Today I want to talk about why I decided to join the Digital Nomad community several years ago.
Lets start from the beginning:
My independence and mobility is something I value above all others.
The ability to move around and do whatever I want is something that transforms the quality of your life.
I figured out in my late 20's that the more conventional way to life wasn't for me.
I also figured out that the traditional way of doing things wasn't for me.
There is a pattern that many men follow.
It's an expectation to walk a certain path.
The path that was expected of me by society was the following:
-Get a job.
-Have a few kids.
Like I said before I realized early that this wasn't for me.
Somehow I knew that my freedom was the most important thing in my life.
The only thing that was perhaps more important was my mission or purpose.
So to be free and live my purpose I had to find a way where I could live outside the system but somehow still play the game of life.
I wanted to build a business, build wealth, and travel the world.
This was my dream.
But I also knew that to make all this happen I would need money. Building a business and traveling the world would cost money.
So I knew I needed to make a move.
I didn't have a plan yet but I know that I needed to do something to get the ball rolling.
So I got on a plane and went to South Korea.
That was the first time a type of plan started forming in my mind.
The plan was to teach English, make money, and figure it out.
In my first year in South Korea, I was taking a train to the south of the country.
Before I boarded the train I went into a bookstore and started reading a book that would change the direction of my life.
The book would plant the seeds for my freedom and financial independence.
The name of the book was “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss.
As soon as I started reading the book I couldn't put it down.
The author had a totally different way of looking at the world.
I was hooked.
I now had a vision of how I was going to get my freedom.
The 4-Hour Workweek would be the guide.
The Internet would be the key.
The first time most people read The 4-Hour Workweek they resist the totally alien reality that the author sketches in the book.
In fact, most resist it when they see the title.
Their preconceived ideas of how the world is supposed to work make them resist even opening the book.
So most see the cover and think it's a scam or just unrealistic.
Sure The 4-Hour Workweek title is not exactly accurate in terms of how a real business run but the idea behind the title is totally real.
In my opinion, Tim Ferriss is a visionary and genius.
The man flipped the traditional way of looking at life and work on its head.
He rejected it.
The 4-Hour Workweek – The Basics.
Tim's book will not give you an exact plan on how to build the life you want.
But it will give you a blueprint of what is possible.
It will also challenge you to change your world view and start looking at the world from a different angle.
Key ideas from his book are the following:
- Life is short and we play it by outdated rules.
- There is a different path, but only you can choose to walk it.
- You must reconfigure your assumptions and beliefs.
- Define what you want – motivation requires motive.
- “Eliminate” all but the non-critical to create time and space
- “Automate” whatever is left
- “Liberate” yourself physically and mentally
One very important thing to remember is this: This book is not saying that you dont have to do work.
It's also not saying that you won't have to work hard, because any business takes hard work to build.
But this book will give you a way to both enjoy your life and work on your terms.
So if you looking for a way to do nothing then you are in the wrong place.
Hard work and discipline are still needed.
The key about this book is realizing you have limited time on this planet and that you need to be smart about how you live so you can make the most of the time you have.
Always rember the clock is ticking, so get moving.
One last thing, before we move on: Even if you have a more traditional outlook on life and prefer to live in one place and work a normal job then still read the book.
It will give a different perspective on being productive and living life.
The Idea of Lifestyle Design.
So if you have read this far it means you want to make a change or at least look at the possibility of changing your life and creating freedom for yourself.
Enter lifestyle design.
What is Lifestyle design?
I found the following definition that described it the best:
“I like to think of lifestyle design as living every aspect of your life with intention by living in complete alignment with your purpose, values, motivations, abilities and needs. Lifestyle design is about living a self-directed life. It’s about making your own daily schedule. It’s about work on your terms. It’s about building a lifestyle around more meaningful work.”
If you want to start changing your life then you should at least start thinking about what your purpose is.
What is your mission in life?
Once you figure that out you can start planning your life and how you want to live it.
What will be your battleground?
What will be your main weapon?
Enter the Digital Nomads Community.
The first definition of a digital nomads on google is:
“A person who earns a living working online in various locations of their choosing”.
Another popular definition is:
“Digital nomads are remote workers who usually travel to different locations. They often work in coffee shops, co-working spaces, or public libraries, relying on devices with wireless internet capabilities like smartphones and mobile hotspots to do their work wherever they want.”
You have freedom but also all the responsibility of getting results and reaching your goals.
Living as a digital nomad has given me the opportunity and freedom to travel the world and build multiple businesses.
A lot of people resist this lifestyle because they think that it's something you have to do for the rest of your life.This is simply not true.
