Blog Writer, Social Media Content Maker, and Copywriter,Ashleigh Stearn Shares Her Exciting Nomad Existence

“My heart definitely has two homes,” says Ash, “the city of Cuneo, Italy and Sydney, Australia.”

As a freshly relocated Australian back on home turf, Ashleigh, or Ash as she is known to all, has exchanged clean alpine air for golden sand beaches, rich red wines for ice-cold beer, and traditional Italian cuisine for the more cosmopolitan cooking that the city of Sydney has to offer.

While we’re on the topic of traditional Italian cuisine, we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about Ash’s favorite dish.

“It is a winter dish called bagna càuda. It consists of anchovies, heaps of garlic, and cream. You then dip bits of bread, raw veggies, and baked potatoes into it. It’s amazing! For those who don’t like anchovies, there is another dish called vitello tonnato (usually eaten as a starter/entrée), which is roast beef with a thick tuna sauce on top. Yes, I know, the combination probably has you squirming but trust me, it’s incredible!”

So, What’s It Like Being Back Home?

Getting back into the rhythm of Australian life is not as easy as it might seem. While visiting the sites and scenes of Sydney is a wonderful way to touch base again, the downside is the huge timezone difference.

“The most challenging part of my job is now dealing with the massive timezone difference since moving back to Sydney. It worked out very well in Italy but now that has changed to working between 2:00 and 5:00 a.m. Sydney time. I could definitely learn from my colleagues in India for their tips or tricks for dealing with the late work nights!”

We won’t focus on this obstacle for now, especially when the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Ash is more than satisfied working remotely, as it suits her lifestyle perfectly. Traveling between Italy and Australia as much as she does brings great freedom. Being location-independent supports the nomad in her.

Another positive aspect of working at Solutions 8 is having the opportunity to dip her toes into everything regarding content. It’s one of her passions, especially when it comes to AI. Ash’s interest has her taking part in all sorts of courses, discussion groups, and work-oriented avenues that will only serve her well in the future.

“I’m always looking out for how I can make content better and quicker. I’ve become a jack of all trades, so to speak. It’s been nice to get experience writing all sorts of content for Solutions 8!”

An Expat Living In Italy

Ash’s life in Italy usually offers an idyllic break from the rat race that is Sydney. Living in a peaceful suburb of Cuneo, in the northern part of Italy, gave Ash the chance to take it slow and easy for a while. 

Picture the early evening aperitifs and long lunches with good wine at the weekend, shopping and exploring monuments in old world cities: a stereotypical ideal that has so much richness to it. 

That didn’t mean she was taking it too easy. She still had to work of course. How did she land her dream job at Solutions 8?

“I spent a lot of time upskilling to land an online/remote job. The hard work paid off when I checked a Facebook group for digital nomads and remote work, which I had been a part of for months.”

And while the post wasn’t very detailed and was even slightly vague, it didn’t stop Ash from trying her luck. The job description promised a lot of interaction; as fate would have it, she applied to the random post over a year ago and still works for the world’s best Google Ads company.

Managing Productivity In An Enchanting Place Like Italy

River at Sant'Anna di Valdieri

Heading to her favorite spot by the river surrounded by mountains was Ash’s go-to productivity trick while she lived in Italy. It’s a gorgeous spot called Sant’Anna di Valdieri in the province of Cuneo. During summer days, a swim in the river was just the thing Ash needed to help her relax. The water of the mountain river was cold enough to leave her mind clear and aware to focus on the tasks at work.

And when it was impossible to reach the river, Ash’s backup plan for productivity was cuddles with her little fur baby. Pedro is the cutest and most charismatic chihuahua that has everyone who meets him stopping in their tracks and talking about him.

“Even those who aren’t too fond of the Chihuahua breed would fall in love with his little but big personality!” 

Ash hesitates a moment to clear her throat to confess. 

“I used to be one of those people who despised the little terrors because of their yapping and little dog syndrome, which can send people into shock with how aggressive they can actually be considering their small size.”

But who could possibly resist this gorgeous little one?

Leaving Pedro behind in Italy means Ash has had to find a new productivity trick in the big city. It wasn’t very hard to do: Ash has now discovered the joys of boxing and badminton!

Any Other Sports?

When Ash was a kid, there was a burning passion for sports as she was growing up. First, it was soccer and she wanted to be a professional soccer player. After a while that slowly changed to a deep love for basketball and the desire to become a professional basketball player.

“I was super dedicated to basketball. During the school holidays, I was at the courts spending four to six hours a day leveling up my skills.”

Ash was so dedicated to the sport that she even had a personal coach and attended many basketball camps during the off-season. She gave herself a day off each week, usually Sundays since that was always a family day. 

“I dreamed of playing college ball in America and entering the WNBA.”

To have that sort of devotion to a passion, there must have been a very supportive family behind Ash. The values that her parents instilled in her continue to be a guiding light in her adult life, too. Chase your dreams is one of the values that our content writer appreciates most today.

“My parents have always supported everything I’ve done in life. Even if they thought it wasn’t the best decision. They’ve always supported and respected the roads I chose to go down.”

There is a mum, dad, and little brother that make up her tight-knit family in Australia. And there’s Sweeney, her dad’s dog which Ash says is practically the size of a miniature pony. He’s an Irish wolfhound cross, a stark contrast to little Pedro back in Italy.

Favorite Place In The Whole World?

At the end of Valle Gesso in Italy, there’s a place called Valasco. There’s a trek of about an hour and a half into the mountains before you reach the endpoint. It is by far the most beautiful place Ash has ever been to.

In the same locality, the Maritime Alps stretch across a good part of northern Italy. This is where you can go skiing and cross-country skiing and it was very handy since the ski slopes were so close to where Ash lived. Snow sports are extremely popular in the region and while she would like to try these two activities in the future, she would most like to try mountain biking, another very popular sport.

Tidbits About Our Content Writer

To get to know our colleague and friend, we asked a few random questions to give us further insight into her character. Favorite fictional character from a book? 

“Definitely Juliette from the post-apocalyptic book series Silo, written by Hugh Howey.”

What words or phrases do you most overuse?

“Boh or bon in the Italian language. This means ‘I have no idea’. And in English I most overuse the phrase ‘do you know what I mean?’ I also say that same phrase in Italian, which is ‘sai’.”

We have a dual linguist in our midst! Did Ash get her knowledge of the Italian language from her Italian grandma? Could be, since it is Ash’s nonna whom she would most like to invite over for dinner if she could.

Ash having an aperitif

“I know there are so many great people I’d love to share a dinner and conversation with, but the first person who comes to mind is my Nonna. She passed away a few years ago and I would give anything to sit down over a home-cooked Italian dinner and just talk about all my adventures living overseas, the places I’ve visited, my future plans and ambitions.”

Sounds like she’d be proud of you, Ash!

Jani Kahukiwa



Jani Kahukiwa

Jani is a copywriter at Solutions 8 with a passion for short stories, dancing under the stars, and 80s pop music. Her soul’s purpose is to turn herself into a masterpiece. Her future is filled with green fields, flowers, sunshine, and poetry.