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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!

Is Coliving The Solution To Professional Growth?

By | Business, Remote Worker, Travel | No Comments

What do professional growth, clarity and coliving have to do with one another?

Let’s take a moment and think about why people long for vacation or “workation” in modern day terms. Why do we look to explore new places and have a change of scenery? More often than not, we escape to find clarity and gain a new understanding of how we see the world and our place in it.

So what does all of this have to do with coliving?

Over the years, we’ve found that many people join us at Sun and Co. when they are in search for a sense of clarity or change in their lives.

Transitioning to new business fields.

Looking for new job opportunities.

Working on side projects in hopes to make them full-time projects.

The list goes on but we’ve heard over and over again from Colivers that once they leave Sun and Co., they have a sense of clarity that wasn’t there before. Coliving is something that is on the rise yet still isn’t explored by many but there is a power that comes from the kind of experiences that we have here that lead people to grow for the better; both personally and professionally.

Time to dive into three ways that living and learning with others in paradise won’t just give you a sense of overall clarity but will also lead to professional growth.

Learn From The Expertise Of Others

It’s true that we are all brilliant in our own ways and most of us have a lot of experience under our belt in our specific fields. Although we’re skilled at what we do, we might not necessarily have to time or opportunity to dedicate energy to learning about things that we think don’t directly affect how we see success.

One of the most impactful things that happen on a weekly basis at Sun and Co. is skillshares. At the beginning of each week, we share what everyone in the house wants to learn and who can provide meaningful content on those topics. It’s an amazing opportunity to learn from others and then apply it to your own situation and professional experience. With a wide range of topics like Facebook ad funnels, email marketing, blogging, SEO and even things like risk-taking probabilities… you’re constantly able to get out of your professional comfort zone and learn from those who specialize in different topics.

 

Meet Your New Business Partner 

When most people think about professional networking, they envision swanky lunches or meeting people at conferences but you rarely think about your new business partner or colleague being someone you wake up and have breakfast with for two weeks. That’s the beauty about coliving, you’re not just sharing a workspace where you go in and out at the end of each day, but you’re also living together and getting to know one another on a deeper level.

Time and time again, we see people who have met at Sun and Co. later end up hiring each other, freelancing for another coliver’s companies and even leading joint ventures together.

When you’re able to get to know someone on a personal level and you value their professional worth, you can skip the resume and boring interview process and get right to the good stuff when it comes to working together or hiring someone new because you were able to connect on a deeper level from Day One.

 

Stay Inspired By Your Surroundings

The beauty of being based in a place like Javea is that you’re constantly surrounded by inspiration. Yes, the surroundings are beautifully inspiring with the beach and mountains just a short walk away but there is also endless inspiration in the house itself.

People like beautifully designed places, that’s why we’re all willing to pay 7€ for a coffee if it means spending a few hours working in a breathtaking cafe. That’s what we had in mind when renovating this 19th-century house. An inspiring space.

Tall glass windows. Open workspace. Closed office spaces. Tons of natural light. Outdoor patios. And plants… lots of plants.

Of course, with sleek architecture and a minimalist, homey vibe, it’s easy to be productive and get the meaningful work done when you’re surrounded by where you’re living and working.

So, it’s time to think about if you’re ready to take the next step in your life and career. Are you ready to be in a new environment, connect with other like-minded people and spend your days inspired by where you are and what you’re doing?

If so, we’re here to welcome you with open arms!

Tips To Save Money While Traveling

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Whether you’re location independent, a digital nomad or just an avid traveler, sticking to a budget is something that inevitably comes up when you’re on the road. No matter who we are, we want to be able to have memorable and meaningful experiences without breaking the bank. So it’s time to share three tips to help you save money while you’re traveling long-term.

Shop At Local Markets — Less Eating Out, More Cooking

Let’s be honest, the culinary experience in new countries is something that always draws people in but every now and again, eating out 24/7 can add up. One of our suggestions to both dive into the local culture as well save a few extra dollars is by cooking local cuisine at home. In Javea, we find that people love heading to the local market on Thursdays or heading to the town of Jesus Pobre on Sundays to buy fresh, local ingredients and then spend time cooking together and creating great communal meals and tapas to share.

 

Find Affordable Accommodation

When you’re constantly on the road, where you stay might be one of the most important deciding factors when thinking about what city to visit next. When you’re looking to settle down in a place for a few weeks or a month, odds are, you’ll want to skip a typical hotel experience. One of the best options for long-term stay is finding a coliving space.