You can do it for a few years.
Or just go in and out of the digital nomads lifestyle.
But one thing is for sure.
It's one of the cheapest ways to build a business.
Your costs will be low compared to a traditional brick and mortar business.
And no other business will give you the luxury to travel the world and make every city or island you visit your new office.
Will I live as a digital nomad for the rest of my life?
But while it's something I enjoy I will keep living where I want for how long I want.
But let's look at some advantages of living the Digital nomad life:
- Personal Development.
One thing is for certain once you go into this digital nomads lifestyle you will need to swim or sink.
That means you will grow as an individual.
You will be forced to get better as a human on all levels.
So personal development will be a natural byproduct of you choosing to live this lifestyle.
- New Challenges
Digital nomads will face new challenges in new environments.
You will be a foreigner in countries where you can't speak or read the language.
This will challenge you and make you see the world in a new way.
You will be out of your comfort zone and that is a good thing.
- New Hobbies
New environments will give you the opportunity to try new hobbies.
If you move to Japan or Korea then learn martial arts.
If you move to France to learn how to ski.
If you move to Brazil learn how to Salsa.
The list is endless of what you can do.
Digital nomads always learn new things.
- Flexible Office Space
The best part of living as a digital nomad is that you can work from anywhere with an internet connection.
That means you can have a new office every day.
You can work from a coffee shop.
Or work in the many digital nomads co-working spaces around the world.
- No Commuting.
No more sitting in the traffic every morning and evening.
You can design your life so that you walk to work every day.
Or you can take a bicycle ride into wherever you are working.
But one thing is for sure, your days of being stuck in traffic are over.
Digital nomads live of the grid.
- No Dress Code
You dont have to follow a dress code.
Dress as you please.
You are now a free man to so no more dress code.
- Your Own Schedule
Yes, you will be free to work any hours you want.
But this will place all the responsibility on you to make sure things get done.
Remember, stay disciplined.
Stay on your mission.
- Financial Advantages
The financial advantages are massive.
Building a business online is already a very low-cost option compared to traditional business models.
However, the financial advantages of living like a digital nomad are very big.
No more monthly car payments, or down payments on your house.
No more buying things you dont really need.
No more anchors holding you back.
No more income taxes.(in some countries)
You can take all that money you would have spent on buying furniture and put it into your business.
One of the biggest attractions to this lifestyle for me is travel.
I love traveling and exploring the world.
And there is no better combination than working on your goals and at the same time experiencing different countries and cultures.
- Choose Your Climate
I like both cold and hot climates.
And you can choose the best of both.
Or you can just go after the summer.
Choose the climate you like and change whenever you feel like it.
Digital nomads have the luxary of choosing their climate.
- Minimalist Lifestyle
When you start traveling and spend a lot of time on the road you realize you dont need that many things to live a quality life.
Time is your greatest commodity so use it on life experiences, not things.
Toys are fun to buy and I do more so now than in the past.
But one day when I leave this planet those toys I will leave behind but nobody can take the experiences I had on this planet.
And in the end, they are the only things that matter.
So enjoy the finer things in life but experience as much as you can in this life.
- Network and Opportunities
As you travel around the world you will meet new people and other digital nomads and remote workers, so you will find new opportunities.
When you one day return to your country you will have a large network of people that you know on social media.
And you will definitely get opportunities that you will never have had if you didnt go and travel the world.
What About The Challenges Of This Lifestyle?
Yes like with anything in life there is a flip side to the coin.
There are some negatives that you should be aware of before you hit the road.
- Patience To Build Your Vision Into Reality
When you start your business it will take some time to get it off the ground.
So you will have to be patient.
That is why you will need some cash to keep you floating until your business takes off.You can work part-time online or you can get a job as I did in South Korea or Japan until your business takes off.Go to the job board and find a ESL teaching job.
Digital nomads and remote workers have to deal with loneliness.
You will have times where mentally you will feel isolated.
You might feel lonely.
This happens when you build a business and feel like you are surrounded by a totally different culture.
But you will overcome this.
This is just your brain fucking with you.
Loneliness comes and goes, it is natural.
So dont freak out if your start feeling this.
Go out meet people and keep up your fitness.
Use social media to stay in touch with family and friends.
- Staying Disciplined
You will catch yourself slipping into laziness sometimes.
Digital nomadism can make many people lazy.
Be careful of thinking you are on full-time vacation.
Remember you are on a mission to build a better life for yourself.
So yes have fun and enjoy your life but stay focused and disciplined.
