My name is Alyssa Gilbert. I'm 27, and I'm based in Washington, DC. I recently quit my 9-5 to become a full-time digital nomad. After 5 years working in advertising and social media, I have developed the skills to freelance and build my own clientele. I’m an avid daydreamer, always curious, and one of the most outgoing introverts you’ll ever meet. I'm fluent in Spanish and I can play the piano and guitar.
When did you start traveling?
My first international trip outside of family vacations was when I was in middle school. I went to Brazil on a missions trip with a group of people from my church. I haven't stopped obsessing with diving into different cultures ever since.
My college years served as a perfect time to explore new destinations. I would work throughout the school year, save my money, and travel during spring break and summers off. I also studied abroad in Barcelona. I took full advantage of the low cost flights during my 6 month stay in Europe. My roundtrip ticket to Amsterdam was only $40, that’s cheaper than my phone bill!
What's in your carry on?
The obvious: my laptop, camera, and phone. AirPods, of course. I always make sure I have a good read or podcast for long flights. Hand sanitizer, tissues and lots of snacks to avoid paying for expensive airplane food. If I’m going to be traveling for less than a week I try really, REALLY hard to pack everything into my carry on. It’s so much easier that way.
You've traveled to some amazing places in Europe and Africa. What's been your most memorable trip?
Italy stole my heart right away, but Morocco, hands down, was my most memorable trip. It was unlike any other place I have ever been. Chefchaouen, the blue city, was my favorite. The views were absolutely stunning.
The entire trip was a very authentic and eye opening experience. I stayed with a host family, learned how to make couscous, meditated in the Rif Mountains and met some great people that I still keep in touch with to this day.
What's your favorite part about traveling? Least favorite?
I have so many favorites. Being able to escape from my everyday routine, window seats, crossing things off my bucket list, trying new foods, going to festivals, connecting with all different kinds of people. That feeling when you first step off the plane, visiting places I thought I'd only see in movies, discovering new music and architecture, and as cliché as it sounds, I love learning more about myself. Traveling has taught me some of the most valuable life lessons, things you simply can’t learn in a classroom or from reading a textbook.
My least favorite would be waiting in long lines at the airport, and always wishing I could have stayed an extra day or two.
You've studied abroad in Spain. What was the most rewarding thing about your experience? How did it challenge you?
My biggest challenge came from being so far out of my comfort zone, but each challenge presented it’s own reward. The separation from family and friends, definitely made me appreciate them more. Getting lost led me to my favorite cafe, a few parks, and discovering a shortcut home. Eating Dinner at 10pm every night left me with more time to explore the city, and paying for extra luggage (multiple times) taught me to let go of things I didn’t really need.
I think the biggest reward came from all the Spanish I learned living with a host family.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to start traveling more?
My biggest advice for someone who wants to start traveling more is, do it! Don’t let anything hold you back. Make a list of all of the things you enjoy, and then try to find places that offer the opportunity to bask in that joy. If you love food, take advantage of places that are known for their cuisine. If it’s meeting new people then seek out places that are rich in culture.
It’s not about staying at the nicest hotels or touring the most frequented places, it’s about your personal experience and connecting with the world around you. If money is an issue, splitting meals with friends, staying in hostels and planning ahead are great ways to cut costs.
Also, pack light. You’ll thank me later.
You recently moved to Miami to start your career. What's your favorite thing about the city?
The art scene. A lot of people fail to realize there is so much more to Miami than South Beach. Don’t get me wrong I am obsessed with the ocean and the sun, but I find myself spending a lot of time in the art district or the downtown/brickell area. I’ll go to a heat game, open mic night, art galleries... You can never get bored with all that Miami has to offer.
How do you #livelifeboldly?
I follow my own set of rules. I don’t like to conform to patterns of society. I do what makes me happy regardless of what obstacles may get in the way. I’ve always lived closer to the edge, but traveling has only inspired me to take even more risks. I find myself jumping out on faith and saying yes to new opportunities rather than overthinking and passing them by. I’ve learned that you can’t achieve your dreams by playing it safe, you have to pursue them.
Where can we follow your adventures?
I'm on Twitter and I want to get into posting more on YouTube, but for the most part I love documenting my day to day adventures on my Instagram stories, @sofearlyss.