“Digital nomad story” is a weekly story series sharing experiences and tips from nomadic entrepreneurs all over the world on how the being of a digital nomad actually looks like. Join the journey!
Hi, I’m Nav 🙂
After graduating, I worked for a year, saved up and travelled around South America. After that, I really didn’t want to go back to the ‘normal’ lifestyle of work, save, buy a house, pay a mortgage. Despite this, I didn’t really have much of a plan, so I ended up working and changing careers quite frequently.
Eventually, I stuck to working in media planning in London. In late 2014, the most awesome thing happened – I lost my job. It was the pinnacle point for me, the perfect moment that made me decide I wasn’t going back now to the normal life. It was now or never, to start living the life I want.
So, I enjoyed and revelled in being a lady of leisure for a while until I found part-time remote work, which allowed me to go to Lisbon alone, just because I felt like it, without having to ask for holiday leave or need any company.
A few months later, I moved to Morocco for a month, worked and lived in a Surf Camp (while still doing my work remotely) and learnt to surf, met awesome people and had an incredible solo adventure. That’s when I met other Digital Nomads, who had been doing this for years and I thought, this is what I want to do and why the hell not?!
I remember thinking ‘If I had 10 years left of my life, how would I want to live it?’. I just want to keep travelling and do more cool, awesome adventures like this. Also, I want work to fit around my lifestyle and not the other way around.
So when I returned to the UK (August 2015) I made every effort to look for new opportunities that would involve more travelling and living abroad.
I wound up getting a remote position for a Start-up, which required being in Bangkok for 3 months and then be location independent after that. And since then, I’ve been living/travelling around SE Asia and this year I’m mostly travelling around Europe 🙂
What’s your normal daily routine as a digital nomad?
For me, it’s important to have a daily routine because I like being productive and getting things done. Although it doesn’t mean my routine isn’t flexible.
It usually depends where I am in the world but I wake up around 6am. Practice my morning yoga routine. After that, I do a few minutes of meditation and gratitude to get me off to a positive start to the day, which I’ve found works wonders!
And for the last few months, I’ve been doing the 5 minute journal, to help me clarify the important things to focus on that day.
At the moment, I’m writing this from Coworking Bansko, Bulgaria (near a ski resort) so I come here in the morning to work for a few hours. There’s a ski resort up the road and a gym nearby. The weekends are mostly for skiing and hot springs.
Lunch options are ridiculously affordable so I end up going out for lunch with some of the members from the coworking space. Evenings are usually when we check out a new place to eat together (the community of remote workers here), or go out and explore a new part of town.
The routine just depends on where I am. When I was in Bali and Lombok, I was surfing every morning or afternoon and work was fitting in around that. When in I was in Ubud, my work was fitting around the meditation and yoga classes out there. So, the routine is flexible. And it’s quite nice to find a new routine each time you move to a new location, it definitely mixes it up.
What’s your favorite part about of being a digital nomad? & What’s the opposite – least favorite?
My favourite part is having that freedom to move anytime I want and wherever I want. I literally feel like I’m creating my own life and living the way I was meant to because there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than where I am. I love moving from place to place and feeling at home wherever I go.
My least favourite part is doing the research on where to stay. And book accommodation when I move to a new place. I’m quite last minute so I actually prefer to just figure it out along the way rather than planning these things in advance.
Are there any online resources you find really useful and essential for your DN career? If so, please share some!
OneStep4ward – The reason I mention his blog here is because he’s been my biggest inspiration for choosing to live this lifestyle. I think most people would say it was Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Work Week (which I recommend you read anyway) that influenced them. But a few years back, I started reading Johnny Ward’s stories about travelling all over the world while he created a growing passive income to help support his lifestyle on the road and was totally inspired by him.
The DynamiteCircle has been a really good place to make great connections and meet people, who I’m still in touch with now but you do have to pay for an annual membership, so it’s not free.
Digital Nomad Girls Facebook Group – An awesome and inspiring group of female Digital Nomads to find out about new opportunities and meet like-minded remote workers across the globe.
https://nomadlist.com/ – This site is good to get an idea of what your average monthly costs would be for a particular location, the weather, things to do in the area etc
What’s the biggest misconception people have about digital nomads? Is there any way we can try to change that?
Well, people seem to think because I’m travelling constantly, I must not be saving and that this lifestyle is so expensive, which couldn’t be further from the truth. When I was living in London, I was earning the same as I’m earning now. But if you combine rent, going out, expenses and general living in London, it left very little in my account every month. I also didn’t want to be one of those people that never did anything and just saved, which had me spending more than I needed to.
Since nomading, I hardly spend money on collecting things – I don’t NEED more clothes and I couldn’t care less about collecting meaningless things. You realise how little you need and that takes a huge chunk of expenditure out of it.
Then there are the locations that DN’s choose to live in. Let’s take some of the most popular hubs – Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Saigon, Medellin, Tariffa, Prague, Budapest. Living in these places costs me a fraction of what it costs me to live in the UK. And this is including me actually having a life out here – frequent yoga sessions, surfing, eating out, gym memberships, healthcare, coworking memberships, excursions and more.
What’s your favorite way of meeting new people as a nomad?
Joining a Coworking space is a really easy way to meet people and your network grows because once you’ve met a few people, you’ll keep connected to more people.
Facebook Groups dedicated to Digital Nomads in your location – if you just update people and let them know you’re in the area and ask about events happening near you, I’ve met some great people doing this.
Meetup.com – Sign up to and attend events in your area to meet locals or other expats
Dynamite Circle – I’ve met an awesome group of people through this community. They hold events every month in most of the DN hub locations and if they don’t, you can set one up yourself to meet some people near you.
And just generally signing up to activities in the area you’re in. I’ve met people I kept in touch with at the Yoga Barn in Ubud, a Surfcamp in Lombok. I’m also really fortunate to have made lifelong friends with my remote colleagues 🙂
Where have you experienced the strongest nomad community? Also, please share, if there is any place where you’ve found a lack of it!
From the places I’ve been Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam has a really strong nomad community. My team was working in a Coworking space called Dreamplex. There were also quite a few cool events happening so it was great for the social scene.
Bali was one of my favourites – a strong nomad community and it seemed to attract avid surf and yoga fans, which is great if you’re into that.
What’s your vision of the future? How long are you planning to keep up with your digital nomad lifestyle? Do you have any long-term plans on your mind?
Nope I don’t have a long-term plan – I don’t like planning ahead too much. Right now, I’m just loving this lifestyle, meeting great people, slow travelling, having fun adventures. So for where I am right now, this is absolutely perfect. I can’t say what I’ll want in the future or how I’ll feel then.
Gathering all your current experience – what would you now say to your old self, back when you just started?
I would say, keep following that inner guide, it was right all along and just enjoy the ride.