Introduce yourself — who are you, where are you and what do you do?


#1

tl;dr: introduce yourself in this thread.

We must all get sick of the same backpacker travel questions when we meet new friends, I know I do.

You know the ones - where are you from, where’ve you been, where are you going, what do you do, how long have you been doing it - etc.

The novelty of answering these questions wears off after maybe a week, but they’re nonetheless insightful and no matter how much we hate them, we find ourselves asking others.

So let’s bring the dreaded backpacker questionnaire to NomadForum and introduce ourselves shall we?

**

  • what’s your name?
  • where are you from?
  • how long have you been away from home?
  • what do you do?
  • where are you currently?
  • where are you going?
  • what has been memorable for you so far?
  • will you go home anytime soon?
  • what have you learnt during your time as a nomad?
  • [insert your own question here]

**

No need to answer them all if you don’t want to :smile:
But the more you share… The merrier!


#2

I’ll start:

My name is Adam McIntyre, I’m 23 and hail from the UK.

I’ve been away from the UK for 2 years, spending most of that time in Thailand.

I currently fuel my travels running a membership website for graphic designers and nightclubs called FlyerHeroes, although I am in the process of moving into the world of SAAS with an app I’m building for people who run Ecommerce websites. MRR is where it’s at!

I currently live in Chiang Mai, Thailand (if anyone wants to grab a beer hit me up). I came here two years ago and decided to set up shop and stay here. I call Chiang Mai home and use it as a base to travel to other countries in SEA.

Where am I going? I’m not sure if I will leave Chiang Mai permanently for at least a few years. However I’ll be hitting up Europe with my brother next year and possibly India (if anyone can offer some India advice I’d love that!)

I also want to spend 6 months in Japan and 6 months inFrance at some point in the next few years.

Most memorable thing so far has been travelling to Nepal and trekking to Everest Basecamp. I can’t wait to go back and do it again and would recommend the experience to anyone.

Being up in the Himalayas is magical.

Will you go home anytime soon? Unlikely. At least not to live. I flew back in October for my grandmother’s 70th birthday and whilst it was great to see family, nothing has changed.

All my friends and family are doing the exact same things in the exact same place (he says hypocritically having spent two years in CM)

Probably the most important thing I’ve learned so far is that life is short. There’s more to life than business and money, we should live our lives whilst we have the chance.

We start our online businesses to enable nomadic lifestyles, then somehow get caught up trying to earn more more more - which happens easily when surrounded by other business people.

If I were to add a question on to this thread, it would be:

what do you find hardest about your lifestyle right now?

Over to you!


#3

Hello fabulous internet people, I’m Manuel Ebert, and I’m an involuntary nomad.

Well, let me explain. I was born in Germany, but moved to South Africa when I was 17. And some years later to the UK to study, and then to Spain to do my PhD (neuroscience… a story for another time), and eventually to San Francisco to become a UX designer. And SF was the first place I felt truly at home for the first time in more than a decade. Which would be fabulous, if my visa hadn’t expired and the immigration laws weren’t designed by people who enjoy shooting themselves in the foot, tying an anvil through the whole and tossing it into the bay. So, what do you do if you can live wherever you want to except for the place you actually want to live? Become a nomad!

I’m a freelance UX person, python engineer and data cruncher, but mostly work for Heyday. I’m currently in Chiang Mai (let’s grab a beer @CoffeeShopCEO), but usually spend a month to six weeks at a place and then move on. When not working, I’m looking for people who want to make short films with me or play Ukulele on a beach. When there’s a beach around.

The hardest thing about being a nomad? That wherever you go, nobody knows you or truly cares about you. Being surrounded by friends who just see right through you and cut through the bullshit is important to me.


#4

Might be worth getting a proper profile directory somewhere for this stuff… :wink:

I’m Jarel Remick, a 28 year old American living in Melbourne, Australia. I’ve been away from “home” for ~4 years now.

I work for Envato.com full-time as Solutions Delivery Manager, which is basically a custom tailored role where I solve problems and improve things across a wide range of areas from development and data analysis to people and project management. I’ve worked with Envato for over 6 years now having done many things across the business.

Aside from Envato, I’m a photographer and general techie with various side projects going at any given time (like cafes4nomads.com).

I’m currently in Bangkok, getting ready to see Cambodia for the next few weeks and then returning to Melbourne. I plan on kicking off next year with a visit to somewhere new in SEA before heading over to Europe (Italy to start) for a little while.

