Cover Stories
By Sara Stefanovic

Marco Ferri: I’m a Digital Nomad

By Sara Stefanovic
16 min read

Starring: Marco Ferri
Photos by SIMON

Editor in Chief: Tommaso Lavizzari
Creative Director: Stefano Nappa
Concept & Style: Marco Cresci e Giuseppe Di Rosalia

Hyatt Centric Milano Centrale
Brands Partner: Modula Milano, Traiano Milano, Tesla

Technology drives the evolution of human work. For this reason, individuals, more and more often, begin to seek their fortune in the web ocean, setting sail towards a new digital world. A world that, despite tending towards independence, is inextricably linked to Humanity.

We met Marco Ferri in the middle of his daily routine; upon return from Mexico and before leaving for the next destination. He told us his life, his story, between real and digital.

Marco Ferri is, to all intents and purposes, a digital nomad. For him, life and work are in constant balance, separated only by a thin line. In fact, his work as an entrepreneur and content creator takes him around the world, constantly connected with Lodi, his base of operations and life.

The Human wants Humanity and Marco has managed, thanks to the bond with values and family, to find positive feedback within the digital world by becoming a real digital nomad. What path did he take to become one?

Is your digital alter ego, @marcoferri5, a reference to the jersey your father used to wear as a player or does it have other meanings?

Marco Ferri: «Yes, but there’s more, it is a number that has followed me throughout my life and has brought me many positive things, so I am very fond of it. First of all it was my father’s jersey number. He played most of his matches for Inter wearing this number. Then let’s say that it is very common in my life in general: my name has five letters, my surname has five letters, in my family, we are five, at school the average grade was always 5 (laughs), my grandparents’ house number was 5. Every time there is an important project, or something that brings positive things into my life, in some way there is this number».

Marco Ferry

How did your journey start?

Marco Ferri: «In short, I had completely different plans. As relatively young as I may be, my life has been very dynamic and a lot has happened. I graduated in Communication Sciences, I followed a master in International Marketing and I started working in a company as a marketing manager. So my life already had a certain kind of setting. Then I went to live in Miami, the city where, together with my father, I opened a soccer academy for children on behalf of Inter. There I worked as a marketing manager. One day I came across an email, which had ended up in the spam box, from a Chilean channel that wanted to offer me a project related to a new program that they would launch shortly thereafter.

I saw it two months after they had sent it to me, so I replied out of curiosity, not knowing what to expect. That’s how I ended up in Chile living this new experience that brought me closer to a world that had always intrigued me, that of entertainment and television. I had never done anything so serious in that field before, I left with the idea of being away for a week and I came back after six months.

As a resulto of this program I became very popular in Chile but also in many other Latin countries such as Cuba and Colombia and even in Spain … I returned to Miami and there too people began to recognize me on the street. So I decided to leave for Spain, after being offered to take part in the Gran Hermano 5».

But how did you manage with the language? Did you study Spanish, or did you learn it in the field?

Marco Ferri: «Let’s say that I spoke a little Spanish, I had the unhealthy idea that it was enough to add the -s at the end of a word… Upon my arrival in Chile I realized that I had a linguistic issue to solve, putting the -s at the end wasn’t enough, I should have added something more. From there I learned it in the field, if you make mistakes sooner or later, you learn the language. It was the same with the English language. When I arrived in London, I didn’t understand anything even though I had studied it at school.».

Tell us a linguistic fool you made

Marco Ferri: «I went on a date with this girl from London convinced that I was one of the few Italians who spoke fluent English… But instead of asking me: «How are you?» she said something like: «How’s your day been so far?» I said what about seven times, breaking out in cold sweat, before I realized she was simply asking me how I was doing. From then on, I promised myself that I would have to learn the language a little better before I dated another English girl. As a result, to this day, I speak pretty good English, Spanish and a little bit of Italian (laughs), so I’ve made it!».

Do you still go to Miami often?

Marco Ferri: «Yes, because of my brother. After coming to visit me during the summer vacations, he decided to stay there and study. He liked the place so much so that he now lives there, so I go there very often to visit him. Except in this period when it was a bit difficult to travel».

How’s your relationship with your siblings?

Marco Ferri: «It’s very nice. I must admit that I am very lucky because I have a beautiful relationship with both of them, although they are different. My brother is an introvert, he is a little more reserved and, at times, it is difficult to talk to him and make him open up. With my sister, on the other hand, I have a more intimate relationship. I confide in her, and, in many cases, I get help in choosing the photos to publish on social networks; sometimes, I need an honest opinion. I am lucky, I repeat».

