How Tasha became a full-time digital nomad and started Duraca Travels

| May 31, 2022

Hi! I’m Tasha Prados, digital nomad, travel writer and creator, branding and marketing strategist, and founder and CEO of Duraca Strategic and Duraca Travels! But it didn’t start out that way…

Let’s start at the beginning

I was lucky (read: privileged) enough to experience travel at a young age on trips with my parents and grandparents. When I was 16, I went on a service trip to El Salvador to build schools and water systems with a nonprofit organization, and I went every summer for four years. That trip was a foundational experience for me, and I thought I’d spend my career in international development, working to alleviate poverty and inequality. After graduating from the University of North Carolian at Chapel Hill, I was accepted to serve as a water and sanitation Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru. If you’re curious, you can check out this video I made about my Peace Corps experience. It was another foundational experience for me. But, I became disillusioned with the state of international development, for some of the reasons you can read about in this article I wrote for the National Peace Corps Association.

I definitely attribute my time in the Peace Corps with feeling like I could be dropped anywhere in the world and be ok. I was still searching for my path and my purpose. Being part Latina, I had always been very focused on Latin America and connecting with my heritage. While studying abroad in Spain, I went to Morocco, and it was the first time I really experienced culture shock. I was fascinated, and wanted to learn more. The summer after my junior year, I got a fellowship in the Republic of the Maldives, and got to see a side of the country not a lot of foreigners do. My senior year of college, I enrolled in Arabic 101 and several Islamic studies courses. I actually had wanted to do Peace Corps in an Arabic-speaking country, but Peace Corps placed me in Peru (which turned out amazing – I love my host family dearly and am still in touch with them). So I pursued this interest. I got an unpaid internship at a think tank, the Middle East Institute, the oldest Washington-based institution dedicated to the Middle East. I quickly realized unpaid internships are a load of bull, and got a part time job at a start up as Managing Director of Operations to support myself. I worked directly with the Afghan Amabssador to the United States at the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, DC. That was insane. Coming back towards social impact in general, I worked at the United Nations Foundation on the +SocialGood initiative advancing the Sustainable Development Goals. I came to realize what tied all these things together was communications and marketing. So, I started looking at advertising agencies – a world I knew nothing about. I was lucky enough to land a job at Ogilvy, one of the top-three advertising agencies in the world. I spent four years there managing multi-millon dollar projects with US government and Fortune 500 clients.

2019: Duraca Strategic is born

At some point, I heard about “digital nomads.” I thought this concept sounded amazing – I loved the idea of working AND traveling, at the same time. I had worked…eh. I had traveled…and to be honest, when I was just traveling, I didn’t love it. I felt like I had no purpose. I wanted to feel like a contributing member of society. I wanted to make a difference. So I felt like if I could do both – that could be the key to living life to the fullest. To really enjoying the time when I was not working, and living a more balanced lifestyle (can you tell I’m from Washington, DC, a city full of Type A workaholics?). And if I was really enjoying my life and time – wouldn’t that make my work better, too?? I wanted to try this whole digital nomad thing. But how?? I never thought I would be an entrepreneur. Both of my parents are self-employed…and it never looked easy. Especially with how health insurance works in the US. Plus, I felt like if I was going to start a business – I needed an idea that would change the world. And I didn’t have one. Finally, I realized that I didn’t have to. Instead, I could use my skills to help the folks with the life-changing ideas make a bigger impact. Annddd…if I was my own boss…no one could prevent me from being a digital nomad. So in 2019, I quit my job at the advertising agency to start my business, Duraca Strategic, where I help aspiring social impact entrepreneurs launch their dream business in 90 days without letting overthinking hold them back (sound like you? watch my free webinar). I also do brand positioning and strategy and integrated marketing strategy consulting for advertising and government agencies, companies, and nonprofits. And I got a one way ticket to Bali – I was officially a digital nomad. Things didn’t start out smooth – it was a struggle to figure out exactly what worked, how to get clients – and how to get the right clients – and balance being a digital nomad with running a business. And, you know, learning how to run a business. I remember telling myself “just try and enjoy the holidays, because NO ONE HIRES IN DECEMBER.” Magically that January (2020), the perfect client reached out to me. Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to work with some pretty awesome clients and brands. In the beginning, I told myself I would try nomadding “one to two years”… it’s been more than two, and I still love it.

2022: Duraca Travels is born

I’ve always enjoyed writing – even helped start the Spanish page of my online high school newspaper. I kept a blog through many of my travels, and eventually realized it was a LOT of work to keep a blog without any monetary compensation. So I started doing some travel writing here and there. I was paying to house my articles on a journalism portfolio, and getting lots of questions about “what is a digital nomad”…and, well, the idea for Duraca Travels was born! (In case you’re wondering, duraca is Puerto Rican for “tough cookie,” and it was my nickname growing up. So here we are! I’m so happy you’re here, and reading this.)

Are you daydreaming of becoming a digital nomad and/or your own boss like I was? Let me know where you’re at in the process! Hit me up on IG @t.prad.


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