Amy and Roberto: The Original Nomadtopians
Each person’s unique vision of Nomadtopia is a reminder that there is no one way to create your ideal life, no right or wrong approach. Many people just like you—or in even more complicated circumstances—have made it happen, or are working to get there. Hearing others’ stories keeps us all inspired, and reminds us to dream big!
Today I thought I’d interview myself and my husband, Roberto, whose perspective you don’t often get to hear on this site. These are the same questions I’ve asked others in written interviews here on Nomadtopia.com.
Amy Scott is the founder of Nomadtopia.com and a book editor and writing coach at Nomad Editorial. Amy’s husband and travel partner, Roberto Santucho, is an IT engineer, graphic designer, and tech VA at CloudVA.
How would you describe your Nomadtopia?
A: Roberto and I have a home base in Buenos Aires, Argentina (where Roberto is from and where we own an apartment). Since 2012 we’ve spent about six months a year in Buenos Aires and the other six traveling and working. We flew to SE Asia in August 2013 and are currently in India. We will probably continue with roughly the same pattern for the next few years at least, although within the six months of travel we’ll probably move around even less than we do now. It’s also possible we might look for a home base somewhere besides Argentina.
R: I’ve been location independent since May 2012. I’m a traveler, curious about other cultures. I’m working on creating more passive income for the future.
What was the first inspiration/motivation that led to your current lifestyle?
A: My current lifestyle is just the latest iteration in a long string of different adventures since I quit my job in 2004. In 2007, I moved to Buenos Aires, and two years later, just when I was starting to think about leaving, I met Roberto. While we were planning our wedding we were also plotting our escape, and just a few months after the big day Roberto quit his job and we left to travel in the U.S. for six months. Because I’ve done this before, we knew it was possible and were determined to make it a reality.
R: I can’t remember one particular inspiration. I remember feeling frustrated working in an office and wondering why I couldn’t be working from anywhere (especially doing tech work). I spent about six months thinking about options and preparing to quit my job.
What is the most unexpectedly useful thing in your current Nomadtopia?
A: My (Android) smartphone. For years, I traveled, worked, and lived abroad without one. I seemed to be doing fine, so didn’t think having a smartphone was that essential, but I rely on it for so many things now that I have it. One of the biggest benefits is having another way to get online no matter where I am.
R: A small (carry-on size) suitcase. It’s much easier to move around with less stuff. Also, my persistence has been really valuable in keeping me going and not giving up when things get tough.
What do you miss most that you didn’t (or couldn’t) bring with you?
A: Probably my regular yoga mat. It’s way too heavy to travel with, but my travel yoga mat and Yoga Paws just aren’t the same.
R: Family and friends, food from home (empanadas, asado, pasta fresca…).
What is the most challenging aspect of this lifestyle?
A: There are plenty of challenges… I’d say one of the biggest is balancing work and travel. I enjoy both so much that it feels like they’re constantly competing priorities, so I have to make an effort to determine what my focus will be in a given day/week/month.
R: Keeping all my clients happy when I’m juggling time zones, travel days, poor Internet connections, etc.
What’s the most satisfying aspect of this lifestyle?
A: Having plenty of time to spend with friends and family, now that I don’t have to take vacation time to visit them. I also love having the flexibility to spend long stretches of time in one place to really get to know the environment and culture.
R: Being able to take a break from work to explore a new location, and keeping my clients happy no matter where I am in the world.
What advice would you have for others who are hoping to do something similar?
A: Be honest with yourself about what kind of lifestyle you really want. If, for example, working while traveling sounds like your worst nightmare, don’t do it! Find a way to piece together what matters to you and create your ideal life, not someone else’s.
R: Do it. It’s easier than you think and it’s worth getting out of your comfort zone. We only have one life.
Just for fun: Would you rather spend one month in a place you’ve been to before, or 24 hours somewhere new?
A: I’d rather spend 24 hours somewhere new; it would give me just a taste of what it’s like so I’d know whether I want to return when I have more time.
R: I’d spend 24 hours somewhere new, because I’m curious about the world.