You are sitting at your desk staring out the window, lost in your own thoughts. Which look a little something like this:
‘Fuck My Life, Fuck My Life, Fuck My Life, Fuck My Life’
A mantra you repeat, until you’re rudely interrupted by Steve, your boss.
He doesn’t need to peek over a cubicle wall to address you, because there aren’t any. Your company, in a stunning display of forward-thinking, workspace fuckery, changed to an open plan layout three months back. Most likely, some faceless company exec read an article on Google, and that was that. But you aren’t getting bean bags and free lunches any time soon, so don’t hold your breath.
What this means is that you can’t complain about being trapped in ‘Cubicle Hell’ anymore, something which you enjoyed immensely. And then, shortly after the transition, you discovered the horrors of an open-plan office. Wedged in between the inane chatter of colleagues, you’ve begun to quietly long for the solitude of your cubicle misery.
Steve is here because he wants to know if you’d like to join him in the 3-hour chamber of madness, which is rather fraudulently advertised as the weekly sales meeting.
Obviously, you want no part of this. But this question, like all of Steve’s questions, is entirely rhetorical.
You briefly entertain the idea of abstaining, but it’s short lived. Not today sunshine. Perhaps you’ll grow a pair tomorrow? With your tail between your legs, you shuffle down the hall towards another morning of Powerpoint insanity.
Where did things go wrong? At what point did you take a wrong turn? All the steps were followed, in order: School, University, Job. And then happiness is supposed to follow, right? But it didn’t. Instead, you’re trapped in a job you hate. The toil of the long hours, the commute, endless godforsaken spreadsheets that you don’t understand, and the subsequent self-medication (Jack Daniels with anything) is killing you and your joy for life.
“I have to get out” you tell yourself, while contemplating driving your car into a ravine on the way to lunch.
‘Is this all there is? Is this what adult life is about?
“I don’t want to be stuck in an office for 40 hours a week. I want to travel the world, see amazing places and do exciting things.
“If only there was a way. If only there was a way to see the world, properly. Not just two weeks in Sharm El Sheikh in August. Like, properly travel the world.
“Can I have it all?”
Well actually, you can’t have it all. You’ll have to leave your family, your friends, your community, your 60 Inch 4K TV, and your comfort bubble. But the rest – it’s all yours.
And how do we achieve this state?
There’s two options:
-Go Backpacking. You’ll have to stay in dorms, eat street food for 6 months, and spend all your money in animal sanctuaries and temples. And then go back home and get a job in Starbucks whilst you regain society’s trust.
-Join an exclusive club. A special, special club, where all your dreams can come true. A club where you spend your days in trendy cafes, sipping on Macchiatos and updating your Facebook profile.
You choose number 2, you say? You want in?
Then follow me. And I’ll tell you everything you need to know about HOW TO BECOME A DIGITAL NOMAD IN ONLY 24 HOURS.
Yes, it’s that easy. Today you’re thinking about which bathroom stall to hang yourself in, and tomorrow you’ll be in Bali. But hurry, we have no time to waste!
What is a Digital Nomad?
Di-gi-tal No-mad: An Individual that uses social media platforms in various coffee shops around the world, whilst in the midst of an existential crisis.
Hours 0-1 – Quit Your Job
This may seem completely irresponsible, but there’s simply no time for exit strategies. And when I say ‘quit’, I don’t mean spend an excruciating four weeks awkwardly transferring your unfinished pile of work to Sally. Sally already hates you enough given you’re younger than her, and don’t have two uncontrollable screaming kids. And now you’re exhibiting the kind of independence and gutsy decision-making that she can only dream of. Tough break, Sally.
So quit! Tell your boss, don’t tell your boss – it’s up to you. Slip a note under his door on the way out. Or burn all bridges to hell, and chuck your PC out the window. You know, get creative. Whatever you do, just don’t screw this part up. You can’t become a Digital Nomad if you chicken out and agree to stay until the end of the financial year. That’s not how this works.
Note – Avoid arrest. A criminal record doesn’t look good when you’re being interrogated at Cambodian border-control.
Hours 1-3 – Get Your Head Straight
Things are getting real very fast. But it’ll all be OK – just breathe. Go and lay in the bath. Have a some lunch. Watch Netflix. Have a small panic attack. Whatever you need to do – just get it out your system. We’ve got some serious planning to do.
