Have you ever made a decision which takes bravery, a certain level of stupidity, calculated risk, dedication and results in a life changing scenario? If you have then you will understand the emotional rollercoaster we have experienced over the last 6 months, as we took the decision to become digital nomads. But first, some context…
“We need to get our sh*t together”
September, ’17, starting our final year in university there was an overwhelming sense of ‘we need to get our sh*t together’ by the whole year group. In just a few months we were going to be released into the world of no student loans, no student discount, expectations, unknowns and full time work. Each day which went by, we were expecting to feel more ready, more excited at the prospect of achieving our goal of working in a design studio as junior designers. Whilst this may have been the case for the majority of our year group, we began to have conflicting feelings.
Whilst we still wanted to work in the industry, and design remained our passion and our career of choice, it was the life of 9 – 5 and the mundane nature we just didn’t feel we were ready for. We had a hunger for something else, something bigger, something other than just settling into the next 50 years. We couldn’t shake the feeling, that maybe now is the time to do something for us.
Over the course of two weeks we started unearthing information about a little known way of life, a way of perpetually travelling the world as well expanding experience and horizons in our selected careers. What a dream right? Travel the world whilst still working in your industry of choice, gaining experience, building a strong, varied portfolio and even making a profit in the process? There was no question about it, becoming a digital nomad is what we were searching for. This was our something.
“We booked a one way flight to Chiang Mai, Thailand”
Before we had time to rethink the prospect, we had committed. We booked a one way flight to Chiang Mai, Thailand, for September 20th 2018. A put your money where your mouth is gesture to ourselves. And in the process, not only gave ourselves a mountain to climb, we gave ourselves an impossibly tight timeframe to reach the summit. We were faced with 6 months to build two sole-trading freelance businesses which could turn over enough profit to sustain our living and traveling costs, completing a to do list as long as our arms, building a pot of savings and float to give us a small financial safety net, reducing our possessions down to what we can physically carry with us and convincing our families and friends we weren’t absolutely mad.
The businesses were our biggest risk, a lot of nomads have experience in the industry before they take the plunge into nomad life. Bringing with them experience, some loyal clients, knowledge of business management and an idea of what the hell they are doing. Not us. We were putting our faith in our abilities, and hoping we could put building a semi-reliable business into fast forward.
We have had many long days and nights working for clients all over the world, taking on jobs which were ambitious, and then trying to complete them faster, better and more successfully each time. We went through dry periods of work with severe doubt in our ability to sustain ourselves, however the very next day we would be inundated with job offers and new clients. We felt elation, exhaustion, despair, hope, anger, frustration, all on a daily basis – but with an unwavering never say die attitude.
“We are getting on that plane whether we are ready or not”
Thankfully, our client numbers began to build, and we have managed to build a bit of a safety net. We still aren’t in a perfect situation, but then, when is anything perfect? At least it is going in the right direction. Today, on the 20th of September we are getting on that plane whether we are ready or not, we have done all the preparation we can in the time frame we were faced with. It’s going to take some bravery to set off with the intention of making a life for ourselves traveling different countries and cultures for a couple months at a time. But it feels right, there is no apprehension, no worry, it is completely left in the shadow of our ambition and a fierce fight to make things work.
The excitement at the prospect of achieving our dreams is building daily, and if at the end of it all we get is a bloody nose, at least we tried, at least we went after it as hard as we could. Then it will be onto the next journey, but for now, this is it – it’s the beginning of our adventure.
A special note to all our family and friends. Thank you all for your ongoing support, help, advice and kind words. We certainly wouldn’t have made it this far without all of you. It’s goodbye for now, but not for good!
Megan & Tom