The Digital Nomad With Nancy Diaz of the Global Citizen Therapy Podcast


Do you live in paradise?

What about feeling like you have made it?

But what about feeling overwhelmed, sad, or depressed?

These are the questions that Nancy Diaz set out to answer and provide resources for a group of people who seem to have it all.  Behind the Instagram perfect life, they can have the same mental health problems as everyone else.

A stigma we often apply to others is seeing what we want to see and assume the grass is greener on the other side.  It couldn’t be further from the truth, and while Nancy is just getting started, here at CausePods, we are excited to see what new conversations emerge in this space. 

Key Topics:
  • What initially led to the interest of psychotherapy and the digital nomad entrepreneur (1:00)
  • What are some of the mental health struggles a digital nomad faces vs. the average entrepreneur (4:58)
  • What have been some of the biggest challenges of launching a podcast (11:36)
  • What has Nancy most scared about doing a podcast and excited (13:21)
  • What made the Malaria foundation a particular cause to support today (15:08)
Connect with Our Guest on Social
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Hi and welcome to Cause Bonds, I’m your host, Matthew Passi here because Bonds, we have one simple mission to highlight the amazing folks who are using podcast as a way to raise awareness for good causes and make the world a better place, whether it’s in their own local community or they’re taking on global issues.

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All right, everyone, I think we’re taking this show as far as we can go from central location, we are going to Sydney, Australia. We are chatting with Nancy. She is a psychotherapist, a social worker, a digital nomad and host of the Global Citizen Therapy podcast. And I know that sounds like a lot of words all being jammed into the title there. But this is probably something that applies to so many of you listening, because if you’re into podcasting and entrepreneurship and and, you know, remote work, which all of us are dealing with right now, you’re probably dealing with, you know, some concerns, some issues surrounding mental health and being a digital nomad and working remotely.

And Nancy here is, you know, trying to fight the stigmas around it and get folks more help. So we’re delighted to bring her on call spots. Nancy, thank you for joining us here today.

Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Before we get to the podcast, what led to your interest in not just psychotherapy, but specifically psychotherapy around the digital nomad lifestyle and the independent entrepreneur citizen?

Yeah, of course. Well, that started pretty much during the covid lockdown. And it was then that I finally I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, but no, it was just not enough time. Not enough hours in the day for me to actually put together a formal business plan, anything like that. So it was during covid lockdown that I said, OK, now I finally have the time to start my own online private practice the way that I want to do it.

And yeah, I decided to focus on digital moments because I left the U.S. two years ago and moved to Australia and have used that me kind of as a home base to travel around different countries. And somehow I keep coming back in Sydney. So now I call it my home base. I mean, I’ve met so many amazing, incredible people just in my travels. But the one thing that I kept seeing was just the struggles that they were dealing with.

And they’ve completely shifted my perspective. And, you know, I just really thought, like, wow, I really want to be able to help these people because like the general population, one in four adults will experience a mental health concern in their lifetimes. But travelers, travelers’, digital nomads, entrepreneurs, it’s way more stressful when you add on the stress of having to find a new place to live, having to buy your local grocery store every few months or, you know, some people travel even faster than that.

Some travel slower than that. But the reality is that you’re in survival mode all the time. And when you’re traveling and you know, the fact that there’s just a whole other array of issues that I have seen among travelers and among remote workers that I was like, wow, you know, and there’s just not that much support out there. So when I was thinking, OK, so I’m going to launch this private practice, there’s a million people that I could help.

Who do I want to serve? That’s what came to mind first, because I just thought, especially right now during covid, you know, like I am an expat, I’m away from my family. We don’t know what’s going to happen with covid and I’m feeling stress. And so I know for a fact that other expats, other digital nomads, other travellers, they’re all feeling the same thing. The whole digital nomad concept always fascinated me because I just thought, like, wow, when you think about going traveling and going on a little vacation, a little holiday, you think, oh, my God, the stress of like getting to the airport in time.

