Becoming a digital nomad and embracing adventure
Weary of a culture of consumerism and materialism, we spent years yearning for a more minimalist routine, a routine based on discovery, sharing, and new experiences.
For the past 10 years, our travels have dictated the rhythm of our lives, and now we spend at least half the year on the road…
Thanks to the development of new technologies, we’re able to combine the practical with the joyful, and free ourselves from any geographical constraints.
In 2016, the decision was made, we were going to become full-time digital nomads…
Today, we continue to share our adventures and experiences of minimalist nomadic living.
Planet Earth has become our “home”
The first step for any digital nomad is getting organised! So, we got rid of our furniture, our apartments, and everything that restricted us to our homes – and just like that, a new world had revealed itself!
Fitting your whole life into a 30 kg bag is undoubtedly difficult. For us, it was a dizzying sensation at times, but it was also thrilling and liberating. Our feelings of confusion were soon absorbed by the exhilarating certainty that a world of possibilities was finally opening up to us.
Contrary to popular belief, we are not on vacation 365 days a year. No, no, and no again… We work daily. The only difference now compared to our previous lives is that we work in coliving or coworking spaces.
In other words, our workstation slips into a backpack, travels through the floating markets of Bangkok, lands in the Olympic port of Barcelona, and adapts to the sun of Rio de Janeiro. As long as there is good Wi-Fi.
On the road in Chiang Mai, Thailand! The world capital of digital nomadism.
We lived there for several months to understand the needs and expectations of digital nomads from around the world.
In this video, we compiled our best memories from the land of a thousand smiles.
Choosing nomadism is choosing freedom
At first, this life choice can be confusing. Indeed, it is the opposite of all the values instilled in us by our parents. Being a digital nomad means missing out on the pretty house in the Parisian suburbs, with the beautiful garden and overweight Labrador.
Now don’t get us wrong, we don’t condemn those who seek tranquillity, calm, and stability. We simply want to show those who are interested that there are other ways to live – and that happiness is not measured by the purchase of a big house or flashy car.
The day we decided to embark on this journey of one-way plane rides, a weight was lifted off our shoulders. Nervousness, excitement, and restlessness all came together to form the wonderful whirlwind that defines what we do today!
People often ask us where we live.
At first, we didn’t know how to answer, since we live everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Today,
we give off a little smile and explain in a few sentences what nomadism is all about. Sometimes, people misunderstand us because our lifestyle is diametrically opposed to the lifestyle that society encourages
us to adopt… But know this, there’s often a touch of envy mixed in.
Materialism is the driving force of the system. It used to dictate what we did, and what we got up for each morning.
These days, however, geographical freedom allows us to live our lives in search of fun and enriching experiences.
Travelling one way
From the beginning of our journey,
we chose each destination based on 5 essential considerations:
- fast internet connection for work
- quality of life
One great advantage of nomadism is that we can discover new places off the beaten path of mass tourism.
Our trips are slow. We take the time to get to know and interact with the local population. It is not uncommon for us to organise dinners or parties with friends we meet on the road.
We’ve also been known to participate in digital nomad group trips… Not to mention the new professional collaborations that arise from contact with other digital nomads.
Changing habits and building routine
Becoming a digital nomad has radically transformed our habits. The routine of our stationary lives no longer exists.
This sounds great, but it also poses some challenges. You see, when the regular work routine disappears, there is a potential for bad habits to arise. Since we are nomads, we work daily, and often afford ourselves very little rest.
Being on the move all the time has made us more productive, more inspired, and more creative.
On the other side of things, one of the most difficult habits to maintain while travelling is physical activity. It’s hard to maintain a consistent exercise routine. That’s why today, we go running and swimming as much as we can. These are easy activities, and relatively accessible wherever you are in the world.
We always try to adapt to local life. In some cities, life starts later, and in others earlier. For us, adapting to these differences is essential to understanding the local culture, even if it often has a direct impact on our habits.
Besides, this cultural blend in our lives is one of the things we like most about nomadism.
Living with the bare necessities and knowing how to be satisfied with them
After deciding to hit the road, the first big challenge we encountered was the new, minimalist way of living. We had to let go of our possessions: sell everything and give it all away.
This process was not as simple as we expected, and proved to be the first major test of our resilience.
For far too long, consumerist society has instilled in us that we should identify ourselves through our possessions (houses, clothes, etc.).
And yet, when you really think about it, it is not material possessions that define us as individuals.
Detachment can be really difficult, until you realise that almost everything you own is useless. Today, our lives are contained in two suitcases, and we are perfectly fine with it (our backs are OK too!). When we say this, it means that everything we own (including our business) weighs 30 kilos.
Saving, counting and anticipating risks
Changes also come into play in financial life. We had to open a nomadic bank account to avoid exorbitant bank fees. Scrupulously tracking daily expenses is crucial.
Before leaving everything behind, we planned the first six months on the road to deal with any unforeseen circumstances. This phase is essential, as financial security makes for a smoother, safer trip. We also had to choose the best and most suitable travel insurance policy.
