Digital Nomad Interview with Giulia Riva, Storyteller/Writer for the #ConsumelessMed project

Nomadic Times, columnist Mel Candea introduced us to the #ConsumelessMed project in her guest article An American in Sicily: A Workation to Remember. During this project Mel interviewed some of her collaborators and over the coming weeks we’re bringing you a series of digital nomad interview with her team members.

Mel CandeaColumist: Mel Candea

Giulia Riva is a freelance writer who specializes in art openings and exhibitions, though her true love is that of street art she sees when she travels. Her blog, Blocal, ( is dedicated to ‘unconventional destinations.’

I worked closely with her, since she did the interviews with locals and got the scoop – which I’d then edit. I also edited or discussed the evergreen posts she wrote for the site, and she was a wordsmith to be reckoned with. She also worked with Armando, because they were telling the same stories (writing and video) and posted some glorious Instagram moments as the workation went on.

She was bubbly and super-talkative, though she swears she’ll be quieter if we adopt her and let her travel in our van with us.

Giulia Riva for the ConsumelessMed Project

Briefly describe your digital nomad career:

I’ve wanted to travel since I was young. I changed every 2 or 3 years, starting from zero. And then one day, I’d do the opposite. I mean changing places, but not my job. 1 year ago, I decided to try something new. More linear. It’ll be a lot easier than starting from scratch.

Where do you live now and what do you do?

I live in Rome, but I’m moving to Malta. I work as a copywriter and blogger, plus I do a lot of ‘journalism for commission’ work for a newspaper. I write about art, street art, new exhibitions and museums. I love writing travel pieces, but the competition is fierce.

CosumelessMed Project The Sicilian coastline

The Sicilian coastline

How did you connect with the workation/selection?

A friend saw the link for the application and sent it to me. I applied. I later went to a lecture about digital nomads and I didn’t realize until afterwards the speaker was behind the workation. I was accepted later on, without the speaker realizing who I was.

What are your immediate plans (after this)?

I haven’t planned farther than September. Malta, Sarajevo in September. Find more writing jobs and clients. I’m also hoping for a trip to the States soon, but it’s pricey. I’m hoping to volunteer at a hostel to get room and board, maybe, in Austin.

What are your long-term plans?

Long-term isn’t really my thing. I’ve been developing a portfolio of contacts with sites and magazines. I’d also like to be more involved with festivals and events – but more as a part of it, with access to the stories and people behind-the-scenes.

What advice do you have for anyone organizing a workation?

Don’t underestimate the human-relation aspect. The scheduling, the personal interactions. Especially intros and such. Don’t rely too much on people connecting – if personalities don’t mesh, have a backup plan.

What advice would you give new DNs interested in your specialty?

Be patient. You expect immediate results, or I do. When you have a vision of what you want, it feels like it’s already begun. The reality is slower. It can be frustrating. I’m still working on that.
I started writing when I was young, around 6 or 7, with a ‘picture blog.’ So I’ve always had a passion for writing. Read a lot.

And this isn’t necessarily advice, but don’t let other people put you down. They’re just jealous. Constructive criticism is fine, but realize some people are just negative. Listening to it makes you insecure and it’s demoralizing.

CosumelessMed Project The workation's focus was on sustainability; these are ground olive pits to be used for fuel

The workation’s focus was on sustainability; these are ground olive pits to be used for fuel

Name your favorite quote (the one you live by):

Don’t worry, be happy.

What’s your favorite Sicilian dish?

It’s not a dish, but an artisanal liquer called Amara. It’s made of blood-red oranges and I loved it.

Describe the highlight of this workation.

The people. The idea that everyone was good at something – the project was the product of a sum of its parts. Normally when I work, I don’t interact. Despite differences in balancing personalities, there is a lot of potential in workations.

Another highlight was the people we met. The local farmers, restaurateurs and the refugees. You can be as digital as you want, but making real-life connections is important, too.

ConsumelessMed Project Modica at dusk

Modica at dusk

What are you taking away with you from this experience?

The places. It was my first time in Sicily and I didn’t know the area or the places I discovered in the territories. Scicli was beautiful.

What would you do if you couldn’t be a digital nomad (imagine no WiFi… gasp!):

I’d work for a company with different branches around the world, so that I could do the same job, but change places often.

Meet #DigitalNomad Giulia Riva @Blocal_ Storyteller on the #ConsumelessMed project @westydigitalnom Click To Tweet

Meet the Digital Nomads who collaborated with Mel on the ConsumelessMed project in the following interviews:

Author Bio for Mel Candea

Mel CandeaMel Candea has been an online writer for 9 years and a digital nomad for 6. She slow travels Europe with her husband in their van. She splits her time between working from the road and exploring the countries and their cultures. Mel is a voracious reader, an avid writer, a partial photographer and a believer in trying to leave places better than how they were found. If at all possible.

You can find her journeys with her Italian husband Armando (filmmaker), their dog Ziggy and their van Mork here: