Andrea Valeria is a digital nomad & travel vlogger based in Playa del Carmen & originating from Panama City, Panama where she lived until she was 17 years old. After more than ten years of world travel, Andrea started it's a Travel O.D. in order to focus on full-time travel & a location independent lifestyle.
After discovering Andrea on her YouTube channel & following her on it's a Travel O.D, TL Travel reached out to learn a little bit more about her adventures in vlogging & to share those adventures with you. We had so many questions to ask her about her travels & business that it was difficult to narrow them all down, so we hope that you enjoy her answers & continue to follow her journey on it's a Travel O.D.!
TLTRAVEL: Let's start with location! What brought to you to Playa del Carmen & do you think you will be there permanently?
ANDREA: About 7 months ago while I was living in Mexico City, I was scrolling on Instagram & came across the beautiful beach town of Tulum, Mexico. There were so many photos that made me think "I need to be there!" so three weeks later I moved to Playa del Carmen; a more developed beach city, but still close enough to Tulum. I like to move every few months, so Playa del Carmen will be my home base until June & then, who knows?
TLTRAVEL: What was it about travel that interested you the most growing up/ as a young adult?
ANDREA: My favorite aspect of traveling is the feeling of not knowing anything about a place & being able to get to know it, its people & its culture. I just love the challenge of going from 'no idea what this place is like' to having tourists ask you for directions & being able to answer them. Basically, I like learning & seeing things for the first time - that's what keeps me wanting to move to different places!
TLTRAVEL: Where has been your favorite place to travel/ live & why?
ANDREA: I've been to beautiful places that I've disliked & also to places that aren't usually considered amazing destinations, but I've loved them anyways. Maybe I loved a place because I was in great company, or I didn't like a place because I wasn't doing something fulfilling. So which has been my favorite? I can't answer that question, but I can tell you I've really enjoyed Mexico!
TLTRAVEL: Where do you still want to visit that you have never been? What city/ experience is at the top of your bucket-list?
ANDREA: Sorry for the generic answer, but I literally just want to go everywhere! I do know there are some places that I would only like to visit for a short amount of time, while some places seem appealing as a temporary home base. Just off the top of my head, I would like to go Italy & Greece because I have never been to either, as well as Bali & South Africa which are in my list for reasons I don't even know.
TLTRAVEL: Has being a travel vlogger added to (or taken away from) your travel experiences & how do you separate work from leisure?
ANDREA: Vlogging my travels has been my way of making my life more social. As a solo traveler I spend a lot of time by myself, so social media & vlogging help me stay in touch with family & friends. Additionally, I can tell you that without vlogging I wouldn't have a lot of the opportunities that I've been able to land. Also, I probably wouldn't meet a lot of the inspiring, amazing people that I get to spend time with. Putting myself out there online is my way of networking, so I will continue to share my journey as a digital nomad.
As for separating work from leisure; I actually don't. Of course I set time aside to work, however, I always say that I love "sprinkling vacation elements into my everyday life." It's like finding that perfect balance between work & play in which you only work in things that entertain you. A few years back I actually got a tattoo that says "do what you love" to hold myself accountable & since I love traveling & making vlogs, I turned that into my career. I better continue to do things that I love or the tattoo will look really dumb ... haha!
TLTRAVEL: Do you have a partner or team that assists you with photography, photo editing, videography & video editing?
ANDREA: Nope. This is a one-woman show right here. I like the creative control. So yes, I do everything ... except for the occasional photo taken by a professional photographer or when I make my friends take photos of me.
Some of my previous jobs have taught me to become resourceful. For example, I used to be a one-man band news reporter in Tampa Bay covering mostly crime. I was my own hair & make-up artist, & then I'd get into the driver seat of the news van to interview policemen & gang members ... in my pantsuit & high heels of course. I shot everything (tripods are my best friend!), wrote the stories & edited the video packages. If I could do all of that daily & on a crazy strict deadline (5PM newscast) then I knew that I could vlog!
TLTRAVEL: In your opinion, what has changed the most about travel since you started your adventures?
ANDREA: When I first left Panama at the age of 17, we didn't have any of these social media platforms. Honestly, I'm glad those came around when I was older. I think it requires a certain level of maturity to really handle yourself responsibly in the social media world. Not sharing exact locations online is something I probably wouldn't have though of back then, & as a solo traveler it's important to stay safe.
TLTRAVEL: What advice would you give to someone starting out as a travel blogger or vlogger that you wish you’d had when you started?
ANDREA: I think it's really important to stop wishing & start going for it. I wish I would have started vlogging when I was 20, so I'd tell everyone to start as soon possible & go after whatever they want to be doing ASAP. That's it. I just wished I would have started earlier.
TLTRAVEL: What is the top tip that you can give to world travelers today?
ANDREA: That the whole idea of "quitting your job & traveling the world" is definitely not the only way to do it ... because I believe it's not realistic. You don't need to save money for 3 years to then embark on a journey & possibly run out of funds in the midst of the adventure.
Instead, I'd recommend people to start working on turning their current job into a remote one. Of course, I'd tell everyone to become a digital nomad because I'm in love with the lifestyle & the freedom. Start a business or offer services online so that you can be self-employed while traveling. It's a lot more sustainable that way because you won't run out of funds in the middle of your trip. So, if quitting your job & jumping into this unknown world of unstable income scare you ... I understand. It would scare me too. That's why I think more people should know there's other ways to make it happen!