How did your parents take your decision to jump into the show business?

Marco Ferri: «Badly, at first. My father did not take it well, also because of the path we had taken together in Miami. That was the rational path to follow and I have always been very rational, except when I feel that I should opt for another path. In that case I follow it, even at the cost of going against everything and everyone. My curious and enterprising nature made me launch into another adventure, despite having an ongoing project. Then, once he understood that this path was suitable for me and that I began to travel the world obtaining satisfactions and I knew many people who could have made me proposals of various kinds, he relaxed. In the beginning, however, it was difficult for both of us to pursue this somewhat unconventional choice».

Did he ever encourage you to pursue his own career?

Marco Ferri: «Maybe, but he was never very obvious about doing it. I think he was always afraid of making me feel obliged to follow in his footsteps. I actually had soccer game inside me, I was crazy about this sport as a child. If someone had told me: «You’ll never be a soccer player when you grow up», I would have cried for sure. My dream was to become an Inter player, and I carried it on until I was 16. Then I began to understand that I should have started considering other possibilities because, apart from the will, you need talent».

But you are still very sporty, how do you train when you travel around?

Marco Ferri: «Yes, yes, I still play football with my friends and I practice other sports. I really like MMA, mixed martial arts, it’s my second favorite sport. What I always do to keep fit is going to the gym or work out bodyweight, paradoxically I can work out even if locked in a hotel room. I do it both to keep fit and to feel better myself, because sports are part of my bio-rhythm. Then, depending on where I am, I try to practice outdoor activities such as skiing, running, cycling, I do many different things».

Do you spend the whole year abroad or do you have a point of departure and arrival?

Marco Ferri: «I have a house in Lodi, where my family is based. However, that I travel a lot. In the last two years, despite the difficulties, I have visited an average of 13/14 different countries per year for work».

Tell us about your business travel

Marco Ferri: «I travel for different reasons, my work is divided into two areas, that of an entrepreneur and that of an influencer. On the one hand, I have two eCommerce companies in Italy and a consulting company in Chile. So, when I travel to Chile, it’s to supervise the operations of companies that want to enter the South American market. The activity, in that case, has a special focus on marketing, but we also follow the commercial part, logistics, brand positioning, administration, and customer service.

Influencer activity is the reason for many of my journeys, it’s true.

But I want to point out that I approach it in a very entrepreneurial way, unlike many colleagues who live it more passively. They are often called by a brand that offers them a job and, once accepted, the brand takes care of a good number of aspects. As far as I am concerned, I create my own projects, deciding where, with whom, and when to carry them out, and then I sell them to companies. Example: I decide to go to Mexico, then I choose a tour of the city, places to see and shoot, colors and so on and I create the presentation to propose to companies who, in turn, decide whether to get on board or not.

I have been working following this pattern for three or four years and it gives me a lot of satisfaction, because I am the one behind everything. I really like taking photos and videos, but when I leave for these trips I always carry my team made up of photographer, video-maker, model etc. with me. Let’s say I am the organizer, I convey the contents and I am the creative director. I’m a traveler and a dreamer and his part of my work stimulates the creative side that has charactercterized me throughout my life».

Your favorite place?

Marco Ferri: «I am in love with Africa. Entering my house is like entering Mombasa, I live my passion for this continent to the fullest. I have been deeply affected by some of the trips I made to Kenya and also by my last trip to South Africa. These two trips are the ones that have marked and excited me the most, they have changed my vision of the world».

What impressed you the most?

Marco Ferri: «I am a great lover of the animal kingdom. So seeing the animals in their natural habitat, after having spent a lifetime seeing them locked in cages, was a unique emotion. Even now, despite having gone several times on safaris, when I see a lion hunting or simple scenes of everyday wild life, I get excited. I feel extremely lucky to be a guest in their world and to be able to see them in the beauty of their spontaneity and genuineness… something that is missing in the human world.

Then there are the people. I was lucky enough to have experiences that led me to get in touch with real Africa, not the tourist one. Having the possibility to meet people who live in houses made out of mud and without electricity changes our perception of how lucky we are and the frivolities we think about all day long. All things that don’t really matter much in the end. These are countries I would return to very often, not only for work but also to stay in touch with that reality and to help less fortunate people. I would do it tomorrow if I had the opportunity».

A place in the world where you would like to live?

