One of the main purposes of our coco blog is to inspire you to become a location-independent worker! To regain the power of deciding from where you want to work, and where you want to live. That is why we want to share with you the tools, guidelines, stories and experiences of people who have long said goodbye to a 9-5 office job.
Today, we want to introduce to you Daniela Castrataro, an Italian life-enjoyer who decided to be the boss of her own life. She has lived in many countries throughout several continents, and today at coco, she is sharing the story of how everything started. If you are interested in the digital nomad lifestyle, make sure to give this interview a good read!
Welcome, Daniela! Could you quickly introduce yourself to our readers?
Hello :) My name is Daniela, I’m Italian but I’ve been living outside of Italy for 15 years now. For the last 8 years, I’ve been living in Spain, mainly in Barcelona. I was born in a small village in the mountains, but I’m a sea and beach lover. I love moving around and for the past 4 years, I’ve definitely been what they call a "digital nomad".
Since when have you been based in Fuerteventura and how do you know Matteo?
I moved to "El Cotillo" last autumn to escape life in a city during Covid, and I left for a while to spend summer between Italy and Barcelona. Now I’ve been back for a couple of weeks and I’m planning to spend here all winter. I met Matteo last year. I had the pleasure to share a flat with him - a great start to my life in Fuerteventura! He introduced me to the island, his friends, and he even took me surfing once (it takes a lot of patience to do that!).
What do you do for work and how did you get there?
I manage a small Italian start-up called Patamu. It’s a portal that generates a legally recognized proof of authorship for any creative work, allowing one to protect one's ideas and publish creative work safely. At the same time, I’ve just started taking care of the Italian market for a Barcelona-based packaging company, and I occasionally work as a crowdfunding consultant, which I love!
I started working 15 years ago when I moved to Scotland soon after university. I’ve never worked in my country, so that’s already a good start to a digital nomad life! At some point, I started my own company with a business partner: we did consultancy on digital marketing and crowdfunding. It was then that I realized that freedom came before everything else: we didn’t have an office and used to work from anywhere: co-working spaces, bars, sofas, etc. This lifestyle made me thrive, and even after leaving that company, I decided that the 9 to 5 office work was not my thing. What I most like about working remotely is definitely the freedom it provides!
What is it about having a location-independent lifestyle that you like the most?
For me, the most important thing is to be able to travel on my own terms. Not only as part of a vacation but to decide freely when and where to go. My family is in Italy but my friends are scattered all over the world, so I like to be able to go visit them without having to take days off. When you work in an office, holidays are very limited and I wouldn’t be able to do all the things I want only for a few weeks per year! Also, I love the fact that I can live in a permanent spring-summer, and close to what I love the most: the sea and beaches. Being able to work with no less than 20 degrees all year round is the biggest accomplishment of my life and I hope it will always stay like this :)
Tell us about your experiences! In which countries have you lived so far and how does Fuerteventura compare to them?
I studied languages so I visited and lived in many countries throughout my studies. Apart from Italy, I lived in Austria, the Czech Republic, England, and Belgium. Soon after University, I moved to Scotland where I lived for almost 6 years. Then I moved to Spain, spent 3 winters in Asia (mostly Thailand and India), and now I am here!
I really enjoy my life in Fuerteventura. Of course, it’s quieter than city life, but I love it. I adore the peace you can experience here, and the fact that after 1 month you know almost everybody on the island (yet new people keep coming and coming). And it has some of the best beaches I’ve seen!! I used to love living in a big city and I couldn’t have imagined I’d be so happy here...but well, here I am, with no intention to leave for a while.
In which ways do you think that signing up for a co-working space can improve your experience as a digital nomad in a foreign place?
Well, it’s the perfect place to meet not only new friends but also potential new colleagues. I found all the jobs I’m doing now through friends. Relationships are the most important thing. I wouldn't want to be a digital nomad that is isolated in a flat working all day alone... It is so important to remember that relationships are important for every aspect of our life, also for work. And co-working spaces are the perfect place to keep your freedom intact, to keep your social life alive, to learn and develop, and even find new job opportunities!
So what did you think of cocoworking?
Cocoworking is a great place! I love the fact that it’s so spacious and so bright. Its location is also spectacular: so close to the beach that it takes less than 5 minutes to go and enjoy the beautiful view. It's the best work pause you could imagine! I’m really looking forward to going there more often because unfortunately, I didn't find a good co-working space in El Cotillo last autumn/winter. I perfectly remember when Matteo talked about it last year, and it’s amazing to see all those ideas made a reality in the best way possible, only a few months later. I’m really happy that he has gone through with it, and I wish him only the best!
If there was only one tip you could give to an amateur freelance.. what would that tip be?
To make the most of it by actually being a nomad. I would say: "move around, discover new places and new people, but also take the time to get to know all these places fully, and to not leave only because you can". This is something I used to do a lot at the beginning... I was eager to discover new places, and many times I left a place too rapidly, without truly getting to know it. After a couple of years, I started stopping for a longer while in the places I happened to arrive, and it was then that I really started to enjoy my life as a digital nomad!
Outside of work, what is it that sparks your eyes?
To be honest, traveling is the one thing that sparks my eyes and my only real passion. I started traveling as soon as I started gaining some money, and I became a digital nomad
because I didn’t want to stop doing it.
And last but not least… is there anything else you’d like to share with us today?
As usual, I think I talked too much already :) Thanks for the opportunity, I hope to meet you all soon in cocoworking!