Malaysia has probably been the most memorable for me so far having visited the Parhentian Islands and snorkeling for my first time (so many beautiful fish!) and jungle trekking in Taman Negara where a tapir and boar came to visit, among other beautiful animals.

I have no plans to return “home” (America) permanently any time soon, although I’d say Melbourne (Australia) has become home for me, which I do return to regularly for work.

I’d say the hardest thing about being a nomad is finding the right life balance for you. Being a nomad isn’t the norm to begin with and there’s tons of people out there spreading information about the best way to live because it has worked for them. In the end, we have to find what works best for ourselves while also being honest with ourselves in facing challenges and acknowledging when we need help.


#5

I’m Pieter, I’m originally from Amsterdam, The Netherlands. I’ve been working remotely since April of 2013 when I sold all my stuff and booked a flight to Asia. I was there for 9 months, then I was back in Holland from January to July and had to leave again.

It’s been a pretty intense transition from traveling 9 month and working but feeling like I was just on a long holiday and my home was still Holland. To now feeling that right now there is really more opportunity and meaningful experiences in life by just moving around and that that is what I should be doing. It’s had many costs including relationships, my mental stability for awhile. But I feel now I’m getting in the tail end of this transition and I feel this is really what I want to do.

I created Nomad List, the chat #nomads, the forum you’re looking at now (which is run by the awesome @atu) and meanwhile I’m trying to build 12 startups in 12 months like one where you can print animated GIFs as flipbooks or this one where you get charged if you don’t reach your goals :smiley:

I’m typing this right now from Hubud in Ubud, Bali. One of my favorite places to be. The next destination is Holland for Christmas to see my parents and then probably back to Asia, Bali and maybe Brazil in February.

What’s memorable? Well, this whole thing has been incredible. I’ve met hundreds of really interesting people. From investment bankers that now run investment firms from their laptops to friendly anarchists that want to overthrow the system. That made me realize remote work is not a niche hippie thing. It’s the whole spectrum of people living in a different way that fits them better. From right-wing MBA to left-wing anarchist.

I don’t feel like I’m going home soon (except Christmas haha). I need to experience first-hand how this movement is going from a niche thing of “laptop on a beach $1000/m coconut” to billion dollar industry and one of the biggest social changes we’re going to see in the 21st century. Yes this is the future.

I learnt that we have an extremely thick layer of socio-cultural conditioning over us. And we don’t realize that until we get out of it. It’s not necessarily good or bad. It just means that A LOT of your individual choices are actually not that, they root in tradition and society’s programming. Traveling for long periods of time and seeing different cultures lets you cross through all these societies, and realize that people do things different. That in itself is kind of a cliche, but what it teaches you isn’t. It lets you question your own socio-cultural conditioning and start thinking more for yourself. @heyalexej and me always talk about this a lot.

That’s powerful as what we’re doing now might be part of a more large philosophical stream that pushes individual choice and freedom. I’m not an expert but that’s what it feels like.

So yeah I need to be part of this.


#6

I’m Paul, 29, originally from New Zealand. Check out my travel map too!

  • Back in January 2012 I impulse-booked a one-way flight to Kuala Lumpur when my PhD supervisor had an unexpected mental breakdown and was going to be off work indefinitely.
  • I did some contracting work while traveling around Asia for a few months to start. Nothing too extraordinary.
  • I met a guy in Chiang Mai on holiday from the Seychelles, who was looking for a coder. I’d never heard of the place, but ok. The next morning when I sobered up and learned where the country actually was (off the coast of Somalia), I was a bit surprised. But I figured at that point I was committed.
  • So he flew me down to Port Victoria, the 25k-person capital ‘city’. I worked on a deserted tropical beach for the next few months building out a system there. It’s a beautiful place, but it’s very isolated.
  • My contract was nearly up there and I was trying to figure out what to do next. Out of the blue someone from Kenya contacted me – he was chasing VC money in Nairobi, but needed a coder.
  • I didn’t really think it’d be a real thing, but I said I’d do it if they got the VC money. Then I forgot about it and went off to climb Kilimanjaro. When I got back online a couple weeks later I found about 200 emails saying we’d got the money.
  • So I flew over to Nairobi and spent another six months or so there helping build the system. Sadly we ran out of money without the business taking off and I managed to burn up all my savings on living expenses. Still, I traveled around a bunch of Africa, which was fun. Visit Cape Town, it’s cool. And never fly Ethiopian Airlines. Oh, and I met the CEO of Google when he was visiting our coworking space in Nairobi. Nice guy.
  • Anyway, I was horribly in debt and couldn’t make rent. So I cashed in my air miles and flew back to Bangkok, where I had some friends that would let me crash on their couch for a bit.
  • Since then I’ve been doing a bunch of boring-but-well-paid contracting in various parts of Asia. It’s worked out okay, I’ve got a decent five-figures-usd-per-month cashflow going now. The hours are long, but the money is nice. Plus the startup down in Africa got a new lease of life and is actually doing okay now. (we’re hiring, if someone wants a job in East Africa!)
  • More recently I’ve been helping a friend of mine to build a mobile concierge service for hotels. We’ve got about 500 hotels worldwide on the waiting list so far who want to be on board. It’s a neat project, though the software is pretty much done now so it’s not as fun as it was. (Also hiring!)
  • I got thrown a curveball the other day. Another friend of mine in the USA I’ve been working remotely with for a few years wants me to come run the software team at his new (7-figures-of-funding) startup, doing some rather interesting work – with a decent budget and real team for a change! I’d be based in NYC for at least a year. We’re meeting up in Rome over New Years to talk about it. I’ll probably do it, it’ll be a nice change of pace.

