How I Reevaluated My Life, Threw Away Material Stuff, and Became a Digital Nomad (Anna Sherchand’s Story)

This post is brought to you by a carry-on bag that Anna travels with and fits everything she needs for nomading.

This is the latest interview in a series featuring digital nomads talking about their lives and lessons (click here if you want to be interviewed). The goal is to help demystify the process of making money online, wandering the world, and living an unconventional life!

Anna felt like she had the ideal life but things began to fall apart. She prioritized travel and built a new life she loves. Be sure to check out her blog for stories from her solo travels!

Thank you for hanging out with Freedom Is Everything, Anna!

Key takeaways from Anna’s interview:

“I had to reevaluate and really look within. Materialistic things were not making me satisfied anymore; I wanted more from life than just paying bills, buying designer bags and shoes, and two weeks’ vacations. It was sort of a wake-up call. But I did not know where to start. I knew nothing about travelling professionally, blogging, or becoming a digital nomad. After failing at multiple attempts to lead a nomad lifestyle, I had to relearn and teach myself what I needed to succeed. It took a long time to be where I am today, which is probably why I appreciate it even more.”

“I travel solo, on a quest to travel all the countries around the world, although I am just at country #48 now. I don’t have any one person behind my camera because I take my own pictures or politely ask strangers I meet on the spot. If I were to give advice to someone who wants to travel with a similar style, I would say go for it, don’t be fearful; just be cautious.”

“There are two important people you need to make proud of in this world. No, they are not your parents. One is 80 years old you, and another is eight years old you.”

Introduce yourself! 🙂 Who are you? What do you do for work? And what is your nomadic story?

Hi! I was born in Kathmandu, Nepal, but I currently live in Melbourne, Australia. I started my first solo trip back in 2006 to Sydney, Australia, from Nepal to pursue further education. Since then, I have worked three jobs to pay my tuition fees, completed my studies, joined the corporate world, worked in a high-pressure environment, and earned a handsome income. Helped my family, spent it on friends and bought myself everything I wanted.

 

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At the time, I thought I had accomplished every goal I had set for myself and thought life was great. Then my father passed away, my relationship ended, I got diagnosed with chronic illness, everyone I thought was my friends was just there for money I would throw at parties, and I found myself with no real meaning and unhappy. Life sucked big time.

I went from having a great life to not having a good one in a matter of a week. It was hard to accept I was failing at real life. 

Doubt started to creep in. I had to reevaluate and really look within. Materialistic things were not making me satisfied anymore; I wanted more from life than just paying bills, buying designer bags and shoes, and two weeks’ vacations. It was sort of a wake-up call.

But I did not know where to start. I knew nothing about travelling professionally, blogging, or becoming a digital nomad.

After failing at multiple attempts to lead a nomad lifestyle, I had to relearn and teach myself what I needed to succeed. It took a long time to be where I am today, which is probably why I appreciate it even more. I left for my solo travel version 1.0 in June 2015. Since then, I have been solo travelling the world, five continents, 48 countries, and lived in 8 countries so far.

I write for my own platform as a solo female blogger and have worked with the likes of National Geographic, Skyscanner, Hyatt, United Nation, Adobe, and more awesome brands. I am on the quest to travel to all the countries in the world; I know it’s a big scary dream so, let’s see how it unfolds!

What inspired you to start nomading? And how has nomading changed your perspective on life?

All of the above plus the burning desire to see the world. I don’t think it has changed my perspective on life, but it has definitely added and enhanced quality thoughts on life and people in general.

Please tell us the detailed story of how you started your freelancing business.

I started with building my portfolio. Sending out submissions to various organizations. Then writing for them and asking for recommendations and referrals. That is one part of what I do, another is I write on my own platform, plus I earn from social media also.

 

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Since launching, what has been most effective to acquire/retain clients?

The mechanism to retain clients that worked for me is making sure there is satisfactory delivery and perhaps even an over delivery from the get-go. People love that and build the relationship over time. Also, having only one client is not enough to pay the bills unless it brings 90% of the bacon home. So, I would suggest building that momentum with X number of clients = your monthly expense. 

