Just a couple of decades ago, a job used to mean so much more than a source of income. Since few jobs could be done effectively without physical presence in the workplace, having a job meant living somewhere nearby. Since offices usually have working schedules (the “eight-to-five”), a job used to define one’s schedule as well. Our friends were mostly our colleagues, just because we spent so much time in a room with them.
But then the Internet revolution happened. Paperwork was no longer on paper — it was on a cloud server. Drawings were no longer born on canvas — they were made with Photoshop. We started having team meetings via Skype calls and began to manage our projects via Trello.
Nostalgic, change-resistant folks will tell you that they miss the good ol’ smell of paper, but you shouldn’t really listen to them, since they’re missing the point. And the point is: you sacrifice the smell of your desk for the smell of a rainforest somewhere in Taiwan, where you spontaneously decided to stay and work for a couple of weeks.
Yes, I’m talking about digital nomads. It’s truly hard to think of another group of people who make better use of what the world has to offer today. Digital nomads have it all: freedom to travel wherever they want, whenever they want; a good, stable income; a flexible work schedule. Of course, it takes work to set everything up, but it’s possible for almost anyone.
Today, I had the pleasure of talking to a purebred digital nomad, Jacob Laukaitis. Just 22 years old, he is a co-founder of ChameleonJohn.com, a fast-growing online coupons website operating in the United States, who has been to 45+ countries over the last three years while running his business online.
We discussed traveling and working, and Jacob shared some of the major realizations that he had during his travels. Here they are:
1. The world is a much safer, more civilized place than it is portrayed to be.
In movies, any place that’s not in the US or Western Europe is probably going to be painted somewhat negatively. If it’s Asia, the main accents will probably be obsession with tradition, lack of technology, and unsanitary food.
If the action takes place in South America or Eastern Europe, the place will probably look poor and devastated from criminal activity, war, and/or oppression.
In the reality of globalization, people live pretty similarly across much of the globe. Sure, there are cultural differences, like jokes, manners and clothes. The buildings might look different. But you’ll find familiar brands or similar products even in the farthest corners of Earth. You’ll find pre-paid phones, hostels, taxis, supermarkets, drugstores, Wi-Fi and Western Union outposts in major cities all around the globe.
2. Experiencing things yourself can be extremely fulfilling and useful.
Not seeing someone else do it, not hearing about it, not reading comments. Doing all the stuff yourself.
Take motorbiking, for example. Inconvenient, dangerous, expensive, impractical due to weather — those are the main reasons people don’t buy motorbikes.
But in Asia, you can rent a bike for as low as $5/day, make an epic trip across the mountains for two weeks, and come back a happier person.
Or there’s surfing. We all know that it should feel awesome, but have you ever tried watching the sunrise on a board, still catching your breath, with the wind caressing your back and your legs in the chill of the ocean? The smell, the sound…
But it’s not all just for pleasure. While traveling, you meet people, you see how they live, you learn how they think. Those experiences offer invaluable lessons that you couldn’t get any other way.
Continue reading %5 Digital Nomad Lessons from Jacob Laukaitis%