1000 digital nomad days
In January 2013, Rome was our first destination. A short two-day stop over before heading to Asia. I still remember the feeling, somehow unreal; confused but curious, scared but determined. Relieved. Wandering through the ancient ruins, wondering what next.
When getting excited about yet another temple starts to feel like work, it's time to turn the attention back to the everyday life again. For those who mostly stay put, travel often means vacation. That leads to the conclusion that digital nomads are always on one. In contrary, many of the nomads we've met seem to be the hardest working people.
You can learn tons about new places and cultures in 15 minutes: the first fifteen after entering a new place, that refine your preconceptions with a handful of experience. After gaining some surface level understanding, getting deeper into the local culture turned out to be quite challenging. One reason, or excuse, for that is the fact that we spent most of our days online, in a different world than the people around us.
The local language would be one key to the culture, but often too much for us, as we would need to learn more than a few of them. I've picked up some Spanish, improved my German, learned and forgotten a few words in many other languages. For me the most fun part is learning new alphabets. Next up is Arabic. This time I won't stop before I know at least one hundred words.
At first we stayed in hotels — in Asia that was quite affordable — but switched to rental appartments and Airbnb, in Europe almost exclusively. Those felt much more cozy and interesting in the long term, while also providing us a peek inside local people's homes. We've continued moving every few weeks. It's much more fun when you can fit all your belongings into a backpack.
Housesits have been a nice way to stay, with a cat or a dog or two. In addition to daily excercise, they have brought structure and routine to our sometimes a bit irregular lifestyle. We get a glimpse of what it would be like to settle down somewhere…
In the beginning I imagined working in cafes, coworking spaces, and by the beach. In practice we mostly work from home, where ever that might be at the moment. Some places have been great, some not that much, but usually always good enough.
We've kept office in tiny windowless rooms, in lakeside cabins, in a tent on a camping ground in a thunderstorm, in shady motel rooms somewhere in Louisiana, on a cruise ship in the middle of the Atlantic, in cold albuergues along the pilgrimage route of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, in all-inclusive hotel during the Coworking Camp in Turkey. Yes, we've worked by the beach too, but that accounts only for a tiny little fraction of the time.
Working anywhere — as Christine from Almost Fearless put it — easily turns into working everywhere. For us to really unplug it requires leaving our laptops behind and going to a place with no internet access. That's becoming harder every day. If you find some remote corner of the world with no connection, take some time to appreciate it. Next year there might be a McDonalds and free wifi.
We love to travel far, but we enjoy returning as well. The whole Europe, even with its regional differences, feels like home when arriving from overseas.
Every now and then we visit Finland, our home country. It's always nice to visit friends and family, especially around midsummer and Christmas. We seem to spend quite a lot of time here too, like at the time of writing this.
Around the time when we had 50 days of nomadic life behind, Simon of Never Ending Voyage wrote about their 1000 days.
I read it again now, and found myself nodding all the way through it — it's still a good read, and I pretty much agree on the points he makes there. Back then I didn't really believe we would continue that long.
Now it feels like we've just started.
We are Mirje and Antti, a 30+ digital nomad couple, entrepreneurs with restless feet and passion for experiencing the world. more »