When we first started traveling, everyone thought we were nuts and our families were super worried. The term digital nomad was rarely heard of back then and not having a traditional 9 to 5 or 9 to 7 job was out of the norm. The idea of leaving everything we knew behind seemed scary and it took many difficult years untangling ourselves from the lives we had worked so hard to create–especially the debt, but eventually, we did it.
Lately, we have seen a paradigm shift as the World starts to connect globally and more importance is placed on the internet and working from anywhere. Remote work has become more acceptable and available and is even trending as the gig economy takes hold. Now we do not seem so “out there” anymore and viewed more as pioneers. Bob’s brother wrote us recently and said, I was always thinking that you ran away from the “known”, but now I am thinking that perhaps, rather, you were always running towards the “unknown.”
We make no plans until
We make no plans until we either find a good deal online or get the itch to visit somewhere at the last minute. Sometimes figuring out where to go takes many hours and days. We take turns picking the next destination, but most of the time we both want to go to the same place. Usually, cheap airfares and low rent apartments determine where we will go next. We each have a backpack and rolling suitcase which keep us free to move around at the drop of a hat.
I am a poet, and Bob is an animator, director, and video editor–among other things. We both work remote, and this has been challenging because we need reliable internet connection everywhere we go. We like to stay at eco-conscious places but sometimes in off-the-grid or rural areas, getting a good internet connection is not possible. Then we have to stay in low-cost hotels or homestays and often look for places that offer free breakfast to lower our overall costs.
On our last trip, we planned to escape the winter and stay in Asia for six months—Bali, Thailand, Vietnam and then return to Portugal. We found places to stay in our budget and if we kept to the plan, we would even save money. After five weeks of R & R and living in a Balinese paradise–we hit a wall. We felt so relaxed that we thought we could quite possibly be dead because we had gone down to zero. This was our first break in two years and was much needed but maybe we overdid it a little…
we blew our budget
We had plans to go to Thailand, but then Bob’s freelance job informed him that some more work was on the way. So, we decided we needed a big city to jump-start us again, so we took off early from Bali and went to Hong Kong. Subsequently, we blew our budget. Even though we did not voice it to one another, we were both thinking the same thing—let’s go back to Portugal, which is our residency of choice because it is an affordable, charming and a peaceful place to live with the added bonus of super-fast internet.
Unfortunately, we had just booked two tickets to Thailand, and we discussed our options and decided to go back to Portugal. We made a solid decision, but the airfare and accommodation changes cost a bit more than we anticipated. Not knowing where we were going to live proved to be stressful. We didn’t do enough research, including reading customer reviews, and were scammed out of an entire month’s worth of rent by a shady rental company and landlord. Also, this happened because we weren’t using the usual reliable rental companies. Eventually, we found an honest landlord and rented a lovely little apartment for six months.
We have come to understand
There are moments when all our plans go out the window, and we are faced with making decisions on the fly. We have learned to keep our cool over the years, knowing now that we will always end up in the right place for the moment—good or bad–it is just an experience. We have come to understand that with nomadic living, we need to go with the flow. And no matter how many jams we get into or issues we face, things always get resolved one way or another. We’ve never regretted going back to Portugal but nothing has panned out as we planned, but that’s the life we choose. We need to roll with the punches, and now we are on to a new adventure to the Universe only knows where…