Cat Stevens’ Father and Son is a classic song of the 70’s. Its lyrics describe a father warning his son that “it’s not time to make a change,” and that he should find a girl and settle down. The son does not heed his father’s advice, because knows he “has to go away.” And like the son, many young men – and some young women – did, in fact, go away. Some hitchhiked across the country. Others backpacked through Europe and Asia. Work, with the exception of a few odd jobs, was not part of the picture.
The Rise of the Female Digital Nomad
Today, a different type of traveler is “going away.” They’re called digital nomads, and working is a big part of the picture. While most of them are men, a few women are kicking butt in the location independent scene. For example, Natalie Sisson, The Suitcase Entrepreneur, has made a name for herself in the world of digital nomads.
According to her website, Natalie spent eight years working in the corporate world of marketing, communications, brand and product management. Major companies in New Zealand, England and Canada were her clients. Yes, she had a real job, but she decided to leave it all behind. After leaving New Zealand in 2006, she hopped around the globe, lived out of her suitcase and developed an online business that generated a six-figure income in 2014.
Nora Dunn, The Professional Hobo, is another digital nomad who left the corporate world and discovered financial freedom. In 2006, she sold her Toronto, Canada financial planning practice and set off on her journey. As she traverses the globe, Nora runs online workshops, which teach people how to “transplant their career, job or business to the global location of their choice.”
If you have been hanging out in the digital nomad community, you probably already know about Natalie and Nora. You’ve also heard about the hundreds of female travel bloggers who are exploring the globe, and earning some income by monetizing their hobby blogs. But travel blogging is not the only thing that female digital nomads are doing. Some are starting their own businesses, and doing quite well. And if you happen to find one of these so-called “girls,” she might not want to do the settle down thing. Especially if she’s like Janet Floreta.
Janet Floreta, owner of JFLO Studios, is not ready to settle down. She notes on her blog:
“When most women my age are settling down and having babies, I’m having solo adventures and sustainably so. I have no nesting bone in my body (yet). Instead, I want to fly, fly, fly.” A self-proclaimed Internet addict since 1994, she decided – at age 13 – that she wanted to be a web designer.
Now, she’s a graphic designer/web designer, who specializes in e-book design and launch services. Janet uses online using tools such as:
- Basecamp for project management
- Dropbox for file storage and sharing
- Freshbooks for invoicing and accounting
- Paypal for getting paid
She has lived and worked in Cebu, Philippines, Chiang Mai, Thailand, Berlin, Germany, New York City, Phoenix, Portland, Oregon, Bali and Saigon,Vietnam. Asia seems to attract a colorful variety of female digital nomads. For example, meet Lillian Pierson.
If the CW wanted to cast a glamorously gorgeous girl geek for one of their shows, Lillian Pierson is a perfect fit. Caveat: Lillian Pierson is not an actress. She’s the real thing. Lillian is a data scientist, an engineer, and an ecommerce entrepreneur, which she describes as a “datapreneur.” She’s also an author, a speaker and a digital nomad. Her books include Data Science for Dummies, and she is working on Big Data for Dummies. Lillian speaks on topics such as big data, data science, and analytics. Although she currently lives in Koh Samui, Thailand, an island in Thailand southern seas, she has lived and worked in Bali, Indonesia; Cusco, Peru; and Chiang Mai, Thailand. Her company, called Data Mania, offers information and training solutions for teaching people how to understand and work with data science.
So, with apologies to the Eurythmics, these “sisters” are doing it for themselves, by themselves and wherever they want to do it. If you are an entrepreneurial woman with wanderlust, come join them.