Please introduce yourself, what’s your name, where do you come from, what do you do for a living?
My name is Davina Nyeko, I was born in London but grew up in Essex, UK. I am currently a full time mother but work for TUI as an excursion guide in the summer.
Briefly, what was your lifestyle like before?
After leaving University in 2006 I had various corporate jobs in IT, Telecoms, Project Management and finally Marketing. My title before leaving the UK was Marketing and Business Development and I worked for the Civil Aviation Authority based in Gatwick Airport.
Was there an event or moment that actually propelled you to make a change?
I left the CAA in 2013, there was a couple of significant events that led to my decision. The after effects of the 2008 economic crash were still present, as there were still various austerity programs in force within the CAA and I realised that my chances of being promoted were slim. I had dreams and ambitions to become more financially free and live a life that wasn’t so dominated by corporate structure. I also wanted to have a chance at starting my own business, at the time I felt that this was the only way I could give myself the “promotion” that I longed for. I had recently met my current boyfriend and father of my newborn daughter who had established a life in Ibiza, Spain during the summer months.
How/what did you do to change your life?
I decided to change my life completely by leaving the CAA and moving to Ibiza. Due to the nature of my job I had a 3 month notice period, so in January 2013 I handed in my notice in preparation to move in April 2013. I already had another skill as a massage therapist and decided that I would set up a massage business. Using my boyfriends contacts I managed to secure a pitch on one of the prominent beaches in San Antonio. Over the following months I prepared by buying all the equipment required for the business. I also made a vision board with the positive outcomes I wanted for the business and my new life.
Were there any obstacles?
There were not many obstacles when it came to leaving the UK and moving, this is just a case of being organised and ensuring we had enough money to secure an apartment and live for a month or two. I believe we left the UK with approx 3000e which had to cover our expenses until we both started working on May 1st. We had found an apartment before hand, unfortunately we hadn’t seen photos of the place and it was slightly over of budget but we took it anyway on good faith of the couple that rented it to us – Paul and Natalia – whom are now great friends of ours. The apartment wasn’t up to my personal standards but it was conveniently located a 30sec walk to the beach where I would be working.
I soon realised that navigating the Spanish system is not easy, and found some challenges in the business. I had problems with licenses and as I had not registered myself as self-employed I could not obtain a license. Kindly, my boyfriend’s boss offered to secure a license for me but it turns out that “no licence exists for the sand” for my type of business according to the Spanish authorities. This was my major obstacle – running an illegal business. I received 3 denucias that summer. On the flip side the business went really well (thanks to my monetary goals on my vision board 🙂 on a good day I was making 350e per day I also had enough work to hire staff. On average I was making 100-150e per day.
Another obstacle I had was the contrast between winter and summer where there was little work and we struggled a little financially in the winter, but my boyfriend found construction work that got us through.
What was the hardest thing to let go of from your previous lifestyle and how did you overcome it?
My personal challenge was working rough I hated the thought that my business wasn’t legitimate and I could be denouced by the police at any time. Coming from the corporate world I liked to do everything correctly. Although financially the business went well, I felt very under stimulated. In my previous jobs I was used to using my brain constantly and being mentally active with different projects, keeping up with current affairs etc – that stimulation was not available massaging full time. I did not fully overcome this and this was partly the reason why subsequently I decided not to continue with the massage business.
Can you describe a typical day of your life now?
5 years later my life is much more relaxed and I feel at home on the island. Due to recently having a baby my typical day has changed somewhat and is mainly dominated by my daughter.
During the winter months it is much more sociable and I now have time to catch up with friends often meeting them for lunch in town. There is much more of an community feel as many weekly events are held. You have more time to explore spiritual pursuits such as walking, meditation, yoga. Winter is also the best time to network and find work for the summer.
During the summer people tend to work everyday and visit the beach on their day off. There are also an abundance of day/night parties to choose from. At the moment it is hard for me to say what a typical day will be next summer as I will have a baby but I expect to continue work, have nice days on the beach with my daughter and socialise with friends.
What is the best thing or the best moment regarding your new lifestyle?
I have more free time to pursue enriching projects that you can turn into business ideas, such as a hemp project and perfume project I have been working on. I have learnt new skills, a new language and met more like minded people. Some of the best moments I had were in my second season when I was working at a new beach club as a waitress, it was hard work but I met amazing people and had really good times.
How do you feel about your lifestyle in regards to your mind, body and soul?
I now feel more freedom and am confident that I can move abroad and start a new life. I have met many soulful people and have many spiritually aware friends. I feel more connected to nature. I am happy knowing that at anytime I can find a soul enriching outlet like a gong mediation, or challenge my body by going to a cross fit bootcamp hosted in a trainers villa!
Do you have any regrets?
I feel that I maybe left my CAA job a little to early and maybe I should have stayed an extra year to see where my career would go. I held this regret for the first two years after moving. However, had I done that I would not have had the beautiful experiences that I have so far. Now after 5 years I have no regrets.
What do your friends and family think? Has your change inspired anyone else to change anything about their lives?
My mum came out to visit this summer for the first time and was impressed with the island and our lives, she finally understands that you can lead a normal everyday life on this party island. I have many friends that have moved out of the UK but have chosen to go to different places such as Asia or Australia.
What advice would you give to anyone who was thinking about making a life change?
I would say – just do it. It is hard to plan or predict what your life will be like when you move as it is always a mystery, as long as you can secure a job and a home everything else will fall into place. At least you will definitely know what you left behind and if you do not want the next few years to follow that path a change is certainly needed!