I’ve been on the road as a “full-time digital nomad” for about 4 years now. Before that, I spent 3 years traveling and experimenting with remote work part-time.
I’ve grown my businesses, seen dozens of countries, become incredibly self-aware, and met hundreds of amazing people.
Over the last 2 years, the digital nomad movement has exploded, largely due to the creation of NomadList. Most of the people I’ve been meeting on the road are just starting their remote work journeys. Many people now view me as an “old-timer” in the nomad scene.
I don’t feel like an expert in any way. To be honest, I feel like I’ve just found my perfect rhythm over the last year. That said, I’d like to offer my biggest piece of advice for digital nomads, both current and prospective.
In the nomad world, it’s so easy to become fixated on building/growing a business (not inherently bad)… or seeing new places (also not inherently bad). These are usually the most appealing factors of remote work, and they absolutely can add incredible value to your life.
Pursuing these things at the expense of building relationships and community is an almost certain recipe for burnout…something I’ve encountered many times.
Entrepreneurship ≠ happiness
Money ≠ happiness
Travel ≠ happiness
These things are simply value-adds in the incredible lives we are privileged to live. A life prioritized around PEOPLE is what I’ve found to bring the most contentment, deep joy, and sustainability to my nomad journey.
Share meals with people. Have them over to your 6,000 THB apartment for a round of cheap beers from 7/11. Instead of going somewhere new or somewhere cheap, go where your friends are going. Make time in your life to invest in knowing others and being known by them.
Over the last 6 months, I’ve tried to refocus my life around spending more time with people that I’ve connected with on the road. I’m still figuring it out, and I’m still learning balance, but I encourage you to audit your life and priorities to make sure that relationships are paramount.
If this strikes a chord with you, or if you want to ask me more, you can reach out to me on Twitter. I’d love to chat.