we are now!

What do you at Sun and Co?

Both Jon and I are co-founders of Sun and Co. My task right now is to develop new business ideas based on the existing community of digital nomads and entrepreneurs around Sun and Co. and coordinate our team of five to create an amazing personal and professional experience for our guests.

Outside of work, what do you love to do?

Hiking and wild camping are what I try to do every time I can, especially if abroad. Owning a campervan is a long-pursued dream which I hope to achieve soon and make it a nice basecamp for some hiking adventures. I also recently got my sailing license and joined a sailing club, so hopefully, soon enough you’ll also find me on a boat 🙂 I am not fully nomadic but I try to be really mobile!

Meet The Team: Edu

If you had to describe coliving in one word, what would it be?  

Sharing.

What do you think makes Sun and Co. so special?

The amazing quality of the guests. I honestly feel every day I receive back more than what I give to them. They have an amazing ability to teach me new ideas and ways of thinking and that’s something that everyone in the house can experience.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone looking to become location independent?

I would just remind them that being rootless can also be difficult. It is important to look after the people you leave at home, take care of them and dedicate time to your good friends.

What is your favorite thing about Javea?

The quiet pace which allows me to focus and be productive. That and a glass of wine during sunset at the Lighthouse 🙂

Biggest surprise since joining the Sun and Co. team?

The huge amount of people and companies embracing the remote work culture so quickly.

Quick round off:

Favorite place you’ve ever traveled: Torres del Paine, Chile

Beach or mountain: Mountains, the higher the better

Carry-on or big suitcase: Backpack!

Coffee or tea: Café con leche by the sea

Summer or winter: Spanish summer and German winter

3 Most Used Apps: Asana, Coinbase and Freeletics.

Favorite Song at the moment: Anything from the Black Keys

Thanks for tuning in! Hopefully, you liked getting to know our founder a bit more! Keep an eye out over the next couple of weeks to continue meeting the rest of our team! 

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