Meet The Traveler is a series where each week we interview one lifestyle traveler from around the world. These travelers range from being digital nomads, location independent entrepreneurs, or simply so passionate about seeing the world that they’ve fully integrated travel into their lifestyle. Our travelers will bring us into their world, sharing their transition story, what they do to support their lifestyle, and giving us insight into their life as a traveler.
If you’re looking for inspiration to transition to this lifestyle, want to meet other people in the community, or are simply curious to know how others live and split their time, then you don’t want to miss this series! A new interview goes live every Wednesday so be sure to set a reminder.
Meet The Traveler: Influencer Specialist Estelle Ducommum.
We like to start things off by knowing the behind-the-person story. We love getting intimate and learning about what drives a person to be who they are. We are going to skip a lot of the small talk, and head right into some more passionate questions.
Could you tell us a bit about your journey? Who were you in a past life, and who are you now?
I have been a girl that looked for the approval of others and who used to judge herself a lot. Right now, with time and travels, I got to grow and to trust myself more. I still believe in the approval of others, but I do less things to please them and more stuff to please me, and the person I want to be. I could say I am confident, but also open to others and attentive to new ideas.
Where are you from originally?
I am French, born in Toulouse, a city in the south of France. But I moved a lot with my family and lived mostly in Nantes, next to Bretagne, on the West Coast of France.
What are the things you’re most passionate about currently?
Without hesitation I would say food, traveling, and my job!
When did you first get interested in traveling?
I think this came very early, as we would always spend our summer vacations in Spain with my parents, or in Corsica. I also got the chance to travel to England with my school, then went to the States with my parents at 15 years old, and to Canada at 18 with my twin sister. Both of my parents traveled a lot. My mom lived in three different countries, so I think I had this in my blood!
When did you realize that you wanted to make travel a lifestyle? Was there a trigger point?
In 2014, I did a six month Erasmus in Barcelona. That was the first time I lived abroad. I was 20. This is when I truly realized I didn’t want to live in France, but travel or live in an international environment. I got amazed by the tons of people I met during this Erasmus. I had been confronted with other cultures I truly didn’t know about. This broke so many stereotypes and biases that I realized traveling would only make me grow and make my inner self richer!
How did you go about making the transition to a lifestyle traveler? Was it a seamless transition or a bit difficult?
I think I became a lifestyle traveler when I got into my master’s. I had to move every 6 months – for school, Erasmus, and internship. During this time I lived in 4 cities and 3 countries in not even a year. I lived in Nantes, Rotterdam, Nantes again, and then Barcelona. I had only been living in Barcelona for 2 years when I met my boyfriend, and we decided to become digital nomads and travel again. We had planned to travel 4-5 months twice a year, working and discovering some regions of the world at the same time. The plan was to start with the Mediterranean. Unfortunately, with the Covid-19 situation, our trip was cancelled two weeks prior to departure. We really hope to be able to travel again soon, when things get back to normal.
Could you elaborate on what you do for work? Do you work remotely for a company, freelance, or have your own location independent business?
I work as a freelancer, managing my own business as an influencer specialist. Marketing, communications, and SEO are at the core of my business. My company helps brands empower their brand image and boost their sales with creative influencer marketing campaigns, and SEO/user-friendly content on their website and blogs. I really love being an influencer specialist as it helps me develop a brand with very powerful humane content, and I can create amazing connections between brands and influencers.
Most of my clients have never worked with an influencer specialist before, or done an influencer campaign. After working with me, and when they do their first campaign, they usually see amazing results and are blown away! I always try to find the perfect influencers that fit the brand values, and already have a community that could be sensitive to their products, so the campaign is the most effective and also the most natural possible.
How do you manage working and traveling? Are there any specific apps you use to manage your work and lifestyle?
Right now, I am at home working (like everyone else haha), but I could be working from anywhere in the world. The first tool that helps me daily is Clockify, a time tracker that helps me track the time I work on each project, and see how many hours I allocate to each client. As an influencer specialist, I have lots of client meetings so I need tools that streamline this. For my client meetings, I created a free and personal online conference room with Whereby. This is very useful to do calls with my clients with audio and video in very high quality. Finally, my notebook never leaves my side. This is where I write my daily to-dos, which I really enjoy crossing out once they are done!
What is your preferred method of traveling/living? Do you move constantly/stay at a few places for a few months/have a base/multiple bases?