Hours 3-6 – Acquire The Good Book and Study.
Ever heard the story of the girl who went on a pilgrimage to Mecca, even though she never once glanced at the Quran? Nope, me neither.
If you’re serious about becoming a Digital Nomad then you’ll need to review the scripture, pronto. Get on Amazon and pick up The 4 Hour Work Week. Within, appointed Digital Nomad God Tim Ferriss, will open your eyes to everything about your new lifestyle. Since we’re short on time, I suggest skim reading, or skipping to Chapter 8 where his holiness teaches you how to outsource your entire life.
Should you feel especially enlightened after an hour so of reading, you may wish to tell all your friends and family just how much they’ve screwed up their lives. Or head to your nearest bookshop (that isn’t moments away from closing down), and purchase every physical copy of the book. Which you’ll then hand out, door to door in your neighbourhood. I wouldn’t wear a shirt and tie, though. We don’t want people thinking you’re part of some over-zealous organised religion.
Hours 6-7 – Pick a Location, and Book a (One-Way) Flight
One of the key ingredients to succeeding at becoming a Digital Nomad, is getting the fuck out of your country as fast as possible. This can be achieved by going to SkyScanner.net or Expedia.com and booking a flight for the early hours of tomorrow morning. Prepare to either find a ludicrous last minute deal to India for under 100 dollars, or end up paying well over the odds.
Pro-tip: If keeping costs down is your main priority, then you can always opt for the soul-crushing 40 hour journey, 15 of which are spent going in the wrong direction, and 7 twiddling your thumbs in Istanbul International Airport.
Where are you going? Where ever you want!
Except of course, London, New York, Paris, Amsterdam, Chicago, Dublin, Tokyo, Rome, Las Vegas, Sydney, Toronto, Edinburgh, Vienna, Cape Town, Los Angeles, anywhere in Scandinavia, or Switzerland, or the US, or the UK.
None of these places know what to do with you and your “I’ll be here for anywhere from 3 days to 3 months” itinerary. Plus you can’t afford to stay a single week in any of them.
Apart from that, wherever you want!
Except Afganistan, Iran, Pakistan, Yemen, Papa New Guinea, Burkina Faso, Turkmenistan, and anywhere under Martial Law or in a state of Civil War. As far as I’m aware, none of these places have a spread of trendy cafes with 10 MB/s+ download speeds. As far as I’m aware.
Really, your best bet is somewhere in South-East Asia or Latin America.
Obviously except Venezuela, Hong Kong, Cuba, Honduras, Singapore, Suriname, Montsserat, Brunei and where ever it is in Myanmar that Rambo killed all those people. Obviously.
Listen, just go to Bangkok, Chiang Mai or Bali. Did I have to spell it out for you?
Don’t worry – they were all bad guys.
7-9 – Purchase Tools of the Trade
In order to attract fellow nomads (bromads?) and be accepted into your local congregation, you’ll need to look the part.
The uniform of a Digital Nomad is essentially what your Dad wears when he’s by the pool. The entire costume can be sourced locally, including overpriced Havaianas from the Airport.
Further to this, you’ll need a Backpack of some kind (preferably something expensive so you don’t get confused with regular backpackers), and most crucially, a Macbook Air. Pro.
‘But Chris, my Laptop has a 4GHz overclocking Core i7, with 16 gig RAM and GeForce 1080 Graphics.”
Yeah, sorry, but I don’t understand anything you just said. I said GET A MACBOOK AIR. PRO.
Do you want to become a Digital Nomad or not? Show me a great Digital Nomad who doesn’t carry a Mac. You can’t, because they all had to go home and and get jobs cleaning hotel rooms.
9-11 – Start A Blog
Head to Blogger.com or WordPress.com and make a free account. A paid hosting plan may add some legitimacy to this insane plan of yours, but it’s not necessary. Your bank account has already taken a thrashing, so let’s actually start bootstrapping.
Don’t put your credit card away yet though – you’ll need a domain name. Here are a few template names for you to work with:
Any will do. Actually, don’t use that last one.
If you know anything about marketing, you’ll realise you need a hook of some kind. They call it a ‘niche’. Luckily there’s a giant niche in which you can somersault right into – the ‘Quit Your Job and Travel the World’ niche. Dramatise your story as much as possible, and bend the truth where necessary.