One of the biggest annoyances for me was dealing with people asking me what I did.
Whenever I traveled home the sheep would ask me “But what do you do for a living?”
In the beginning, it really annoyed me to explain exactly what I did because they didn't understand it.
Now I just dont care.
My success speaks for itself.
But just be ready when you start this digital nomads lifestyle that many people will not understand and don't expect them to understand.
A lot of people will be secretly jealous.
They might even criticize you, just laugh at them and walk away.
But those negatives are their problems, not yours.
Being A Digital Nomad In Your Own Country
You don't have to be a digital nomad internationally.
Remote workers can work local.
You can travel around your own country and live in the areas where you are treated best.
For example, if you live in the United States you can move to the states where you are treated best.
Go to states where the taxes are low for example Texas or Florida.
The bottom line of the Digital Nomads lifestyle is to get as many advantages as possible.
For me, the best advantage of the lifestyle is building a business while cutting all other costs and going, extreme minimalist.
There is a famous story of Elon Musk building his first company with very little money.
They just rented an office.
They both worked and slept in the office.
The point is you can take the whole lifestyle and parts of the lifestyle and adapt it for whatever your goals are.
Like I mentioned before you can go extreme minimalist and sell everything you dont need and push all the money into your new business.
A lot of people complain about not having money to build a business.
Well, being a Digital Nomad minimalist is one of doing it and going all-in on your idea.
Digital Nomads Cities
When you start out as a digital nomad you must look at three basic but very important criteria when you choose your first location.
There are endless options for nomads but for newbies there are countries that will give you a lot softer landing than others.
These countries are based on the following three criteria:
- Cost Of Living
You need to cut costs and put all the money into your business.
- Fast Internet
You need your main weapon (your laptop) to work at all times, this means a fast internet connection.
- Inspiring Environment
You need to stay inspired and focused and for that you need an environment that is good for work and having fun.
- Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok Thailand is the capital of Thailand.
It's both a mix of traditional and modern culture.
Bangkok has a reasonably low cost of living and you can live very comfortably without spending too much money.
Bangkok has fast internet and coworking spaces all over the city which are perfect for online entrepreneurs ,remote workers and digital nomads. Coworking spaces will give you a bit of structure and a network.
I spend a lot of time in Bangkok and it ticked the inspiring box for me because I could be in a big city but also be close to many beautiful islands around Thailand.
For example, Koh Samui is a 50 min flight.So if you need some inspiration then you can spend some time in the city and go and clear your mind for a week or 2 on the islands.
- Phuket ,Thailand
Some people dont like Phuket because in peak holiday seasons the place can get packed with holidaymakers.
But I disagree with all the bad opinions.
Phuket is a large island with so many options to choose from that it's easy to find something that fits your needs.
Digital nomads have many options in Phuket,Thailand.
Some of the most beautiful beaches in the world are located in Phuket.
Internet speeds are good but do your homework about the internet before you go.
Some areas are faster than others.
Check out booking.com reviews to make sure your location has fast internet speeds.
- Hanoi, Vietnam
Another capital city in South East Asia.
Hanoi is both the capital and cultural center of Vietnam.
If you want to experience an interesting growing country in the heart of South East Asia then go to Hanoi.
Work remotely from Hanoi!
Hanoi can get pretty crazy at times but its a great city if you are into the nomadic lifestyle.
But it's fun interesting and has a vibrant nightlife.
If you are into coffee like I am then Hanoi is a good choice.
Due to the French influence, the city has a great coffee culture and you will be buzzing on a caffeine high through your stay in the city.
I prefer Bangkok to Hanoi but if you want to save money then Hanoi is a better city for you.
The cost of living in Vietnam is very low which makes it a great option for digital nomads to save money while you build your business.
- Ho Chi Minh City,Vietnam
Hanoi is the political and cultural capital of Vietnam.
But Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is the business capital.
This city is a vibrant mix of new business, travelers, food, shopping, and craziness.
Some say Hanoi has worse traffic, I disagree Ho Chi Min can get pretty intense.
But if you want to see an interesting country in the middle of a giant growth streak then travel to Vietnam.
Great city to work and have some fun in.
Fast internet is available everywhere and good coffee shops are littered across the city.
- Canggu, Bali
Canggu Bali is another popular spot in South East Asia for digital nomads.
If you are the type of person that needs a lot of inspiration from your surroundings then Canggu is the spot for you.
Canggu has a variety of lifestyles to choose from depending on your budget and needs.
If you need to be relaxed and surrounded by one of the most beautiful locations in the world then Canggu is the place for you.
