Today is the last day I will be in my home country for a while. Tomorrow I am getting on a plane to officially start my life as a digital nomad. So of course, here is a blog explaining why I want to do this, what exactly I am going to do and how I got to the place where I was able to do it.
So what is ‘this’ and ‘it’ exactly? Well, earlier this year I became a fulltime freelancer. I write books, and I edit, translate and format books of others, either for authors or publishing companies. This is a job that can be done 100% online and that provides me with a lot of freedom. I have e-mails and I have deadlines, but how I choose to work is completely up to me.
Being a fulltime freelancer with all this freedom, got me to thinking. Why am I still sitting in my one-person studio in Amsterdam, when I could be doing this from wherever I want?
The answer was a noncommittal shrug and some research into the best places in the world to be a digital nomad.
It’s funny, I actually wasn’t sure for how long this was something that played in my mind until a former colleague of mine recently said: “Ah, so you’re finally doing it?” We had last worked together like three years ago, so even back then I was thinking about it. Probably the idea came to me the moment I got back to The Netherlands after traveling to Indonesia and France. I was already wondering how I could orchestrate my life so that I could go abroad for a longer time again. I remember clearly that at some point I knew that if I wanted to do it, I probably had to have some sort of freelance business.
So how did I finally get to a point where I am able to go abroad again? I continually took tiny, tiny steps in the right direction. I started offering my services for a very low price to see what it would be like to work as a freelancer. I did courses and trainings to educate myself and level up my skills. I approached possible clients to ask for work. I worked on my content and reaching out to followers I already had. Little by little I did things that helped me to get where I am now.
I spent a lot of time researching different places to live as a digital nomad, but honestly, I already knew where I wanted to go: Back to Indonesia. I loved living there and Bali is an excellent hub for millennials just like me.
A question I hear quite often is: “What are your plans exactly?” The funny thing is, there is no real plan. That was kind of the whole point. I want to NOT create an exact schedule of where to go, what to do and when to do it. I want to go with the flow (let out my inner hippie, hah!) and live in the moment. But there are some things that I currently have in mind.
- I want to live in places for a longer period of time. I don’t want to actively travel, but spend one or two months everywhere (maybe longer). I like to take my time, really become part of a culture and a place to get to know it, not jump in and out like a proper tourist.
- I will start with countries that allow me to live off of less money, so I can see how it goes and work on creating a financial buffer that allows me to also live in countries that are more expensive.
- I will keep working as a freelancer and have no plans to also work for companies in the countries that I visit. Often that’s not allowed on “regular” visas anyway.
- I have no timeline in mind. Before I kind of thought it would be at least three years, and I still think that. But I have no idea if it will ONLY be three years.
The plan is basically to keep everything as flexible and open as possible. For me this is the ultimate feeling of freedom. Not being stuck in rigid schedules or routines or places, but going where I want to go, when I want to go and with whom I want to go.
I don’t want to end up on my death bed and think “what if”… I want to take action. I want to get the most out of my life and live with no regrets. Nothing is allowed to hold me back, not even myself. So I’m going. I’m getting on that plane tomorrow and starting a whole new life (sing on the tune of A whole new world).
Tell me, what is your definition of freedom? Let me know in the comments!