How I Transitioned from a 9 to 5 Job to a Work/Travel Lifestyle

Going from an Office Job to a Digital Nomad Life

Grace in heels.jpg

I’ve been a nomad since I was born. That’s me being fabulous in my mom’s heels, somewhere in the USA…who knows where. My father traveled a lot as a professional athlete and we went with him. He started traveling early in life too and, just like me, was a genetic mixed salad. He was born in Mexico City to Korean immigrant parents. He had two great passions in life: wrestling and traveling. My sister and I got both of those passions from him; we’re both gym rats and we both love traveling. I traveled from birth till I started junior high school. But we didn’t stop traveling, we only did it less often.

As an adult, I chose Languages as mi career and later my work…until one day, many years later, when destiny brought me back to my passion. I had de opportunity to make a COMPLETE lifestyle change, switched from being a Language Teacher’s Coach to working in the Olympic Movement for one of the International Olympic Sports Federations.

Travel started immediately because the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games were 6 months away and because the headquarters for our Sport was in Munich, Germany.

The Transition from 9 to 5 to Full-time Work/Travel

At the Taj Mahal in April 2010.jpg

From the moment I was hired, I understood I would be traveling, I just didn’t know how often! It turns out the Olympic world is ALL ABOUT travel. I travel to almost monthly international sport competitions, to International Olympic Committee (IOC) meetings in the Olympic Capital of Lausanne, Switzerland, but also to all cities that have bid for the Olympic Games in the next 20 years, to cities that have bid to organize the yearly IOC Sessions where all the Members meet to vote on important Olympic matters, to World Antidoping Agency (WADA) events and to Olympic Sports conventions where sports industry meets the Olympic Movement.

That’s a TON of travel! Even for someone as passionate about travel as I am.

The thing is, going from a 9 to 5 job to almost constantly traveling and working on the road (currently known as being a digital nomad, having a location independent job, being a traveling freelancer, having a work/travel lifestyle) in a matter of a couple of weeks is a career SWITCH not a career TRANSITION. And the transition is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. My transition period lasted about one year and every minute of that year I was either learning, making mistakes, anxious, excited, exhausted, confused and wondering if I had made a huge mistake by taking this job.

Why I decided to Coach Aspiring Digital Nomads

Texting at the Oberoi Hotel Agra India.jpg

Guess what I’m doing in the photo above? Working. I’m answering emails and putting out fires at the luxurious Oberoi Taj Mahal Hotel in Agra, India, walking towards the restaurant for lunch after spending the morning at the Taj Mahal.

I quickly learned in my new job that work NEVER stops, no matter where you are, who you’re with, what you’re doing or how much you wish you could sneak out and go visit the reclining Buddha in Bangkok (I swear, I’m never going to get over that one!).

I learned that I would rarely enjoy an uninterrupted meal, in fact, more often than not, I would be eating and working on my phone, laptop or having an eat and work meeting with colleagues. When I’m at one of our sports venues somewhere in the world, I usually stay there at least half a day and I’m either walking around the venue with my boss, greeting athletes and officials or having an impromptu meeting or watching competitions. At the venues, I usually either skip meals, unless I had a chance to sneak out to a Starbucks near the hotel and grab nuts or fruit to get me through until dinner time.

But, guess what?


That’s Mrs. Obama speaking in Copenhagen during the Chicago bid for the Olympic Games a few years ago. And it is moments like those that I remember why I became a digital nomad and why it is the BEST decision I ever made.

Sure, I don’t get much sleep and I skip meals. But I’ve been to almost every country that has a National Olympic Committee and that’s pretty damn amazing.

My new career

So now, I’m still working in the Olympic world. But I’m also back to being a Coach and I’m truly excited because it’s something I’ve always been good at and always loved. This time I’m not coaching language teachers. I’m currently coaching people who want to SWITCH or TRANSITION from a 9-5 job to a work/travel lifestyle and pay me to teach them how to make the Transition as smooth and painless as possible. They pay me to teach them how to avoid making the mistakes I made. They pay me to teach them the tricks it took me 20 years to develop.

It’s pretty damn exciting and I hope you’ll join me on this journey!!