In an era defined by remote work and a yearning for freedom, the convergence of van life and digital nomadism has sparked a lifestyle revolution; join us in an upcoming interview with Anna Perolari, who has chosen to break free from the traditional confines of home and office and become a digital nomad with an interesting van lifestyle.
From the challenges that people like Anna face, to the breathtaking landscapes they encounter, this conversation promises to be a fascinating exploration of the van lifestyle and the rise of the digital nomad movement.
Get ready to hear stories of unconventional living, from remote work tricks to the pursuit of a less ordinary life!
Hi Anna, nice to meet you! Tell us a little bit about yourself, your life and what led you to make this lifestyle choice!
Until a few years ago I had a life equal to most people’s and I didn’t think there could be any alternative: I grew up in a society where you study, work (in an office), have a family and, during the few vacations a year, you travel.
The first turning point was when, during the pandemic, I met someone who worked completely remotely and therefore was not bound to any physical location.
It stimulated me to believe that I could create the work I wanted and live my life without too many restrictions imposed by other people.
There I began to dream, partly because I had recently quit my job to do a master’s degree in digital marketing, an area where work can be done remotely.
Then in March 2021, when Italy was still in lockdown and I wasn’t going to the office, I left on my own for Fuerteventura with a one-way ticket: I knew there were quite a few Italians there and that was good.
There I lived two wonderful months, I met so many people who are still part of my life, I experienced on my own skin that you can work and at the same time live a full and satisfying life.
Returning to Italy was difficult, returning to the office even more so: since then my only goal has been to figure out how to work completely remotely.
In October 2022 I opened VAT number and started freelancing: being free to work from where I want and to live where I want, this has been one of the most important achievements for me.
Do you share this lifestyle with anyone or do you travel alone?
One of the best things I like about this lifestyle is that over the years on the road I have met so many people who are inevitably similar to me: we all have an interest in living a certain lifestyle, living in warm places where there are good conditions for surfing.
Inevitably it happens that in Portugal you meet people you met in Fuerteventura, or in Sri Lanka you meet others you met in Bali!
Last year I had my first “digital nomad” experience: I left Italy with a flight to Vietnam, a hostel booked for the first three nights and that was it.
I toured Vietnam and Indonesia, sharing the trip with different people I met.
It was a very good experience but also tiring, both physically and mentally, because of the constant moving around, the fact that as soon as I met people then I would move somewhere else, so I didn’t have a fixed group of friends, and after two and a half months I started to miss my life in Europe.
I realized that I prefer to stay in one place for months, so I can have a more defined routine, get used to where I am and have more stable connections.
Now I tend to stay in places where I have friends: Spain, Portugal, or even outside Europe, often with people I’ve met in the last three years.
What was your first van life travel experience?
During my first time in Fuerteventura I decided to spend a few days in Lanzarote and, instead of renting an apartment and renting a car, I thought about taking a van, but it was not an experience that particularly impressed me.
Then last summer I went with a friend to Cantabria, in a van that I had a great time with.
I started thinking about how nice it would be to have a van of my own: I would have the opportunity to have a mini home on four wheels, see beautiful places and wake up in front of the ocean whenever I wanted to.
Within ten days, I found a van, had it camperized and then, in the fall, I took it to Fuerteventura-I couldn’t be happier with that decision!
What do you deal with when you are on the road? Can we also call you a “digital nomad”? Tell us more about it!
I work in digital marketing, both as a freelancer, managing clients on behalf of an agency, and as a part-time employee for a startup.
I deal with communications: social media management, email marketing and advertising, not only the operational side, but also client management and internal team coordination.
What is the most exhausting thing to deal with/prepare for during your travels?
By now I am used to it, I am quite minimalist so I tend to have few clothes and especially few items: leaving with a backpack or spending weeks in a confined space like a van is not a problem.
Have there been any significant changes in your family as a result of this life choice?
No, fortunately, my family always supports me (even if they don’t always understand the choices).
How do you choose your travel stops and the next destinations?
The key factors for me are the climate of the place and the presence of the ocean and good waves.
I also take into consideration the cost of living, which should not be too high: in Europe, Spain and Portugal are perfect (both for vanlife and digital nomads), as are the countries I have visited so far in Asia (Vietnam, Indonesia and Sri Lanka).
What is your next destination and the one you dream of reaching sooner or later?
During this spring/summer I want to tour Portugal and Spain in van, in the future I would like to go to Patagonia, Hawaii and Iceland, but more on a vacation than on a traveling trip, working.
We know you are a vegan/vegetarian as well! Would you like to tell us something about this lifestyle as well?
I made this decision because the meat, fish and dairy industries are some of the most polluting in the world and above all because I am against animal violence-I do not want an animal to be killed to satisfy a whim of mine.
Sometimes people seem to feel sorry for me when I say that I don’t eat a slice of salami, but what I reply is that this was a heartfelt and intentional choice, which I don’t experience as a sacrifice but as something I am proud of.
This decision for me translates not only into a food diet, but into a lifestyle that seeks to minimize, even if in a small way, man’s impact on the planet, and to condemn violence in any form.
In my daily life, therefore, I try to be non-consumerist: I buy little, only what is necessary, and when I do I support sustainable realities or buy things second-hand, in flea markets or online.
Do you feel better since you embarked on this dietary path?
Yes, without a doubt.
Not only on a physical and healthy level, but especially on a mental level: not taking part in a market that is based on violence and exploitation and has extremely harmful implications on the planet makes me feel at peace with myself, and no doubt has allowed me to develop an empathy and compassion that I did not have before.
How have you changed since living this way?
Freedom is my greatest value, so I am happy and peaceful. I feel I am living a full life.
What advice would you like to give to a family or someone who would like to take a similar journey and embark on this lifestyle?
Regarding the vanlife lifestyle, one must undoubtedly have adaptability and be a minimalist.
If a person is used to luxury hotel standards and traveling with a trolley, vanlife is probably not the right choice.
If, on the other hand, one is able to adapt and live with few material things, one will be surprised at how nice it can be to wake up in a different place every day, to have in one place the closet, the bed, the kitchen.
From the perspective of the “digital nomad,” first of all you have to make sure you have a job that allows you to do that. It is not so easy in Italy, but not impossible.
You have to determine what your interests are, where you like to live, and explore destinations in line with the way you are: I would never travel to cold places nor stay in the city, I’m fine when I’m warm and near the ocean, so I can surf.
Remember that “what glitters is not always gold”: I am extremely happy with the life I lead, but it is not always easy and beautiful, as you can see on social media.
Thank you Anna!
As we bid farewell, let this conversation be a wellspring of inspiration, prompting each of us to reflect on the profound impact of our lifestyle choices.
Let us acknowledge that adopting the van lifestyle signifies more than just a shift in surroundings; it marks a transformative leap toward a life abundant in experiences, self-discovery, and a profound connection to the world!
Feel free to contact anna on her social profiles: https://www.instagram.com/annaperolari/
Follow her and share your thoughts with her.
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We at lifestylemind.com are happy to have shared this journey into the van lifestyle and digital nomads!