Are you a digital nomad – just pitched up your tent and ready to get the FIRE started?
I’m sat writing this on my bed at home because I have been getting sicker and sicker all week. It might have been caused by an early start on Friday last where I was in Amsterdam for a day trip (3am start as usual), or from over doing it at the weekend at the Edinburgh Festival!
Anyway, one of the blessings and curses of my job is that I can work remotely. I was fielding emails, calls and sending documents out to clients on Friday morning and it made me reach for a podcast that I had half listened previously about digital nomads. (Thanks to a blog post by FIukmoney, I listened to a smilar podcast that said we will all be working until our 70’s – how depressing!)
The idea about being a digital nomad is that for some jobs, you don’t need to be in a central office and talking to people face to face to do your job. So for many people, they can benefit from geoarbitrage. Earn the big bucks of jobs in expensive places like London or New York and live in cheaper places like Mexico or Morocco.
I’m not the first to think about it because a quick search gives a couple of other bloggers including the Can I Retire Yet, Let’s Reach Success and MadFIentist that talk about the same idea. MadFIentist has a number of really good podcasts that I’ve started going through. He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland so he’s got some perspectives on a more local basis than your other blogs – and he’s clearly thought about what he’s talking about.
So should I to stick at my current job, driving an 80 miles (125km) 1h45m round trip commute every day to work? Working from home is so much more pleasant (better coffee for one) and I find that I normally work more when at home since I don’t spend 2 hours driving to/from work. My current boss is happy for me to work from home – thinking that he can trust me BUT I’m now in a role that involves more time at work and the feeling there is that Working from Home = Not Working. It’s a cultural phenomenon of that office that will be difficult to shake and the chances are that I’ll FIRE before it changes. Everyone is in a different situation but my company is a bit old fashioned. But when I can do the job just as well from home or from Portugal or Peru, do I need to be in the office to show my face? Well, this depends a bit on what you do, who you do it for and if they like you or now.
My current boss is happy for me to work from home – thinking that he can trust me BUT I’m now in a role that involves more time at the office and the feeling in the office that Working from Home = Not Working. It’s a cultural phenomenon of that office that will be difficult to shake and the chances are that I’ll FIRE before it changes. I already benefit from mirco-geoarbitrage as it is, I earn an above average wage and live in a lower cost of living area. I’m lucky I can do that – although it does come with the commute. 🙂
So, my thoughts on becoming a Nomad are that I think I would like it very much but the company won’t go for it. If we go for FIRE next year, I can ask for some flexibility. It can’t hurt and it might be a good way to keep a bit of continuity with big changes in life!
What I really liked about these digital nomads (I don’t like that term but hey – that’s what they are called now) was that they have shown a certain disregard for living in one place and putting up with their lot in life. I don’t live in London because I’m afraid of the cost of property and the cost of renting there – but I hadn’t thought that you can take the wages from London and live a better life somewhere else – somewhere warmer, sunnier, with cheaper drinks and somewhere that might just allow you to reach FIRE a bit earlier than following bods like me who are grinding it out in the rat race.