On our Mediterranean tour, we had planned to move approximately every two weeks, and to stay one month in only one destination. I think it also depends on the size of the country and what there is to do. If we go to the US, Canada, or Mexico, we would stay a few months exploring each. We would then move every three weeks to discover new cities and places. If we travel in areas like South-East Asia or the Mediterranean, I would prefer to do more countries in several months.
What seasons, if any, do you prefer to chase?
Summer is my favorite season, but it is the touristic season – with high prices and temperatures. To travel and work at the same time, I would say I prefer to do it during Spring or Fall, to enjoy countries and destinations when they are not that crowded, get fully immersed in the local life, and still enjoy nice weather!
What destinations do you consider to be the best for digital nomads/location independent lifestyles? Why?
Living in Barcelona, I know this is a great place for digital nomads. It’s an international, startup, and freelance/marketing hub. Life here is very intense with tons of events in different languages.
South-East Asia is also top-of-mind, with Thailand, Vietnam, Bali, and Singapore being trendy places right now. The places are attractive to nomads as they have marvelous landscapes, activities, nice weather, and they can really surprise you if you are used to an occidental and European life. Finally, as I also considered it for my digital nomad journey, I would think Mexico is a great destination. The country has a very rich culture, lots of history, different regions, friendly people, and the food is awesome! (Never underestimate the power of food culture!)
How do you go about making new friends/dating while traveling?
I love to attend networking events or meetups when I travel, or simply attend marketing talks. I think it’s great to meet people that have the same interests as you, and extend your professional network. Of course, I also met people doing fun activities – like a 18km walk in the jungle in Thailand or an entire day with elephants in a sanctuary in Chiang Mai!
How do you keep your long-distance friendships/relationships alive?
Friends are like plants: you have to give them love often! I try to talk at least once a week on Whatsapp with my friends, and call them in video monthly. Video changes everything, it makes it more vibrant and personal, and really helps to keep the bonds of friendship stronger. Also, a little postcard or gifts for their birthday even though you are far away makes the difference.
Regarding my family, we have several Whatsapp groups where we talk everyday, and I don’t really worry: my mom calls me every chance she gets.
What is it that you like most about the traveler lifestyle?
I love the fact that not only do you get to discover new cultures, people, places, but you also discover a bit more about yourself. You can think you have always been afraid of new things or very little adventurous, and the next day, you are walking on a transparent platform at the 60th floor of a building viewing the street under your feet! (true story). When I travel, I always try to push myself, to not listen to the biases I might have because of my education, and to try to make my own opinion on the matter.
Is there anything you dislike about the traveler lifestyle?
Not seeing my family as often as I would like to, and missing my comfy bed!
What’s something that’s currently missing from your life? Is there something stopping you from getting it?
Well, I would say… traveling! I have experienced travel as a student, an expat, and on holidays so far, and I was about to experience it as a digital nomad when the Covid situation happened. It’s been a real struggle because preparing your mind for months of travel takes time, and right when I was ready, I couldn’t travel anymore! I am worried to be scared to travel after this, and I know I shouldn’t, so I really hope I get rid of this feeling to enjoy traveling again.
Is there something you know now about the traveler lifestyle that you wish you knew before making the switch?
Not in particular.
Do you see yourself living this lifestyle forever? Or will you go back to a more “traditional” life at some point?
I know for sure I don’t want to travel all the time and have to change destinations frequently during the year as I like my casual life. But for instance, I know I won’t come back to France soon (or ever!), and I would very much like to pursue living in other countries for at least a few years each. I have been living in Barcelona for 3 years now, but I would love to spend some years in New York, and even live in Bali or South-East Asia. Why not?
What’s your best advice for someone wanting to transition to a life of travel?
I would say that you have to be prepared mentally and financially. Traveling is a cost, and you wouldn’t want your trip to end short because you run out of money. Also, being far away from your friends and family isn’t always easy. And if you travel with someone and have a fight with him/her… well you are stuck with this person on the other side of the world. I think it takes a lot of will to commit to this lifestyle long term.
If you are not sure yet, I would recommend trying some short trips not that far from your home (maybe in neighboring countries, doing a roadtrip). That could be the best thing to get used to traveling and moving.
Where can people connect with you?
You can connect with me on Linkedin or on my professional Instagram account for sure! I also have a personal account called @chroniquesdunefrenchie, so if you want to follow my life in Barcelona and my travels, you can follow me there!