It's 2015 and I've just listened to the "4-hour workweek " by Tim Ferris. Ever since finishing the book, I've dreamt of having that kind of freedom, a remote lifestyle.
At that time I was working in one of London's foods markets for a minimum wage and even though the idea seemed so far off, I was totally aware that it's possible. Having lots of friends in IT, I was aware that's quite a common practice.Me and numbers never walked hand in hand so I knew I had to find some other solution to the problem. It's got stuck in my head for the next few years.
Before the idea came to reality I've done a few one-month-long solo trips and already had some background in travelling alone across Europe. The first look-alike opportunity came up as a job of a travel guide. It didn't quite cut it, but it did allow for combining work and travel.
Years later another chance presented itself. Having a side hustle of being a private English Tutor, I've crossed a tax-free threshold which meant I had to become self-employed and start generating invoices.
Having travelled most of the continent I've already been aware that life in central Europe is far from the cheapest ones. I've decided to grab the opportunity of working remotely and moved to Georgia for a few months. Since then I've visited and lived in over 14 countries including some of my favourites like the Spanish Canary Islands, Montenegro or Portugal.
Here are a few important takeaways for people thinking of becoming a digital nomad, coming from my own experience.
This should be Your #1 priority whenever leaving your home country. Make sure that it covers all of the possible destinations of your next trips.
Having quite a few accidents all over Europe mainly connected with my road cycling hobby, I can't stress enough the importance of insurance.
Riding downhill at the speed of 70+kms, I fell off the bike on the asphalt. At that time I thought that I had no insurance, it didn't end up pretty ... the results of that crash are still present on my body and my GoPro footage.
Whilst swimming on Crete Island's coast, I swam head forward straight into the rocks hidden behind the wave, which I was trying to jump through. I started bleeding like crazy, so much that people from 50 meters away called the ambulance as soon as they saw the red shadows following me. Fortunately this time I was insured, coincidentally my 6 stitches on my forehead were done by a cute Polish intern, small world...
The convenience of being able to pay and withdraw the cash from ATMs all over the world with none or small fee will allow you to attend unexpected adventures. Only thanks to having cash on hand i was able to attend this wild mountain horse riding trip at the very last call.
OPaying with a card is still not as common as you may believe, even on the old continent .
If you want to be able to experience all of the attractions, having cash on your hands might be the only way to go.
3. Camera > Phone
I carry my phone almost anywhere because of the Maps and other useful apps, but taking videos and pictures can simply become a chore or even a nightmare when all you have is just the phone. It takes away all of the pleasure of capturing the moment and You can't shoot a video and listen to Spotify at the same time.
4. Premium streaming apps
If you are just like me, being a sucker for having music and audiobooks everywhere, make sure you have a premium app that can download the content e.g in a hostel and play it back offline, as the internet price in some regions of the world is not what you think it may be :)
Hands down the best way to travel and meet locals. there's a risk to anything so calculate your own. I've had only positive experiences and I've hitchhiked in a vast majority of the places I've been to so far.
6. Taking to strangers
How I ended up singing in a Georgian Choir ...
Wandering around the city centre I've noticed a big crowd next to the opera house with a TV crew recording the whole event. I've asked a random girl from the crowd about it. She explained to me that they celebrate the 40 years of the career of one of their most famous opera singers. That led us to have an Instagram conversation. Long story short she solved my problem of not knowing anyone around and having no music peers. I ended up in a music school with local teenagers, apparently hat girl now is an amazing opera singer herself and keeps appearing on national tv regularly.
7. Don't be scared to Bargain
Whenever renting a flat for a longer-term, I polish my communication skills, and bargain for a better price. At the times I was paying next to nothing , by teaching the flat owner the English language.
8. Put You skills to work
As a freelancer, my income is not as stable as most other people.
One of the reasons I was able to thrive as a digital nomad, was saying yes to any arriving opportunity.
The local job can be hands down the best way to get immersed in the culture.
Online opportunities, however, can lead you to a long term source of money.
Saying yes to low-income opportunities led me to be able to create a portfolio and work as a music producer. Whether you are a musician videographer or photographer. Putt your gear and skills to use. My budget camera and Final cut video editing capabilities got me a backstage Media pass in the Czech Republic's biggest rock event, called THE ROCKFEST.
I didn't get paid but I got access to all of the spots one normally would never be able to get in. Building Your portfolio is so important though.
9 . Tired of waiting for others ? Just go
If you've always wanted to travel and work same time and have an opportunity of remote work, just go for it. Time spent on looking for friends to go with is time wasted. Maybe it's just my experience but that's the hard truth. Except for my recent 6 months Balkan trip which happened during the covid outbreak, I've never had problems with meeting new people, which I really struggle with whilst in my home town. There is some magic in being an immigrant, it forces you to meet new people and creates a lot of opportunities to meet other ex-pats.
10. Coworking spaces
All over the world, you can find free or cheap office spaces available for a short period of rental time. Georiga which is famous for that kind of spaces is in my humble opinion the best European spot for a digital Nomad.
Free internet and drinks, lead to meeting new friends.