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Freeoverseas: Life as Digital Nomads and The Importance of Sustainable Travel

Written by Jessica Duffin

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Posted on August 13 2019

Patricia and Miguel are the Earth loving power couple behind the travel blog; freeoversea. Together, they've built a lifestyle and business based upon freedom, connection and caring for the planet. We caught up with them to chat about the realities of living life as digital nomads and why sustainable travel and ethical tourism are at the heart of everything they do.

Tell us about freeoversea and your mission?

Freeoversea is more than a blog, it is an online platform where people can find inspiration and motivation to follow their intuition and see that true happiness lies within.

In 2017 we quit our jobs and sold everything so we could start LIVING! For now, we travel the world pursuing happiness, sharing stories, connecting with real people and creating for the Earth.

Our mission has 3 core stones: People, Planet & Pets. Freeoversea spreads global awareness, empowering people to truly connect, find their purpose and have positive impacts on the world.

 

Ethical and sustainable living is central to the way you live and travel; how do you travel and explore the world, whilst doing your best to take care of it and respect it? What tips can you share with others who want to travel in a more sustainable, Earth-friendly way?

Sometimes, having a sustainable lifestyle while traveling is not an easy task, especially when you travel low budget or are in countries that don’t have ethical policies. But it all starts by being mindful of our own actions and taking simple steps towards the conservation and preservation of our planet.

Our biggest sustainable action that we make every day is following a vegan diet, where we do not consume any animal products, either food or manufactured ones such as leather. We believe that by following a plant-based diet we are helping to reduce carbon emissions and water waste. We do not tell people to go fully vegan, but if they can, to reduce their meat consumption by 50% - that will make a real difference for the planet and their body. 

We also always carry a refillable water bottle and we go to cafes, restaurants or even hotels that have a refillable station to fill our bottles. Plastic consumption is the major global issue nowadays, so reducing or even completely eliminating plastic would be the best contribution of all. Always carry a reusable water bottle, when asking for drinks skip the straw (if they are made of plastic) and use shampoo bars and soaps. 

Last but not least, take note of your carbon footprint and ways of reducing it. During the last year we had so many flights, which is not ideal asit is the most polluting way to travel. If you can, choose to travel by train, which takes longer but you get to see amazing views along the way and your carbon footprint will be reduced. When you don’t have the chance to go by train and have to fly, check for eco flights.

 

Animals are often a key attraction for tourists; tell us more about the issues behind animal based activities in tourist destinations. How would you best advise people to spend time with animals when travelling? Are there warning signs people should look out for or alternatives they could support?

Unfortunately, animal tourism attractions are the core source of money in many countries, especially undeveloped ones. Most touristy activities that involve animals also include horrific animal abuse. As part of a culture and religion, we understand that certain communities are still using animals for their own benefit and profit. From the pets we have in our homes to the wildlife we find out there, we believe that every living creature is unique, and should be free.

The best advice we can give is to not participate in animal tourism events, if they are not ethical or contribute to the conservation of the species. Anything like riding elephants in Cambodia or Thailand, where you can also wash them and take pictures with them. It’s hard to find ethical animal tourism boards, but they exist, so before you book an experience, search about the company and ask for their ethical policies. If they avoid replying or do not have it, they are more likely to mistreat animals.

There are other alternatives such as sanctuaries or conservation centres and those are the ones you should support. You won’t get pictures with animals doing circus things, but you will have an authentic and humane experience.

 

 A big part of your work is supporting ethical and conscious brands that respect and care for their workers. Could you share with us some of your favourite brands and why you support them?

We have been working with a lot of brands that focus on ethical approaches and respect their workers and communities. Some of our favorite ones are Pura Vida bracelets and Vitamin A. Why? Because they are just awesome and do so much for this planet and its communities.

Pura Vida is a bracelet brand that supports artisans in Costa Rica, that handcraft bracelets and make them in a beautiful, unique way. They also contribute to the local communities and have a charity collection, with the profits being distributed to the many charity associations they partner with.

Vitamin A is a swimwear brand, made for women, and the reason we love them is due to their sustainable materials used in the manufacturing process. We also love their ethical and sustainable policies and the partnerships they make, such as with the One Tree Planted, where for every dollar donated, they plant a tree.

 

For many people, quitting your jobs and travelling the world is a dream. How did you make that dream a reality? What were the steps you took, and preparations you put in place, to make it possible?

Let us begin this by saying that quitting jobs and travel the world is not everyone’s dream. During our journey we’ve had so many people sending us messages and emails saying that they wanted to quit their jobs and travel like we do, and when we ask them why, they just say ‘’because I want to stay in all those beautiful places’’.

It is ok to have a steady job. The nomad or freelance lifestyle is not for everyone, it is not an easy one! So please, find your purpose, set your goals and discover what you want to do. If it justifies having a steady job to support the lifestyle you want, that is amazing! We quit our jobs because we were unhappy with the company policies, so we decided to build our own company from scratch and make sure we could be anywhere in the world with it.

The first step is to find your purpose and mission, so people can relate to you and you can actually make a positive impact. Then, find a skill that you love and try to monetise it. We use photography, video and music as a means to create content and work with brands and hotels to sustain our lifestyle and keep travelling. Last but not least, focus on your social presence by building a trustworthy community. Do not focus on numbers, likes, comments or followers, but on real people, meaningful connections and engaging communities.

 

What’s the reality of making a living whilst travelling the world? What happens behind the scenes? How can people work towards this goal?

As we mentioned before, making an income while traveling can be a challenging thing and will require full flexibility, a lot of dedication and willingness to go the extra mile!

The reality is, we quit our 9 to 5 and are now working more than we ever worked, sometimes more than 16 hours a day, but the best part of it is that we choose when to work, when to stop and what to do, and having that freedom is a positive thing. We are not always enjoying our time by the beach, swimming or exploring beautiful locations, we spend days doing office work and planning, so we can take moments to go out and explore whilst working.

When we visit a new place, we are not always just in the moment, enjoying every single second, we are also finding new and creative ways to make our art in that specific location.

The key is to really love what you do, because if you love your job, there will be no stress or negative feelings towards it.

If you want to create a business while you travel, you should set goals for yourself and your business. Focus on the message you want to spread and on the theme of your business. Then find the best platforms for your work, either blog hosts like Squarespace or freelance jobs opportunities like UpWork. Then, choose a base, a place where you can stay for a few days and have a physical address, not only important for delivery situations, but also a place where you can work and sustain your lifestyle, according to the income you are making.

There is no golden rule or miracle formula to working abroad, only power of will and the right mindset.

Follow freeoversea on Instagram here.

Comments

1 Comments

  • This is amazing! It was a pleasure sharing our story with the beautiful community you have :)

    Love

    Posted by Patricia & Miguel | August 20, 2019
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