Why is that?

Because not only are you able to share a space and experiences with like-minded individuals but you also have the chance to work where you’re living as well. So, you’re killing two birds with one stone as you engage with a new community while also saving time, energy and money on searching for cafes to work from with reliable internet.

 

Explore The Area On Foot or By Bike

One way to skip the additional prices of public transportation or renting a car is by taking time to explore the town that you’re staying at on foot or by bike. At Sun and Co. we have bikes available to move around town and it’s the perfect way to experience the most of the city while also getting in a bit of exercise. While renting a car is a great alternative for day trips and exploring more of the larger surrounding area, just taking a couple of hours out of your day to go for a walk is a great way to save money on tours or transportation while still getting to see the town.

 

These are just a few tips we have on how to save money when you’re a long-term traveler or someone who is location independent and often on the road. We’d love to hear what other suggestions you have!

 

What To Do In Javea: 3 Ways To Disconnect

By | Javea, Travel | No Comments

When you’re looking for your next destination, the town that you’re headed to is just as important as where you’ll be staying. When researching where to visit next, odds are, you spend hours on the internet looking to find all there is to do and see. Javea is one of the towns that is a must while in Spain, not just because of the community and connection that we have here at Sun and Co. but for all of the beauty that the coastal paradise has to offer. If you’re looking for what to do while in Javea, keep reading.

We’ve heard time and time again that Javea is everyone’s favorite getaway where they can go to be productive, relax and disconnect from the intensity and mundane routine of everyday life. While there is an array of things you can do in Javea, Spain, we’re going to share three things you can do if you’re looking to relax a bit more while you’re here.

Indulge at La Siesta

La Siesta Javea is one of our favorite places in town because you’re able to have an island like experience on the coast of Spain. The restaurant is right on the water and it has more than just good food, but also an amazing ambiance. You’ll feel as if you’re transported to another world as you listen to the sea with music is playing in the background, all over a good meal or drink. With an extensive menu and friendly hosts, you’ll be sure to find yourself always wanting to come back for more. Whether you head there with a group of friends or by yourself, it’s the perfect place to sit back, relax and enjoy the views.

 

Get Pampered at Daly Bioty Estetica

Daly Bioty Estetica is a hammam and spa that is located close to the Javea port. If you’re looking for somewhere to be pampered and disconnect, this is for you. You have the options of getting a spa treatment, massage, exfoliations, and even feeling cleansed in the steam room. With reasonable prices, you can make a day out of it and really feel like royalty at a reasonable price.

 

Watch The Sunset From a Lighthouse

For many of the people in our community, the best way to disconnect is by being out in nature. Luckily, Javea is a town that has the perfect balance of mountain and sea, allowing for beautiful hikes with breathtaking views. If you’ve ever been to Javea, odds are, at night you can see the light from the lighthouse illuminating the sea but did you know that you can also hike to the location.

We recommend taking an evening to hike up to Faro Cabo San Antonio to watch the sunset. The hike can take anywhere from 2 to 3 hours but it’s worth it. It’s the perfect way to enjoy the fresh air, slow down and take in the views from the top.

Have you ever been to Javea before? What’s your favorite way to disconnect while here?

How To Create Meaningful Relationships While On The Road

By | Business, Community, Remote Worker, Travel | No Comments

We’ve all heard the saying that we’re the average of the 5 people that we spend the most time with. That saying holds a lot of weight as that the people that we surround ourselves with has an effect on the actions we’re willing to take, our confidence and what we believe we’re willing to accomplish.

When you’re constantly on the road or moving from place to place, sometimes it might be hard to find or foster meaningful relationships with others. Most of the time we have surface level interactions before moving on to our next destination but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Taking the time to create meaningful relationships while on the road is vital. We’ve gotten to experience firsthand the way that deep relationships not only help people feel as if they have a great sense of community, but it also leads to success.

When you’re a part of a Coliving community, you really learn the impact that creating meaningful relationships in a short period of time can bring and we’re going to dive into three ways to do just that.

Get To Know People Outside of Just What They Do

Being able to ask someone about their profession and latest project that they’re working on is easy but it can create a feeling that you’re only interested in connecting on a professional level instead of actually getting to know who they are as a person. Normally, when we’re getting to know many people in a short amount of time, the most common topics that come up are where they’re from and what they do… and then if there are any similarities, the conversation continues.

