GUESTBLOG – I’m sitting at a flex desk in a co-working space in Bangkok. A guy comes up to me and asks if the place on the opposite side was free. “Go ahead”, I respond. We spend the next couple of minutes talking about what we do in Thailand. His name is Matt and he recently relocated to Bangkok from Melbourne to work remotely on his website. I mention that I’m half-Dutch and Matt asks if I had heard of NomadList, a directory of best cities to live and work remotely for digital nomads. Of course, I know it very well.
While NomadList has sparked a movement, the idea of relocating to another part of the globe can be intimidating
NomadList was created by a Dutch entrepreneur going by the nickname Pieter Levels. The site launched last year, mobilising whole crowds to hop across the world’s startup havens. Today practically every tech person I come across in Thailand mentions it. While NomadList sparked a movement, the idea of relocating to another part of the globe can still be intimidating. Perhaps this article will help dispel some of the doubts among those unsure whether it is something for them. Here is what I consider the most valuable aspects of being a digital nomad right now.
The best thing about relocating to a new city is that you don’t know anyone. Other expats are in the same boat and everyone is open to meeting new people. You can come up to a complete stranger and five minutes later be making plans together. This way you get to exchange ideas with folks from all around the world within a very short space of time. It broadens your perspectives and helps you grow your network fast.
Instead of a massive suitcase you take a travel backpack and… nothing else! All you need is five t-shirts, 2 pairs of shorts, some underwear, toiletries, a towel, your MacBook, iPhone, that’s it pretty much. Since you cannot fit more in your bag you won’t end up buying extras on the road as well. You become less preoccupied with your possessions and gain more time to focus on your ideas.
You throw yourself into an unfamiliar territory, with no connections, no leads, no office, no phone number. You don’t even know how to say “hello” in the local language. So if you want to make something out of it, you have no other option but to hustle. Meet people, find out who is who, how things work. You have to push yourself harder, looking for more creative and bold ways to get sh*t done. You grow your hustle.
In a new city you are virtually incognito. Less people call you, less people ask you to meet, less people ask you for favours. Suddenly you have a lot more time on your hands. It feels a lot less artificial and more relaxed than switching off your phone and e-mail at home (which you should periodically anyway). You can keep your mind clear and focused, getting more quality work done, faster.
New post-work activities
Not only your work environment changes but also what you do after work. For example in Chiang Mai, where I am now, you can spend a day in an Elephant Nature Park tending to the rescued elephant herd. Or you can hike to a serene Buddhist temple on a mountain slope. Taking time off is not just fun — it’s an exploration. It exposes you to factors you wouldn’t find back home, stimulating your creativity in entirely new ways.
Relocating to a completely new country with no guaranteed source of income is a roller-coaster ride in entrepreneurship. But if you can get sh*t done half way around the world, the rewards make up 10x for the extra effort you put into it. Hopefully the reasons I listed above will inspire you to try it. If you are unsure where to go, just head over to NomadList, there are plenty of places to chose from.
Original post on Medium
Frontpage photo: Hubud, Bali. From Medium’s website