I was about to start another dreary day, I didn’t really know what day of the week it was, it didn’t really matter, I would be doing the same as I did the day before. My mind was nowhere to be found, maybe it decided to go back to bead. I was struggling to get to work. I had a piece of bread in one hand and I was failing to take off a rather uncomfortable jacket. My back was threatening to start sweating profusely and I was running late.
The truth is that at this point in my life I felt desperate. It was as if I was thrown into a jar of Nutella. From an outsiders point of view, the prospect is great. But if you’ve ever been in a jar of Nutella you would agree with the fact that it gets a bit complicated to stay afloat after you’ve eaten a mug full of the stuff. I was slowly drowning, losing speed and falling into the misconception that life has only one path. My feeling was that trying to deviate from this path would cause all sorts of trouble. I was very mistaken.
I struggled a lot to create the life I wanted, London isn’t the easiest place to settle down. A pint of beer costs the same as the day’s wages of two Mexicans (my home country) and it seems that paying half of your wages for living in a dungeon is as common as hearing the word “sorry” on the underground.
I had a “good life” I was going out with an amazing girl that was showing me a beautiful side of life. I had a great job where I could really develop my digital design skills and I was playing in a band that had just been signed with Universal Studios in Poland. But the prospect of finally becoming a superstar drummer in Poland didn’t tempt me enough to stick to this life. I decided to leave everything behind.
I quickly sold two things that could add financial value to my bank account: a bicycle and a pair of speakers. I decided, after considerable thought that the box of spices that resided under my bed for the entire duration of my tenancy shouldn’t feature on the front page of Gumtree. I quit the band over a few pints and a rather unsuccessful performance in front of unappreciative “city boys” and left things on “good terms” with the amazing musicians I’d grown so fond of.
After downloading a convincing resignation template and double-checking that I’d changed the default name and the watermark on it I decided to quit the job that had shaped a lot of my time in London. All I needed now was a plane ticket, a couple of jabs, a backpack and finding a home for my long-board.
I was ready to become a digital nomad.
A fresh start as a digital nomad
I flew to Bangkok without really knowing where my life would go. But this was the beauty of it, after preparing for this trip for months, it seemed that preparation was the last thing required for this new lifestyle. I adapted quickly and juggled between projects from home, clients, my own work and the quickest road to eternal stupidity: Khao San Road.
I was now a digital nomad.
I traveled through South East Asia with my brother and finally settled in Lombok, Indonesia. But before you roll your eyes, I don’t sip coconuts on the beach whilst contemplating life (maybe I do it on Wednesdays and the occasional Monday).
I look at my previous life as a reference point to where I don’t want to be. It’s like being on a conveyor belt with a shredder at the end, if I fall asleep or stop pushing, I will inevitably be dragged to its rusty teeth and slowly be eaten alive.
It’s as if a veil has been lifted from me, I now feel much closer to achieving real freedom, I have fewer material possessions than the squirrel from the Ice Age. I’ve left routines behind me and I can focus on developing new skills depending on my location. Life is simpler when you virtually have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
These are some of the things that happened when I became a digital nomad
- I escaped corrupt guards in a cave 2 miles into the core of the earth in Vietnam
- I helped a hotel climb to success on a desolate beach in Cambodia
- I learned to ride a motorbike by riding the entire length of a country
- I sold beers to tourists on a boat somewhere in the middle of the ocean
- I consoled a mother after her son got circumcised
- I snowboarded for free in the French alps whilst developing a brand
- I broke my rib riding a massive wave on a desolate island in Indonesia
- I met a sailor that has crossed the world on his boat by trading Bob Marley songs for fruit
- I met my business partner on the roof of a 5 story hostel in Hanoi
- I created a successful business on an island in the Indonesian archipelago
- I played the drums for money in a cafe in Sihanoukville
- I created Start Loaded in order to teach creative freelancers how to become digital nomads
I feel that all of this has happened because I’ve changed my comfort zone and my environment. I have been able to see every day as a new opportunity to create something new. I’ve crafted my own adventure.
There’s nothing extraordinary about me (apart from the fact that half of my moustache is white) what has happened is that I can now focus on my own development. I don’t need to waste my time, effort and energy on things that get me nowhere. I can funnel all my efforts to one goal that I know for certain makes me feel alive, living like a digital design nomad.