“Digital nomads are people who are location independent and use technology to perform their job. Digital nomads work remotely (telecommute), which is now economically possible due to cheap internet access, smartphones and voice over internet protocol (VoIP) to keep in contact with clients and employers.” - Investopedia
There’s nothing more liberating than choosing the path you want to take in life, and in January 2014, I did just that. After leaving my ‘dream job’ as Entertainment Editor at Seventeen Magazine with no backup plan, some cushion cash and a dream of being someone that wasn't just an employee, I embarked on the toughest, but most rewarding two years of my life.
How It All Began
Six months before leaving Seventeen Magazine, I recognised how unhappy I was in my job. I loved the work I was doing, but the struggle of getting to work everyday, the environment I was put in and the long hours took its toll on me. But the security of a 9-5 kept me at my desk day in and day out, and soon I’d get a massive reality check and realised that that security was not real.
Quitting My 9-5
At the end of 2013, the Seventeam was called into a meeting and told that magazine was going to close down. Fortunately we’d all be placed in other positions within Media24 so we wouldn’t be losing our jobs. Even though I was so grateful that I still had a job, over the next month of wrapping up the magazine’s final issue, I realised that I needed to choose my own destiny
Instead of chasing the security that a 9-5 brought and being replaced into a position I didn’t want to be in, I made the bravest decision of my life and left the company.
There I was after seven years of the structure, stability and a constant paycheque that a 9-5 gave me, now being allowed to do whatever I wanted with my time. I panicked often, I cried a lot and questioned my decision, but my gut kept telling me that I made the right decision.
Becoming A Digital Nomad
Within the first month of working from home, I realised that I could be working from anywhere in the world. I was young (26 years old at the time), had no responsibilities in Cape Town and my office entailed my laptop and a good Internet connection, so I booked a return ticket to Thailand, and became a digital nomad.
What was meant to be a three month trip to Thailand to see if I was cut out for this digital nomadic lifestyle, turned into a seven month adventure through Southeast Asia. I was thriving, learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, and rediscovering myself without being ‘Lara from Seventeen’.
With no one to fall back on but myself, I had to work extremely hard. My options were extremely black and white - if I didn’t work, I wouldn’t make money, and if I didn’t make money I had to go back home and find a 9-5 job.
I set up a schedule almost immediately and decided to work Friday to Monday and take Tuesday to Thursday off to be a tourist. I also tried to stay in one place for no less than a month at a time which gave me the time to see and do everything I wanted to.
For the first time in my life my vision for what I wanted out of life became so clear. I didn’t want to spend my best years sitting at my desk with a two week vacation to travel. I wanted to live and travel! Don’t get me wrong, this lifestyle has its difficult moments - I’ve lost a massive client along the way, been rushed to the emergency room on the back of scooter, and suffered from culture shock.
In the two years since becoming a digital nomad, I’ve done more with my life than the first 26 years. I’ve launched a Freemadic http://freemadic.com/ - a lifestyle blog, Copy In The Cloud http://copyinthecloud.com/ - a remote copy creation agency, and almost an entire year travelling to and living in Southeast Asia and Europe.
Follow my adventures at freemadic.com , work with me at CopyInTheCloud.com and stay connected with me on Twitter at @LaraMoses87.