What is a Digital Nomad?

Forbes said that a Digital Nomad can do work anywhere, wherever and whenever he/she wants to, while traveling and doing and pursuing the things he/she is most passionate about.

In this generation it is easy to spot one. But it takes a lot of courage, determination, and volition to be one.

Hong Kong Disneyland, May 2017

It isn’t easy, as many have said it.

In my case, sure it isn’t. At 24, I realized that I am no longer happy and growing in my office cubicle. After four years of being in the four corners of the corporate world straight right from college, I am starting a lifestyle that I know will take me to places and make me learn more about life and love.

You see, in 2012, right before I graduate, I got a call from an alumni of our school publication where I was then an editor. I am offering you a work, he said. He offered me an editorial assistant job in a newly-opened newspaper. The eager, excited, and yearning me back then abruptly said yes.

The two years were okay. But then I realized it wasn’t something I see myself in the next couple of years. I yearned to know more, to do more, to learn more, to meet more, and to be out of the bounds of a typical office–clock in and out, 9-5 job, Mondays to Fridays, etc. And so I transferred to a publishing company where I was an editorial coordinator and a head writer for a couple of magazines. There, I coordinated the publications, interview, write, cover stories, beat deadlines, write, and write.

Yes, I enjoyed it. And yes, at some point I found myself unhappy again. Yes, I get to meet people, and learn more, but then in those times where I meet people I see more opportunities for me. Opportunities that I can’t pursue if I am tied in an office, full time work. Aside from this, above all, of course, is that I wanted to make more time to my family and to travel more with my partner. My parents are not getting any younger. My father is undergoing dialysis while my mother is on her last year of teaching as a private school teacher. Whenever I go home on weekends, I always get excited to tell them my week’s highlights. My sister too, and her two-year-old son, are my favorite people. I wanted to make more time for them, while still having time for myself, my work, and my personal life.

Disney Explorers Lodge, May 2017

Here’s my goal: To balance work and play

But before deciding, there were many questions that ran in my mind.

What will happen to me?

Do I have enough resources?

Do I even have freaking savings to back me up?

Will my parents agree with me?

Will my boyfriend support me?

Where will I find a remote job?

Will I ever return to corporate again?

What if I fail? 

See. These questions were hard to answer. But I tried finding answers for two years. I researched, read articles about freelancing and being a digital nomad, and asked people in the industry. And besides, I have been doing project based works from the side for the past three years. I hoped that these years of experience, highs and lows included, would somehow prepare me for the world I am about to enter. From there I found my answers. And I carefully planned for it.

And so I quit. Well, partly. I was kept as a freelance writer in the same company. I can either work from home or go to the office twice a week. Better, and more convenient for me.

Choose battles. Do not mind the ones isn’t worth pursuing.

One thing I learned from the arduous process of quitting is that you need to stand firm on what you want, before some people cloud you with doubts and fears. You have to be sure of yourself and your decisions because from there, you will get your strength in pursuing the things you want. I was once the hesitant person. The always-saying-yes person. The martyr. The person who is always sorry.

But I realized nothing will ever change in my life if I did take a stand.One veteran photographer I once met on the road told me that this is the right time to pursue the things that make my heart skip a beat. Today. Where my heart is pumping so much passion. Where my will to pursue, create, and do more is at its peak.

As long as you know you are not stepping into someone’s feet, and you are not ruining other people’s lives, go and do what you want.

As of now I juggle a few clients–international and local, and all these give me the opportunity to build network, save more money for #adulting purposes, and travel within the country.

At times I work in a nearby cafe, at my friend’s house, in our homes in San Pablo, Laguna, in Burgos, Pangasinan, or in my family’s house in San Mateo, Rizal. My trusty laptop and mobile phone are my work’s best friend. I once find myself working 9am in a cafe in Hong Kong. And I can see myself doing the same somewhere in Bangkok or in Singapore. I am excited.

What I like most about doing freelance work and in being a digital nomad is that I am at my own pace. But of course, you need to know your timelines and your responsibilities. It is very satisfying to see a client, or land a new project, while you are sipping your freshly brewed coffee, by the beach, or in the mountainside.

However, not all people are fit for this set-up. Some wanted to be in the office, some wanted to work from home. Whatever you prefer, it’s up to you, really. Whatever makes you happy and alive, pursue it.

For me, this is it.

My digital journey is at its early stage. I am learning step-by-step. But with that every step I take, I know I did not made the wrong choice.

I choose what my heart has been desiring for years. I choose to be happy and to enjoy life the way I wanted it.

I made this page to document the things I will learn along the way. I hope you join me in this journey. Thanks a lot!

-Gel

a-digital-nomad-journey