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Interview

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: Hayley

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Next up in our Meet the Team series is Hayley! Hayley runs all of the visual content here and Sun and Co. and it’s time to get to know her a bit better!

It’s time to get to know Hayley!

 

Tell us a bit about you!

I’m 26 years old, originally from the Isle of Wight, England but I grew up here in Javea up until the age of 18 when I decided to experience city life in London for several years. From a young age, I was fascinated with cameras and exploring in nature with my family, with my first ever salary I spent it all on a camera and a large supply of film and study film and photography in London. After deciding to make a choice of leaving a secure monthly salary to pursue something I’ve always been passionate about, I looked at making my life remote… That’s when I discovered Sun and Co, here in my hometown and started towards turning my dream into reality!

I am someone who finds change very exciting, I love to meet new people and learning new things from others. I have a massive appetite for Mediterranean food and good home cooked roast dinner!

What do you at Sun and Co?

I’ve been at Sun and Co since February 2017 managing their Instagram account and visual content creation. Being present for skillshares, activities in the house as well as joining Colivers in the outdoor activities which brings me closer to the people staying with us. 

Outside of work, what do you love to do?

Outside of work I really love to be outside in wide open spaces 😀 I really enjoy exploring new places and hiking with my camera and friends, traveling to adventurous places and cooking or just pottering around my garden.

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

Connected

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

The people

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

Don’t fear the change, it’s a very exciting part of the process

What is your favorite thing about Javea?

The landscapes

Biggest surprise since joining the Sun and Co. team?

How much I’ve learnt from those who have come to stay at Sun and Co.

Quick round off:

Favorite place you’ve ever traveled to: Iceland

Beach or mountain: Mountain

Carry-on or big suitcase: Carry-on

Coffee or tea: Uuff! Difficult choice, coffee in the summer, tea in the winter

Summer or winter: Both 🙂

3 Most Used Apps: Planoly, Lightroom & Asana

Favorite Song at the moment: Waterfall – Vok

Awesome! We hope you enjoyed getting to know Hayley a bit better. Just in case you missed it, check out our blog post with the Sun and Co. founder Edu here!

Meet The Team: 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! 

Presenting the Sun and Co. Academy
Sun and Co. just launched Sun and Co. Academy, 7 day immersive courses around digital skills to create a new exciting location independent career while enjoying the sun in Javea, Spain.

Want to know more?

www.sunandcoacademy.com