What is it like to be a digital nomad?
The Six Percent Entrepreneur
What is it like to be a digital nomad?
October 7, 2021
In this episode, we talk about my experience as a digital nomad.
So the question is, what is it like to be a digital nomad? And the thing is I think digital nomad... this term is fairly new. However, this is something that I've actually just always done, this is the only life that I've known and really it's because of my parents. They are, I guess quote unquote digital nomads, I don't know, they started doing this before digital was even a thing, so I don't even know if you can say, digital nomads. But the thing is my dad... like we're not gypsies or anything. My dad, he just gets bored and he likes the job hop. So. he'll get into a job, he'll start making some salary, he'll see a better salary job, he'll apply to it and he'll just leave. The geography doesn't really matter and he'll move his entire family of four at the time and we'll just move from place to place to place, right? 

So I was actually born in Bangladesh and for the first five years of my life, I was living between Bangladesh and Kuwait. So, my dad, he had a job in Kuwait um even before I was born actually, my dad was quite the adventurer. So, my dad left home at a quite young age. I can't really remember the age, but I think he actually left during his high school years and he went to go live by himself and go to high school in the city because my grandparents on my dad's side, lived out in the country. Well, he went to high school in the city and then afterward  he got into a really good school. So the school is called Boet and this is pretty much the MIT of Bangladesh and it's a really good school. 

After he graduated from the school, he was able to get a job in Abu Dhabi and one of the reasons why he was able to do that is because his brother, my uncle, was a diplomat and he was working in Abu Dhabi at the time and he was able to get my dad an engineering project and this was like my dad's first time outside of the country, and working in Abu Dhabi. And I think it was a pretty cool job because from what he told me at a fairly young age, he was able to buy himself a Rolex with his first paycheck. Here's a funny thing, the first time that he told me the story, he told me that he took his first paycheck and he gave it to his mom, that was the first time and then the second time he told me the story, he said he took his first paycheck and he bought a Rolex with it.

But the thing is my dad, he's always traveled, so then he went and did his Ph.D. in Utah and that's where he brought the entire family along Utah as well. We've lived in Michigan, we lived in just like really all over my dad's work for Nasa as well. So we've always had this digital nomad life. Now with my brothers, they actually continued the tradition. So all of us, we all live in different countries. The middle brother, for example, spent some time in Sweden. Right now, he's in Dubai, the youngest one is in Silicon Valley and even spent some time in Barbados and we actually did are kind of own things. I was in China for a little while. Now, I'm in Colombia and I've been just kind of traveling all over. I've been really embracing this digital nomad lifestyle because I'm living a very minimalist life right now.

Right, so in terms of a minimalist life, I have a one-bedroom amount of furniture in storage, sitting in Houston, Texas and then everything that I own right now is, it used to be two duffel bags, but I have been kind of accumulating things. My experience as a digital nomad is probably quite different from most digital nomads. I'm going to share my experience as a digital nomad. 

So I was minimalist. I had two duffel bags, but that has grown. So it was two of my duffel bags and one duffel bag for Rari, my pomeranian and now I have around eight bags. So I travel with all my podcasting gear and things like this and if I do travel whenever I go to a new country, I'm always actually inviting either a friend or a coworker over, like one of my teammates and they will help me do the move, right? So when I was moving from Tulum, Mexico to Colombia, I had someone help me. What I do is I get first-class tickets because if you get first-class tickets, you can get a lot of luggage and we will just pack all that stuff in there and move everything. So it's like eight pieces of luggage right now and I probably need to whittle it down. Well, what I'm trying to do is I've already described and nomad trifecta strategy, I believe. 

What I'm trying to do now is I'm really trying to find a home. I'm trying to find somewhere that I can start to settle. So it won't be settling in the same way that someone else might settle. This is still settling in a way a digital nomad might settle. The idea that I have right now is I want to have three permanent bases and I can just travel among each of these three bases. So I'm still traveling, but at least I don't have to carry eight pieces of luggage every single time. So I like Medellín. I think Medellín is going to be one of those places. The only thing that I don't like about Medellín is it's really noisy. I mean, it feels like you're just living in the middle of Nascar because the way the hills are and the highways and all the motorcycles here, all the sound just echoes and yeah, it's just horrible. So hoping to get away from that, but I think there are places in Medellín where it's a little bit quieter. So I'm in search of that. 

My digital nomad lifestyle. What I like to do is actually to continue to live a very American lifestyle. So all the luxuries that I had in Houston, Texas, I don't like to give them up. So whenever I do go to a brand new city actually stay at the most high-end places; and what you're gonna find is what most people think is you will be able to save money once you go to a new country, especially if it's a developing country and you can live a pretty bother life and save money. So that's true in some ways, but it's not true in other ways. Where it's not true is with real estate because what real estate for people that have money in a developing country, they have a lot of money. Most of the money is concentrated in a very small percentage. So if you're trying to live in a very high-end neighborhood or a high-end building, you're going to have to pay because you are going to live among people that have definitely way more money than you have, right? 

The way that I don't do my digital nomad journeys is I don't live like the locals. I don't do any kind of backpacking. I don't actually hang out with many ex-pats either. A lot of digital nomads like to hang out with ex-pats. I used to do the co-working thing before Covid and that was kind of fun, but now after Covid, I've been pretty much just a homebody and I like everything to come to me. So the benefit of being able to travel to a developing country is you do have cheap access to labor. So in terms of being able to save my focus, not having to figure out how I'm going to feed myself, how I'm going to clean everything, you know, how to wash my clothes and all these different things that I don't want to think about. I have cheap access to labor and I have people that are able to do this for me; so I can focus my time on growing my company and on generating revenue. 

So this is how I kind of travel around and this is my experience as a digital nomad, it's not necessarily the backpacker type life. It's an entrepreneurial type of life, right? So you have your high-powered entrepreneurs who are digital nomads, they have companies. For example, I had one of my podcast on Growth Hack Secrets, John Tarantino; he's actually in Medellín with me right now and we've actually hung out in several different cities together and these type of entrepreneurs, they have a very different type of lifestyle than a free traveler for example. So when I say free traveler, you will have these people that will travel around in vans and the thing is, they probably have a lot of money too, they probably have way more money than you do, but they just got fed up with that type of life and now they're looking for something different and they're just seeking something different, they're seeking self-actualization. 

So they literally just give up their shoes, they live in bands and they travel around and then you'll have people who are just remote workers who will go get an Airbnb somewhere and they will go to these co-working places. They will actually do all the ex-pat type of activities, they will join the meet-ups and, and things like that. So there's a lot of different flavors in terms of how you want to be a Digital Nomad. I really do think that the entrepreneurship flavor is the best flavor because yeah, you just have control over your own time and you're probably making pretty good money and if you're living somewhere where you have cheap access to labor, like, you know, you can save a lot of your focus at time and energy into actually building and creating something. 

So yeah, that's my experience as a digital nomad, I hope that helps. If you're thinking about being a Digital Nomad, let me know, hit me up in the DMs. And yeah, be interesting to hear what you have to say, All right, this is Robin Copernicus. Boom bam, I'm out. 

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