How to turn your digital nomad daydreams into a reality: Meet our Workawayer of the Month, Sai!

One of the most common misconceptions we tell ourselves is that we can only pick one path and stick to it. Buckle down and build your career, or set yourself free and explore the world. Well … with Workaway, why not do both?

Meet our latest Workawayer of the month and daring digital nomad Sai, who not only works full time for a tech startup but is also diving head-first into a WIDE range of Workaway opportunities all over the globe in his spare time. Read on to find out more about this free-spirited traveller who refuses to settle for just one thing, and learn about how embracing all the possibilities in life can turn your nomadic travel dreams into a lifestyle!
Hi Sai! So, how did you end up living the digital nomad life?
I've actually just started a new job! I work as a client success manager at a tech startup in Amsterdam. My job is to coach our clients on how to use the product and to give them walk-throughs. 

The beauty of today's changing work environment is that it is easier now to find a job that will let you work remotely. When I was looking I realised all the big tech companies, like Airbnb, Apple and Google, are actively recruiting remote workers. It gives them a broader choice of candidates because someone could, for instance, be in Sri Lanka or India and work full time for a company in California. I didn’t find it necessary to negotiate for it, as it was being offered already!

I only have to go into the office about four times a year. But Amsterdam is amazing and it’s such a cool place, so I think I will stay here for a couple of months to get to know everyone at work, and then start travelling again.

Solo shot of a young man wearing a red paisley face mask in the street extending his arm to an orange and white cat
What motivated you to start using Workaway?
Almost five years back, I was at my ancestral house which has been passed on to me by my great-grandparents. It was a really nice setting and I thought I could renovate it and rent it out to tourists. 

Some of the volunteers that I had found through friends mentioned that they used Workaway. During the pandemic, I was in Madrid just sitting in my apartment all day long, and I thought some change would be really useful for me. I remembered Workaway and the volunteers suggesting the platform, so I went back to it, I had a look and it looked really exciting. I made a profile, started travelling and never stopped for a year and a half - I just kept going and going!
A solo shot of a young man wearing a red beanie hat sitting outdoors by a campfire at night time
We've had a lot of volunteers who've gone on to become hosts, and you’ve kind of done it backwards! Do you think that you'll ever host again at your home in the future?
I think I would like to travel for the next five to ten years, so I don't see myself hosting in the near future. Maybe once I'm a bit older and looking to stay in one place, yeah, I'd love to do that. I think hosting Workawayers is like a way of travelling without actually moving. 
Collage of four photos: Far left: A smiling young man kneeling down to give a belly rub to a fluffy white dog on a sunny gravel driveway Second left: Two young men standing in a field. One is pushing a wheelbarrow, and the other is tending to a large, leafy plant that reaches above their heads. Top right: A smiling group of three, two men and a woman, sitting around a campfire at dusk in a field wearing winter clothes Bottom right: Two young men taking a selfie and smiling for the camera, inside a wood-panelled bathroom, both wearing pink and blue facepaint
How do you plan to balance your time between work and Workawaying?
I was thinking of staying and working remotely for a month in each different city. I can't really travel as I did in the past, spending each week in a different place, even though that was something I loved doing. It will be important to make the most of evenings and weekends to explore.

For the last year and a half, I've been travelling mostly in West and Central Europe. So now I'd like to go to the Eastern side and explore a few good cities there, like Budapest. Then I'll go to South America for the winter months when it's summer there. But things are always changing, so yeah, let's see!

A group of three on the roof of a building, painting the walls red. A man smiles at the camera in the foreground as he takes the picture. One woman holds the other by the legs as she leans over the edge with the roller.
When you're looking on the site, how do you choose hosts? 
For me the most important thing, and what really motivates me, is change. I've been in places where I enjoyed the work a lot, but after four or six weeks, I wanted to change it up and move on. If I have a family host where I'm doing a bit of gardening, the next host I’ll try to do animal care or something in a really different setting. 

Collage of four photos: Far left: An autumnal solo shot of a smiling young man in a field holding the reigns of a cream pony while it grazes Second left: A solo shot of a man using a drill on a wooden beam inside a half-constructed house Top right: A young man in the kitchen of a home tasting a preparing a dish in a frying pan that looks like a paella, surrounded by ingredients, while a small child looks on Bottom right: A solo shot of a smiling young man sitting outside on a bench on a sunny wooden terrace, playing the guitar next to a basket of red flowers
Do you have any top tips for wannabe digital nomads, who want to travel the way you do? 
From my experience, if you're freelancing, you have to put a lot more mental energy into what you're doing. You have to spend your time just trying to find clients, and when you're travelling that's not what you want to be doing - you want to be having a good time! So speaking from that perspective, looking for a remote  job where you’re working for a company might be more suitable to some because you work your hours, and that's it. Your sense of ownership isn’t as strong as when you’re working for someone else.

Having health and travel insurance is so important! Do your research, there are some great start-ups that specialise in insurance for digital nomads and travellers who move from country to country a lot. I use a German company called Genki which is cost-effective and covers me everywhere except the US and Canada. 

If you’re on a tight budget, make sure to do the research when booking something. Always check comparison sites to find the cheapest travel options and tickets. When I was in Europe, I found Trainline really helpful.

An autumnal solo shot of a smiling young man in a field surrounded by trees, holding the reigns of a chestnut horse whilst a brown horse grazes in the background
That’s a good tip! How else do you manage your money during your travels? 
Well, I would say the biggest help is Workaway - it really helps you travel on a budget, and I’ve had a really good experience with the platform. Just by using Workaway, you’re cutting out your two most significant costs, your accomodation and food. You're eliminating these expenses by having new experiences and learning new things, so it's kind of a real win-win there! 
Young man surrounded by many fallen trees in a garden, carrying a log
How long do you think you'll travel? Will you ever settle down?
I don't know! The way the world is going, and I guess the way my life is going I can't really plan ahead. Right now, with the mindset that I have, I think I'm just going to keep travelling as long as I can, as long as my body lets me and my work lets me. 

I don't really want to find a place for myself and then find myself comfortable, staying somewhere and just going through the daily routine. I'm alone now and I have my freedom, so I just want to try and travel as much as I can, because that's what I love.

A collage of three photos Top left: a group of three women and one man pose for a photo in the forest wearing winter clothes Bottom left: a solo shot of a young man sitting in the trees, looking at a beautiful view of a sunny valley and river Right: two people inside a shed, a man uses a drill to fix a window while a woman supervises in the foreground
Love it! Last question: what is your number one bucket list destination?
When I first started travelling I was really just a tourist. I would go to other countries, and I would just go around taking pictures, and that was what travel meant to me. The first time I ever thought of travelling differently was when I heard of a trek in Norway that locals call the “Troll’s Tongue”. I still haven’t been, and I really want to hike there.

The other place that I have been thinking about recently is a beach in the south of the Bahamas, where you can swim with sharks - I think that's pretty exciting!
Two people silhouetted by the setting sun as they walk along the sea shore
So stargazing at the northern lights, or swimming with sharks - true to form, two complete opposites. Thank you for chatting with us today! 

Check out our full interview with Sai here!

If Sai’s adventures are inspiring you to get out there again, check out more about us here! What do you think about Sai’s travel adventures? Let us know in a comment below! 

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