What if I miss my flight? What is my hotel room? Is it ready or just the stress of all of that? That’s a lot. But you add onto that the stress of being an entrepreneur and where am I going to find my next client and what is it? It’s not enough income or what if this goes wrong? You know, this is this client list, a bad review and now what do I do? And there’s just so many things that could go wrong as an entrepreneur, digital nomads kind of they have a really hard because it’s not just the stress of traveling and constantly relocating, but then it’s the stress of most digital nomads are entrepreneurs.

So it’s the stress of managing a business while you’re traveling full time. And then, you know, just the stress of, OK, well, how do I enjoy myself? You know, really how do I strike that perfect balance between my work and my social life and traveling? And how do I make sure that this is sustainable for me? So that’s really what I wanted to to tackle and to make sure that digital nomads could keep living their life to the fullest and just really enjoying everything that they’re doing and their work and the social life as well.

So that’s why I decided to get into that. Sorry, that’s a long winded answer.

It’s OK. It’s such an interesting nesh and. As someone who I never had the entrepreneurial bug, this, you know, being an entrepreneur happened to me, I didn’t go out there and seek it. And what I have learned, especially early on, is the emotional roller coaster that it puts you on the highs and the lows. Right. Like, one day you feel like you’re on top of the world. The next day you wondering if you’re going to be able to put food on the table for your family.

And I’m doing all that, luckily, in the stability of my home. Right. Like in the state that I basically grew up in and a home that I know in my area, it’s comfortable where, like, I can return to the bed, I know and get groceries from the places I know and right. Like pandemic aside, there are certain creature comforts that have set up base. But I never thought about the fact that we have folks who are both entrepreneurs dealing with that very stressful, emotional rollercoaster and then pair that with this sense of not having a home.

Right. That foundation that rocked that place that you return to every single night and know that you feel safe and like you said, know where your groceries are going to come from, know where your friends are and where your social connections are. I imagine that the rate of folks who have mental health concerns in that grouping is probably pretty high compared to the rest of the population now.

Yeah, and exactly. And that’s what I was thinking when I was trying to pick the population that I was going to be working with. I said, well, it seems like this population would have way more mental health concerns and the rest of the population. But actually, when I started researching, I was shocked that I couldn’t find anything concrete on this. There are a few blog posts out there written by digital nomads who maybe are also therapists or coaches or just want to write about their own mental health experiences and their own journeys.

I found a few like that and they were all pretty much the same, like giving general tips and advice on how to maintain your your mental health as a digital nomad. But these were like one page like blog posts, but nothing as far as like actual research, like studies conducted nothing. And I was just shocked because digital nomads have been around, you know, forever since the 90s, pretty much since we were able to travel with the laptop and work remotely, even the most basic things, digital nomads have been around.

So that’s why I was like, wow, I can’t believe that nobody is researching this. Nobody’s talking about this. Like, why is this the case? And then I started researching how many mental health professionals are there specializing in helping digital nomads, even just travelers. And there’s there’s not that many there’s a few working with expats. And so that’s one thing that I was like, oh, my God, I love I love the expats. I love the backpackers.

I love the digital nomads. I love the international students being one of those in some way, shape or form, except for I’m not a student anymore, but I feel like I’m always a student at Harvard. So I almost group myself with them as well, often hang out at university events. And I’m like, oh, I still love this world. But no, I just I thought, like, wow, I want to help all these people, but I know I have to narrow it down to one.

And that’s when I was like, OK, digital nomads, because there is just so much going on there and there’s no research. And I’m just shocked because they’ve been around forever and there’s no research thing that they have more mental health concerns than anyone else. There’s like that. So that’s kind of why I decided to also start this podcast, because when I started this business and then I started getting clients and just wanted to be able to help them the best way that I could.

