Tayo Rockson: Hola Sara! ¿Cómo estás?
Sara Fernandez: Muy bien! y tú?
TR: Muy bien! So let’s start with this. Can you tell me your Nomadic story?
SF: It all starts when I was 21. I am originally from Seville, southern Spain, and at that time I have just finished my first degree, so I decided to look for opportunities in other places. I moved to Valencia ( in the Mediterranean coast) to study my second degree while working. After 5 years, I decided it was time to move and so I did to Barcelona. A year later, I had the opportunity to make my way to Chicago, and made my way there for a year. As the contract finished, had to go back to Spain, to Barcelona again. After some months, I felt there weren’t as many opportunities there as expected, and moved to Madrid, the Spanish capitol. Then after 2 years and a half and due to the current situation in Spain I felt it was time for me to look for new opportunities in another country, and thus I made my way to London. I’ve been living here for a year and a half now, but I don’t think this is going to be my final destination.
TR: So you’ve travelled, lived and worked in several countries. Can you tell us what you’ve learned from your time overseas?
SF: Well, I have lived in Spain, the US and the UK. To be honest, the US is the place where I’ve felt more comfortable and accepted. It reunites the Spanish-Latin cultural passion and the efficiency of Anglo-Saxon countries. I’ve learnt to work this way, so I couldn’t go back to Spain since there are a lot of things I couldn’t stand now. But I couldn’t live forever here in the UK- although I feel pretty comfortable. I really miss the sun!
TR: How many countries have you been to?
SF: Visiting + living: Spain, Portugal, Italy, Dominican Republic, US, UK
TR: What is one way in which you connect with people when you travel?
SF: The key is to show interest in their culture and try to, at least, speak a little bit in their language. People really appreciate that. Being polite and open minded, and interact with natives as much as you can.
TR: For someone looking to really get into the traveling lifestyle, what are some tips you can offer them? (Traveling cheap, connecting with friends, etc)
SF: Nowadays, it is essential to use as many social media networks as you can. You can connect, engage and ask for tips and information through Twitter and Facebook, mainly. I have experienced people is pretty open to share their opinions and tips when it comes to travel and locations.
TR: My mission statement is “use your difference to make a difference” and that is something I try to live by every day. What is one way you use your difference to make a difference?
SF: It’s all about using your different assets and cultural backgrounds to fit in any place, at any time. I’m a global citizen and I like to share my experiences with others, and find that connection link. I’ve realised my Spanish culture can fit me in different environments: Mediterranean, European, Western, Latin…
TR: I love learning different ways to embrace our identity. Can you talk about a time when you overcame a challenge by accepting who you are and embracing your global identity?
SF: I have experienced a positive change towards my own culture. I actually have learnt how to use it in my own benefit. I tend to be very critical with the Spanish culture, especially when it comes to productivity, development etc, but I must admit we have other characteristics that make us unique and special- and as seen in many places I’ve visited, I think it is worth to explore those and share them with the world (food, weather, quality of life, kindness, passion etc)
TR: Could you tell us three specific things you feel like multi-cultural people can do to maximize the potential of globalization while minimizing its negative effects.
SF: Adaptability, boldness and respect
TR: Kofi Annan said “It has been said that arguing against globalization is like arguing against the laws of gravity.” and that “Globalization is a fact of life. But I believe we have underestimated its fragility.” What do you think of his thoughts and why?
SF: I totally agree. With all the technology improvements we experience every day, distance is not an obstacle anymore, and we must embrace the fact that we’re not isolated in our cultural bubble anymore.
TR: One way of thinking about globalization is that it spreads any and every culture throughout the world, making the planet more heterogeneous, forging deeper connections between different groups. While another school of thought is that globalization makes culture more homogenous, leading to a unified world culture that consists of watered-down versions of regional cultural trends. Where do you fall in this?
SF: I’m more into “Glocalization”: we are of course more connected culturally to groups/communities we couldn’t reach out to otherwise, but with that said, I think most of cultures are still hesitant do adopt foreign habits, so the easiest solution is to adapt those to the native culture.
TR: How do you see globalization potentially impacting racism and cultural disputes?
SF: I think it’s not a matter of racism, but cultural issues. Most people are used now to interact with people of other colours/races, and that’s not a problem. The potential risk is when you pretend to impost your personal beliefs and norms into a new community that’s not yours, and you simply can’t do that. We must learn to adapt and respect other cultures’ norms, especially when we enter a new country and pretend to be a part of that society.
TR: On a personal note how do you navigate between your Spanish and English world?
SF: I do really feel comfortable between both worlds. Anglos think my English is pretty good and Latinos love me because I speak the “original” Spanish from the mother country, and my accent is always exotic for everyone. With that say, I must admit I understand better and feel more comfortable with the American accent rather than the British or similar. For personal opinions, comments, jargon etc obviously I feel more comfortable in Spanish most of the times, but I do really prefer to express myself professionally in English. I work in Marketing and Communications, and the biggest part of my career have involved English speaking markets/companies.
TR: What are some other things you are involved with?
SF: I used to volunteer when I was in Spain for different causes, especially those involved with children. I found it harder in London, especially because there are millions of charities here and they’re well covered. Hope to get involved again when I move to my next destination. I also run at least once a week to keep my mind sane (and stay fit of course)
TR: Rapid fire questions (country with the best food, music, movies, friendliest, that changed your opinion about them)
SF: Best food? Spain of course! Varied, tasty, healthy… Music? Well, is my main passion along with travel and fashion. I love soul, neo soul, acid jazz, some hip hop and r’n’b and Caribbean music (salsa, merengue, bachata) I’m not really a big cinephile, but some of the movies I have enjoyed the most are “Dreamgirls”, “Lord of the Rings” and “The Birdcage”. When it comes to books, I prefer Latin American authors (Isabel Allende, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Mario Vargas Llosa). As a Taurus woman I am pretty determined and stubborn, sometimes too bossy and not flexible, but on the other hand I am loyal, passionate, stylish and noble at heart. Hate injustice, no matter where it comes from.
TR: Where can we find out more about you and what are you up to?
SF: Find more about me here: uk.linkedin.com/in/fernandezsara/ and hang out with me on Twitter: @SaraFdezM