Yvonne has always loved Italy. At university, she studied the Italian language which exposed her to the (wonderful) world of linguistics. After graduating, she ended up working as an IT consultant, which suited her so well she stayed for almost twenty years.
But Yvonne never forgot her love of languages. A few years ago, she began to regret not working with her language skills so she studied to obtain her degree in translation. When her company decided to reorganize, Yvonne took advantage of the situation and started a new career as a freelance translator from Italian to Dutch.
How was it to start as a Digital Nomad?
After buying our VW campervan in 2007 my husband and I made a long trip through Italy and discovered how much we liked traveling and being in Italy. That’s when we decided we didn’t want to wait until retirement to do what we like most. It took us a couple of years to work things out.
At first, we weren’t sure about how we would organize our life, because we didn’t want to live without any comfort, but we couldn’t afford to pay for a campsite every night either. Then we found out that it is quite easy to find places to stay and have meals in return for maintenance work, gardening, or similar tasks! Last year we’ve been staying in several gardens in Sardinia: while I was translating, my husband helped the owners of the property. This has allowed us to live comfortably without spending much money, which gives us also a chance to learn new things while making new friends for life!
I was afraid I would miss my friends back home and that I would only be speaking to my husband. That wasn’t the case. We actually meet more people now than at home!
As soon as I started my Digital Nomad life, all my fears slowly disappeared. We found a way to combine work with our main hobbies: living in our campervan and being in Italy as often as possible.
What’s a “typical” day for you as a Digital Nomad?
It’s a good mix of translation jobs and Dolce Vita! When you sleep in a campervan, you wake up early in the morning with the first sunbeams on your face. I work until we go out for a good coffee and some shopping on a local market. After lunch, I enjoy having a small siesta (on the beach if we’re close to the sea). Later in the afternoon, I go back to work until the evening and then we go out for the Italian passeggiata: all Italians have ice cream and chat with each other while walking back and forth on the main street. We might grab a pizza, and if necessary, I work some more until bedtime.
What is your worst memory as a Digital Nomad?
When we were traveling from the Netherlands to Italy, we had a stopover in Germany. I had accepted a translation job with a tight deadline and I had planned to work on it in the evening and in the morning. We were at a campsite and usually, there is either Wi-Fi or 4G. But to my dismay, there was no internet service in the area at all, nothing, zero. We went to bed so we could take off early next morning to find the nearest place with 4G, which in this case was a parking lot of a supermarket… We stayed there until I had finished the translation
What are the three most important things you’ve learned as a Digital Nomad?
- Make sure you have a good Internet connection before accepting projects.
- Don’t be scared and get out of your comfort zone!
- Don’t wait until retirement to do the things you really want. There’s always a way!