When I look up from my notebook I see a sparkling, turquoise ocean ahead of me. The small curved bay is surrounded by brown hills that are covered with large cacti. The birds are holding a song contest and almost every day an iguana sits down in a tree to my left, at what seems to be his favorite spot, and watches me with his big eyes.
I’m currently working on the conference program for the first Digital Nomad Conference — DNX GLOBAL aimed at helping people to start working and living location independent. My girlfriend Felicia and me founded that event after being overruned by the rising demand for infos on the Digital Nomad lifestyle.
I’m not sitting on the beach, but almost. My workplace for the next few weeks is a large, shaded and quiet roof terrace complete with electricity and wireless internet. Sometimes I forget that I’m in the small fishing village Taganga on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. It’s almost 90 degrees Fahrenheit and beside me there’s a cool, refreshing fruit shake.
For a moment, my thoughts wander back in time to when I was still working as an employee in various internet startup companies in Berlin; when I was expected to show up at the same time almost every day of the week at the same old workplace.
Even then I always found it exciting to work-on-the-go every now and again. What do you need a fixed workplace for anyway nowadays? The internet is changing our lives in all areas. Relatives, friends, colleagues or business partners are now only one click away thanks to digital networking.
Not doable? Today I know better.
I left what would be a secure job as head of marketing to start from scratch as an independent entrepreneur; letting go of a high monthly salary, car, flat-screen TV and a modern apartment in central Berlin.
For 3 years I have been traveling the world as a digital nomad with my girlfriend Felicia, able to live from my business. Never before have I learned as much as during this time. Not in school, not in college and not in my professional life.
Every morning I wake up full of energy and look forward to my work, knowing that I can make a difference as entrepreneur.
The personal learning curve on the path to independence is enormous and traveling changes a conservative way of thinking.
5 Lessons I’ve Learned as a Digital Nomad In More Than 20 Countries.
1. Give and Share!
I’ve met people in the fishing village of El Nido in the Philippines, in Tanzania, in Guatemala, Myanmar and other regions who had few possessions
All of the people had one thing in common: They smiled more and were gladly willing to share with me what little they had.
Lesson learned: Share your knowledge with other people. Be a source of knowledge: Only when knowledge and experiences are shared, will it help others to grow faster and not repeat the same mistakes.
Sharing your knowledge without anything in return is rather unpopular in most countries. If you do it anyway you’ll get all the more positive reactions.
The more you give without expecting anything in return, the more you will get back over time. You and your business grow through the seeds that you sow.
Rule of thumb: Give 3 x more than you take
2. Traveling helps with decision making!
Those who travel off the beaten tourist paths as a digital nomad are expanding their intellectual horizon: You will meet different people, get to know new cultures and customs.
You might not speak the language or understand the questions, but you can communicate using your hands and feet to receive the help you need. You’re also learning to trust strangers and give up control.
For this you have to leave your “comfort zone” and the micro cosmos or bubble you’ve been raised in. If you master the situation, it makes you more confident and you personally grow from the new experience.
Lesson learned: This confidence doesn’t stop when you return to your “old“ world and continues to make you more calm. If you can fight your way through unfamiliar territory, the challenges you face at home will look small. Difficult times no longer scare you.
You trust your experiences and gut feeling and have the courage to make unpopular decisions.
Being able to make clear decisions and implementing them will turbo-charge your business.
I’ve met hundreds of exciting people during my travels and just listened. Other cultures, nonconformist views and wacky visions helped me realize how small my own world is.
The fire in the eyes of a Philippine, who is watching the rising sun on a fishing boat with me, sharing his perspective on the world, is contagious.
Back home, this fire gives you the strength to make your way professionally as well as personally despite or maybe even because of the naysayers. Remember, everything is possible!
Lesson learned: Interact with other people as much as possible. Listen attentively, keep an open mind and allow for second opinions. This also applies to your business: Feedback is the key to success. Listen to your fans and customers. Solve problems and create solutions together with your customers.
4. Enjoy the ride
You don’t travel to check off your bucket list or to visit as many countries as possible. The journey is the reward. The experiences and what you learn while traveling make you stronger and let you grow.
You never stop learning, life is a never-ending process. Every day and each moment is a new opportunity to steer you life into a new direction.
Lesson learned: As a digital nomad and entrepreneur you’re continuously working on your own personal growth and business.
You rise to the challenges: With every decision you make your knowledge increases. The goal is not to get somewhere by a certain point, but rather to enjoy the ride.
In my opinion it’s the daily challenges that make entrepreneurship so exciting and not the goal of achieving X thousand Dollars within the shortest possible time.
5. Focus is important
Whether Columbia, Italy, Belize, the Philippines or Honduras — I’ve made the most important decisions for my business while on the road and was thereby even more productive than at my home base in Berlin.
As a digital nomad you’re not on vacation but you’ve shifted the focal point of your life to other places in the world.
You don’t use the internet as a distraction or pastime, but rather to create sustainable projects and values.
Lesson learned: As an entrepreneur I suffer from shiny object syndrome: You constantly see new opportunities and ideas you want to implement.
Focus is important to follow your vision and subordinate everything to this task. A new environment and new input make you more creative.
As a digital nomad you’re constantly at new and cool places — you’re not constantly going to sit in front of a computer, because the environment is just way too exciting.
However, you will start using the time that you do have available for your business with all the more focus and concentration.
Conclusion after traveling to more than 20 countries as a digital nomad
Have you yourself made similar experiences?
If not, I can only recommend you give the digital nomad lifestyle a try.
Living and working as a digital nomad will lift you and your business to a whole new level.
If you want to find out more about living a location-independent lifestyle, I highly recommend you check out the DNX GLOBAL ★ Digital Nomad Conference in Berlin.
At this event you’ll be able to exchange ideas with interesting like-minded people and receive tips for getting started as a digital nomad.
Check out my digital gadgets on the road. If you like my content please click the [♡ recommend] button below. It would mean the world to me! THX