I have always loved travelling to completely new and foreign places, pushing beyond my comfort zone and being forced to adapt to the experience. I only later realised that this was the most powerful way for me to ignite my creativity.
Like a lot of people in their twenties, five years ago I left my home town to travel by myself for the first time. I had my eyes wide open, looking for new opportunities, new visions and perhaps inspiration. As a young woman travelling alone, it’s almost mandatory to blog about your journey these days: so I did, equipped with an iPad and a 3G SimCard, I knew I could write from anywhere. And it didn’t take long to realise that I could do way more than just blog about my travels.
I took this photo on February 10th 2012 in Arambol, India. I was sitting there in front of the beach, drinking chai, writing my next blog post and thinking; this is an insanely good moment, there must be a way to work like this full-time by just using a laptop and an internet connection.
At this point, I had no idea that this was actually something that other people around the world were doing and I was pretty intimidated even thinking about remote work; I thought most people doing this were either super talented developers or genius entrepreneurs. So how would I be able to do it?
It wasn’t actually that hard. I spent about 4 months after taking that picture, talking incessantly to people about remote work and looking for every event and meet-up where I might meet other like-minded people. And it just so happens that when you are sufficiently interested in something and hunting for answers, you’ll eventually find them. Someone I already knew was really enthusiastic about remote working possibilities and was looking for someone to manage one of his project. So before I knew it, I’d started my online freelancing journey.
My first years working remotely were unbelievable. I was completely amazed by my life choice. Everything felt right, I was living the dream and working wherever I wanted; from Shanghai, Udaipur or Playa del Carmen. I was learning mandarin, volunteering or scuba diving in my spare time and the possibilities felt endless. There was no more asking when it came to travel and work days were no longer 9 to 5. I had the freedom to chose my ideal work-life balance. And then, just like any drug, once you’ve touched freedom, you’ll never want to lose it again.
Now of course, there are a LOT of benefits to this kind of lifestyle. But the pursuit of location independence does require sacrifices.
Travelling while working remotely is not as social as solo-travel. If I did get my best life experiences alone on the road, when you add work to it, it’s a completely different game. Don’t get me wrong, but being a digital nomad doesn’t mean working 4 hours a week and chilling the rest of the time. You still need to keep a workflow if you want to be productive, get your stuff done and keep your lifestyle sustainable. I mean, if you want more than just being able to afford a hut in Asia for the rest of your life, you have to put in the work. So I ended up most of the time with little opportunity for social interactions during work, and even fewer in my down time because I’d just missed all the momentum.
Then, I started to feel really isolated! I had met a lot of people but most of the friendships I made were futile. I was frustrated at others inability to understand my reality. My relatives kept asking me why I was traveling again and again, if I was escaping something, telling me that one day I would be tired of traveling, would stop and settle down. I’ve always been very determined in my convictions but even I doubted myself, thinking maybe people were right and all this could just be a temporary stage of my life.
But then I realised… they were wrong.
The problem is that I wasn’t surrounded by the right sort of people. To be able to keep my location independent lifestyle – without going nuts – I have to find like-minded individuals. I need people to work with while I’m in a new city, that understand my lifestyle and can help me evolve in my career; with the added bonus of grabbing a drink after work hours. It became obvious to me that surrounding yourself with people who are in your shoes (even better if they are smarter than you) leads to a higher likelihood of achieving what you’ve set out to accomplish.
Luckily, many incredible web-entrepreneurs who were living the same struggles were also looking for a sense of community. Dozens of organisations have popped up in the past year to fulfil this need; making it easier to surround yourself with other remote-workers while being on the road. Now all you’ve got to do is look for a space anywhere you are in the world.
People are getting together, creating Facebook groups, discussing, exchanging ideas and also helping each other on a dedicated chat. Really cool organisations were created to let digital nomads travel together, share a common passion and help each other reach their goals.
It’s clear now that there is a growing infatuation with the remote working industry, and as Marcus, the co-founder of DNX, was telling me: this is not only a trend or a hype, we are here to stay. And here we are!
I became completely ecstatic when Noel introduced me to Nomadbase – a platform where, for the first time, we could visualise in real-time this enormous yet invisible community and help them to meet.
Now, I will – not only – see my community and track its growth, but visualise my entire tribe and begin to defeat my struggles with isolation.
I jumped in.
We are starting lean but have a big vision for this fast growing community and we personally want, as nomads, to do everything we can to facilitate a location independent lifestyle.
We’ve had over 1800 nomads who’ve signed up since we launched 2 months ago don’t miss the boat. Join the tribe. You know where to find me.