What were you doing before becoming a digital nomad, and what motivated you to quit your job and leave your home country, Switzerland, to embark on this new adventure?
I was an executive assistant in an engineer office. I worked in international and national companies for 20 years and had been travelling for 10 years for holidays, mostly in South-East Asia.
I was motivated by an article I read and by my situation. My relationship ended and my job wasn't fulfilling me. I didn't find any meaning in my job and in the lifestyle I had. I really needed a break first to find out what I really wanted and I thought that earning money while travelling was a good option for me.
"after work you're just a few steps away from enjoying the beach and feeling the sand under your feet."
What were the best things about being a digital nomad?
The best thing was being able to organise my days in accordance with deadlines for my customers and around my own needs: sports, sun, a healthy lifestyle and working during my most productive hours.
What were the main challenges you faced while being away?
Even if the best thing was organising my days, it was also my main challenge. When you travel in paradise, you have a lot of temptations to enjoy life as if you were on holidays, but the motivation to work is also easier to find than if you were in Switzerland in the office. Why? Because you know that after work you're just a few steps away from enjoying the beach and feeling the sand under your feet.
What's your best memory from the past 12 months? Are there any anecdotes you would like to share?
I have a lot of anecdotes… and a lot of great memories. The DNX Camp in Jericoacoara in Brazil was an amazing time: 14 digital nomads were coliving and coworking. My time in Lisbon was great as well: I met amazing people with whom I'm still in touch and who helped me to develop my brand, Esprits Nomades. And for sure, my three weeks with friends in Gili Meno and my stand-up show in Switzerland last October.
What did your typical day look like as a digital nomad? Did you have any routines?
My daily routine is: lemon juice in water, run (or yoga, depending on the location), meditation, healthy breakfast. If I don't practice sport in the morning I do it later during the day.
Did you use any tools, gadgets or applications to help you as a nomad from day to day?
Yes. I use a lot of them. The basics to work with my team are Google Drive, Skype, Dropbox and Azendoo. For myself, I use Evernote and small applications on my smartphone to help me catch all the ideas in my head (dictaphone, notes, etc.). For my productivity I use Pomodoro, an application which helps you use the Pomodoro technique. For my daily sport activity, I use an application called Yoga (for yoga training), Runkeeper (running) and some days I use Insight: Peace in our Timer (for meditation).
To organize my travels, I use airbnb, City Maps 2Go, Travel Pocket and Periscope when I want to share my travels or tips with my community.
As a nomad, how do you spend your down-time, when you're not working?
With sports, going out for dinner and enjoying time with friends I meet. I also like sharing time with local people. I love doing interviews of people I meet. I love spending hours with people who talk about their lives and their perceptions. I am passionate about life stories. My next book is about seven stories of people who changed their lives or followed their dreams many years ago. This could sound like working, but for me this is really free time and enjoying life. I also love going to the beach, walking and doing nothing.
How has this changed since you arrived back in Switzerland?
I needed time to adapt myself again to being back in Switzerland. The way of life in Switzerland is not really the way I love living. But I adapt and I realise how we can feel well wherever we are if we feel good with ourselves. So my life changed a lot; the perception of my life changed and I am really happy and full of gratitude for that.
How has your experience impacted your life?
This experience, combined with a point in my life when I decided to learn more about myself, my brain and about what I really would love to do or how I would like to contribute, completely impacted my life. The freedom gave me the courage and the power to change my perception of life, my lifestyle and open my eyes to a completely different way of living and earning money. I realised that it's possible to earn money with a job which will contribute to the world, impact people's lives, and all from a distance.
Tell us about your new guide, Depart Imminent. What motivated you to write it?
The main motivation was to publish a guide in French because when I started my nomad life, I just couldn't find any information or an entire guide in French about digital nomadism. And I got a lot of questions from people including friends, asking how I was organizing my life or earning money. So I decide to put all things I learned in one place.
Who is this guide for and what do you hope they will get from reading it?
This guide is mainly for people who would like to make the big jump but don't dare, or for people who would like to know more about this lifestyle: how to organise it, how to prepare their new lives, what the possibility of working remotely is…
The digital nomad lifestyle is increasing in popularity and more and more people are going to really live a great life and earn enough money with this kind of lifestyle.
I hope that the readers will get the information they need, find out the difficulties of this lifestyle and understand how our society is changing. This isn't a guide to make people dream about this lifestyle but to really explain it, with examples, and sticking to the reality of how it's sustainable to live as a digital nomad.
Where can people find the guide?
Do you have any favourite films/books/games/meals that you'd like to share?
I loved the book Wild by Chery Strayed, The Art of Creative Thinking by Rod Judkins, and a lot of books about self-development, meditation, psychology and mindfulness. I love the food I found in Copenhagen. As a vegetarian, it was really nice to have great options there. I really love Pad Thai and I miss my favourite dark chocolate when I'm away from Switzerland.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
"Don't take so personally what people say: you're hypersensitive. That’s the reason you are like a sponge, so keep cool, slow down and take care of yourself."
What's next for you and Esprits Nomades?
The start of my new project, which you'll find on www.sarahzendrini.com (coming soon), and the publication of the book in which you'll find my personal story.
Esprits Nomades will continue. Next is the promotion of the guide, blogging, and my participation in the Digital Nomadism as a Global and Siberian Trend web conference for Tomsk University in Russia.
Finally, the publication of my next book Inspiration in which I wrote stories of people who changed their perception of life or follow their dreams.
If you would like to learn more about being a digital nomad, or any of the projects above, you can reach out to Sarah here.