Travel Tuesday: Meet Arletta Gromek

 

From project management and content creation to folk dance and theater,  Arletta has worked on various spectrums of the creative industry. She developed her dance, theater, and business management skills at Loyola University Chicago (2014) and also graduated with a diploma in Polish Folk Dance Choreography from the University of Rzeszow, Poland (2018).

Her career began in the tech/commerce industry in a collaboration between Google Krakow and the Polish American Chamber of Commerce. Since then, Arletta has worked with a number of non-profits spanning across theater, dance, education, and human-services.

Currently, Arletta works remotely from the beaches of Bali with small business owners and creatives to bring their vision into a digital reality. From web and print design to social media management and virtual branding, she is there to make sure the world sees your passion, and falls in love with it too.

What was your last regular job?

I had a variety of jobs that I was working before I moved to Bali. My main position was as a Creative Advancement Coordinator for a non-profit called the Polish American Association. In that position, I had a lot of creative responsibilities, ranging from event coordination to designing website graphics. At the same time, I was also an Artistic Director and Choreographer for two dance companies. 

Where all have you traveled since you began working remotely?

I have traveled to Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam. 

What made you want to pursue a nomadic lifestyle?

 It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. I love to travel and I had previously travelled around Europe and throughout the USA.

I finally put my plan into action after I met a man in an Uber (last December 2018) who had lived in 17 different countries.  After that Uber ride, I kept listening to podcasts about the digital nomad lifestyle and how people end up working remotely. I would walk home from work while listening to the podcasts and I just couldn’t get the idea out of my head. In 2019, I made it my resolution to leave the USA. In March, I bought my ticket to Bali and flew out 2 weeks later.

Are you still in contact with the man you met in the Uber?

We aren’t in contact anymore, but he was a really big inspiration for my move to Bali. Once I moved, he actually called me every couple of weeks to check in on me. It was such a big help. I never thought that I would have been homesick, but it was hard moving to a new country and realizing that people’s lives go on without you back home. It was cool to be able to talk with someone who has been through that.

How do you currently support yourself?

I have my own branding business called Arletta Gromek Creative. I work with small businesses and entrepreneurs who are typically in their early stages of their business. I help them develop everything from their voice to their brand identity. It can include so many different facets depending on what the client needs. A lot of my day-to-day responsibility includes strategizing on how to use brand identity to reach my client’s target audience. I’m absolutely in love with the work that I do.

Do you have any online training courses that you recommend? 

There’s one that I used when I first started out called Horkey Handbook. The course does a really good job at giving you a step by step process on how to become a virtual assistant. I ended up not finishing the course because I decided not to become a  virtual assistant. However, it is very good at giving directions for any person who is just starting out. 

How did you learn your graphic design skills?

Graphic design isn’t something that I studied, however I’ve always been more creatively inclined. When we had an event at the non-profit I worked for, I would design the graphics. It’s really something that I learned on my own. At the same time, Im still developing my skills in so many ways. I think a lot of what I do with branding is strategy based. Obviously, visuals play a huge role in it and I’m very good at piecing together what looks good. If I ever need help, then I’m not afraid to reach out to someone else for advice.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?

There’s so many little things that pop up over time that you didn’t even realize would come up. For example, when I first started sending out branding questionnaires, I created a beautiful PDF. However, because it was a PDF, clients weren’t able to fill it out online. Another little thing is setting up payment processing and figuring out what works best for you and what works best for your clients. This is especially important for me because I work with so many clients who aren’t based in the United States.

What are the hardest things you find about working remotely?

Time difference plays a big role because it is a 14 hour time difference between Bali and Chicago. I’m not a morning person but so many times I’ve had to wake up at 6 or 7am just to contact a client. I’m happy to do that but at the same time I have to realize that there’s a limit. If I get up too early, then I know that I will be essentially useless. I want to be able to give 100% for my clients. If they’re only availability is at 4am (my time) then it won’t work out for me. 

