Sometimes the unexpected events of life and the closed doors are really there to bring you to your calling, or to be specific make you an accidental nomad. That’s literally what happened with Cris from LooknWalk. As part of the Inspiration Series for Nomads, we welcome Cris to the blog floor today to tell us her amazing and inspiring story.
Summer of 2005. I found myself in front of the locked door of what used to be my business: a travel agency. The other owner decided to kick me out and lock me out while at it.
Several calls to my lawyer later, I made it out without any financial loss but certainly with a lousy self-esteem. I knew I wouldn’t want to look for a “proper” 9 to 5 job – tried that before and failed miserably – and I suddenly remembered how happy I was when I was editing and did translation work some years before (to have pocket money during University).
I don’t even remember how I have found Get A Freelancer (nowadays it changed the name). Within two weeks I grabbed my first gig: $20 to re-write 20 business articles. Score!
I was an accidental nomad. It then snowballed and by early 2006 I was offered a part-time managing editor for a Norwegian website. I was writing about IT and published several e-books.
Traveling? In my home country. Back then Romania was not part of the European Union and my passport expired without taking any trips abroad with my ex (notice the keyword: “ex”).
Then 2007 came along. We were finally part of the EU and could travel with our ID cards within the community. I said hello to Szeged and Budapest, both in Hungary.
The same year, the previous managing editor job ended, but I got a part time job with a major travel website in the USA (Bootsnall). I was writing articles on their blog about Greece (*10 years later, I have the ownership of the blog). Three short months later, and they offered me a full-time job, fully remote, fully freelance. I said yes. I left the company in the summer of 2016. I still traveled but, unfortunately, since 2014 I could no longer work from anywhere and whenever as I had a fixed schedule (albeit still worked remotely).
Meantime I got divorced, then got together with my best friend, we started a travel blog (2011), and we got married. We also traveled as much as we could. As a freelancer, I didn’t have paid vacation days (until 2015) so I would just have to make do with the money earned and saved to be able to travel for 1 or 2 weeks. Still, we visited Italy, Greece, the UK, Slovakia, and Hungary.
Once I found myself without a job and with a blog, I was determined to not compromise anymore. I needed my weekends and my flexibility. I was craving both so badly. I made the decision to only look for jobs that allowed that and really focused on building my blog. So yes, it was time for being a real freelancer again.
Where could I do that? In a village in Transylvania, of course! I needed to get away from the city, from the stress…and just be with my husband, my blog, and my thoughts. I answered interview questions in the only spot where I had decent cell reception. And answered emails during train rides. And wrote a lot of articles on my blog. And I was so happy!
Six weeks later, I had a new job. Content marketing specialist for a European company (Tripaneer). Fully remote, fully freelance, no weekends at work, and best of all? I could work from anywhere! And I did. Soon enough I had plane tickets to Italy in hand. Instead of an accidental nomad, I was going to be a real digital nomad.
I lived and worked from Puglia for five weeks. There were times when I hated myself for even trying to work from a lousy connection and then I would go out and walk along the Adriatic shores and realize how blessed I was. Only a year before, I wouldn’t have been able to do that. While I was there, I got offered the social media specialist position in the same company. I said yes without thinking too much about it. I have even more flexibility and, best of all, I can focus on both of my blogs during my time off work.
Looking back, I am certain I was naïve when I started. I didn’t know what to expect and I was probably very lucky to even find work fast. Freelancing was in its infancy and the market wasn’t over-saturated. You just needed skills. A good command of English and experience in certain fields and you were good to go. I specialized in travel (which was always my love), business (thanks to my Uni classes), IT (one of my passions), and lifestyle (got into healthy lifestyle quite quickly). Nowadays, I just stick to travel, lifestyle, and a bit of IT.
My biggest challenge as a freelancer is finding good internet in the places I choose to live. While Romania offers incredibly stable lines with good speed and for decent money, things change once you get out of Central-Eastern Europe. Italy has been a real challenge and Greece is not much better.
Finding occasional work on top of my “day job” is challenging because I don’t compromise on price. Yet, I still have active accounts on freelancing sites. However, I prefer to get my additional revenue via the blogs (affiliate marketing and sponsored stays, tours, activities, etc).
Sometimes I get the urge to just focus on my blogs and then my brain kicks in and reminds me that I feel better with the “safety net” that a contract offers me. Since I’ve only invested time in the blogs for the past year (and half a year, respectively) I know I cannot rely on them only to sustain my lifestyle (yet). But I am very happy to know that whenever I feel like moving to another city or country to explore, I can work from there and there’s nothing keeping me chained to a desk or a set schedule.
About Cris from LooknWalk
Cris Puscas is a freelance travel and lifestyle blogger, as well as social media specialist. She loves Europe and has a passion for the Mediterranean culture. Unspoiled beaches, feta, and olives make her happy. Her blogs that are followed by so many around the world include LooknWalk and LooknWalk Greece
The Instagram ID where she shares all the memoirs of her travels is Cricketro
Isn’t Cris’s story amazing? How do you identify with her journey to becoming a digital nomad?