It’s been an interesting few years. Honestly though, I don’t really consider it the…meaningful and spiritually significant experience a lot of DN people seem to talk about. But it’s been fun and I’ve got to build interesting things in interesting places, so I guess that’s what counts :smile:


#7

Agreed. It’s thick and it’s sticky. Even after feeling like I’ve broken free, I still find myself depressed at times, thinking I’m failing. Sometimes it’s hard to snap out of these funks. But living in beautiful places is helpful when in a funk. The beach is a short motorbike away through the jungle. Pretty good funk breaker.


#8

That’s the same sentence from @levelsio I was going to quote.

He hit the nail on the head. It’s interesting when you go back home or meet people on the road and you have to explain your lifestyle. They just don’t get it. “What you do is just not done, it’s not normal, people shouldn’t live like that”

@maebert sure thing, I’m available next week and then I go on vaca until Jan 4th. Looks like you have a bunch of interesting projects to talk about :wink:


#9

Don’t be! I’ve been too though and I know many here have been. It’s very normal. You’ll get out of that. A lot of the depression that comes from this life also has to do with the entire lack of community. Stuff like this forum and the chat helps me, and just meeting more people that do this too helps.

Personally, it’s important for me I see people around me that are doing this and are successful (in life, relationships and work/business). This makes me feel like I can do it that way too. I think every society has role models that people strive to be, and they have a function.

Until recently this scene didn’t have role models I could identify with. To be honest, the “digital nomad” scene had a bad rep and a lot of the people I met I’d consider about the opposite of what I’d call role models.

It’s changing though, nomads like @yongfook or @MarkManson are good examples for me of people that are successful, smart and make stuff I can look up to. We need more of that for people to feel more certain about doing this I think.


#10

Ur my idol @levelsio

But on a serious note, meeting @levelsio and his landing in Singapore “ohhai im hungry. btw do you know of any cool hostels? didn’t book any in advance… oh btw i don’t have any singaporean dollars for street food but i have a credit card??” No plan, no hotel, not gonna visit any touristy places, just going to walk around for a bit, drink some earl grey breakfast tea and get to work.

My life has always been predictable, planned and organized, especially whenever it comes to travel. Having travelled for a couple of weeks(nothing compared to you guys!), it’s made me think about what I want out of travel and realized I don’t just want to spend a couple of days in a city - I want to spend a month. And I don’t want to be part of a crazy crowded tourist party in la sagrada familia.

I’m actually quite happy with my life and relationships at the moment, and I have a small business which makes it hard to fly - I’m a photographer and I’ve spent years building up my connections and regular clients here, so I’ll need to fly on a slow month and possibly schedule some work. Because I’m in Asia, I’m far more interested in travelling to European destinations like Prague, Stockholm and Manarola - crazy how you guys think Asia is exotic and I’ve simply been here all my life and always thought I was really tall for a girl(until one word: AMSTERDAM).

And so, inspired by you crazy, intelligent, kinda brilliant and absolutely fascinating people and your stories, I’ve realized I never have to stay trapped in one place. Looking forward to plans for next year :slight_smile:


#11

@xiufensilver do U think Prague and Stockholm are exotic? :smiley:


#13

Hey David! Haha do you think Chiang Mai, Thailand and Bali, Indonesia are exotic?

