Have you ever wondered what it would be like to quit the 9-5, move somewhere exotic and chase your dreams? So have I and I’m off to Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand to meet some Digital Nomads and find out.
After reading The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, in 2009 I successfully ditched conventional work in favour of earning a living online — a passive income from Affiliate Marketing which meant my earnings were no longer related to how much time I spent working (you can read about how I did this here). That is the first part of the lifestyle revolution which Tim Ferriss opened my eyes to, and it changed my life. It gave me time and freedom, and to be honest, a lot more money than I ever earned by working for £s per hour. It enabled me to live anywhere in the world, and to spend my time doing whatever I wanted to do, rather than chasing my tail earning a living as I’d done for the last 20 years.
I certainly enjoyed my new freedom and the ability to spend my time doing what I wanted, rather than having to go into the office and spend every day chained to my desk. It has been wonderful and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
But have I made the most of it?
No, not really. For the last few years, I’ve been able to live anywhere in the world. Or at least anywhere I can get wi-fi. I’ve travelled around a bit, and I’ve done a lot of sailing all over the world, but I’ve never really jumped in and lived the dream to the full.
I could live anywhere in the world. Where did I live for the last few years — Antigua, Bali, New York, Tahiti…?
No. I lived in Dorking, in Surrey.
It’s a pleasant enough place. A nice little market town on the edge of the Surrey Hills, surrounded by beautiful countryside, great walks, nice pubs, and not too far from London.
But it’s not exactly the South of France, Sydney, or Florence. Chances are, if you started with a blank sheet of paper, you probably wouldn’t pick Dorking as the one place in the whole world to live, nice though it is. It is very easy to cling to the familiar, and to stay in the safe world you are accustomed to. Indeed there may be good reasons to do so — family, friends, relationships and other attachments. Staying where you are, and just enjoying the freedom without radically uprooting your life might be the right thing for you to do. It has been for me. Until now at least.
But some people are different. They have the courage to leave everything they know and are comfortable with, travel halfway around the world, immerse themselves in an alien culture and pursue their dreams.
These are the people I’m going to Chiang Mai to meet and talk to. I want to find out what drove them to take that bold step, how it has been for them, and how they feel about it now.
They call themselves Digital Nomads. People who wander where they choose, free from the constraints of a conventional job. Free spirits. And there are a lot of them in Chiang Mai.
I’m going to find out their stories and see what it’s really like to live the dream made possible by the digital revolution and the Four Hour Work Week. Warts and all.
I’ll be writing here about the people I meet, and what I learn. And me being me, with my passion for Asian food, I will also be exploring the best of Northern Thai cuisine and street food (be warned, the odd photo of what I’m about to eat may well appear on Facebook so if that’s not your thing, look away).
Check back here for updates once I get to Chiang Mai. See you on the other side.