James Clark Works Remotely
Founder Digital Nomad Self-Employed
Digital Nomad Life
% Time Traveling
|Past Year:||5 Cities||4|
|Career:||50 Cities||50 Countries|
* All figures approximate as of October 2016
I started out making websites as a side interest/hobby. Eventually I realized it was something I could do as a job so I started planning for that. The digital nomad/remote worker culture wasn’t a thing when I started in 2003 so I didn’t even know I was becoming a remote worker. I just wanted a job I liked and to be able to travel more.
Give it a test run first by traveling somewhere while you work. The lifestyle sounds appealing but you may find that it isn’t for you. If so, then you still have something to go home to. If it is for you, then plan to make this your lifestyle accordingly.
Being able to live in different places around the world without needing a job in that physical location is the biggest benefit for me. I have spent time in places I never would have been able to if I was working a regular job.
I don’t have a fixed schedule but I do work a solid amount of hours per week (over 40 hours). I get up 7am without an alarm clock, have breakfast and coffee, and start working. I usually work from 2 or 3 cafes throughout the day, so I split my time between cafes and wherever I’m staying.
I am most productive in the morning so I avoid meetings then. I work better by myself so I prefer cafes over co-working spaces.
Most of the problems of remote working arise from moving to a new place, such as finding suitable accommodation and places with good wifi. There are so many resources about working remotely around the world that this information is getting easier to find.
- Day bag
Never say never is what I usually tell people. Life is too long to make such concrete statements and you never know what opportunities life will throw your way.
I usually read various forums and talk to people there, and if I get to know someone personally, I will use apps like Viber or WhatsApp.
The main impact has been that my work hours are not traditional. I may work on Saturday night, yet take half a day on Tuesday off.
As a business owner—whether that be remote or traditional—your work and life boundaries become blurred. I’ve long stopped thinking in terms of 9-5 as the only time to think about work. As a travel writer I’m always looking for photo and story opportunities, so work and life are one and the same.
I like working by myself so I don’t feel lonely when I work. I prefer to work alone as it is less distracting for me. Outside of work I have gravitated towards cities where I know people or who are also working remotely, so I am never far from friends if I wanted to meet up with people.
Social media and special-interest forums are a great way of meeting people in new places. I make announcements if I’m going somewhere new and I’m always surprised with who finds me. I’ve found that popular remote working cities have Facebook pages that you can search for and join.
I’m currently based in Ho Chi Minh City, which has been a favorite place to work for a few years now. There is a strong community here, I love the culture, and being in a city that is rapidly developing is interesting.