This is the first post in a series about life as a digital nomad: how I became a digital nomad, weighing the positives and negatives of this lifestyle, the different ways others have done it, and how you can achieve the same location independence.
2015 was a crazy year for me. I made it to 12 countries across four continents. I went on a dizzying amount of adventures. Played with colors in New Delhi during Holi and had water fights with cops in Bangkok during Songkran. Rented a car with three people and drove around the entire country of Iceland. Got put in a headlock during a disastrous date in Seoul. Spent the night at a castle in the English countryside and a multi-millon dollar villa in Phuket. Petted kangaroos and ran from emus in Australia. Plus Italy, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, China... I have never had so much fun in my life.
I did all of this while making roughly $25,000 USD in 2015, a little more than half of what I made the year prior. Let me give you low-down on how I made this happen. Long story short: it involved some pre-planning, parental love, credit cards, and a lot of luck. I assure you, it was not all glamorous.
How It Happened
I started 2015 off with the desire to make the transition from renting my cottage in Boise, Idaho, to becoming location independent. I had been working remotely as a creative project manager for a Fortune 100 tech company, but had mostly been limited to working in the U.S. as that was where a majority of my clients were based. In February I caught a lucky break—I became the company’s interim lead project manager for the Asia Pacific Region. I packed everything in storage and was off less than a month later.
Arriving in China after a vacation in India, my goal was to spend each month in a different locale in Asia. This was quickly derailed as due to the controlled Internet situation in the country, working in China proved to be unfeasible. So I headed to Thailand for about five weeks, with a visa run/work laptop repair jaunt to Singapore. Then it was off to South Korea. I liked it there so much that I ended up staying a second month. In-between I took a week long holiday to Europe.
At the end of June, I parted ways with my job, wanting to follow my passion of starting a travel company. I headed back to the U.S., where I spent the summer visiting friends and family and went on a fiscally irresponsible, yet totally amazing trip to Iceland.
In September, I headed back to Chengdu, China, making it my home base as I bounced between Australia, Indonesia, South Korea (again), and a few more trips to Thailand. At the end of November, I ran my first group trip, which was incredible. Shortly thereafter, I returned to China where I’ve been since then.
How I Did It
Sometime in the next week, I will discuss further about the positives and negatives of being a digital nomad. It can be a long, lonely road… it’s definitely not for everyone. But for me, it’s the lifestyle of my dreams.