Create an opt in box. What does an opt in box do? No idea, but you need one.
11-12 – Book a Hotel Room
For any new travellers, arriving in a foreign culture can be intimidating and disorientating. Especially if you’re hung over from the free plane booze, and your taxi driver immediately tells you to go fuck yourself (Not that this happened to me….).
The best thing you can do is ensure you have a safe house where you can curl up in to a ball and quietly sob. Hotel rooms offer privacy but are isolating and expensive. A hostel might be a more suitable option socially, but slumming it with the backpacker kids sends the message that you aren’t a working professional.
Which of course you aren’t, but we still don’t want to send that message. Plus you don’t want some American guy named Tyler to stumble in to your dorm at 4am and vomit all over you after 9 Highballs and a Handjob.
Book a hotel room to ease you through the transition. Or a hostel so obscure and out of the way, that no one with any capacity to have fun would ever stay there.
12-13 – Pack That Bag
Toothbrush. Check. Multi-Adapter. Check. Wuggles the Bear. Check.
Oh, and EARPLUGS. Take earplugs or face rapid onset of dementia. There’s no rhyme or reason as to why Thai construction workers start drilling into things at 5am on a Sunday, but they do.
13-14 – Everything Else? Bin
If you truly want to embrace the Nomad spirit, then you need to become a Minimalist. What is Minimalism? It’s a Digital Nomad reward scheme whereby you receive a gold star for every 20 items you throw away or sell on eBay. These gold stars can then later be traded in and used to attend conferences and exclusive masterminds.
Once you achieve the ‘Own <20 Items’ status, you are sent a certificate (digitally, of course) and a state of the art podcasting microphone. Which means you’re then stuck in a never ending continuum of reduction and accumulation.
I think the idea is to prevent you turning in to a full blown Hippy.
14 -16 – What’s Your Business?
Sadly, life as a Digital Nomad is not all about lounging by the pool and taking selfies – You’ll eventually need to build an income of some kind, so you don’t become a wandering hobo. Fortunately, there are now a multitude of ways in which you can earn money online.
Are you a web developer? A freelance writer? An Amazon guru? Or maybe some kind of digital janitor that cleans up everyone else’s mess? Either way you can get started on freelancing sites like Upwork.com, Fiverr and Freelancer.com – these platforms aggregate thousands of online gigs.
Although slinging out 500 word articles for $15 may seem like gutter work in the beginning, you’ll quickly be able to scale your business to earn a decent living. And don’t forget about our beautiful friend GeoArbitrage – your measly $15 a day will afford you a lifestyle of gold chains and luxury yachts in your adopted country.
When you really start getting arrogant, you can turn your attention towards PASSIVE INCOME. I don’t completely understand Passive Income, but I think it’s where you build an e-commerce empire from your bed, whilst being fed grapes.
16-20 – Get some rest. Or Don’t.
Can’t sleep? Me neither. You are most likely in a state of shock as to how (and why) you’ve managed to dismantle your life in under a day.
But it’ll all be OK. What’s the worst that will happen? You can always come home. Or sell yourself to the sex industry. You have options.
OK, so you met that girl in Berlin last year who spent 2 years building her business on the side whilst working a 9-5, before arriving in Medellin with a booming digital marketing business. Good for her. But you know the problem with what she did?
HER STORY SUCKS.
She may have exhibited hard work, discipline and hustle, but none of those things are what prospective blog readers want to hear. It’s not sexy, and no film studio will ever green light that motion picture.
Winners take risks. Massive, stupid risks.
20-24 – Airport and Onwards
This is it – you’ve officially left your comfort bubble and you’re well on your way to Nomadship (Nomadism? Or my favourite – Nomadity). The only thing left now is to buy the earplugs you forgot to pack at a $20 markup from the airport. And then just lean back and enjoy the horrors of International Travel.
Walk around a bit, have a coffee, spend an hour or so trying to connect to the shitty Airport WiFi. You’ll be doing this a lot, so get used to it.
CONGRATULATIONS! You made it. Have a safe journey and don’t forget to Instagram a picture of your Mac on a table, overlooking a beach. Do it as soon as you arrive. And make sure to visit your nearest co-working space to collect your Digital Nomad membership card and t-shirt.