Imagination is a beautiful human trait. It leads to creation (…or just a thought bubble dissipated by procrastination). Not all your ideas are worth acting on.
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But when you feel a calling that promises an adventure, that may be something worth seizing and manifesting.
And despite our clinging to the fantasy of immortality, the reality is that we only have one life. So what do you want to do with your life? Life is not a dress rehearsal.
Life is a glimpse of light between two pieces of darkness. It is being born and dying. What you do in that gap between those two unknowns determines whether it is exciting, memorable, bland or boring.
I received an invitation to speak in the tiny country of Estonia, and it sparked an idea in my mind. This idea had been gestating in my mind for a long time but had never been born.
My air tickets were already taken care of by my client. I had lined up a partner in crime to join me.
We hatched a plan and chose the countries we wanted to visit. It was decided. We would spend three months working and traveling while exploring some nooks and crannies in Europe.
This Dream germinated after starting my digital side hustle back in 2009. I realized that I could design a business that could provide the flexibility and freedom to roam the world and still generate revenue to pay for my life.
Would you like to go on a digital nomad adventure?
There are a few basics that you’ll need before you pack your bags and head to the airport.
- You need an Internet connection that is reliable and fast enough to keep you sane.
- You need a laptop that has a built-in camera
- You need a place to work. An Airbnb will be enough.
- Electricity. Batteries need charging from time to time.
- The suitable international adaptors for connecting to the internet and the power
- A sustainable routine. Just partying isn’t going to work.
- Some discipline
- A dose of patience
The optional extras
The digital nomad experience is a change from the 9-5 grind but with enough routine to be sustainable. Designing how you want to work needs a little thought and imagination.
Here are some of my optional requirements.
- If you are traveling to a warm climate, I recommend working outside on a terrace.
- Find a place with a view that inspires.
- A nearby village you can walk to (without needing a car)
Why try out the digital nomad life?
A friend of mine and their partner were planning to travel and spend some time overseas. But unexpectedly, the trip was canceled when one of them sadly died. Tragedy can strike, and life can be cut short. You cannot reboot life when it suddenly shuts down.
- Life is short, so “Carpe Diem” (Seize the day)
- You have memories worth bottling into
- Traveling increases your awareness of what it means to be human and expands your ideas
What I learnt from my experience as a digital nomad
This adventure was always going to be an experiment. So I went into the digital nomad test lab with my eyes wide open. I knew there would be some outcomes and experiences that didn’t match my expectations. It’s best not to remain rigid as a digital nomad.
- Expect an experience to teach (and sometimes make you cry and stamp your feet). Get ready for frustration and agitation. Sometimes filling the car up in Italy was a lesson in patience.
- Moving all the time is stressful. Navigating a new country where the language and road signs aren’t in your language means you will make some wrong turns. One Freeway mishap turned into an hour detour. That will mean you need to suck it up and grimace.
- Every new digital nomad office will not meet the Dream. One day we ended up in an apartment overlooking Lake Como. Sounds romantic, except that it was next to a busy road, and sometimes it felt like a tent on a Freeway. The Italians love noisy motorbikes. But the views were to die for, and the storms and light shows over the lake were out of this world.
- A great joy in my life is banter and conversation with friends around a dinner table or in the corner of a noisy restaurant. If you are traveling in a country where your language is not the norm, you will start to miss the banter of people that make you laugh and think.
- The routine of exercise is hard to replicate when you are a high-speed moving nomad. Unless you’re a runner. I did fit some cycling in, but the friction to do that meant it was in fits and starts.
Becoming a digital nomad: My best tips
On reflection, the digital nomad experience was one of the best things I have ever done. I discovered lakes that reflected scenic mountains and forests and took my breath away.
Lake Carezza and Lago di Braies were diamonds amongst jewels. I explored roads where each corner produced a postcard in the Dolomites. I walked mountains and trails that begged me to return, dive into and want to revisit so I can turn over more experiences that make my heart sing.
Hiking the 3 Peaks in the Dolomites and stopping for a refreshing Aperol Spritz at a Refugio hotel begged you to stay. We caught trains that rolled past slices of heaven and stopped at stations perched between heaven and earth.
The Bernina Express was a revelation that included an outdoor viewing caboose that you didn’t want to leave in case you missed just one view.
My best tips:
- Pick a base that you can explore from and allows you to experience a place and its regions without the stress of constant moving.
- Choose a place that isn’t far from an international airport. A one-hour flight is always another universe, and it makes it easy to come home to your base.
- Select a corner of the planet that has some people you know nearby if you can. They will provide ready-made networks and conversations ready to go.
- Keep it simple and travel light.
- Hire a car if you want (it allows you to explore at a whim), but be aware that in Europe parking is a nightmare.
Did I get work done?
Yes. I worked most mornings.
Was it the perfect working holiday?
But it was three months I cherish and will remember forever. And I have the iPhone photos and memories to prove it.
Want inspiration and ideas for starting a side hustle that will allow you to travel the world?
SideHustleStrategies.co. is an evolution of Jeffbullas.com that I have always dreamed about. It is devoted to helping you grow personally and professionally (if you choose). Side Hustle Strategies exists to help you flourish.
Since I launched Jeffbullas.com, it has been read by over 40 million people. That website and blog was originally a passion project that started as a side hustle. As I grew my blog, I discovered the financial freedom it gave me and how I designed and lived my life.
After experiencing that freedom, I wanted to help others get control of their life. That is where the inspiration started for creating SideHustleStrategies.co.
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