No longer is the ‘office’ confined to four walls and the humdrum of a nine-to-five rotation on the clock. Now more than ever, passionate globetrotters are packing their bags and hitting the road armed with all they need to make a living on the go. Welcome to the age of the digital nomad.
“This is where the future is headed,” says Charles Du, who has lived and worked in more than 30 countries.
He has it down to a tee. In the summer he works from Chicago, driven by his love of the outdoors and appreciation for the arts, or else Europe – somewhere like charming Prague or perhaps London.
When winter comes he flees to Southeast Asia, and he’s off to Taipei in spring. In autumn, he returns to the US in time to see the leaves change colour.
Charles says it’s the opportunity for personal growth that travel inspires – being exposed to new cultures and languages – that drives him to pursue this lifestyle and why many others are following suit.
He is now a digital nomad coach and has worked with more than 10,000 people to help them make the transition to a ‘location-independent’ lifestyle.
“It’s a lot easier than you think,” he says.
His advice? “Get out there and find other digital nomads, find a community and local workshops to be a part of.”
Digital nomad Shitika Anand agrees.
“It’s all so collaborative and the digital nomad community is there to help each other – nobody is selfishly working on their own, everybody is so supportive.”
She took the leap after spending endless hours at a desk job that neither excited nor inspired her.
As a digital content creator and social media specialist, inspiration and creativity are crucial to her success. There’s no denying there’s plenty of that to be found while roaming the planet.
“Now all I need is my phone, a laptop and a good internet connection and I can be just as valuable and productive as I would have been in the office. I’d argue, even more so!”
She has climbed volcanoes, practised yoga and learnt to surf between her ‘work days’ on location in Bali, she has learnt how to scuba dive on her days off in Thailand and is now working from India between watching Bollywood movies. Her next stop? Portugal.
Now, she says, she's more focused, dedicated and passionate than ever.
According to Nomad List, the best cities to live and work remotely for digital nomads, based on the cost of living, internet speed, weather and other metrics, include Bangkok, Berlin, Barcelona, Budapest and Canggu (Bali). Rounding out the top 10 is Chiang Mai, Kiev in Ukraine, Miami, Dallas and Timisoara in Romania.
But really, it’s anywhere that will inspire you to work hard – and play hard once it’s time to clock off.
This story was first published in Flight Centre's quarterly magazine, the Travel Ideas WOW List 2018. You can get a hard copy here.