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Bryan Shelmon on the digital nomad lifestyle

Phil Siarri talks to Bryan Shelmon, digital nomad and founder of Anthem Culture, a global media lifestyle company, exploring culture around the world.

Hi Bryan, nice to connect with you again. Can you tell our readership a little bit about your background?

Always a pleasure Phil! I was originally born in the suburbs outside of Detroit, Michigan but setup my home base in New York City after graduation from the University of Pittsburgh. I have a blurred line between work/life as my primary entertainment comes as a result of Anthem Culture. Being a promoter of culture, I attend a lot of events related to culture including film festivals, music and fashion shows, art gallery events, etc. I also help produce a lot of visual media and content, which helps to express myself creatively. As of recent, I transitioned into a digital nomad lifestyle, which has allowed me to begin traveling around the world, serving as both work and pleasure!

What made you decide to found Anthem Culture and become a digital nomad?

Over the years, Anthem Culture has developed naturally. Originally Anthem Culture was established as a platform to distribute many creative projects including visual media, fashion, music, and news. From this foundation, I began to network and collaborate with people all around the world on similar projects and much more. Now, I’ve begun to attend and promote numerous culture-related events such as film festivals, fashion shows, art gallery events, etc. all around the world.

Anthem Culture is a unique company being that it has been developed as a global brand since its inception. In the early stages, our growth involved a lot of online work of just building up an initial network of companies and organizations involved in cultural growth. Now as we continue to expand and strengthen these relationships, I have seen it more beneficial to actually travel to a lot of these places to really get a firsthand account of the culture in order to provide more value through experience.

Becoming a digital nomad was almost a requirement to realize my company’s mission of exploring culture. Anthem Culture has always been developed organically and the more I travel, the more projects I have been a part of, which leads to more growth for my company.

In your opinion, what are the advantages and disadvantages of this lifestyle?

A major advantage of a digital nomad lifestyle is freedom of choice, both for location and work. Depending on the project, I may travel to a destination because I’m involved in a project there. Other times, I will travel to a destination simply to explore a new area and to build my personal connects there for future opportunities. In between projects, most of the work is still done online so it allows for flexibility of what kinds of projects I want to work on, as I’m not dependent on having to always be in one place for the long term in order to sustain growth.

For a digital nomad, often times our advantage can also be a disadvantage, especially with a company like Anthem Culture. Although I have the freedom of location independence, in order to grow in line with the company mission, it requires continuous movement, city-to-city, country-to-country. I build relationships with people in all different industries in each destination, including tourism, music, film, art, etc. for either a current project or in the future. A lot of times, we may only connect in-person once or twice but then have to rely on the internet and social media to maintain it.

Do you find it hard to sustain personal relationships?

Being a digital nomad, personal relationships take on a new form than what you would generally consider. Just as all of your work becomes digital and done through technology, so do a lot of your personal relationships. It’s been a continuous learning process for me. I tend to make friends every place I travel to so I never feel alone but I always like to make sure I keep contact with long-term friends through phone communication and social media. Facetime and Skype have started to get a lot of use from me!

Even though I don’t get to physically see a lot of people that I’m close with, in our communication, they know that I’m actually out working/growing and not just trying to get away from everything. It’s always exciting getting to tell about my journey and different stories that’s happened. I also enjoy hearing about how things are on their end as well; building personal relationships with people around the world, it helps me learn more about different lifestyles and it’s always interesting envisioning their own development through their environment but from an outside perspective.

What is your best tech investment thus far? And why?

My best tech investment is a combination of my Macbook and iPhone. As a digital nomad, I am constantly moving, either within a city or traveling to a new destination. As mentioned, in this lifestyle, your entire life becomes digital. Two things are important for digital nomad success: connection and communication. In most places now, you will be able to find Wi-Fi to maintain both.

My Macbook is primarily used when I am stationary but once I begin to explore a city, I still need to stay connected in case any communication with clients is necessary. This combination streamlines this process by allowing most things on my Macbook to automatically be synced or accessible via my iPhone. This includes calendar dates, project files, messages, etc. I can manœuvre between both devices and pick up right when I left off.

What is the favorite place you have visited thus far?

I am still in the early stages of exploring all that the world has to offer and each place offers something unique. With each destination, not only do I learn about where I am, but I also learn a bit more about myself. From my recent trips, I’ve discovered that I am a big fan of cities. My lifestyle is fast paced in a sense that I enjoy the hustle-and-bustle of a city, constantly being on the move and having a place to be. The more people a city has the better, as I see it has that many more opportunities to connect with whoever and whatever I might be seeking.

My favorite place is New York City for several reasons. The city is a melting pot, giving me access to people and events of all different cultures in one place. In each part of the city you can literally feel like you’re in a different part of the world. I’ve met and connected with people from places I’m beginning to travel now so I talk with them before and during my travels to get an experience outside of the stereotypical “tourist” view of the city to really see how the country’s lifestyle is.

The second reason why NYC is my favorite city is because of what it represents to me. I lived in NYC for almost 3 years before I transitioned into a digital nomad lifestyle. I initially moved to the city immediately after graduating university in order to pursue Anthem Culture whole-heatedly. Upon arriving to the city, I knew no one, had no job, and barely even a plan. I just knew I needed to be there for the success of my company. After a couple years of networking, learning the city, and just growing as a person there, I eventually gained the confidence to step out on my own into the world to grow even further. My personal development in NYC as well as with Anthem Culture has allowed me the opportunities to explore a lot of the USA, Canada, Mexico, Thailand, Cambodia, etc. and this is only the beginning!

It is my understanding that you’re also a music artist and producer. How do you incorporate this creative outlet into your digital nomad journey?

Yes, I love music ! Music is part of what helped me to develop into a digital nomad.

I’ve been involved with music for over 10 years, beginning with learning to play instruments all the way to being a touring performing artist. I never had any guidance or direction with music; I just really enjoyed the creative process and continued to release new material. Over these years, I’ve gotten support from people around the US. Anybody that appreciates my work is one of the highest forms of respect to me and I wanted a way to show my appreciation of it so I began to plan out tours in several cities to really connect with them through the live shows.

With no financial backing or outside connections, I’ve been self-taught in planning entire tours, including book, promo, travel logistics, media exposure, etc. Technology was a key factor in accomplishing this. It was life changing knowing I could reach out to someone via social media right from home, and a month later, could be on stage performing in a completely different city because of that interaction.

I became curious as to how much more I could do right from online. This has helped set up projects halfway around the world and building a network all over. I still get that same feeling of amazement of what technology allows us to do now. I am also amazed to think that relatively speaking, we’re still in the early stages of this all so I like knowing I’m starting near the beginning to be able to grow with it.

What’s next for Anthem Culture in 2017? Are you working on new projects or partnerships?

Being a digital nomad I am constantly travelling and learning about new places. With Anthem Culture, I am helping to showcase where I’ve been and based on what I seek out in a new destination, helping to promote their culture to our audience. I see this knowledge and even my network as an asset. I’ve began to connect with many people in the travel/tourism industry to utilize Anthem Culture to provide value to either these companies or the various destinations directly.

From my recent trips, I’ve began to develop a documentary series exploring the culture of a place through its art, music, fashion, architecture, food, etc. Every destination offers a new view of life happening simultaneously to what we are used to. Many factors are in play when looking at these different lifestyles but we all develop according to the environment we’re in. These documentaries help encompass what Anthem Culture represents. I want to use this media to showcase an appreciation of culture.

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This article was originally published on Nuadox as “Interview with Bryan Shelmon, founder of Anthem Culture”.



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