Slow Travel: Coding and Hiking in Nepal

Welcome to our A Day in the Life of series, where we introduce you to digital nomads working and travelling around the world. Today in Nepal, meet Pierre-Philippe.

Leap of Faith

It has been a year since I sold my stuff back home and jumped on a plane heading towards Europe. Looking back, choosing this lifestyle was like taking a leap of faith. Before making the jump I really felt like I had vertigo. Now, I believe it’s one of the best decisions I ever made: a decision that truly changed me for the better.

Since making the jump into location independence, I’ve spent most of my time in Eastern Europe and South-East Asia, and for the last month and a half I’ve been travelling around Nepal. I always wanted to visit Nepal. There is something so mysterious, special and unique about this country. And of course, there are the huge scenic mountains.

I’m currently in Pokhara, the second biggest city in the country. It’s much nicer and cleaner than the capital. The pollution in Katmandu was really heavy. My asthma did not like it at all.

Digital nomad explores street market in Nepal.
Digital nomad working remote from local coffee shop overlooking mountain landscape.
Food market in Nepal

Slow-travel

Living as a digital nomad requires me to embrace a slow-travel mentality. I have to spend a significant amount of time in the same place otherwise I get nothing done. I tend to adjust my daily routine every time I go to a new place.

I’m not so much of a morning person. Let’s say it’s still a work in progress! I wake up at around 9AM, snooze for 30 minutes and then slowly wake up. I like to read the news from my phone in the morning, mostly stories about politics. I’m currently hooked on the USA presidential melodrama

I stretch almost every morning for half an hour, eat breakfast and pack my bag to go to work. I rarely work from home as it drives me nuts and I feel a huge need to mark a difference between the place I live and the one where I work.

digital nomad

Work from anywhere

There is something surreal about walking with a laptop and backpack through the streets of Nepal to go to your “office”. You notice people riding horses on dirt roads, cows in the middle of the street, kids running and playing, merchants inviting you inside their shop. The disconnect is huge: with the locals and even the tourists. This cannot be underestimated.

I work from either co-working spaces or coffee shops and I like to go back to the same place every day, exactly as if it was an office. Returning to the same location over and over is a good strategy to meet people and make friends in new places.

In Pokhara, I work from Himalayan Java Coffee which has a very nice view on the Phewa Lake, when it’s not foggy. Wi-Fi is bad almost everywhere in Nepal. However, the 3G cellular network is fast enough for my needs and is pretty reliable.

Most of my work involves developing and updating e-commerce websites. I actually won a couple of new corporate clients while travelling. It is tricky business, but definitely possible.

I close my computer at around 6PM, stop to eat and go back to my temporary home. In some cities I subscribe to a gym, yoga or climbing centre. But I don’t do it everywhere. If I have friends in the city, I go out. Otherwise, I’ll just stay put, relax and plan my tourist activities for the weekend. The nomadic lifestyle does feel lonely sometimes. You have to prepare for it before embarking on the journey.

Children playing in Nepal

I sometimes have phone calls with clients during the night due to differing timezones, as this might be when it’s the morning for them. Many clients have no idea of my whereabouts for the last year. When we talk on the phone, they still think I’m in Montréal. This makes me smile every time. I rarely talk about my trips to clients; I think it’s a bad idea. It’s better to keep business as usual.

Life as an Adventure

Every now and then, I like to plan an adventure somewhere for a week or two. During this period, I do as little work as possible. Back in Romania, I did a week-long road trip across Transylvania. It was very cool, I like driving and I really loved Romania.

In Nepal, I trekked the Annapurna Circuit for two weeks. It was a truly unique experience. A beautiful landscape which changes everyday. I had to bring the computer with me in case I needed to respond to an urgency. As I got higher, the temperature started to freeze in the night, so I had to put my computer in the sleeping bag and sleep with it! I know that’s pretty geeky. But I did fix an urgency, so I guess it was worth it.

digital nomad hiking

We’re the first generation with the opportunity to make this lifestyle achievable. The amount of freedom given to somebody working remotely from a computer is huge. Frankly, it takes a while to get used to it. And all the travelling, adventures and new encounters will push you way out of your comfort zone. Choosing this lifestyle is not a decision to take lightly, but it’s not a decision you can regret.

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