Writing about my nomadic lifestyle or running an online business is the most requested topic from my followers and people I meet. I have resisted it for a long time mostly because there are tons of nomad and travel bloggers already out there. I can’t ignore the requests anymore so here’s a download of how I run my location independent life and business.
How I run my Location Independent Business
I have some favorite locations in the world and one of them is Chiang Mai, Thailand. I visited Chiang Mai first time in 2003 and felt like home instantly. When I started my location independent lifestyle Thailand was my first destination.
Nowadays Chiang Mai is bustling nomad hot spot which means I feel like home with like-minded people around. There are lots of events and co-working spaces to mingle with fellow nomads and meet travelers. Chiang Mai has been my winter destination for years, and this year is no different. When in CM I rent an apartment around Nimman which is full of cafes, co-working spaces, and great restaurants. I rarely cook when I’m in Chiang Mai – no point since I get better food cheaply from the street.
Another favorite is Sydney, Australia where I often go to house sit. I have been in Sydney multiple times over the years and may go back this Christmas again.
Of course I also spend some time back home in Finland – less so by each year though.
Rest I kinda leave open for adventure and what comes along – read below how.
For me, the worst part of the nomadic lifestyle is the constant search for a place to stay. I absolutely hate this process. It takes lot of time and effort to find suitable accommodation in a great neighborhood in a new location. This was fun for the first year… not so much anymore. My solution to this has been house sitting!
If you are not familiar with house sitting it is an exchange of services where live in and look after a house while its owner is away. This way I walk into a house/apartment with working internet and often also an office. Plus house owner picks me up from the airport so I literally don’t need to do any preparations except get a visa where required. No house, hotel, sightseeing search required!
As an added bonus (and one of the reasons why I do house sitting) is all the best friends I get around the world. Below is a pic of few of my best buddies around the world:
I have house sat in five continents both in cities, countryside and beach destinations. My house sits highlights have been Sydney Australia, Montanita Ecuador, Brooklyn New York and Singapore. I don’t sit full-time, just when I find great sounding house sit somewhere in the world. I often make my travel plans according to house sits.
House sitting is an awesome way to go to new places and see how locals live. I live in a house or apartment, do grocery shopping, cook my meals, walk the dog or feed the cat. I often get to know neighbors and owners friends who are my local contact persons.
I don’t spend that much time with the owners but I still get to know them as I live in their home, and especially looking after their most precious part of their family, their cat or dog. Many house owners have become friends who I meet for coffee when ever I’m back in their city.
House sitting also enables me to have a bit of an adventure as home owners find me and ask if I could sit for them. That is how I ended up in the Dominican Republic for 2 months, French countryside for 3 months and many other locations in the world.
When I do not house sit I use Airbnb. I rarely stay in hotels, I prefer to stay in apartments.
Running a business is really easy these days because of technology. No need to be anywhere in person as all can be done via chat, video call or email.
None of my clients get my mobile number, they only get my Skype so I am contactable only when it is suitable for me. This has never really been a problem for clients. They only care about what I deliver, not if they can call me.
I guarantee 24 hours response time excluding weekends for all clients but honestly, I rarely get urgent requests anyways.
In terms of tools I have list of tools I use here -> http://ninakolari.com/online-tools/
This is a bit of life and business issue.
For the business side, I use Meetup and Eventbrite to find local events, networking opportunities, and seminars. This is the part of my nomadic lifestyle I love. I get to meet entrepreneurs all over the world, share ideas and strategies and learn. It is also an awesome way to find joint venture opportunities. When ever I am in big cities, I fill my calendar with events and meetups.
I was recently in London for 5 weeks and had 3-4 events each week. I’m going to Chiang Mai next where there are events but totally different kind of events so I got to make most of my time in big cities.
There are numerous nomad groups on Facebook that caters nomads and finding people in locations. I am a moderator for Digital Nomad Girls Group which is a great place to meet fellow nomad girls.
I search for flights on Skyscanner and Momondo and then book directly via airline. The reason, why I book directly with an airline, is that if there are any delays, missed connections or any other problem, it is way easier to deal problems directly with the airline than travel agent in the middle.
I am also pretty lazy when it comes to flights. I book most direct route even if it cost more. I am not looking for the cheapest flight, I look for easiest travel.
I don’t use any apps on my mobile for travel. Or print out anything. I take screenshots of my flight ticket and boarding passes.
I travel with roughly 20 kg and that is all my worldly possessions. As in everything I own! I used to have furniture and all in storage but I gave it all away… I do have couple of boxes of winter clothes at brother house in case I ever visit Finland in winter (has not happened a while..).
I have suitacase, carry-on and handbag. When people see my luggage, they are surprised that it is all my stuff. I guess I have made this into an art form after 8 or so years, plus this is another thing I hate – carrying my suitcase. This means I try to keep my possessions to a minimum. If I buy something, I got to throw away something.
Most kilos comes from tech stuff. I have so many cables, tripods, laptop stuff that I’d like to admit.
For clothing, I buy cheap stuff that I don’t mind throwing away in a couple of months. Not the most sustainable solution but when you are limited to a couple of kilos, no other solution has worked. I do like to change my wardrobe at times too. I have three pairs of shoes – sneakers, flip flops, and closed toe shoes.
I rarely am somewhere with cold weather which saves a lot of space and kilos. I have escaped winter for quite a few years now.
It was hard in the beginning to only have few things but nowadays I do not miss anything I had before, that includes a home to a certain extent. The whole idea of not owning anything is quite “out there” in today’s world where we are supposed to buy, buy and buy stuff.
So there, that is my life in a short blog post. If you have any questions about nomadic / location independent lifestyle do let me know below in the comments. Now that I have opened up about my crazy lifestyle you’ll see more posts on topic and would love to know what you would like to read.