Have you ever wonder living in a tropical island vibe? You wake up with a fresh air feeling inspired each day. As you sip on your coffee in the morning you see palm trees and green stuff surrounding your house with the sound of the birds chirping as a background. You are not rushing to go to work anymore. Instead you take of your clothes off and jump into a swimming pool as you take your time to do some exercises. No one is asking you to do anything. You are free to do as you pleased. You do things you love, you work when you want to, you eat when you hungry, no one is dictating your life. Sounds like “The Dream Life” Isn’t it? Well I’m going to tell you that it’s not just a dream no more. There are actually people who make “That” happen here. Here we will take a peek into the life of some Digital Nomads here in Bali.
"It's a way for people to have much more of a work-life balance and do the things they want to do at different times in their life.“
HOW IT STARTED
The idea of working in a same old same old boring and grey office for two third of their life seems quite dreadful for these kind of people. Some of them had to experience the corporate life for more than a decade to realize that this kind of life is not for them. An unfortunate event or just a burn-out feeling forced them to think out of the box on what they could do to avoid that same old boring life and start doing what they always wanted to do. Of course It is not an easy path they are taking and sometimes it can be overwhelming. But, let’s just hear some stories on how Digital Nomads started their journey.
Do what you did at your previous work.
Everything that happened in the past made you where you are today. If you are not happy on how you had spent your years before it doesn’t mean that those years had been spent wasted. There are supposed to be a bunch of lessons and skills you could learn from all those years. Those lessons, skills, and knowledge could be your only supply on taking the first step of living a nomad life. You just have to think on how to implement those skills and knowledge of yours remotely.
Just like Alex, a strategic consultant. She had her MBA and previously worked in a corporate company as a strategic consultant for years. She then got a feeling of burnout and decided to leave the corporate world and strategic consultant in general. Since she had saved some budgets, she took the time off to travel and reconnecting to people around the world. She wasn’t actually quite sure if she could work remotely. So she was just trying to see if she could become a digital nomad and worked on a bunch of small projects. But then things just came together, now she is in Bali working remotely on developing a startup while also do what she loves to do here in Bali.
Hustling on a side job
I personally think this is one of the safest way to start your nomadic career. Hustling on a side job on your free time while having a main job for your main source of income definitely is a great alternative for you who dislike taking too much risk and unpredictability. While it could take longer than if you’d just jump right away, but it also means you know you’d have your feet on the ground if a worst-case scenario happened. This path also offers more structure and a safety net in case you decide digital nomadism isn’t right for you.
"Back then I decided to be a motion graphic designer, i didnt think that this could be possibility to be a digital nomad, to live this kind of life. It was 2012 I started my company, it was just to earn a bit of money beside my full time job. Then my company grew, got more customers, at end 2017 I took the chance. I quit my full time job.“ Magdalena, a motion graphic designer.
Saving up some budget and figuring out on your way
"When I was traveling I didnt really have a plan. I just worked 60-70 hours a week for 9 months straight to save as much money as i could. That money lasted me for 6 months. After that, I went to Sydney to work there. I didn't really save any money there because it's really expensive there. There, in Australia I don't really want to be a location dependent anymore. Because it always holds you back from your creativity and things you actually want to do. So, I decided to go to Bali to set up my virtual assistant business.“ Danique Sipkes, a virtual assistant.
This is truly an inspiring story to me. A young person who dare to keep her value not to work at the office and really start to pursue what she always dreamed of. To start the journey, she had to save up some budget. That’s why she worked for 60-70 hours a week for 9 months straight. That is a huge amount of working hours. Along the journey she found out that she loves the nomadic lifestyle and start to pay attention to what she could do to make her nomad life to last.
There are a lot of benefits of being a digital nomad that I could think of right now. But those benefits really can be narrowed down to the freedom of doing what you want to be able to work productively since your brain is surrounded by happiness.
“What research has shown more and more is that a happy and optimistic brain is the most productive. The most effective.” Nico Verssen, Life coach.
Why is it like that ? First of all, you have a flexible office. This is a huge step on having a happy brain. You can forget about your cubicle, grey-ish, and depressing typical office atmosphere. It’s you, yourself who choose where you would like to work each day. Secondly, you schedule your own time. Nobody is telling you to get to work at this hour, have lunch at this hour, be with your family at this hour, no. You could work if you’d like to and take the days off if you’d feel like. But of course, you still have deadline when to deliver to your clients. Last but not least, You work for yourself and you love what you do.
“Do what you love. Love what you do”
As I stated in the previous paragraph. It is not easy to take this path, being a nomad. But the challenge really comes down to the being your own boss, the timezone different and ignoring the social standard expectations from others. Being your own boss could really become a two-edged sword. At one side it feels good to not having someone dictating on what you have to do. But at the other side also you are the one who take responsibility for all of your works. It takes a bit more discipline then working for other people. Secondly, the timezone different is somewhat a typical challenge for digital nomads since they are free to stay anywhere they want to even if their clients are on the other side of the earth. Therefore, they have to adjust their timezone differences so that they could still communicate with them.
“its a 13 hours time different. So my experience generally means I got a period in the morning and a period in the evening where everyone is kinda online at the same time. So I tend to get up at 5 and have a few hours to have a meetings or phone calls. Then again at the end of the day around 11 at night is another time when we overlap. I think that seems crazy for some people but for me what it means is the middle of my day I do whatever I want“ - Alex, strategic consultant.
The last one probably would be the hardest to deal with. Since sometimes the people who give those social standard expectations are the one close to you. But it really comes down to setting the boundaries. It’s only you who know what you want.
The people, the lifestyle, and the nature. That sums up why these nomads choose to stay in Bali.
"Everybody here is for different reason. But we all here by choice. Being surrounded by people who generally choosing a slightly different lifestyle or career path or the people who do multiple things that kind of fulfill you, I find that really inspiring“ Alex, strategic consultant.
"I think a lot of digital nomads come to Bali because its a nice mixture of a tropica feeling and a western feeling. You have the possibility to be in jungle but next door there is a fancy restaurant that you can go. This is the perfect mix that can give you the feeling of holiday everyday." Magdalena, a motion graphic designer.
"Last week I went to waterful which is one of the most beautiful things. Its nature. You put your feet on the earth. You just feel all the power of the waterfall and the earth coming over you. For me that's like really relaxing and calming to do to releive all the pressure you had all day. Thats one of the things Bali has as well. There is so much nature here. The ricefield, palm trees, waterfalss every corner, mountains.“ Dani, a virtual assistant.