 

Arletta Gromek's Essentials

How do you envision your life in 5 years?

In 5 years I want to be living in Portugal. I think by that time I will still be doing what I do now or at least a variation of it. I plan to expand my company and bring on a copywriter because copywriting is not my strong suit. I would also love to hire a social media guru who is skilled at figuring out all the algorithms of the newer platforms like TikTok. TikTok is such a huge marketing tool but I just don’t know enough about it. I want to expand my company and still have the ability to travel. Eventually I would like to get into more event branding and to do more experience based branding.

What are your estimated monthly expenses?

Housing 

Cost of living here is so much lower than back home in the US. My rent right now is 3.3 million ($237.43 USD). I have a nice room in a guest house with a balcony and my own bathroom with a shower. I have 2 roommates and its located in a good location in Berawa, Canggu. 

Food and drinks

I don’t drink that much. I try to budget about 100K ($7.19 USD) a day on food and drinks. I don’t go too many western restaurants. I try to go to local warungs because you can get a full meal for around 14K ($1.01 USD) and get dessert and drinks for another $1 USD. It’s absolutely insane. If you go to a western place, you can easily spend 150K ($10.79 USD) on a meal.

Activities

Theres a lot of talks that I go to that are usually held at co-working spaces, as well as free workshops.  I love ecstatic dancing and I go to the free class at Udara every Sunday. When you’re in Bali, there are so many unique events to try like full moon parties, women’s circles and cacao ceremonies. 

Transport

My motorbike costs $475K ($34.18 USD) a month.  Including gas, I would estimate that I spend around $50/month on transportation. 

Total

I try to budget around $1000 USD a month, but you could easily spend a lot more or a lot less.

Learn more

You can reach out to Arletta via her website, Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn.

 

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  • Taking the steps to heal is exhausting. Honestly, it’s not been an enjoyable path to go on. While not enjoyable, it’s certainly been necessary for my mental, emotional, and physical well being.

It takes a lot of energy and effort to try and pick your life up after you have experienced a trauma or loss of any kind. And we all do experience it. It can happen in different forms - loss of a loved one, a romantic relationship, a friendship, a job, health, or a myriad of other hardships.

I wanted to share what I’ve been doing over the past few weeks in hopes that it could maybe be applied to your unique path to healing and growth. #linkinbio Remember that these are my personal ways I’ve made steps toward more healing in my life. It may not work for you and that’s ok. Your path could look entirely different. Do what feels right for you, in your own time. ❤️ #emotionalwellness #healingjourney #mentalhealth
  • This weekend I gave my baby Tiger Lily a memorial service. I wanted to make it special for her so I surrounded her with her favorite toys and treats. I tried to remember her by sharing funny little things she did; all her quirkiness. She will always be the very best girl. Night night Tiger, I will see you in the morning. 🌈 I love you forever and ever and ever. ❤️
  • This weekend @blogher I spoke about the importance of owning your health and being your best health self-advocate.

It takes time to find the right medical professional for you but it’s time well spent because the doctor-patient relationship is one of the most intimate you can have.

Assess what your priorities are when finding a doctor, conduct interviews, don’t be afraid to seek a second/third opinion, do your own research, and have open communication. You know your body and your needs better than anyone.

The more you use your voice at the doctor’s office (or in any situation), the more powerful your voice becomes. ✨ #blogher20 #womenshealth
  • Still in pain. Still grieving. Still feel empty. I’m not sure when these feelings will lessen but this week I told myself that every day I would try to work on myself a little bit. So I’ve meditated two days. I remembered to take my medication. I scheduled a time to see a bereavement counselor. I tried to refocus energy on work.

The rest of the time I cry. I sleep. I put on the TV to shut out the thoughts inside my head. I found myself Googling “How to heal from loss” and the first point I read was “Do what feels right for you” so I’ve been trying. Constantly checking in with myself to see what my needs are. Hoping these little daily steps will help me regain more purpose in my life.