So naturally, you know, on the social worker and me is like, OK, let’s see if maybe I can point them in a direction of a podcast or books or something. And again, I ran into like, OK, there’s really nothing out there. And so I asked in a few Facebook groups like, hey, does anyone know of any, like menthol podcast for travelers or for digital nomads or, you know, anything in that area?

And everyone was telling me, no, there’s nothing out there. I don’t know of any. You should start one. And that’s actually why I decided to start this podcast, because there’s just not any resources out there. And there’s no podcast out there specifically for digital nomads or location independent entrepreneurs or even for travelers. And it’s just such a different lifestyle, like you said. Yeah. Just not having that stability of somewhere to call home and not really knowing where you’re going to end up next, not knowing if your visa is going to be renewed or not, like there’s just all these stressful factors that we don’t really think about.

And one thing that I think I I’ve been doing this a lot lately is that I start out by pointing out the negatives because it is there are negatives with this lifestyle, but of course, there are positive. I just think it’s important to realize. But there is both because I think that social media portrays digital nomads in a certain in a certain light, and there’s always these glamour shots of someone sitting at the beach with the laptop, with the coconut in hand.

And that’s just not reality because first of all, your laptop would be ruined by the sand in the water. So that’s crazy. But, yeah, it’s not, you know, all of fun and games. But at the same time, it is an amazing lifestyle because you just get to meet so many different people from everywhere in the world and just learn so much from different cultures. You have a blast. But at the same time, when it does come down to you’re having a bad day and then that bad day turns into a bad week, a bad month and the bad few months and all of a sudden you find yourself in a depression or you find yourself just not really coping, then it’s time to OK, can we actually talk about this?

Because it doesn’t matter that your quote unquote, living in paradise or quote unquote living the dream, it doesn’t matter because anyone can fall into depression, anyone can have anxiety, anyone can be dealing with trauma. And maybe there’s a trigger. Something comes up. Mental health is something that we all need to be concerning ourselves with and talking about, no matter how how glamorous and how amazing the lifestyle can sometimes be, we still have to remember that there are those cons and we need to start talking about those things.

At the time that we are recording this, you’ve got it looks like just one episode plus the trailer. So, I mean, you’re early into the actual podcasting journey. But I’m curious, having just launched, you’re probably still pretty fresh. Like what have been the biggest challenges to launching an actual podcast?

Yeah, I am still pretty new to the podcasting world. And honestly, this was never my plan to start a podcast. I never had this dream of being a podcast host. This wasn’t something that was in my plan. But you know something in me once everyone was telling me like, no, there’s nothing out there. Can you please start one? And just the support from the digital nomad community, like, oh, I’ll be a guest on your podcast.

Or if you you need a co-host, I’d love to be a co-host or I know someone that can help with this. I know someone that can do that. So, yeah, the support was definitely there. And but yeah. Just it’s been great so far. Yeah. I’ve only just launched that last week so I have the trailer and I have the first episode, but I have recorded already quite a few episodes and then a few interviews. So I’ll be publishing episodes weekly and I have a bit of a backlog so that that has me feeling good.

And already I’m thinking like wow, I’m so excited to share these episodes with the digital nomad community and just anyone that finds them useful because their tips and nuggets of wisdom that can be useful to anyone. For example, the first episode was just on productivity, just talking about burnout. And these are things that anyone can experience no matter where you work or if anyone can experience burnout. And of course, we all have jobs and we’re all trying to be productive in some way or another.

So, of course, is the great episode. And I’m just grateful to Elizabeth Wells, who was my when my first guest. And she yeah, she did a great job. And just explain how it is that we can be more productive, how it is that we can manage our to do list in a better way.

And and just talking about the things, Excelon, what has you most excited about doing a podcast or what has you most scared about doing a podcast?

I think that I’m just most excited to see if we can actually get together a community of people where we can actually talk about these things. Do you know what I mean? Because I love what I do. But it’s very at this point in time, it’s one on one. So I kind of want to turn it into a community where we can even have a support group or something like that and just really talk about what is the reality, especially right now during covered.

