Singapore is one of the countries that have effectively controlled the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Singaporeans are on tight quarantine measures until the end of May this year, but for Rax Suen, a Singaporean national he thinks he is going to be far from home for quite a while.
Stuck in Argentina
Rax has been stranded in Buenos Aires in Argentina since March last year because of the pandemic. The 33-year old digital freelancer was in the city during the initial spread of Covid-19 in South America that made the governments enforce lockdowns that eventually disrupted international travels.
His situation right now is a bit different compared to the time that we at Asiaone spoke to him last March. Rax also added that even though the circumstances are far from good compared to Singapore he was still able to manage everything.
Argentina Covid-19 Situation
Like with other areas in the world, the country is on the verge of a fresh surge of new Covid-19 cases carrying along with the alarming new variants. The government then implemented an 8 pm to 6 am curfew in April and is expected to end on May 21.
Rax is a graphic designer and he was working freelance in a remote setting for the past 3 years. He travelled to Buenos Aires with the intention to go to other parts of South America as well when the first surge of the virus hit. He eventually came to the resolve of refraining to travel back to Singapore and decided to stay in Argentina until the situation gets better.
“Borders were not open which meant you might be paying a two-way ticket price for a one-way flight,” he stated.
Fortunately, he was familiar with the area that he was in due to his past travels so he decided to stay. “I am plugged into the expat community here. I know there are people that can help if needed, versus potentially getting stuck somewhere else.”
Another factor that he finds surprisingly beneficial is the fact that most of his clients are US-based. In December, there was an opportunity to go back home when an airline ticket promo suddenly popped up at a cheap price but eventually, he became hesitant about it.
“In hindsight, that might have been a good moment to make a move, but I was expecting that things would get better gradually. Unfortunately, the emergence of the new variant complicated things.”
Rax also added that so far his life in Buenos Aires is not that bad. His income of at least $3,000 a month sustains his survival in Argentina for a year.
“Rent is cheap – I’m paying $400 a month for an apartment here. If you cook and buy the local produce, you can easily get by with just $200 a month.”
There was also a time that he earned $10,000 but it all depends on whether he has travel commissions in a month.
It’s All About Hard Work
The flexibility of his work is fortunate but Rax also pointed out that it’s not easy to build his current client base as he slowly made it with pure hard work and dedication via the platforms Upwork and Fiverr.
“People shouldn’t be mistaken to think that being a digital nomad is just a very good life of all travel and no work,” added that “what you see on social media is not the whole picture”.
Rax also added that there were days that he had to work till 4 am and sometimes 12-hours a day.
“I think it’s more of being able to chase life goals while still building a career path that you like, and not giving them up just because of work.”