Because it’s right next door for me! Everyone I know has been there. While my recent Europe trip was like, save up and plan vaguely for 10 years kinda pipe dream. Loved the cool weather, came back to Singapore and the tropical weather is a little depressing. It’s funny how in Europe and in cafes/restaurants, people take chairs and plop them right into the sun whenever the sun comes out. In Asia, the indoor seats are completely filled up and no one would want to sit outdoors, they’d rather stand indoors with the air-conditioner on full blast.

Next thing I probably need to do is to actually see actual snow. Beaches are awfully boring to me because I live right next to one! Literally a couple of streets away, I could walk there. Now.

And where is your introduction @davidnagy!


#14

My name is Stanislav, but you can call me Stas or Stan for a shorter version :slight_smile: I’m 30 years old and I’m from Estonia.

Currently i’m a web-developer and owner of small european outsourcing company. I’m staying in Banglamung, Thailand. But this community have encouraged me to travel even more… I’m now repacking my gear and planning to move out … VIetnam, Phillipines, Cambodia, Taiwan are in my travel list for now, but i’m looking in to more exotic (for a DN) places like Nepal and Mongolia. I think reaching Iceland is my near goal :slight_smile:

Most memorable are people I meet. Such a big spectrum of different people with comparison to people in my small country. A lot of people are doing great things and I managed to meet people who don’t think I’m weird :smiley:

Don’t plan to go home anytime soon.

Somehow questions I’ve had are not answered, but i’ve learned some hard lessons. Most hardest lesson for me was to learn not to plan ahead too much -> not having exact plans, not having savings or any work safety. I didn’t give up on plans and budgeting :smiley: but i’ve stopped worrying about those things -> ready to improvise :smile:


#15

Hi all. My name is Jodi, and I’m a former lawyer from Montreal. I have been eating my way around the world since 2008, when I quit after 5 years of practicing law in NYC. I share longform narrative on my site, Legal Nomads.

I’ve been a digital nomad since 2008, though my initial plan was just to take a one year sabbatical from work. I started my site to keep my mum up to date about what I was up to, then it got more popular, and now it’s the primary platform for what I do. The site is ad-free, but I fund my mobile lifestyle via social media work/brand audits, public speaking, small group food walks in Saigon, and a book I wrote a few years ago. I also do a bit of freelance writing.

So much has been memorable but a few bigger items stand out. The fact that travel helps you keep life in perspective by constantly reminding you of your privilege, and of what you have yet to learn. For me, the connections I’ve forged through food and the lives of the people who cook and sell it, giving me a window into a place that is far more in-depth than I ever imagined. The friendships I’ve made that span continents, and that have doubled back on themselves over and over, making for meetups in far-flung places.

During years 1-3 of being a digital nomad, people would ask if I was “done yet.” Then, the question became “haven’t you gotten this out of your system” during years 4-5. Year 6 was “wow, I can’t believe you’ve built a life around what you love.” And now, well, we’ll see.

In terms of places, I started my travels in South America, and spent quite a bit of time in Siberia and Mongolia before hitting Asia via the trains, but once I made it to Thailand and Vietnam, I felt quite at home. Like many others, I chase summer, but I do so for the food more than anything else. I’ll often pick destinations because of want I want to write about next, and eat.

What I love about the DN community is the willingness to sit down and have interesting conversations that span business, politics, culture and more within minutes of meeting someone new in a totally different field of work.

Looking forward to meeting those of you I haven’t yet met, and seeing what everyone is up to as they work from anywhere.


#16

Hey folks! I’m Tony Sheng, newly self-employed as of this week, currently living in Venice Beach, CA but moving up to San Francisco in a couple of months. It’s not Chiang Mai, but being able to work anywhere by virtue of not having an employer is a pretty amazing feeling even if I haven’t taken full advantage of it yet.

I quit my job to publish a book called Working Jobs, launch a podcast, and learn to develop well enough to do a six startups in a year type thing (inspired by levels.io, thanks bro).

My girlfriend is doing a developer bootcamp and will likely try and get a junior dev job, but we’re hoping to get the show on the road as soon as we can. In the meantime, I anticipate a lot of shorter working trips abroad.

If anybody is living or visiting California I’d love to meet up to have some tasty coffee or beers. I’m also a big skier so mountain meetups would be super cool.


#17

Hey guys,

I’m Nam and I’m a web development freelancer, though I primarily work for Wellframe. I’ve been following @levelsio for a while now and absolutely love the movement and community he has been able to curate. I specifically set up my life after my graduation in May to have the most flexibility.

