Preparing to become a digital nomad

After an amazing Workaway trip to Morocco back in January, I decided to become a digital nomad. It’s a dream I had had since I read the “Four Hour Work Week” by Timothy Ferris back in 2010.

However, in reality the concept is a bit more difficult. The key issue is finding a way to have a stable income while working remotely, which is very difficult while being an employee (possible, but ridiculously complicated in some industries at least).

To be able to change my lifestyle, I decided back then to become an entrepreneur. I’ve tried to build webshops (don’t sell children toys online, it’s really stupid), build products (sending old-school letters online? are you retarded?), do UX consulting (have you seen my website?) and so many other things – with none or very limited success.

In 2014 I hit the nail on the head. I am really good at software outsourcing, so I started a company that does… software outsourcing.

And in January 2015 I realised: I was ready!

But how do you prepare for the digital nomad lifestyle?

I suddenly found out: there are around a bazillion-million-billion things you have to figure out before you can just… leave.

The roommate.

The first thing I did when I came home, was to grab a beer and talk with my roommate: “Hey man… So.. I know we just moved into this apartment and spent a shitload of money to buy furniture, but how about we just move out and I move to fucking Asia?

Great conversation.

Although I was apprehensive about this chat, he was like: “DUDE! BEST IDEA EVER! LET’S GO TOGETHER!“.  I thought he was joking. Now he is serious about moving to fucking Thailand in June.

We cancelled the apartment first thing that weekend, and we were free of our apartment mid-May.

Telling the family.

Next step was meeting my family. Luckily I am a 25-year old single, so family means parents and sister’s family.

Again, a bit nervous about how they would react, I told them: “So… Denmark is too boring for me – I am going to move to SOMEWHERE! I DON’T KNOW WHERE! I PROMISE I WON’T GET KIDNAPPED!

Again, their answer surprised me:

“Oh, just now? Hardly a surprise.”

Goddamn. All these conversations turned out so much easier than expected.

Cancelling stuff.

In my daily life I don’t think about how many services I use. Apparently I use insurance, mobile phone, Internet, heat, water, gas, television-stuff and probably 48 other things I already forgot.

Shit. Cancelling, changing and buying new things (such as insurance – trust me; you need a fucking good insurance) takes A LOT OF TIME (eh, and money).

Telling my customers that Skype meetings are the new black.

I love sitting at my customers’ office (AWESOME people, AWESOME food, AWESOME sofa to sleep in when I don’t wanna go home). They love it as well. It’s awesome.

They’re used to me being there at least a couple of days a week on average.

So I had this conversation in mind:

“Hi. I am moving to Asia. I’ll work remotely. Sounds like the best idea ever, right?”

“Go fuck yourself. You’re fired. P.S. Please leave now.”

So, even this conversation turned out quite different:

Sounds like a really cool adventure! No problem, as long as you’re online on Slack and Skype we will be fin.”

The fuck? Why is it that all these conversations turn out to be so awesome?

Buying tickets.

So I had to go somewhere. I can’t just tell people I’ll be the most awesome nomad ever, and not go anywhere.

Being extremely inspired by NomadList, I decided to be a total cliché and start with Thailand, Chiang Mai. Now, I’ve been there before, and I was not the biggest fan. However, Chiang Mai is like playing “digital nomad” on easy, and that sounds just fine for the first month.

Now, whenever I Google stuff, it seems Google wants to remind me “YOU ARE TRAVELLING! YOU ARE AWESOME!“:

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The thing no one talks about: selling your shit and getting your apartment ready.

I have always seen myself as this minimalistic guy with no stuff.

Boy… I’ve been so wrong.

I decided to sell EVERYTHING. I mean, I thought that would be like 5 ads on DBA (Danish E-bay – because of course we Danes cannot use international websites… because… Denmark).

How about 65 ads instead?

It turns out people even want to buy your fucking teapot (20 USD) and laundry basket (15 USD).

A man afraid of WiFi bought my blender and some guy collecting a free item decided to take 5 huge pieces of furniture… because he was apparently stronger than Superman. Me and my roommate wondered how this Superman could carry this sofa as just one person (it took four of us to carry it up):

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I still have around 30 ads left as I write this post, and the apartment is barely livable anymore:

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But finally, it seems the apartment is ready. Everything that won’t fit into my suitcase, will die an evil death in the trashcans.

Your friends want to meet you

I have some really great friends. I really do.

However, I don’t see them that much. Some I see every month, some every quarter and some every second year.

But since I made my Facebook post about leaving, a lot of friends wrote to see me.

Suddenly my calendar was full. I had planned to have plenty of time to sell stuff, but it turns out all your great friends want to see you.

Which is GREAT! 

The only issue is I think I gained 3 kgs meeting friends the last week 😉

So what now?

I am ready.

Family knows? Check. Customers know? Check. Apartment is ready? Check. Roommate knows? Check. Seen friends? Check.

Before taking the decision to become a nomad, I had a lot of assumptions.

How would family react? How would work react? How would friends react?

I am stunned. Completely stunned. People have been CRAZY positive, supportive and friendly.

I feel I am ready. I will stay on Easy by taking some time in Chiang Mai, and then see where I end up afterwards. Right now the plan is to live in Peru, Ukraine, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines (at least). Not in that order, and not something I have to do tomorrow.

I look forward to my travels. Goodbye Denmark – I’ll miss you after the 25th of April.

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One thought on “Preparing to become a digital nomad”

  1. Good luck on your travels. Make sure to photocopy all your travel documentations (keep on phone if possible). Also when you land give it 7-14 days to settle. you’ll be jetlagged and culture shocked for a while. The apartment you’ll be in won’t be as “comfortable” as the one you left. Give it some time and you’ll adjust quickly and soon Denmark will be a very foreign land to you.

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