Pictures of people on a laptop in a swimming people, incredible adventures and beautiful landscapes, the digital nomad lifestyle seems like a dream. But how is it really? What’s the day to day life when you are location independent and completely flexible? I think it’s really great but it’s not an eternal holiday as it seems…
Work is part of the digital nomad lifestyle
We might be very lucky to have a very flexible time, but this doesn’t mean that we’re on holiday. Some may have a passive income, but, unless it consists of shares of a successful business someone else takes care of or rent from a property they own, it all comes with hard work. Even the best affiliate marketers need to spend some time on their campaigns to keep them going. They might be able to do it in a couple of hours per week, but they had to put a lot of effort into it to get to that point.
Like many fellow nomads, I work on my marketing business every day. I can start when I want and take as much time as I want, but at the end of the day I have to deliver something to my clients. It feels really good not to have the pressure of someone checking what I do and knowing that I can do it at my own pace. I try to get everything done during the week, but it may occur that I have to finish something on the weekend. It all depends on how I manage my tasks and working hours.
We often work from co-working spaces, where we can meet new people who share the same experiences and values. We can actually make great friends there and find a community of people who support each other; they’re like co-workers but without being competitive since everyone is working on their own business.
The tech expat life is healthy
An aspect I see I have in common with my fellow tech expats is the healthy lifestyle. Be it Bali and its positive energy, but I see that almost everyone does sports and cares about what they eat and how they live.
Something I noticed and that is probably related to local business activity regulations is that many people go to bed and wake up quite early. Of course, there are opportunities to party, drink and get wasted, but I have the feeling the ones who actually work, would do it less. People want to enjoy the morning hours to practice their sports. I am one of them, first thing I do when I wake up, is to go for a walk on the beach. For me, it’s the best way to kick off my day!
All the people I know here go either surfing or practice yoga or go to the gym. And they all do it regularly. Everyone eats healthy, of course you can find junk food and people do consume it, but it seems like they would do it less than elsewhere. Organic, natural, vegetarian, vegan, raw… the choice is really big and fosters your awareness on your diet. It might sound a little hipster but people here are not just going with the flow and doing what everybody else does, it’s more a conscious choice and preference.
Why so? I think because we have a good work/life balance, which leads us to the next point.
Good work/life balance
I have the feeling we have a very balanced life, in which work is important, but it doesn’t take all our time and energy. First of all, there is no stress here in Bali. Even if the roads are busy and sometimes riding in the traffic is really annoying, it’s never stressful. I think it’s because the positive mind-set of local people has a very strong influence on our daily lives. Maybe this is because people who make such a choice like leaving a corporate job to travel the world are somehow able to let the negative and anxiety go quicker.
In a way, this is a very full life, where people take the time to do what makes them feel good. It’s not unusual to see people leaving the co-working space in the middle of the day to go surfing and come back renewed after a couple of hours. It might seem a waste of time, but I think this is just healthy: you take a break in order to focus more and better once you’re back. I have noticed how my productivity has improved with this lifestyle: I work less hours but I work better.
Another aspect of this full life is the deep and meaningful conversations I have with my peers. Sometimes people ask me what I do with my friends here in Bali. The truth is we don’t do anything special, but we spend quality time. And this makes the huge difference.
Nature is part of our lifestyle
Nature plays a very important role in this general well-being and in our digital nomad lifestyle. This is especially clear in a place like Bali: a tropical island made of mainly small villages. It’s not a completely wild place, but it’s still not a big city with everything.
Riding by the rice fields on your way to work gives you a very calming feeling and you realize that you need so much less in your daily life. A walk on the beach is way more therapeutic than a shopping day as you see how reconnecting with nature makes you more centred. When the weather is fine, people gather on the beach to watch the sunset. It’s a magic moment, in its extreme simplicity. And it can give you so much.
The downside is that sometimes you miss the city, its services and being able to find everything. But Singapore is only a couple of hours by plane and sometimes it’s really nice to be back in the concrete…
As you can see, our flexible schedule is the key to our digital nomad lifestyle. If you’re considering getting into it, I’d recommend to start with becoming location independent.
If you’ve already taken this step, what’s your lifestyle? Do you fit into my description? Leave a comment below, would love to hear from you!