Sojourner White – Social Worker, Travel Creator and Journalist

From Social Work to Storytelling: Introducing Sojourner White, a Remote Social Worker, Travel Creator, and Journalist behind ‘Sojournies’, and a LinkedIn Top Voice – Future of Remote Work Expert.

In this week’s remote worker spotlight, we are thrilled to introduce Sojourner White, a multifaceted professional who has skillfully blended her passion for social work, travel, and storytelling into a remarkable career that spans across continents. Fluent in Spanish and having lived and worked in the U.S., Spain, and Germany, Sojourner is currently the Director of Evaluation and Learning at UBUNTU Research & Evaluation while also being the digital storyteller behind “Sojournies”, a platform dedicated to helping 9-5ers fulfill their career goals and bucket list dreams.

Read more as we delve into Sojourner White’s journey, navigating her roles as a remote social worker, award-winning travel journalist, influencer, and on-camera talent. With travel niches that include Black travel, train travel, and solo travel, and featured in renowned publications like Buzzfeed, PopSugar, USA Today, Travel + Leisure, and more, Sojourner stands as a beacon for those seeking to balance a fulfilling career with the freedom and flexibility of travel. Get ready to be inspired and equipped with strategies and insights that can empower you to create your own path, drawing from Sojourner’s diverse experiences.

Hi Sojourner, it’s a pleasure to know more about you! 

1. Could you kindly share with us how you embarked on your unique journey as a Remote Social Worker, Travel Creator, and Journalist?

After studying abroad in Spain as a Spanish major, and then returning to teach English with the Fulbright Program, I knew I wanted to incorporate travel or international learning into my full-time career. I have always loved writing, so in 2017, I bought the domain I have now, called Sojournies, and started travel blogging for fun. From blogging, I began sharing tips on social media as a travel creator while I was working and in grad school pursuing International Social Work. When the pandemic hit my last semester, I pivoted into remote social work in June 2020 after graduation. To fill my time post-grad, I learned I could make money getting paid to write for other publications, so in my free time, I became a freelance travel journalist. It was truly a snowball effect of how many ways I can talk about travel and, in some cases, get paid for it! Now I work my 9-5 as a remote social worker in research & evaluation (and travel occasionally) while doing all things travel content creation, writing, blogging, on-camera hosting, etc., under Sojournies as a travel business.

2. How does your name, “Sojourner,” reflect or influence your journey and career?

My parents named me after Sojourner Truth, who was an abolitionist and women’s rights activist in the U.S. However, it also means a traveler or a person who stays somewhere temporarily. We did a lot of U.S. road trips as a kid, and I got interested in international travel due to majoring in Spanish in college, but they gave me the credit for becoming a traveler in my own right. I think being named Sojourner gave me a lot to live into, live up to, and look forward to as a kid without me fully realizing it until it was happening as I created Sojournies. Looking back on it now, it seems very serendipitous.

3. Can you share a memorable story from your travels that had a profound impact on your professional work or viewpoint on remote work?

Last year, I planned to be in Mexico City (CDMX) for a week leading up to Christmas and my 3-week break of solo travel because the flights were a bit cheaper. But at the last minute, I booked a trip from CDMX to Guatemala to hike one volcano and eat pizza made on another volcano. I knew I would be fine work-wise because I could work remotely from both places since we are in the same time zone. Like, how wild is that? Due to remote work, I have the freedom and flexibility of knowing I could book a trip to one country, travel to another over the weekend, work in that new country for a day or two, and then go hiking two volcanoes in the same week. It was a very ‘OMG’ and ‘wow’ experience only made possible due to a remote work lifestyle; which confirmed that yeah, this is it for me.

4. As a journalist, how do you feel the travel and remote work are shaping global narratives?

I think travel and remote work are making people, especially remote workers, think more critically about what it means to have the privilege to travel. For a long time, you heard people say “The world is your oyster” or “The world is your playground” – I feel like I fell into that language trap early on too. But the pandemic boom of remote work put a lot of that into perspective in cities such as Mexico City, Medellin, Lisbon, etc., which got an influx of remote workers, which is creating an imbalance in those economies and neighborhoods due to gentrification. Yes, there are benefits for remote workers, but what about locals? How do they feel about their economy relying on tourism and digital nomad visas? How do we use our travel privileges, working from a laptop, and traveling at the same time for good? What about the environment and sustainability? I think the narrative has shifted to find reciprocity in travel instead of being so tourist-focused, which is for the best for there to be a future of travel.

5. How do you envision the integration of remote work in professions that traditionally rely heavily on in-person interactions, like social work?

I think people in “helping professions” such as social work, education, and healthcare, will have more remote opportunities in nontraditional spaces. Everyone is focused on AI right now, but due to that, I think there is going to be a greater push for people with soft skills (*cough, cough like social workers*) in more remote spaces to fill those gaps that an office party or other office cultural practices would fill. At the end of the day, people still want that in-person connection in a remote world because there is a level of trust in human-to-human experiences. And some of the best people who have those community cultivation skills work in “helping professions,” so I envision more of us being hired in places you might not expect in a remote world.

6. Being recognized as a LinkedIn Top Voice in the Future of Remote Work, where do you see the remote work landscape in the next 5-10 years?

People love freedom and flexibility, so I see the landscape expanding and a lot of upskilling happening to keep people as we continue to transition into a more digital world. I don’t see remote work disappearing even though companies are trying to bring people back to the office. However, I do think companies will have to get more creative on how they build community culture without a shared office space. It’ll test just how much leadership teams trust their staff to get their work done in different spaces.

7. From your experience, what are some best practices for individuals transitioning to remote work for the first time?

I say all the time that transitioning is about knowing your transferable skills because we are more than a degree title on a slip of paper. Transferable skills are those skills you possess that can be carried over or reframed into a new role. Before you make the transition, find a few job descriptions you like to assess which skills you have that they listed, what skills you could learn on the new job, and ways to upskill at your current job before you go.

8. As someone who has traveled extensively, do you have any recommendations for setting up a productive remote workspace, especially when on the move?

Remote work requires a lot of self-accountability and you have to set your own productivity mood. I live by time blocking my calendar, the Pomodoro method, and listening to Lofi hip hop music. I recommend looking at your calendar to decide if you want to work from a co-working space or café – cafes can be loud so I’m more productive there on non-meeting-filled days. Also, when I’m actively traveling and remote working, I plan out the days when I may chill in my hostel after work vs. going on a street food tour or an excursion. So I think finding balance in your days between working and sightseeing, especially for me as a travel creator and journalist, is key to not burning out.

9. Lastly, for those inspired by your journey, do you have any resources or recommendations to help them navigate their remote work aspirations?

Yes! So if you are a social worker I have a free Remote Social Work 101 Guide I wrote that has tons of resources to help you pivot and when you download It you’re added to my weekly jobs newsletter. And if you’re in “helping professions” or nonprofit/social impact work I’m loving Ethos Atlas’ jobs newsletter with both in-person and remote jobs.

Connect with Sojourner White via LinkedIn