During the pandemic, I’ve been blessed to live the digital nomad life in sunny San Diego, California.

San Diego was not hit as hard as Los Angeles or San Francisco, and we’ve had fewer restrictions than other US cities like New York and Chicago (at least so far). We have spent ample time outdoors, whether it be walking the dog or catching an ocean sunset.

I’m originally from Ryazan, Russia, and lived in London and Moscow—not exactly what you would call “sun-soaked” locales. However, living in San Diego and experiencing 266 sunny days each year, the big bright star in the sky has come to mean something to me. Especially when half the world was stuck indoors. I’m grateful for it; it’s one of those little things that I wouldn’t have considered before COVID.

We “digital nomads” had a tough go of it, at least at first. I know that many remote workers struggled with strict COVID restrictions, and a few of my friends were stuck in countries like Costa Rica and Belize for more than 6 months. But we adjust quickly to challenging circumstances in our line of work.

Personally, most of my days stayed the same, working remotely with my existing and new clients. My daily routine didn’t change apart from the lack of travel. I am grateful that my experience was less stressful than some of my peers.

During this strange time, I’ve learned that I enjoy the benefits of slow living. It gives me a comfortable sense of home on the other side of the world. My family has been fortunate enough to explore several national parks and reconnect with the outdoors in a way I’m not sure we would’ve otherwise. Our recent local adventures have all centered on the experiences of grounding, connecting with nature, and appreciating each moment.

Although I took a break from travel blogging for almost two years due to COVID, my thirst for adventure never left me. My hiatus was virtually destined to come, given the state of the world. But as I reached the other end of the pandemic, I realized that it provided me a renewed sense of wonder for the world and an eagerness to find peace. Little by little, I’ve gotten back in the groove and continued following a new yet very familiar path of adventure. The world feels different but just as inspiring as before.

In my time moonlighting as a social media strategist through the pandemic, I discovered that the world is rapidly moving into a new digital age. And likelier than not, more people will be inspired to explore the exciting digital nomad lifestyle I’ve developed for myself.

Now more than ever, I want to help others travel and live this life. I wish to bring people closer to their dreams of remote work through social media, blogs, or simple in-person connections. I hope to build a community of like-minded explorers navigating the ups and downs of adventure in today’s world together.

My time in the US was short-lived in the grand scheme of things. When my family reflected on life, the world, and what we wanted out of it, we realized we wanted to be closer to home. So we packed our bags and headed to Portugal—not home per se, but close enough that there wasn’t an ocean between me and Russia. We were far enough away that there was still a sense of awe and curiosity about new surroundings.

Lisbon, where we’re staying now, is a multicultural hub, and I would certainly recommend it as a digital nomad destination. Sun-drenched on the Atlantic coast and blanketed in saffron-colored roofs, it’s definitely pretty to look at. But it’s the slow pace of living here that seals the deal for many remote workers. Plus, as one of the safest capital cities in Europe with a well-connected ex-pat community, it’s ideal for solo travelers.

For now, I plan to explore as much of Portugal and Europe as I can. I intend to embrace this sometimes scary, often unpredictable, but always exciting life as a digital nomad.

One of the most important aspects of adapting to change is knowing how to smile. Read up on Learning to Laugh as a Solo Traveler.