Unlike many of you maybe, I was hesitant to go full-on nomad. I personally value my local social networks and relationships too much which is why my strategy is to have a base/home in NYC, but go on month(s)-long trips/retreats. The biggest struggle I have found with nomading is the lack of deep relationships (though I certainly don’t have enough experience), it seems like a lot of times nomads and full time travelers are very transient, making it hard to develop tight bonds. This is why I am so excited about the talk about the “housing” problem and presumably @levelsio’s next project. I’ve seen this problem pop up everywhere recently, so its just a matter of time once this is solved, introducing the next wave of nomads like me :slight_smile:


#18

Hey there! I’m Romain and I come from France. I have graduated from a modest engineering school in computer sciences a few months ago.

I am currently employed under short term contract at the place I previously completed my last internship.

My ultimate goal is to break away from employment towards entrepreneurship or full-time freelancing so I can become a DN at some point.

Until then, I will be learning as much as possible about web development as I think it’s the most straightforward path to DN and I’m the creative kind of guy that would like to keep programming for a while.

I will start changing the part of my lifestyle that includes renting an apartment to renting/buying a camping-car (RV) instead and stay in France for a couple years until I’m able to become location independent.

My motivation is to live closer to nature, make more social connections, save more money than I’d be able to currently and learn to live more autonomously – not relying as much on money.

I will often be around lurking and copy/pasting any information you guys share that I think will be useful when I get to taste the DN lifestyle. So let me thank you in advance for that!


#22

Hi, everyone!
My name is David, I’m from Argentina. I’m actually on my way to becoming a digital nomad, because even though I’m a freelancer, I’ve never been away from home more than 3 months. I travel at least twice a year for at least a month or two (I’m a slow traveler, I couldn’t possibly enjoy spending two frantic days of museum/monuments/bar hopping on a two-week trip to 10 different cities!). For the past 5 years I’ve been travelling once a year to Russia to study their beautiful language, also paying regular visits to one of my favourite cities in the world, Helsinki!
I’ve been working as a freelance CGI artist ever since I started working. Just as I finished highschool I knew that I’d never fit in a normal life. Having an office job was never an option for me, so when I started looking for a job I was extremely picky. I remember going to my job interviews wearing flip-flops, because that’s who I was and that’s how I felt comfortable. I was not going to accept a job that wouldn’t accept me as I am.
I finally found a job as a video editor where I could choose how many days a week and how many hours I wanted to work. It was ok, but still not enough for me. I still could not choose which projects I wanted to work on, so I always ended up working on crappy projects that I didn’t like and that didn’t help me evolve as an artist.
Anyway, long story short, I started doing some research and doing tutorials on 3D modeling and animation. After a couple of years working on TV commercials and architectural projects I discovered Odesk and Elance. Although it was hard for me to get my first jobs on these sites (yeah, I had to work for u$10 per hour!!), I managed to get a lot of regular clients, and my current workload allows me to live my life in total freedom.

I’m currently in Buenos Aires, Argentina. My plan is to travel with my girlfriend for a couple of months in India and Nepal, then head to Chiang Mai, well, you know how it goes from there :smile:

I’m glad I found this community, I hope I can meet many fellow nomads on the road!
If anyone needs any advice or help while in Buenos Aires, don’t hesitate to contact me!


#23

Hey all! I’m Paul, and I’m a photographer based in the UK.

Although I do work as a freelancer, I’m not yet a nomad… although I’m in the process of trying to figure out how to incorporate that into my business model.

I’ve done some traveling, and love the idea of doing something more long-term. I however hate the idea of saving up then going on holiday for a set time…

It’s still early days, but hopefully within the next 2 months I should be making a small automated income, which will allow me to base myself somewhere cheap and focus on a more substantial idea!


#24

Hi everyone! I’m Chris from Manila, Philippines. I work remotely as a support engineer / sysadmin at Engine Yard, which is based in San Francisco. I work mostly from Manila, but this year I’ve traveled almost 6 months without missing a lot of work. It’s awesome to be able to do that!

Since I’ve lived all my life in the Philippines, my travels this year were mostly to the US and Europe. My wife and I love Paris. It’s expensive especially compared to where I live!

I love Asia as well! Phuket is nice. Seoul is a favorite. Oh, and Israel has been a unique experience.

It’s almost 2am and I’m hopping on a call at work. One of the downsides of a remote team but I’d take this over a job at an office anytime :slight_smile:

If you find your way to Manila, let me know.