I’m Not A Digital Nomad.

Or Am I?

So, this last week has been a little experiment. Whilst I’m primarily based in Manchester (UK) I’ve seen a lot of buzz about the Digital Nomad tribe, and wondered if I could join them.

I like travel, so it is tempting! But I do get frustrated if too isolated or work solo. So, what was the experiment? I revisited München. I have a friend there who I was very grateful to be able stay with, so that was one problem sorted. Next, where to work? Whilst my friends place was comfortable and had wifi, I needed to be around others in a quiet/productive space, who are in the same industry, with wifi, coffee, and a desk.

I asked on the Munich Startups facebook group if there were any recommendations, and was happy that Oliver from Silicon Drinkabout (that I’d previously visited) recommended a couple of spaces not far the area I was staying in. Just a short stroll through a park, and a few stops on the U6, and I was at ImpactHUB Munich. It’s a large space, in what I assume was previously a factory. Lots of desks, and lots of friendly faces. The host was welcoming and gave me a tour in English, and some introductions. They had some phone booth boxes, which were great for Skyping team-mates back in the UK. Like Manchester, Munich can be a cold place, so it’s worth an extra layer.

I have to admit my German is a little rubbish - though I do find I recognise more words on each visit. I must also admit to feeling a little embarrassed at how easily a lot of Germans are able to switch between their native tongue and English. Especially when it’s a room of 30, with only a few not speaking German, as was the case when they had a ‘falefel pitch’ lunch - which I felt very included by being invited to. The startup Usely was able to pitch their P2P camera rental in either German or English at the turn of a poll question about the language they should use. Amazing. And also totally unexpected as I thought it’d be in German.

It was a friendly co-working space, where I met other freelancers, CTOs, Firefox representatives and the UN’s WFP. All who were open to coffee meetings, and chatting in the open kitchen space. Like me others were also bemused by the whole brexit conversation! They also had a great event space, and one evening they had a demonstration of Japanese music and the background/culture around it. Fantastic end to the day.

On another evening, I was considering the dark beer festival, but found out there was Munich’s ruby meetup. Heading over to the Fidor bank building I found a busy (50+) attendees, all interested in the 4 talks. I was also surprised that they’ve managed to make it a much more gender inclusive event. Possibly the inclusion of a female speaker, and Munich Rails Girls group being effective there?

So all in all. If you’re an English speaker, and nervous about going to, and working in other countries without being able to speak their language I encourage you to try and speak their language, but most importantly give it a go.

If you’re interested in going to Munich from Manchester or London, and want to time with my next visit, please do get in-touch. I’m hopeful of going before the Pioneers festival which is in Vienna. I’m also considering travelling on up to Berlin after, which can be very cheap on the train!

If you’re interested in an experienced CTO-level consultant & ruby specialist working for you in a collaborative team, with some visits to your office, I’d be interested in working with you. Send me a tweet, or view my CV.