Interview by Tal Bright
Sebastien Pelletier is a developer who works on many different projects, while trying to keep a work-life balance.
He rates Coworking Bansko as one of the best in the world!
How long have you been a digital nomad?
I began my digital nomad quest shortly after I read the 4 Hour Work Week in 2013. I became motivated to pay off my debts, completely changed my lifestyle and read more about the digital nomad lifestyle.
Six months after reading the book, I paid off all my debts, had some savings and quit my corporate job.
I feel my life as a digital nomad started when I quit my job. I decided to be my own boss and build towards being location independent and becoming part of “The New Rich” — rich in experiences.
I sold my stuff, found a house for my cats and developed my skills.
I had a lot to learn because working in the corporate world kept me far back as a developer. I had to relearn a lot of things and about two years after I quit my job I was on a plane on the way to Spain.
I read an article about coliving and coworking in Tarifa, Spain. It attracted a lot of nomads. I arrive on the day they were doing a weekly meetup, so upon arriving I met about 40 other digital nomads.
How do you make a living working from anywhere?
It’s easy for me to find freelancing gigs as a developer, but I try to take less of those, so I can focus on the things that can create passive income.
I had a website even before starting travelling that’s generating some income. It’s a hockey website and I’ll soon be launching its redesigned version.
I’ve worked on a few other projects that I’m very excited about, but they’re not generating income yet.
I appreciate the freedom of working on whatever I want, even if it’s not necessarily lucrative.
One of the projects I co-founded is a dating community for digital nomads: Nomad Soulmates. I met Aline, the original founder, on Koh Lanta during one of my first trips as a Nomad, and we decided to team up and create the technology for it. We have plans to monetise it, but it hasn’t quite happened just yet.
It’s not an easy audience to monetise, but it continues to grow. We have some success stories. It’s always nice to get to know couples that met through the site.
I met my girlfriend indirectly through the platform. She was helping out with beta testing for a new feature. We met again here in Bansko and have been together for over 8 months now.
Do you normally work at coworking spaces? And why?
Not always. It depends on where I am and on the coworking space. I’m productive working from home as well at the moment.
In summer there are more social activities and it can be difficult to stay self disciplined when you are your own boss and there are no deadlines…
What do you like about coworking Bansko?
This one is one of the best coworking spaces in the world, and I’ve been to about 15 around the world already.
I like the comfort, the ergonomics, the coffee, the activities and the people.
In other places, the people you meet will not necessarily be there when you come back, but here in Bansko there is a small community of permanent members and some who have bought properties here.
The staff and founders make an effort to make sure there are recurring activities that strengthen the bond between people here.
What do you like about the town of Bansko?
I like the food. There is good and affordable food here if you know where to go.
Looking at the mountains every day is heartwarming.
I like the fresh air in the summer and the possibility of going out into nature.
What do you wish you had known before you became a digital nomad?
On my path to becoming an entrepreneur, I wish I had known that bootstrapping is difficult. It’s hard to make something out of nothing when you have limited funds. I would have managed my money differently if I’d known that.
How many hours a day do you work on average?
I aim to work between 4 and 6 solid hours a day. It’s usually a 6–7 day work week. That’s probably not how it should be, there should be a break and it would be nice to work 6–8 hours per day. I have days when I do more and days when I do less.
What apps do you use and recommend for digital nomads or long term travellers?
Nomad Soulmates for digital nomad dating.
Splitwise is very efficient if you need to divide expenses.
To find accommodation I use Booking, Agoda, Airbnb and HostelWorld.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Striking a good work life balance. I am working 6–7 days a week and it’s important to take a break. It feels like when I used to work for an employer work was very well defined, but now there’s no end to it, it’s always ongoing and always on my mind.
Setting priorities has been a challenge, especially now that I’m working on multiple projects as a developer, everything takes a lot of time, nothing is ever simple…
And that’s just the development, after that you need to market it. It’s an never ending list of tasks and it’s hard not to be overwhelmed.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to finish the book Getting Things Done and get organised. I want to stop being distracted and be more self disciplined
I plan to keep working really hard on my current projects.
As for travel plans, I’m going to Italy soon to visit my girlfriend’s family and then to Canada to visit my family.
About the author
Tal Bright was a Nomad in Residence at Coworking Bansko in May 2019. She’s been a digital nomad since 2009 and is currently sharing her knowledge on her travel blog, brightnomad.net, and works as a content creator.