HOW TO BE A DIG­I­TAL NO­MAD

Ever thought about giv­ing up your 9-5? Two years ago So­phie Ever­ard quit her city-based job to be­come a surf­ing dig­i­tal no­mad. Here’s how.

Surf Girl - - Motivation -

The mod­ern work­ing world is go­ing through some­what of a me­ta­mor­pho­sis. A gen­er­a­tional change, whereby the ease of mod­ern travel, dig­i­tal plat­forms and work aids mean it’s eas­ier than ever for both work and a per­sonal life to co-ex­ist harmoniously. But leav­ing the 9-5 grind can seem like a pipe dream to many of us, de­spite so­cial me­dia be­ing rife with dig­i­tal no­mads il­lus­trat­ing the mer­its and virtues of their lifestyle.

Hav­ing lived the clas­sic 9-5 within the con­fines of an of­fice set­ting, two years ago I took a leap into the un­known, and em­braced the no­madic free­lance life. This fol­lowed a number of burnouts in the city, which made me take the plunge for my own well­be­ing. This year my satel­lite of­fices have been any­where from the jun­gle in Costa Rica, to my sis­ter’s apart­ment in Lon­don, my Re­treat HQ in Por­tu­gal or a ho­tel room in France dur­ing a surf com­pe­ti­tion.

Once I had de­vel­oped enough of a skillset within my cho­sen field and de­ter­mined that what I do could in­deed be done re­motely, I was con­fi­dent to make the tran­si­tion. There are an abun­dance of ca­reers that can en­able a dig­i­tal no­mad ex­is­tence. So firstly you need to work out if your job or de­sired job al­lows for re­mote work­ing, or whether your skill set can be trans­ferred to a role that is no­madic?

I was keen to pur­sue my writ­ing, while util­is­ing my mar­ket­ing, PR and sales back­ground and be­com­ing a qual­i­fied surf coach and PT, to launch my life-long dream of an all-em­pow­er­ing, women’s only surf and fit­ness re­treat. Thus, after four months of trav­el­ling and surf­ing around the world after leav­ing my job in Lon­don, I was ready to make the tran­si­tion. Know­ing I had a busi­ness idea I be­lieved in, and also with a jot of brav­ery, I launched Mad To Live Re­treats.

Cre­at­ing struc­ture can be a great aid as the dig­i­tal no­mad life can change from one day to the next. Within the free­lance in­dus­try there are highs, there are lows, there are times where work is busy, and times where it is quiet. I for­mu­late a struc­ture and per­sonal goals to fol­low, which I find crit­i­cal – and in­deed so might oth­ers who have pre­vi­ously de­pended on that from an em­ployer. Mak­ing daily, weekly or monthly to-do lists,

and an agenda for each day or week, can cre­ate a struc­ture that al­lows for greater productivity.

It can be an in­ter­est­ing ex­per­i­ment to show­case to an em­ployer – demon­strat­ing how pro­duc­tive one can be if re­leased from the shack­les of the 9-5. Demon­strat­ing productivity whilst tak­ing this mod­ern and pro­gres­sive ap­proach to work­ing, and val­i­dat­ing it with facts at the end of the week in terms of what was achieved, can be a great way to get an em­ployer on side be­fore mak­ing a re­quest to be no­madic.

Those who make the tran­si­tion can be over­whelmed by the lack of struc­ture tra­di­tional roles of­fer: when be­com­ing your own boss, it is es­sen­tially all down to you. You have to mo­ti­vate your­self each day to achieve what is nec­es­sary, be tena­cious, and put your­self out there to be a suc­cess. This can take on many forms depend­ing on your ca­reer, but for those look­ing for clients, mak­ing use of dig­i­tal no­mad touch points, groups and meet­ings can be crit­i­cal. They are an op­por­tu­nity to search for busi­ness and meet like­minded peo­ple who have knowl­edge, ideas and creative buzz to share and in­spire you.

Doug Sti­dolph, co-founder of Ac­tion Academy, be­lieves that as a dig­i­tal no­mad it is crit­i­cal to: “Push your com­fort zone – life as a dig­i­tal no­mad is go­ing to be full of un­cer­tain­ties and stress­ful mo­ments – pre­pare for them by keep­ing your­self on your toes. The clichéd line, ‘do some­thing every day that scares you’, comes to mind.”

For many of us who have a love of surf­ing or out­door pur­suits, it is these sports and the en­com­pass­ing lifestyle that char­ac­terises our life and brings so much hap­pi­ness that can lead to more productivity. Know­ing that I have a surf, hike or bike ride at the be­gin­ning or end of the day is some­thing to look for­ward to and work to­wards or re­ward my­self with. I then can sit down to my list of jobs, charged and in­vig­o­rated by the fact I have par­tic­i­pated in an ac­tiv­ity that brings me so much phys­i­cal and men­tal charge and clar­ity.

Surfers are a prime ex­am­ple of a solid com­mu­nity of dig­i­tal no­mads. Many lovers of ac­tion sports can be found to be rov­ing graphic de­sign­ers, writ­ers, coders… they have a ca­reer that al­lows for re­mote work­ing, or they have adapted their skill set to suit it. With the fa­cil­ity of car­ry­ing out work through the use of video calls and con­fer­enc­ing, a well-sup­ported dig­i­tal no­mad com­mu­nity, so­cial net­works and on­line workforce plat­forms such as LinkedIn, the time is ripe to make that leap.

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