By Cathy Brown
I met Sebastian recently in La Paloma, Uruguay, where he was to be my surf instructor. (The poor guy had no idea what he was getting into with that.) His enthusiasm for experiencing life to its fullest and for finding the bright side of everything, mixed with his laid-back surfer vibe and mischievous grin, made it hard not to instantly like the guy. While he looked very much at home with a surfboard tossed under one arm, running like a little kid out to play in the waves (almost as though he had done that every day of his life), I was surprised to find out that not that long ago he was putting in 16 hour days in an office in bustling Buenos Aires. Consciously pushing himself to grow and evolve, he traded in his life as an internet entrepreneur for that of a certified surf coach, which gives him the flexibility to live the surf lifestyle he was always attracted to.
Describe your personality in three adjectives.
Saucy, curious, polite.
Tell us a little about some of your past moves. Where have you lived outside of Uruguay, and what was the motivation behind each move?
I lived almost a year in Buenos Aires, Argentina, then three months in Ecuador followed by three months in New Zealand. I really would have liked to stay more time in those countries, but was the most I could stay on a Tourist Visa. At the end of 2013, I got approved for my Working and Holiday VISA for Australia (1 year), so I moving there May of 2014!
My first move was motivated by my work as an internet entrepreneur, but somehow along the way the traveling turned into a lifestyle. Embracing a new culture is not easy, but it’s an incredible experience. It helps me to clearly see what I love and what I don’t. In other words, traveling is an intensive course of consciousness about myself and the connection with everything else around me. Also, for me, moving to a warm country with wav is almost as perfect as it gets!
How do you connect with the locals or other expats when you first arrive in a place?
I try to connect with friends and everyone else I know before moving to the country. I’ve met plenty of people traveling around because I usually know a friend of a friend who knows someone living there. I’m also a member of Rotary, and I can say from experience that being part of a recognized international organization helps you a lot when you first arrive in a place.
Also, getting a local line with a smartphone, plus Whatsapp, Google Search Engine, Google Maps, Facebook and Wikipedia is one set of my digital tools for traveling. Being friendly, polite and just going up and talking with people is the simplest, best advice I can give once you arrive.
To explore other places, other ways of thinking and living. To get to know myself better, to surf more and to save money for new, upcoming projects. I’m a true believer that leaving your comfort zone makes you happier in some unveiled way.
You had a lot of success as a young entrepreneur, winning a Wayra grant, starting a business, etc. Was that a difficult lifestyle for you to leave, after all of the time and energy you put into getting there?
I can’t say a lot of success, just some experience, hahaha! But ‘reinvent myself’ and ‘laugh’ are intentions I’ve been working on half of my life. Also, I feel very comfortable with big changes – sometimes extreme situations clarify everything. So I recently made a big change with my life. I left a long-hours internet business to focus on tourism, real estate and most importantly, surfing!
Do you think that you will ever return to that sort of business-based lifestyle?
Yes! But with a completely different approach – with more locally-based thinking and a more sustainable design, if that makes any sense.
Who inspires you? Any people from the past or present? Can you recommend any books that have shaped your current lifestyle philosophy?
First I would list my Mom Elvira, my Dad Enrique, and my brother Santiago. Second, all my friends and the people I have around me, because these last ten years I can say that I have been surrounded by awesome people! The last book I finished was “The Speed of Trust” from Stephen M. R. Covey.
What do you think that you have accomplished outside of Uruguay that you could not have accomplished had you stayed in Uruguay?
Experience and understand profoundly a longer list of things I really know I love and need to be happy. Every time I go to a different place, I discover something new that makes me smile and be happy…and the opposite, of course.
Do you think that you will ever fully settle down in Uruguay and not feel the desire to move around? Where do you still want to travel to or try living?
Probably yes… because Uruguay is really cool! But who knows?
Your advice for anyone thinking of moving abroad?
Don’t judge, be kind, take care, have fun.
Name some things still left on your bucket list:
- Record a complete music album.
- Be able to say that I have been surfing the majority of my life.
- Build a house.
- Have my own dog.
- Learn to grow things at home.
- Have my own family.
- Discover a life-time job.
- Fly a plane.
- Sail a boat.
- Write something that needs an index.
- Die in some amazing way.