Interview with Ana Laura Zain

After a few month break we are back with more interviews! We had a chat with this lovely lady who told us more about how she became a digital nomad. 

Please can you give us some background on who you are, where you’re from and what you do as a digital nomad?

Hello! My name is Ana Laura. I was born in a small town in Argentina. Since I was a little girl, I’ve been obsessed with travel and very curious about other cultures and countries. My dad used to travel a lot with work when I was young and I guess that inspired me to get out there and explore. I studied Business & Management in Argentina and Canada. Then worked in the ad-tech industry based in Chile and the UK. I lived in 7 countries so far, including Argentina, Chile, Peru, the US, Canada, the UK and Indonesia. I’m an amateur painter and passionate about photography and design! In June this year, I decided to go on an inner journey to discover what I really wanted and became a digital nomad, specialised in Marketing Consultancy for tech companies and NGOs.

Why did you decide to start start your own business and does it meet your expectations so far?

I’m fuelled by my passion for creating something unique; whether that is a piece of art, a website or a strategic marketing plan. I’m curious and I love to explore new challenges; understand a complex idea and translate it into a tangible plan. During the last eight years, I’ve developed a diverse career in the ad tech industry in Europe, Asia and the Americas – working in Product Management, Regional Marketing and International Event Management. My background in brand strategy, digital marketing, art, painting and non-profit work has helped me develop a unique combination of skills to drive profitable marketing through creative multi-touch and cross-market campaigns. ​In June 2018, I decided to take a new challenge and start my own business by working as a freelance marketing consultant.

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You have made some beautiful paintings. How did you learn to paint?

I’m a self-taught painter. I struggled (and still do) with anxiety. So one day, about two years ago, I decided to buy some watercolours and explore something new. That then migrated to using mixed media and oil, now focusing 100% on portraits. Painting has helped me a lot to relax. Through painting and photography I’ve found a vehicle to express my inner self and exploit my creative side, using these elements to communicate, express and share emotions. I’m exploring digital and visual arts and how to take these learnings into my professional development.

What is a typical day like for you?

I wake up and have coffee. Work in a coffee shop or at home, surf in the afternoon, or yoga class, go to see the sunset and meet with friends. I usually have calls with my client at night so my calendar is very flexible.

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What pushed you towards a nomadic lifestyle?

It’s quite hard for me to remember exactly when or how I decided to change it all. I think the thunderstorm hit my soul the moment I realised two of the most important things in my mind back then, which were my corporate job and romantic life, fell apart. I felt stuck, and I knew I had to change something. I’ve always craved this feeling to break-free, completely free. And I guess that feeling that was hidden somewhere in my heart re-flourished in that moment. Admitting that I didn’t want that job for my life anymore was hard. I told myself that’s what I wanted for years, but I wasn’t just me. It didn’t feel like me. Sometimes we forget what’s inside our hearts. But, in the unknown, sometimes you find the answers. So I decided to sell all my stuff, pack a small bag, buy a one-way ticket and move to Bali. Immediately after quitting my job, I started gaining confidence again, a wave of creativity and energy hit me, and I started networking to then find my first client that allowed me to freelance remotely as a marketing consultant.

What is the first thing you do when you arrive in a new place?

Talk to people and try local food.

What are your inspirations?

My ancestors. They braved into the wilderness way before being a “nomad” was a cool term. They went all the way from Egypt and Europe to Argentina to follow their dreams and start a new life. Also my parents and siblings. My parents are entrepreneurs, have a lot of energy and taught me everything I know. My siblings are my inspiration of life and love.

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What have been your favourite places so far and why?

It depends! Bali is definitely unique so it has to be one of my favourites. I like nature and sports so I’m usually happier by the beach.

How did you find your place to live in Bali?

I talked to a lot of people and made new friends. I also joined Facebook groups for housing and digital nomads in Bali.

What have you found challenging that you didn’t expect to?

Structure! It’s hard to find structure in paradise! It’s super hard to find structure when you don’t have a 9-5 job.

How do you stay productive?

I just discovered an app called Focus Keeper that really helps me. I also try to go to coffee places that are quiet and wear headphones.

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What does the word ‘home’ mean to you?

Home is here and now. Home is where you can feel yourself. But home is also where your family and friends are, therefore I have to find a good balance between travel and family time.

Please tell us five things you would never travel without.

My journal, my phone, my laptop, a couple of polaroids of my family and cat, a lavender pillow spray (reminds me of home, and every pillow in the world feels like home).

How do you find new clients?

Word of mouth, Facebook groups.

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How do you stay healthy when you travel?

Workout! Anytime, anywhere. I use apps or youtube videos if I don’t find a class or can’t go for a quick run.

What do you wish you had known when you started (as a nomad)?

Honestly, nothing! I think the only path is your own footprints and each experience is unique. So you have to live it yourself.

How have your friends and families reacted to your lifestyle?

My friends and family were very supportive. They were worried at times, specially during the earthquake season in Bali this year, but they know I’m happy so they are happy as long as I’m safe 🙂

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How do you define success?

Being connected to my heart is success to me.

Has running your own business made you more creative? If yes, how?

Definitely! A whole new world of opportunities opened up! For the first time in my life I thought about creating my own business and I’m now drafting business plans, working with a lot of different people and brainstorming to get my idea out in the market soon.

Which books have had a big impact on you?

Braving into the wilderness by Brene Brown helped me a lot – just after I quit my corporate job.

What are the creature comforts can you not live without?

A good bed and a hot shower.

Massive thanks to Ana Laura for taking the time to answer our questions. Please check out her website and connect with her on Instagram.

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