We only advise opting for nomadism if you have a secure monthly income through telecommuting. An alternative solution is to become a microentrepreneur.
Does becoming a nomad mean no more work?
The answer is no!
Even though we’re constantly collecting new and exciting travel stories, we haven’t left our careers and projects behind!
Our biggest success has been converting our passion for travel into a fun and productive lifestyle.
Our travels and adventures continue to influence our lives in amazing new ways every day.
We are always looking for new destinations and experiences to dive into.
Of course, there are those who travel without worrying about generating income. But that’s not the case for us. In fact, most digital nomads work much more than they did before they started working remotely.
This lifestyle is reserved for the pioneers of the world!
Is being nomadic about travelling all the time?
When we talk about nomadism, many people think that we travel all the time. In our case, and for most of the digital nomads we know, this is not true. Travelling from one place to another may sound great, but it takes time and preparation.
Travelling is physical! Not to mention that finding accommodation and booking transportation takes time. In fact, travelling slows down our productivity at work.
That’s why we change location on average every 3 to 6 months. It all depends on the weather, our workload, availability of coliving accommodations, etc. Being in one place for less than a month is hardly feasible when you’re nomadic.
What is the biggest challenge of nomadism?
Nomadism involves many challenges, mainly because the lifestyle isn’t very well known to society yet. Even though today, there is the possibility of becoming an e-Resident in Estonia, many services are not well prepared for people who do not have a fixed base. This can undoubtedly be inconvenient sometimes. That’s why we should never procrastinate over the things that bring us balance and stability.
When I talk about procrastination, I must stress that work and physical activity are paramount. These things can sometimes be overlooked when you’re embarking on new and exciting journeys every day.
This can lead some nomads to make poor decisions. More specifically, putting things off until tomorrow. Finally, working independently is good, but it’s hard to know when to stop and rest.
Many times we’ve realised that we went several weeks in front of the computer without taking a day off. Now, we have found solutions and we set a more reasonable pace for ourselves. But, at the very beginning, it was tricky…
Is there a risk of working overdose?
Yes and no at the same time! We also take time to enjoy life! Although admittedly, we check email and social media every day.
It is sometimes difficult to separate work and personal life. At the same time, we give ourselves daily moments of “digital detoxification” by practicing sports, yoga or meditation.
During our training “How to become a digital nomad” – Barcelona.
Many times we are asked if it is difficult to find a nomadic job. The answer is no. There are many platforms today that allow for remote work – as long as you have a job, and skills that lend themselves to it.
Do you have to be rich to become a digital nomad?
We often hear that travel has become democratised, and this is not a myth. If you compare the cost of living in a big city with the destinations suitable for a digital nomad, it’s blatantly obvious.
We can see that it is very possible to live comfortably while spending much less than in our previous lives before nomadism. It is therefore false to believe that you need lots of money to be a digital nomad.
Slow travel is very economical, especially if the travel dates are flexible. We make sure to choose our destinations in low season. Airline tickets are cheaper, as are services. Not to mention that the local population is more open to exchange when they are not “besieged” by tourists.
The birth of Planet Nomad
After discussing and planning it for a long time, we decided to launch our web agency. Later, we launched a coworking space in El Born, Barcelona, aimed at digital nomads.
This is how Planet Nomad was born. The central concept is the sharing of experiences and knowledge, to help create positive collaboration between nomadic entrepreneurs.
After a few months of work with the coworking project, we realised that it wasn’t enough to just provide a service to digital nomads, but that we also needed to engage in the path of nomadism…
The Planet Nomad community of digital nomads
Planet Nomad is first and foremost a space for exchange and interaction, designed to exalt creativity and geographical freedom. This is where we share our passion for the diversity and pluralism of the world’s cultures.
We find happiness and fulfilment in the small moments that we share with those who are passionate about discovery and travel.
We created Planet Nomad to share and learn about travel. Because much more than just an escape, travel gives meaning to our lives.
Before choosing nomadism…
The story of encounters that life offers to those who are open to the unknown
This is the first question we are asked when we meet people on our travels.
How could a Frenchman and a Brazilian meet and decide to travel the world together? Usually, our story surprises people!
It was in the sky, during a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Madrid, that we met.
Renato had been assigned a seat in the middle of the cabin, a place he didn’t like. Then he saw two empty seats near the windows and changed seats.
Michael, on the other hand, was placed at the back of the plane, leaning against the toilets. A place he hated. He asked to change seats and the stewardess offered him to sit where Renato had just sat down. “Can I sit here?” he asked Renato.
That’s how they ended up sitting next to each other… They ended up chatting for several hours and that’s how they took off!
Inspiring and redefining the boundaries of happiness
We reveal the freedom gained through nomadism by sharing our experiences through photography, writing, and video. Being nomadic is not just about living and working while travelling.
Behind the concept of nomadism, there is a quest for freedom. This implies certain essential connections: with nature, spirituality, consciousness, diversity and “open-mindedness”.
We convey these essential connections in our stories because they are part of our lifestyle. We are currently in Spain, but our journey is never ending.
Thank you for reading, and we hope to see you out on the road soon!