I started my digital nomad journey eight years ago. I was inspired by reading travel articles from Filipino bloggers exploring the world while building their careers. When I began my remote work, no one helped me. I did not know anyone in my circle who wanted to travel the world because it was a crazy dream, especially if you came from a low-income family. It was an impossible dream for many, but not for me.
I was able to quit my hotel job in 2016, having yet to have a fixed idea of what I wanted to focus on in my freelance career. Before leaving, I made sure to get a client not to worry about a stream of income because I had to finance my sister’s university education way back. That was my main worry at that time. I was okay with being unable to travel as long as I would not have issues paying for my sister’s tuition and, of course, my monthly bills.
On the other hand, the other reason why I pushed myself to become a digital nomad was the urge to travel more and the idea of being able to step foot on foreign soil. I have read many travel articles about it, as I have previously mentioned. In addition, I got inspired by my fellow citizens working while away from their home country.
The biggest challenge during my first year in the remote work industry was needing a laptop when I started my journey. I was working from home using our PC. I remember that after my shift, my brother would use the computer to do his thing. It was a struggle because my brother back then worked on his stuff in the wee hours.
After conquering that challenge, I was then able to travel to 11 countries which I am proud of because I worked my ass off to be able to visit them all. I applied for visas for countries like Japan and Stockholm. I saved money to prove that I was just a tourist wanting to see the beauty of the other side of the world.
Here are some questions that I would like to share for you to understand my nomad journey for the past eight years:
- How do you balance the need for stability and the desire for adventure?
I always write what I want to achieve to have a concrete plan while away from my home country. When I travel, I always make sure to know my free time to determine the days and times when I am okay to explore and do exciting stuff in the country I am visiting. At first, balancing the need for stability and the desire for adventure is hard, but with discipline, you can balance both. When I started this journey, I struggled because I was often confused, but I did not let it win because I was born to enjoy and live this freedom lifestyle.
- What is one thing you wish you would’ve known when you started?
I could have wished to connect more to digital nomads so that they could guide me on my journey. Because in this life, having a mentor is a good thing. They can guide you. They give excellent advice for your next move.
- What personality traits have helped you the most as a nomad?
Being friendly made my nomad journey more fun. It made me connect with other people easily while traveling. I have met so many good people while on the road.
- What surprising qualities or skills have you learned from being nomadic?
The ability to be flexible is one thing that I have cultivated in my journey. I know there’s no perfect adventure, but you can still win because of an ideal mindset.
- How do you maintain a sense of community and connection?
Social media was and is still a big help. I have been joining Facebook groups about nomads. Also, I have been following digital nomads I have met on my journey. Some may unfollow you for no reason, but that’s another story for me to tell.
- Are you a planner or more serendipitous?
I’m not a planner when I travel. I don’t even research places that I would be visiting. I want new destinations to make me feel shocked and childlike again. I know it’s more expensive to be more spontaneous and serendipitous, but it’s my way of celebrating freedom, which I value so much in this life.
To summarize, being a digital nomad is my personal choice. It’s the best path I have chosen, which made me a better person towards humanity and Mother Earth. And just like all paths, it has its ups and downs. I questioned if this journey was forever or might end without me knowing. But you know what, regarding mobility, It boils down to passport privilege and your country’s currency power. Many bloggers don’t highlight this because they have the privilege to travel to so many countries with the need to apply for a visa.
I hate to break it with you, but the nomadic lifestyle is only for some. Many would work from home/office rather than spend so much money traveling extensively from one destination to another. However, this lifestyle is still worth the risk if you love the world more than anything else. There is just so much to see out there.
Also, the community is getting bigger, not just for developed countries but also for developing ones.
Since the community is more extensive and significant, I’m happy SafetyWing is here for all of us. I am forever grateful to the founder of the company.
SafetyWing is my first choice when I’m outside the Philippines. For those curious, it is a travel medical insurance that nomads created for nomads. You can purchase a policy even if your trip has already started. You can pause and resume coverage with flexibility. One hundred eighty-five countries are covered; you don’t need to inform them about your itinerary in advance.
Perfect for people like me who are still determining where they’ll be next month!
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