But imagine what it would look like if instead, you were able to cut the small talk and dive right into what really matters. When you get to know the things that people truly value and what they believe in, it creates a much stronger bond than what you can find on their LinkedIn profile.

When you share a house with other people, you find that it isn’t just working and collaborating together on a professional level but also finding yourself in situations like cooking together or sharing a beer in the evening that opens doors for a real connection.

 

Remember The Importance Community Over Competition 

We live in a time where it feels like there are so many businesses and ideas out there and the competition is tough. But, instead of feeling as if everyone you meet is competition, instead think of them as your professional community because we can go so much further together than if we were on our own.

We’ve seen people come together and leave Sun and Co. with new business partners, professional accountability partners and even hiring one another to help with growth. You want to work with people that you really connect with so being able to ignite a meaningful relationship doesn’t just mean that you might make a new friend, but it can also help lead to success. When we’re open to supporting one another both personally and professionally, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

 

Be Vulnerable

Vulnerability is a touchy topic. Often times, we need to know someone for a long amount of time to open up and truly be vulnerable with them but when that happens towards the beginning of a new relationship or friendship, it’s invaluable. One of the most powerful moments that we’ve had is when we hosted a “Lessons and Learnings” bonfire where for four hours, people who were “strangers” earlier that day, opened up in a way you couldn’t imagine. An immediate sense of community was shared as we all spoke about the hardships that they’ve gone through in life and the lessons that they’ve learned from it. Seeing people from all over the world with different backgrounds and experiences share moments like that, broke down all barriers. When you open up about who you are and your true journey, not just the highlights on social media, it allows for a much deeper sense of connection that you can ever imagine.

These are just three ways to make sure that you’re fostering meaningful relationships while on the road but we’d love to hear more about how you do it. Feel free to email us letting us know what you think and if you’re ready to find meaningful relationships here at Sun and Co., our house is always open to you!

Digital Nomad? Here Are The Productivity Apps You Need

Digital Nomad? Here Are The Productivity Apps You Need!

By | Digital Nomad, Productivity, Remote Worker, Travel | No Comments

As a digital nomad, you’ll find that being productive while on the road can sometimes be difficult. From changing time zones to wanting to explore your new “home,” when it comes down to actually getting work done, things can be harder than expected.

Not to worry, being a remote worker you’ll learn that keeping track with your team, clients and to-do lists is pretty easy if you have the right tools.

Here are 5 productivity apps every digital nomad or remote worker needs while traveling the world.

Digital Nomad? Here Are The Productivity Apps You Need

Asana

Asana is an amazing project management tool that keeps you up-to-date with all of the latest things happening in the company you work for or for your own business. Not only that but it’s an efficient way to keep your co-workers or employees accountable, no matter where you are in the world. With calendars and a way to track project progress, you’ll be sure to keep on top of all of your work while still traveling the globe and enjoying your time doing so.

Not to mention, you can have the app downloaded on your phone but try to turn off the notifications while you’re on the beach! It’s all about learning how to #worksmarterlivebetter right?

Momentum

Momentum is an amazing Chrome extension that really helps sets you up for the day and inspires you at the same time. Whenever you open a new tab, it shows you the time, a personalized message, a place where you can share your main focus for the day and an inspirational quote at the bottom.

Not only that, but you’re able to input your to-do list for the day and check it off as you go and the extension also shows you the weather, wherever you are.

Headspace

Productivity isn’t just about putting the pen to the paper but it’s also about making sure that you feel centered. As a digital nomad or remote worker, sometimes staying centered can be a bit tricky but Headspace is an amazing app that helps you focus on just that. Even if you think you aren’t into meditation, it’s worth a try. All you need is a few minutes each day to take time out and be still and odds are, when you get back to work afterward, you’ll be more balanced and focused.

Digital Nomad - Productivity Apps

Toggl

When it comes to productivity and time tracking, Toggl is one app that you need to know. It’s the perfect way to see how much time you’re dedicating to certain clients and projects, while also making sure that when you’re working… you’re actually working. It’s so easy to get caught up in multi-tasking but with Toggl it really makes you focus on one thing at a time.

Workfrom

Workfrom is the perfect app for when you’re traveling because it breaks down the best coffee shops, bards, co-working spaces and places with WIFI all over the world. With almost 2,000 cities in its database, it’s the best place to scope out where you need to be so that you can be connected and productive all at a high speed.

 

There you have it! Here are some great apps that you can use to make sure that you’re productive while traveling on the word. Time to get to work!

 

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