A girl on a quest to escape the nine to five.
This article is about DIGITAL NOMADS — and how traveling made me realise I don’t want to sit in an office for the rest of my life when all I need to make a living is a laptop and a working internet connection!
Globalization and new technology, have led to many people leaving their 9–5 jobs in crammed cubicles and instead opting to work from their laptop anywhere they want. All they need is a working internet connection and somewhere to charge their device. This could be a cafe in Rome, a beach bar in Indonesia, a hostel in Laos (this is however debatable — as the Wi-Fi is on 20 seconds, off 20 seconds) or a mountain restaurant in Switzerland. You get the point. Wi-Fi plus any place you want equals your new workplace. “Co-working spaces” are places that have been set up for digital nomads from different branches. Here they can exchange information, meet fellow Digital Nomads and find an office space that they can use for a limited time with access to printer, beamer, conference rooms and other resources they might need. A well-known co-working space is “hubud” — put together by the words hub and Ubud (town in Bali), which is where it is situated. Here people from all walks of life come together to work. Instead of business clothes they wear shorts and sandals.
I spent 3 years exploring our beautiful planet, to survive I worked odd jobs for a couple of months at a time that paid well enough to support my travels. Deckhand on a boat, party and nightclub promoter, ice cream stand girl, bar and restaurant work, squash farm, receptionist, hostel cleaner, horse trek guide, animal shelter. You name it, I probably worked it. Some jobs were fun, some were rather unpleasant and some I absolutely hated. But what led to me research “digital nomadery” was the fact that I want to be independent and not tied to one place. I am now studying Communication Management in The Hague. With this degree, I feel confident that I can start my own business and work as a freelancer.
The Good and The Bad
Now as with everything in Life being a Digital Nomad has its benefits and setbacks. It’s not all beach and bikinis. So here is a list of some obstacles you will come across when choosing to do business on the go.
- Good Wi-Fi becomes your god and religion. Without it you have NO business.
- Living out of a backpack can be tough and having to share dorm rooms with 6 party people when you have to work won’t always be fun.
- Not having friends and family close can be really hard at times. There are many occasions you won’t be there for, and that is a tough one.
- Life in general is unpredictable, but on the road, you feel it in particular. There will be times when you find yourself in sticky situations, but with a street-smart mind, kindness of locals and a whole lot of luck you will get through it all.
- It’s up to you: Being a freelancer comes with a lot of freedom, but also with a lot of responsibilities. It is up to you to decide how to spend your days, but in the end, you need to be able to deliver what is expected from you, as you will heavily depend on recommendations for future work. Your portfolio is everything to you as you won’t have a company that will hand you jobs.
The last thing to note.
This piece is in no way meant to put down other lifestyles. Whether you are a stay at home mum or dad, shop assistant, hair dresser, taxi driver, big business manager or just a 20 something trying to make ends meet. It is merely an article written for those, for us, who do not get a sense of fulfilment in the traditional working world. So, get creative, find your passion and start exploring this magical world we live in. One digital job at the time.