If you’re trying to cope with grief or loss, sending you a hug. Take your time and “do what feels right for you” ❤️
  • My parents had a pre-planned trip to Atlanta this week and since I’ve been staying with them, they insisted I shouldn’t be alone right now. Maybe they’re right. So, I’m off to Atlanta for a couple days. I know you can’t necessarily escape your problems but maybe being in a new environment will help me breathe a little more, if even for a few minutes throughout the day. 
I went to @sprouts before heading to the airport so that my family and I will have snacks for the flight and for our time there. Grabbed a bunch of fruit because it’s so easy and @hippeas_snacks since they are organic, vegan, and gluten-free. They’re on sale now @sprouts #ImAHippea #HippeasPartner
  • Tiger came into my life one month before I was diagnosed with cancer. I had to rest so much in the early days when I had her. I would get tired and have to sleep or lay down for most of the day leading up to my surgery.

On surgery day, I was terrified. I thought I wouldn’t wake up. So on the surgery room table, before I could feel the anesthesia, I told the surgery team my “final” words, ‘Tell my mom and Tiger Lily I love them’. She was always my priority. Always my family.

When I eventually woke up the first thing I asked my mom is ‘Where is Tiger Lily? How is she?’ I was even trying to get my mom to sneak her into my hospital room but security stopped her. I couldn’t wait to have her in my lap.

I eventually got discharged from the hospital and I had to spend weeks on the sofa downstairs because I couldn’t make it to the bed on the second floor. So on a narrow sofa, Tiger and I slept together, all day. I felt so bad for her since she seemed so bored and she was only sleeping next to me because her mama was recovering.

I made little promises to her though, I would make it to the patio and sit down there for a few minutes so I could throw her toy with her (she would only play fetch with me). Then eventually I was able to take slow walks with her and sit down on a park bench while she played.

She helped me focus my energy on getting better for her. No one else could take care of her, like I could. I got stronger for her. Tiger Lily gave me purpose each day. Baby Tiger helped me heal.

Maybe this is part of why the pain is unbearable. We’ve been through so much, even in our short time together. The pain today feels just as excruciating and suffocating like it did a week ago. Praying tomorrow will be better. 💔
  • The story of how my baby Tiger Lily came into my life

March 2018 my family and I lost our family Pomchi, Puffy. She had been with us for 13 years. She was my parents baby and I was the fun sister that got to come hang with her.

When we lost her I felt an emptiness and wanted some doggy energy around. I thought fostering seemed interesting. It’s temporary. I’ll foster a dog for a couple days and then that’s it.

One day I scrolled and found Dogs Without Borders. I came across a little Tiger Lily. What a funny name, I thought. There was something about her that I was drawn to. I think it was the ears.

I was still nervous about it and didn’t know if I could handle it but one day I went out to dinner with friends and we were talking about it. There just happened to be Tiger hot sauce on the table and it said TRY ME. We laughed, I had never seen that type of sauce before! It was definitely a sign.

So I fostered her and I remember I kept her blocked off in an area of my house. There’s no way I was just letting her run free where ever she wanted to go.

Then I started seeing how scared she was. She would regularly shake; so confused as to where she was. ‘I’m a good girl why is my life like this’ she probably thought.  So I became more lenient so she could feel more at ease. I guess fine she could be on the sofa once in a while when I was around but only on her pillow. I guess fine she could be on my bed but only if she stayed on her side. Boundaries only really lasted a couple days. I’m weak.

Then after just less than a week, her former foster family wanted to adopt her. I had been thinking of adopting her but then thought it was better for her to go with them. They were a couple with other animals in the house so it felt like a fun, full home for Tiger to be in.