A lot of digital nomads are grounded. Maybe they’re they’re stranded. And in a country you can’t get somewhere else or or whatever it is, there’s lots of different situations happening. So I know, especially right now, more than ever, we need community. We need the support. We need to be able to talk about these things that we’re struggling with. And so that’s kind of what I’m excited about to see if we can build a community like that where there will be no shame.

And talking about it couldn’t sleep last night because I was really anxious or, you know, I’m stressed about my family back home. Just whatever it is that we can actually from this podcast, just develop a community. And and I’ve seen it happen with other podcasts before, that all of a sudden there’s there’s listeners that are commenting and sharing and, you know, and I just that’s what I maybe even developed the Facebook group from there one day. I’m having lots of ideas, so I’m excited about that.

I am a bit scared that it’s going to be too much on my plate and too time consuming. That’s what I’m scared about. I am going to do my best out first as much as I can so that I can still focus on my clients as well. But yes, so far I’m loving the podcast, too.

So for your charity, you are bringing up the Against Malaria Foundation. We’ll have a link, of course, against malaria dockum in the show notes and on the website, of course, iPods, if anybody is interested in supporting it. But why is this a charity that is so important to you?

Well, it’s important to me because I’m a big believer in evidence based research, just as a psychotherapist and in my studies, always all about the evidence. And so, of course, every charity pulls on my heartstrings in a different way. And, you know, my first initial reaction was, of course, like I want to choose one that’s working around mental health. But the reality is that there are so many amazing charities out there, but there’s just so many that have a good heart but just don’t really have the numbers there that don’t really necessarily do the research and really think about, OK, how can I be transparent to my donors?

How can I actually, you know, crunch these numbers so that I know exactly what’s going to each cause there’s an organization called Give Well, which actually does the research on all of these nonprofit organizations. And so they’ve listed against the Malaria Foundation as one of the leading organizations where you can essentially get the most bang for your buck or they’ll stretch your dollars the furthest. You know, and this is the organization that whose main purpose is to evaluate these nonprofits and see who is doing the best, who will actually who can actually help the most people with the little money that you donate or, you know, the huge amount of money that you donate.

So that’s why I’m passionate about foundations that that they have deemed that they’re doing a great job. Very good.

Well, once again, folks, we’ve been chatting with Nancy. She’s a psychotherapist, a social worker, a digital nomad herself. She’s also the host of the Global Citizen Therapy podcast. If you are someone who works that lifestyle lives, that lifestyle travels, that lifestyle, you want to learn more about the show and learn more about her services, because maybe you are struggling with not only the lifestyle, but, of course, everything else that is going on.

On top of that today, you can connect with her a global citizen therapy dotcom. Again, there will be a link to that in the show notes and on the website calls pods dot org. Nancy, we want to thank you so much for coming all the way around the globe to join us here today and tell us about your show here on call spots.

Yeah, thank you so much. And thank you to your listeners for tuning in.

Thanks for listening to this episode. Of course, iPods, if you’ve been inspired by the work of our guest, please check out the show notes of this episode in your podcasting app or a cause pods dot org. There you will find links to their show, their website, their podcast, links on Apple, Google, Spotify, as well as a link to support the charity that they highlighted here on this episode. You will also find out cause paths dot org.

But where to subscribe to this show on your favourite podcasting app, how to sign up to be a guest on this show and a link to our Facebook group, which is going to have special resources just for the folks who are podcasting for a good cause. And I can tell you right now, we’ve got one great deal from our friends, a part page, but you’re only going to learn about it and get that special deal if you are a member of the Facebook group for call spots.

And before I go, I should say thank you in particular. The show is edited and produced by Ben Kilroy of the military veteran dad’s podcast. And what a great job he has done. And all this is made possible because of the great support that I received from Shannon Rojas here at the podcast, consulted Dotcom. Once again, if you want to learn more, go to College Sports Dog. Thank you so much. And we will see you next time on Cause Spots.

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