I’m currently on the longest flight of my life (London → Singapore) and as soon as I land, I will have another 8 hours of flying (Singapore → Sydney.) When I get there, my body won’t have any idea what time (or even what day) it is.
I’ve packed up what little possessions I have, said my goodbyes, and set off on a journey to the other side of the world.
I’m adding a new label to my life—’digital nomad’. I do my job entirely online, and that gives me the freedom to do it anywhere with a solid internet connection. I could do it from home in Ireland, or I could do it from places around the world I’ve always wanted to see and explore but never had the free time.
When I tell people about my plans, their eyes light up with excitement and they usually respond with some form of “I’m so jealous of you.” Each time, I also get hit with a few of the same questions about the possibilities of this lifestyle. If you’re curious, I’ve answered those below for you now
So you just work on the beach?
Have you ever tried to use a laptop on the beach? It’s so bright that you can’t see the screen, and you’d never get the sand out of your keyboard. I usually work from home, from a cafe, or from rented offices called coworking spaces that are found in most major cities these days.
I could never be disciplined enough to work from home. How do you not play video games all day?
Well, I haven’t bought the new Zelda game for fear that it would take over my life. In general, I love working from home. It’s comfortable, I have access to food in my own kitchen, and I can work without being distracted by office interruptions. Plus, I save so much time and energy by not having to commute to-and-from an office every day. The discipline part is easy for me because I can switch from work-mode to home-mode pretty easily. I know that’s not the case for everybody though.
So you’re at home all day. Isn’t that isolating?
Yes, yes it is. I do enjoy solitude, but too much of it will drive anyone mad. I’ve noticed that ever since starting a work-from-home job, I’ve been better about making social plans after work. In my office days, I would get home sometime after 6pm and not want to talk to anybody for the rest of the evening. Now, I finish a day’s work and I’m like, “where my people at?” I especially appreciate that I get to choose the people I spend time with, whereas you can’t choose who you share an office with.
Which countries are you traveling to?
Right now, Australia is the only destination on my itinerary. I’ll spend six months there on the WHV visa, because even though I can work from anywhere I still need to comply with a country’s immigration laws. After Australia, I’m not sure where I’ll go. While I’m in this part of the world, I would like to spend some time in New Zealand and South East Asia.
Where do you stay when you’re travelling?
Airbnb is a good option, because it’s cheaper than hotels and you get to feel like you’re living as a local. Many hosts are open to lowering their rates for longer-term stays of months at a time. This is in their best interest too, because they won’t have to worry about changing linens, hiring cleaners, and checking in new guests every few days.
Do you get homesick?
Yes. Saying goodbye to people is the worst part of this whole lifestyle. What you sacrifice in closeness to friends and family, you make up for in getting to travel and have experiences of a lifetime, so it’s a tradeoff.
I realize I’m in a lucky situation to have such flexibility and possibility. It’s a situation I won’t always be in, so I figure I can make the most of it before I “settle down”.
Hit me with any other questions or comments below!