A day in my life would look like this: I set morning to meditate, exercise, breakfast. Depending on the day, I either write for my platform or take images for brand projects, then lunch, answer emails, work on client projects, and wrap the day with social media work.

It is a lot of work and normal to feel like you are wearing different hats as you go on about your day doing work for five different people! I also keep my phone on airplane mode or silent when I am zoning in or on a deadline. 

What are the 2-3 favorite places where you’ve lived/traveled to and why?

The more countries I traveled to, the more difficult it gets to answer this question because I truly believe every country is beautiful in its own ways. We just have to go outside of the capital cities sometimes to find those gems. That said, Nepal will always have a soft spot in my heart, not only because it is where I was born but because there is no place like the EBC [Everest Base Camp] and ABC [Annapurna Base Camp].

 

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What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking about nomading?

I would say be the first person to initiate the conversation. Your one “Hi” goes a long way in making friends while you are on the road. I was/am a bit of an introvert, so for me, this used to be a blocker, like I wouldn’t talk to anyone unless they started talking to me. But with experience, I have become better at it now.

Also, having a rough idea of your whereabouts in the future is better than zero plans because if you know where you are headed, you will start attracting people heading the same way.

What is unique about the way you travel, and what advice do you have for someone that wants to travel with a similar style?

I travel solo, on a quest to travel all the countries around the world, although I am just at country #48 now. I don’t have any one person behind my camera because I take my own pictures or politely ask strangers I meet on the spot. If I were to give advice to someone who wants to travel with a similar style, I would say go for it, don’t be fearful; just be cautious. Follow the general rules of thumb, i.e., don’t walk down that dimly lit alley on your own, respect the cultures, and don’t discuss politics or religion. Solo traveling will change you!

 

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If you had debt/student loans when you started nomading, how did you handle or think about this, and what advice would you give to other people with a similar situation?

I had personal debt before coming to Australia from Nepal. Like I mentioned above, I worked three jobs to pay that off, along with my tuition fees. The advice here is to simply work.

What is one of your favorite travel stories/experiences?

I have many that you may read on my blog.

What digital tools do you use for your work/business?

Most Microsoft, Google, and Adobe products and solutions.

What scale is your business at today, and what are your future goals?

At this stage, I am running the show with the help of 1-2 contractors. My future goal is to continue delivering what my audience wants to consume and be great at it.

 

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For someone interested in becoming a freelancer in your field, what’s the best advice you would give? And what books, podcasts, thought leaders, or other learning resources do you recommend?

If you are looking to become a freelancer in the blogging world, the best advice is to reach out to bloggers with a genuine offer to write—none of that link exchange or $10 pay emails. I believe if a freelancer sends a genuine email about building a portfolio and suggest some topics on writing blogs, then it gives them a strong chance of getting a “yes.”

There are uncountable resources online to learn how to do this properly. I suggest looking for them on online platforms of your choice, test it, and deploying the strategies you gather. And lastly, never give up.

If you only had a few minutes to live, what are the most important life lessons you would share with the world?

1. Tomorrow is not promised. 

2. Travel while you can; even better experience solo travel at least once in your life. It will change you!

3. There are two important people you need to make proud of in this world. No, they are not your parents. One is 80 years old you, and another is eight years old you.

 

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What do you travel with that you couldn’t imagine traveling without?

Not much. Everything I need fits on my carry-on bag.

How can people learn more about you and your work?

https://annasherchand.com

https://instagram.com/annasherchand

https://twitter.com/annasherchand

https://pinterest.com.au/annasherchand

https://facebook.com/therealannasherchand

 

Lauren Allain
Lauren is a freelance journalist from Seattle. She travels the globe in search of the best grocery stores, bouldering gyms, and snorkeling locations. Her mission at Freedom Is Everything is to help others make the transition into location-independent lifestyles.