Packing up your life and leaving everything and everyone you know behind doesn’t just sound scary — it is! But it’s something I’ve wanted to do since high school and I made it my mission to do it.
Hello Medium, nice to meet you! My name is Mary and I’m a mobile and web app designer, as well as a freelancer in digital marketing. I love my life in Orange County; I love what I do, the company I work for, my friends and my family. I’ve always been a curious person… I question things, google things, and if something fascinates me, I make it my mission to learn everything about it… for me, thats food, culture, nature, people, animals, design… the whole world!
High school was where I first heard what a foreign exchange student was. My friend was hosting a student from Australia and I literally sat next to him all night and asked him everything about this foreign exchange program.
After that day, I asked my parents if I could do it my senior year.
So I made the decision to teach English in Seoul, Korea after I graduate.
What happened during college? I had a boyfriend of 7 years, started freelancing in social media management and designing apps. All this made moving to a different country and leaving it all behind so hard.
So why the Nomad life??
I entered my last semester of college with a head of steam — my freelancing business was doing great! I was managing accounts for clients I met with about once a month (sometimes online) — this was the moment I realized that a work/travel life was possible.
The month before graduation, I emailed all my clients and asked if they were comfortable if I left to Asia for three months and still manage their accounts, deliver high quality work all while maintaining great communication. They all agreed.
So I packed my carry on and left to Asia! I got to walk through the Sacred Monkey Forest in Bali, island hopped in Thailand and explored some caves in Vietnam, but remember, I was still working.
Every week, you’d find me up at 2 am on a conference call or posting on instagram every day, some days while sitting in the back of a moped on the way to a waterfall in Thailand. I was always working but that worked for me. I loved that.
This trip to Asia was intended to get the urge to move to Korea out of my system, come back and look for a full time job with benefits and to settle down — which kinda happened! After I came back, I found a full time job at my “Google” as the lead Ui | Ux designer; I had my fill of Asia and I was ready to make money doing what I loved, designing.
A few months passed and I was starting to realize the travel bug I caught wasn’t a phase. While working at Novvum, I continued to freelance on the side and decided to buy a ticket to Iceland, drove around the whole country in 7 days with wifi in the camper van. When I wasn’t hiking or hanging out with my friends I was working. 6 months later, I finally experienced my first solo backpacking trip to Norway and Copenhagen.
Copenhagen felt like home. I don’t know how to explain it but everything about this place gave me the feels.
I felt connected to this city and its charm.
If you know me, which I’m sure you don’t, I love love love working in different coffee shops. This city had 10 in one alley and I wanted to work in them all.
The demographics here are all young entrepreneurs and guess what?! Most of them eco-friendly and incredibly nice and happy (After all… Denmark is the second most happiest country in the world). They also take the time to sit down and socialize with you. You don’t see groups on their phones but instead are intrigued in what their friends were saying. I was blown away and I wanted that.
Fast forward one year, I’m about 40 days away from my move to Copenhagen and I can’t wait! I’ve been freelancing for almost three years now, have amazing clients as friends, hired my first amazing assistant and will continue as the lead designer at Novvum.
What do I love about freelancing?
- The fact that I can work anywhere I wanted to in the world and still get paid
- Building relationships with every type of person
- The challenge of finding my own clients and helping them using digital solutions
Whats hard about freelancing?
- Theres absolutely no stability… like at all - projects can last anywhere from 1 hour to x amount of years. You have to keep hustling to find clients, market yourself, sale your services to new clients… all of the above!
- I don’t have this problem yet… and I hope I won’t have this problem long term but I think not being surrounded by smart creatives will be challenging. I love collaborating and being in a team environment so not having that every couple days will be something I’ll miss.
It’s quite overwhelming and time is flying by like a crazy bat but I’m more excited to start this new challenge on my own in a whole different country, meeting people from all over the world, getting lost in a new city every weekend and eating and drinking things I can’t find in Orange County. It’ll be difficult at first but everything works out if you let it. Keep an open mind and an open schedule cause anything and everything can happen! Its going to be one wild ride!
Thanks for reading!
- 📃 If you want to get more technical, read my other article to see how I break down my UI Design Process
- 📲 Say hi to me on Instagram!
- 🏀 Check out my Portfolio on Dribbble
- 👩💻 Tell me what you think about my website! — *Still updating!