Photo Credit: Libryia Jones
How Single Mom Libryia Jones Ditched Her 9-5 For The Digital Nomad Life
Digital nomad Libryia Jones enjoys the freedom of working remotely as an IT Program Manager for a software consulting firm. Originally from Tallahassee, the 42-year-old mother of one has resided in Atlanta for the past 15 years. Libryia originally started working remotely part-time to make extra money.
“I was working full-time for a Big 4 consulting firm, but as a single mom, needed to make some additional cash,” she told Travel Noire. “I realized that any additional money would be eaten up by childcare for my then three-year-old daughter. I landed a part-time remote job doing customer service for Toys R Us, which allowed me to make extra money without having to worry about childcare expenses for my daughter.”
In 2010, Libryia was working full-time for The Home Depot in their finance department. She had recently purchased a house and, again, wanted to make some extra money. This time she landed a customer service gig taking calls from home for American Express. In 2013, she was let go from The Home Depot.
“After sulking at home for a couple of months, I decided I didn’t want to go back to working in an office. I enjoyed being home when my daughter got out of school each day. I enjoyed not having to race the clock after work to pick her up from the after school program, rush to get her homework done, rush to get her to practice, rush to get her fed, bathed, and in the bed.”
After trying out the new arrangement, Libryia was confident she had made the right decision for her and her daughter. She enjoyed being able to spend more time playing with her daughter after school, and being able to ease into their after-school routine rather than having to be in such a rush.
“I liked it so much I decided to freelance as a project manager and landed four clients based in Costa Rica, London, Chicago, and New York. In 2015, I was hired at a software company based in San Jose, CA with a mostly remote workforce. This was my first full-time remote job working for another company. Working remotely for them made it so much easier for me to live as a digital nomad.”
In late 2016, Libryia decided to start a business and take a group of people around the world for a year. She packed up her daughter and left the country, leading the groups to the Czech Republic, Thailand, South Africa, and Colombia. They spent three months in each country.
“When I returned, I was offered a position at a software consulting company based in Atlanta. My only requirement before accepting the job was that I be allowed to work from anywhere! Thankfully, they agreed.”
Today, Libryia continues to work for a software consulting firm managing software implementations for major companies. She aims to inspire other women to work remote jobs that allow them to be available and present for their children and families, and enable them to enjoy the digital nomad life. One of the ways she does this is through Wandering Moms, a community of over 20,000 women.
“We offer encouragement, education, and support for women who literally want to give their children the world. We are busting myths that you can’t travel once you have children. We share information on our website, we host virtual events, and we host family and moms-only trips every year.”
The benefits of working remotely, says Libryia, are numerous. Aside from the obvious benefit of having the freedom to work from anywhere, there are the mental health improvements that comes from not having to spend every day in a toxic work environment. There are also the increased productivity and creativity that come along with being able to work during your personal ideal times instead of some set schedule.
Mothers can enjoy not having to choose between finances and family, and being able to be more actively involved at their children’s schools. Being able to avoid having to rush around after work brings another form of peace of mind. And, of course, having the ability to travel as a digital nomad and show your children the world without having to worry about PTO is a priceless benefit. At 17 years of age, Libryia’s daughter has been to over 25 countries.
“I’ve been traveling with my daughter since she was eight years old. I really wish I had started sooner, but when she was younger I didn’t think it was possible because I didn’t see many other moms doing it (especially not single moms). Now she is incredibly well-traveled. She traveled for an entire year nonstop, and even went to Brazil for a month without me (with her best friend’s family.)”
Libryia feels travel has expanded the world of possibilities for her daughter, showing her that she can be whoever she wants, do whatever she wants, and live where ever she wants. Exposing her to different cultures, ways of doing things, and ways of thinking has increased her awareness that ‘different’ does not equate to ‘bad.’
As a result, Libryia has watched her daughter grow into an understanding and compassionate person who is accepting and tolerant. She witnessed the results with her own eyes in her daughter’s friendships and even in situations where she’s taken up for kids at her school who were being bullied for being different.
“Most importantly, as a young Black woman, I’ve always thought it was crucial to show her that she belongs EVERYWHERE. I want her to feel that she can take up space anywhere in this world and to own that space that she stands in. I want her to be respectful of those around her, and of others’ customs and cultures, but to be certain that she belongs everywhere.”
Libryia says there are tons of opportunities for remote work available and many great places to find them. She offers a free guide listing her favorite places to find remote jobs at freeguide.libryiajones.com.
“Any job that’s done on a computer can be done remotely. Unless you dig ditches, conduct trains, or perform brain surgery, your job can likely be done remotely. Consider freelancing by offering your expertise as a contractor. You can freelance as a project manager, a writer, a proofreader, a bookkeeper, anything really. You can start an online business that doesn’t require you to be in a physical location.”
Libryia also suggests proposing remote work to your existing company by creating a compelling proposal that illustrates to your employer why it’s better for them for you to work remotely. You can include things like the fact that companies save $11,000 per year on average for every remote employee and get an additional two hours per day of productivity from remote workers.
This August Libryia is hosting the Quit Commuting Conference, which will be the biggest remote work conference for job seekers, bringing together thought leaders, career coaches, recruiters, and HR professionals in the remote works space to connect with potential candidates. Part job fair and part workshop, the event will help prepare people to land remote jobs.
“I was accepted into the Tulsa Remote program, which incentivizes people who work remotely to come live in Tulsa for a year in exchange for a free membership to a co-working space and $10,000 cash!”