After just two days, the couple told me they changed their mind. If I didn’t want her then they’d end up returning her back to DWB. I was livid. Once you commit to adopting a baby, there is a no refund policy. Baby adoptions are not merchandise to exchange for another fit. I missed her and didn’t want Tiger to go through another transfer so I decided to adopt her myself. (contd in comments)
  • Rest in peace my love. My little baby Tiger Lily. I don’t know what happened. It was so sudden. You were fine on Friday! Maybe a little stomach upset on Saturday and then Sunday you could barely wag your tail when you saw me. I wish I noticed more signs so I could know how sick you were. Were you telling me something sooner and I didn’t know? You left me and my heart is not broken in half. My heart is completely shattered. I am so sorry for letting you down. I was trying to save you like you saved me. I tried to be the very best mama to you. I barely left you alone. I never wanted you to feel abandoned and lonely because that’s what you grew up knowing. (Don’t worry I won’t tell anyone I would sneak you into places you weren’t supposed to be in.) I always played with you (Stay. Stay. Find it!) I always bought you the best food - nothing but organic, all natural, and premium quality for my baby! I remember I would be so tired sometimes but I’d go out to Whole Foods to buy you steak just as a treat for being you. I wanted you to know how loved and OBSESSED I was all the time. I know you were obsessed with me too. Your grandparents would always call you “piece of gum on mom’s shoe” because you were just stuck to me like glue! You always had to be touching me, no matter what. If you didn’t see me in eyesight you would panic!

When I first got you I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would you like me? Would you be a lot of work? I could not have asked for a more perfect baby. You always listened to your mama, except for when it was bed time and you insisted on taking my side of the bed. I always pretended to be annoyed but what did I tell you every night? I said ‘Little baby Tiger Lily I love you, you’re the very best girl. I’m going to see you tomorrow and I hope you dream about all the yummy treats we’re going to eat’. Sweet baby, you were so strong. You struggled all day yesterday and when the doctor said there’s not much hope I took you home so you could be comfortable. You were so brave to be strong enough to be in the car in my arms and to make it all the way home. I didn’t let you go and you took your last breath in my arms. Snuggled with all your blankies. (contd)
  • 💔EMERGENCY: Is anyone a vet or a homeopathic animal doctor? Tigers condition has worsened over night. Doctors don’t know what the cause is, they’ve thrown out words like sepsis, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, anaphylaxis, they just don’t know.

Facts: Swollen gallbladder, low body temp, stomach is fluid filled, slight water in lungs, now in an oxygen cage... - doctor says her stomach and gastrointestinal system is not working. I don’t know what to do. Maybe another opinion or doctor would know. I have a copy of blood results to help.

Please forward to anyone who might have another opinion. My heart hurts I can’t breathe and I need to save her like she saved me. 💔🙏
  • Currently at the emergency animal hospital where I had to admit Tiger Lily for overnight observation and testing. She had been feeling ill since yesterday. Little stomach upsets usually go away quickly but today she started also having slow reactions, not blinking and experiencing heavy breathing. The vet said she is “pretty sick” with low blood pressure. She may have pancreatitis or some type of gastric complication.

Pancreatitis is what my 13 year old family dog, Puffy, passed away from back in 2018. So to hear that Tiger Lily may have this... 💔 Pray for Tiger please. Anyone that knows me even a little knows exactly how much she means to me and I just can’t have her be sick because I need her. ❤️
  • With all the supplements out there sometimes it can be hard to know what actually works. I have been taking probiotics for years and I like to switch them up every once in a while. #Ad I just started @seed’s Daily Synbiotic which I’ve found isn’t just any probiotic. What I appreciate about @seed is that they’re pioneering a “next-generation” probiotic, based on science.

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  • What is your approach to food? I try to eat mostly plant-based but I allow myself the freedom to eat what my body craves that day. All foods fit over here!

Today on the blog I’m breaking down an easy approach to changing mindset around food choices. 🥑 #intuitiveeating #eatingwell #allfoodsfit #healthyliving

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