Beginning of the journey
November 2016. I stuffed my most precious belongings into a friend’s garage and got on the road as a digital nomad (work online, live everywhere) — first alone, then with the company called The Remote Experience that connected like-minded travelers. Two years of “nomading” brought amazing friends and made me a part of global community of wanderers. Here is my road journal.
For many nomads traveling is a passion. We dreamed about it, we promised ourselves to make it happen one day, another day, we postponed it again and again until that one moment when something changed, one thought, one idea. High in the mountains, at a big EDM party, or right after another breakup.. — we realized we can’t live without it anymore. So, we did it. We packed the bags, said goodbyes, and went for it. Some had exact plan and an itinerary. Others bought a one-way ticket and let the road lead the way. Why? Well, I won’t tell for everyone, but here is my story, and some of the ones I heard on the way...
Remember The Matrix? Yes, that one, with mysterious Keanu Reeves in it.
“You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” — Morpheus, The Matrix
That’s how I felt — consumerism, capitalism, addiction to distraction. We got on the treadmill: making money to spend more money to forget about making money; discussing little things, staring into the screen, getting angry at the traffic, and arguing with the wall. Sounds familiar?
I wanted the rabbit hole. I craved the knowledge. To walk new paths, to un-pattern, to touch the invisible, taste it, feel it under the skin. Travel was my call, and I got lucky. It’s not magic, but it is such indescribable freedom to experience the world with eyes wide open. Ask me if I regret it, and the answer is — “Hell, No!” It’s a long journey, and here are the lessons I learned so far (maybe you’ll see yourself in them too)..
1. Find your frequency
A friendly nomad once shared his formula for re-centering himself when living in a village-like environment. His ratio was 1:4, meaning every hour of active social interaction equals 4 hrs of quite piece. Not all digital nomads are extroverted. Even traveling in a group many of my “tribe-mates” value solo time over social butterflying. Smart and experienced ones know themselves and learn to allow FOMO pass by untouched. Others, yours truthfully included, sacrificed precious sleep and other necessities, including what seemed like sanity, to that contagious disease. Learn from our mistakes — love yourself, dedicate time to yourself, put energy into what you really enjoy, little every day. When you don’t, the world overwhelms you.
2. You need your ground
Who are you? Where did you come from? What do you believe in? What are your goals?
Shit will go down, and when it does — go back to your roots. Be you — pray, meditate, play in the ocean, stare in the sky, walk, fall, jump, dance, freeze, swim, cook, call a friend — but mean it! Be there. In that moment. Like the world stopped. Like nothing else ever existed. Reset. Then move on!
3. Morning Routine is Important
Hell, I’m the one running away from pre-set schedules, and yet life on the road made me believe in morning rituals. This is your beginning, your chance to be the change you want to make, or to get energy for the next move. How about this list:
· Open your eyes — Good Morning! Stretch. Drink water.
· Get up, make your bed — yeah, I know, I hate it too. But hey, you just made your bed. Proud of you, every time walking into the room (use it as your morning confidence boost).
· Exercise/Meditate! You’ve got to. You need the energy, right? Find your routine. Start small, repeat daily.
· Shower — hot then cold, very cold! (that’s your immune system boost)
· Eat with awareness and joy.
· Read. Reflect on yesterday. Be grateful for today. Have fun!
4. Creativity- carry your tools with you at all times (if you can)
When the muse arrives — write it down, draw, record, take a picture, catch that idea, that move, that bubble of inspiration, allow yourself to act on it. If you can, get into the flow immediately, if not — at least make a note.
Yeah, that’s a big topic, isn’t it? As a nomad, how do you even..? Really, not much different. First, define what you want. Not in a future, 15 years from now, or eventually to end your life with. At least that’s not how it works for me. What do you want NOW? Really, be honest. Stop playing by the rules. You, not your mom, your neighbor, friend, that amazing person on the screen. What do YOU want! Friendship, deep connection, romance, a lover, a partner, a listener, a fuck-buddy, a party-buddy, a travel-buddy, a mentor, a sugar mama. Hell, it’s your life. If you want it, there is a way to get it! Once that’s clear, go after it.
One of the first unexpected things I came across when started traveling with digital nomads is how much they rely on apps to meet people. Want to date? Got stock in unfamiliar place? Tinder, Bumble, local Facebook groups, Showaround, Meetup, Nomad Soulmates .. If you have a need, someone probably has a solution, and that means..? Yup, there is an app for that (if not — that’s a business idea for you). Crazy conversations, great friendships, lovely make-outs, and a few pretty good pod deals once started with a user-friendly interface of a good app.
6. Technology! Thank nerds for technology!
Technology is what allowed us become location independent. Explore the opportunities technology gives you.
· Spotify for music · Venmo for money transfer · Netflix/Plex for movies (btw carrying Chromecast and an HDMI cable with you may be a winning idea in many countries) · Hootsuite for scheduling social media posts · Swarm for keeping track of cool places you stumbled upon · VPN for security, and many many others for whatever your life needs.
· Dual SIM in unlocked GSM phone with good camera is a blessing — check out Asian brands, you may be surprised with quality/price ratio.
· Powerbank is a life-saver; extra charger for your laptop never hurts. Universal power adapter rocks.
7. Stay connected
We are tribal creatures. My tribe is global now. My community is no longer based on geo-location, and nationality is just a description. Just like race, it puts an image in the head, but hardly defines the core. Whoever your tribe is — keep in touch. Those are your people, your support system, your reminder of reality, your self-check. Without them your brain goes into fear, detachment, loneliness, depression. Appreciate your people every chance you get, really do.
Talk to strangers. Interact* with them. Human to human connection is priceless. Listen to the stories. They are incredible — local, expats’, nomads’ stories. Life is outrageously beautiful in it’s variety. People go through amazing journeys, people are books, you are in the world’s library. Read. Absorb. Imagine.
8. Let go of the ego
Just let it be. Kindness is strength. Kindness is sexy. It’s also very rewarding in a long-run. Accept the situation as it is, and help whenever you can. Today you are the winner, tomorrow it’s another war, or another celebration. Don’t punish yourself for mistakes. You will fuck up. We all do. There will be another open door. There always is. Don’t get overwhelmed. Struggle is real. One step at a time. It will all come together, I promise. Just be true to yourself 😉
9. And finally… Do it!
Has anyone ever told you that before? Oh yeah, like thousand times. Like a bazillion of these :)
Remember that moment you were standing on a springboard, and every second you waited it became scarier and scarier, and it took more and more energy to convince yourself to make that one step? Until one moment when a little switch in your head turned and said: “Do It!”
You know you have the switch, right? You own that switch. That switch is your bitch!
Think how much energy you would save if your brain didn’t allow itself to go into that doubt? Think what you could achieve with all that energy in your life! Think about it, then start practicing it 😉
One of the most important skills in life is the ability to make a good decision, and act on it. The quicker the better, if it feels right — do it! Many researchers say your intuition is your best guide, and if your thoughts are taking you the wrong way, use the 5 seconds rule (out loud):
5 4 3 2 1 — this is wha I’m going to do!
That’s it. Done reading? Terima Kasih!Now go have fun 😊
P.S. *I added a link to my new adventure travel project. Check it out if you are curious — interaction.world