They also have a new digital nomad visa for you making it east to go to Canggu.
- Tbilisi, Georgia
Tbilisi is one of the lesser-known capital cities in Asia.
But this city is becoming more popular with digital nomads.
The country of Georgia is located on the edge of Europe.
It's almost sandwiched between Asia and Europe.
Georgia is an old Soviet republic and is an up and coming country in Asia.
It has a growing and dynamic economy.
Tbilisi the capital is a safe and vibrant city with a low cost of living.
Tbilisi has a good banking system, fast internet, and beautiful scenery all around the city and countryside.
Yes, Georgia is something different compared to South East Asia but it's an interesting place and a great option to build a business in a unique environment.
At the moment Georgia has a 1 year digital nomad visa for entrepreneurs and digital nomads.
- Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
Playa Del Carmen is filled with beautiful beaches and is one of the most relaxing places in the world.
The cost of living is low and the internet speeds are not bad compared to other options in South America.
The food here is great and you won't get a more inspiring environment to work in than Playa Del Carmen.
- Tallinn, Estonia
I wanted to include at least one European country on the list and with that in mind, I included Tallin the capital of Estonia in Eastern Europe.
Tallinn is a great option for people who like cool weather and an affordable European city.
Tallinn is both modern and traditional with some of the fastest internet speeds in Europe.
Tallinn is also offering a 1-year digital nomad visa for those who qualify.
Best Digital Nomads Books.
If you are serious about leaving your comfort zone and going out into the world and build your own business then you need some specialized knowledge to guide you.
With that in mind, I put together a foundational list for new digital nomads and entrepreneurs.
- The 4-Hour Workweek
The bible for location independent entrepreneurs and digital nomads is the 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss.
This is a must-read to change your mindset and get a good foundation of what is possible in the new modern world we are living in.
- The Personal MBA
If you want to build a real business you will need a basic understanding of how to run a business.
The Personal MBA will teach you everything you need.
You will learn about productivity, negotiation, marketing, sales, and business operations.
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad
Most people have a bad understanding of how money works.
Most dont know how to efficiently use money to make life as comfortable as possible and this where Rich Dad, Poor Dad come in.
The author Robert Kiyosaki will teach you a whole new mindset about money and will help you avoid the most financial traps out there in the world.
If you are new to traveling and on a budget then you need to learn the basics of how to survive on the road.
Vagabonding is the crash course you need to prepare you for your travels.
The book focuses more on the practical aspects of travel and will be very helpful for people who are hitting the road for the first time.
All digital nomads should read this book.
- Virtual Freedom
Virtual freedom will teach you the practical aspects of building an online business by outsourcing a lot of your tasks online.
A big mistake for online entrepreneurs is to try and do everything themselves.
Yes in the beginning you will have to do most of the heavy lifting yourself.
But as you grow your business you will need a team and this is where Virtual Freedom will teach you how to put it all together.
- Crush It!
One of the most well-known faces of modern entrepreneurship is Gary Vaynerchuk.
In his book Crush it he will teach you how to see your new lifestyle as a business and how to act like an entrepreneur to be successful.
“People will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.”
There is no one way to become a digital nomad.
There are only options.
And the goals of these options should be to give you the following:
- The Ability To Manoeuvre.
The ability to maneuver should be to give you the ability to pack up and move to wherever you are treated best. You dont need anchors keeping you in one place forever.
If your circumstances change or something happens you should have the ability to just get up and go.
You should be your own boss.
Even if you are doing contract or part-time work for someone else you are your own boss.
You make the decision whether to do work or not.
If you run your own business this means to be your own boss.
You make all the decisions.
It's all on you.
Your ultimate goal should be total freedom to do whatever you want whenever you want.
To be financially free and be in the position to help and consult others who want to make the climb to freedom.
So now you have a basic framework of what to do.
But like I mentioned before there is no one way.
There are only guidelines and you can ultimately take the framework and make it your own, change it to fit your needs.
There are many countries, many cities, businesses, and other options to choose from and start working remotely.
All you need is internet access and you are good.
Ultimately it's all up to you.
The whole point of this article is to show you what is possible and that there is a different way to go through life.
If you feel stuck in your current reality then this is an option for you.
What the current global reality has taught us is that the world is changing.
You can either resist it and be left behind.
Or make a choice and change but do it on your terms.
Starting every day working for someone else and hating what you do is no way to go through life.
Your time in life is limited so start using it by doing things that you enjoy.
But it will all come down to you making a decision and taking action.
It always has been.
So get some health insurance and get on a airplane.
Until next time.