Marco Ferri: «Answering this question is difficult. I cannot name a city where I would live year-round. I would love to move around all the time.

In 10 years I can see myself spending three or four months in Italy, three or four months in countries like South Africa, and two or three months in Miami with my brother. I can’t imagine living in the same city all year round, even if I were to have my own family.

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In that case, of course, it would be more difficult to move around but I will always try to set up my life trying to have a base to then travel easily and take the family with me».

Let’s talk about food, everyone’s great passion. What is the dish you have tasted and liked the most?

Marco Ferri: «I love Italian cuisine so much that I think I am the best ambassador of culinary Italianness in the world. So I find it hard to point out a dish I tasted abroad that I particularly liked. No, I swear to you that for me Italian cuisine is the best in the world so I would say trofie with pesto. Then I really like fusion cuisine, and also the Mexican one; I’ve been to amazing places; however, I don’t have a foreign dish of the heart».

What do you take with you when you travel? What can’t be missing in your backpack?

Marco Ferri: «Camera, drone and computer. These three things are fundamental. Then, I have a passion for clothing in general, so I am always quite attentive to this aspect. I don’t do it because I have to do it but because I like to choose outfits that suit the destinations of my trips. If I’m going to Africa, obviously, I’m not going to wear the same clothes that I would wear in New York. I like to create a mood within the suitcase that matches the place where I’m going. Those four things are fundamental».

Have you ever adopted a foreign piece of clothing into your wardrobe?

Marco Ferri: «Yes, I have super afro trousers, made of a linen-like material, very light and loose that I bought when I went to Kenya. I had brought around thirty different outfits but I made half the journey with those pants. I liked it a lot, also because the print features various animals. In Thailand I bought a shirt representative of the local style too. Every now and then it happens that I take clothes which then replace a good half of the suitcase brought from home».

How do you manage your social media? How do you choose the contents as to combine your personal and professional dimensions?

Marco Ferri: «It’s actually a very organic thing, they come together on their own .I’ve gotten to a point where it’s really hard for me to do work that doesn’t reflect my personal tastes and passions. I like everything you see on my Instagram and enjoyed doing it. My bio is: Welcome to my memory book, because it is so. I use my profile as if it were a scrapbook that chronologically reflects the places I go, the events (which I decide to make public) and my life. So I take it just like that, I like working with brands that reflect my world, which are not only interested in getting traffic from my publications. Things blend together harmoniously».

How do you unplug from your work, we do it by looking at Instagram, what about you?

Marco Ferri: «I have to take detox moments because I’m always on Instagram, it happens often. The realities that I follow at an entrepreneurial level also have to do with this social network and with the digital world in general. Round and round are always there. However, when I’m at my limit, I drop my phone and go for a run for a couple of hours in the middle of the countryside or go for a swim. I need those moments that allow me to disconnect from everything and then happily reconnect and see things from a different, fresher point of view».

When you commit your mind to a piece of work for so long without disconnecting, you start to struggle to figure out whether it’s good or not. Looking at it again after two or three days off, the work can be evaluated in a more lucid and objective way. Sometimes it does a lot of good to disconnect from everything, especially from social networks».

What do you think about this social future?

Marco Ferri: «Social media are dangerous because many young people risk living other people’s life rather than their own.

They feel at fault in seeing the successes and perfection flaunted by other people on social networks. They tend to always follow those who are more successful, those who are more creative and accomplished, forgetting that there are so many people who are less fortunate. This misleads the perception of the world… Of course, there are always those who are luckier, better, and more beautiful, but there are so many people who don’t even have an Instagram because they don’t have a phone and live praying that their father will come back with something to eat at night.

I’ve noticed it especially in this period, people have traveled much less and have seen less different or parallel realities to ours».

Do you have any regrets?

Marco Ferri: «No, I have very few regrets because I have always acted following what I felt, for better or for worse. I say this because some choices have also brought negative things into life, but I have no regrets because I made them with my heart. There are very few choices that I have made following only reason. My soul is romantic but wild, it believes in love and feelings, yes, but only in real ones, not in those imposed by the duties or stereotypes of society».

How has your constant traveling changed your relationships with your friends and family?

Marco Ferri: «He certainly changed it, because I’m always on the road, but I’m lucky to have maintained the fundamental relationships of my life. While always traveling I was able to maintain relationships with true friends and family. One of the cons of nomadic life is that I see them less, but this hasn’t affected the quality of our relationship».

16 min read

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