Imagine if you could continue work while traveling and traveling while working! Most of us if given a choice, would want to carry on with these two super important aspects of life together. But either it seems like a bold step where there are just too many uncertainties or simply something most of us have no idea about. So when we got in touch with David Webb, a new age digital nomad it was but obvious for us to ask him to share his precious experience with us.
David is a business consultant from Sydney. In his free time, he likes to travel, write and share his knowledge about various business strategies. He has spent a year traveling through Europe and working as an online business consultant. In his very own words- "On my voyage, I have gathered a lot of experience living as a digital nomad - working in the online environment, meeting new people on a day to day basis." So here we handover the baton to David who will tell us about his experience of a digital nomad in Australia!
Being a digital nomad is a thrilling adventure and a potentially lucrative endeavor. Technology has made it possible to work from pretty much anywhere and we are empowered to transcend the borders of space and time. However, nomadic life can be a rather difficult one. Perhaps the most important consideration for a nomad is a choice of destination.
So, what about Australia, a country well known for its tourist attractions? From lush rain forests to the barren outback, the timeless, seemingly endless landscape stretches beyond imagination. Well, for us, it is relevant that Australia has become a magnet for those who mean not only to enjoy but also work there. Yes, many nomads have already visited this vast country and some of them have decided to stay there indefinitely.
The Great Migration
The way we perceive work has changed dramatically. The digital revolutions engulf the world and fast internet speeds spread to its distant corners. These developments have facilitated the rise of digital nomads, remote workers, and freelancers. It is expected that by 2035, there will be 1 billion nomads in the world. Their example has captured the imagination of numerous working people who seek to escape the tedious 9-5 routine.
Namely, with the tech infrastructure in place, the world can be your oyster. The whole ocean of online possibilities unfolds before your eyes. Of course, having too many options is overwhelming, but some would say that this is a part of the charm of living like a nomad. This brings us to the point that although being a digital nomad may seem like bliss, it has various pros and cons.
First of all, nomads work on the move. Apart from a laptop, the Wi-Fi internet is essential. Alas, when the latter is nowhere to be found, nomads cannot meet deadlines and fulfill their daily tasks. Also, it is important to note that there is no such thing as complete freedom because the money is usually an issue. Many nomads travel to countries with low living costs and gradually climb up the career ladder.
Some of them are not picky when it comes to their “workplace”. They work from a tent, type emails from the beach, and chill around hotel lobbies. They have given balancing work and life a new meaning, catching the attention of those who are chained to work desks and sterile cubicles that are supposed to be offices. However, running your business from a crowded beach, for instance, is no walk in the park.
It is often too hot and noisy to stay productive and sand can damage your precious laptop. You could say that the work part of the equation often suffers due to constant moving and visiting amazing places around the world. What is more, one does need a steady income in order to sustain the nomadic lifestyle and become truly location independent.
The Cost Of Dreams
Let us now take a look at Australia. Namely, the Land Down Under offers nice weather, vibrant culture, great quality of life, flourishing economy and plenty of business opportunities. There is a wide range of activities to keep you busy, but more importantly, the necessary infrastructure (Wi-Fi) and other resources are present and certainly not in short supply. Also, for most nomads, the language barrier is non-existent.
It seems that there is something really tempting about leaving everything behind and going to the other side of the globe. It is a chance to turn a new leaf, and write a new exciting chapter of your life. So, it does not come as a surprise that people are flocking to this vast country in pursuit of their dreams. Not every nomad can afford to live there, though, as living costs can be as high as a kite.
Hotels start at around $16 per night for a dorm room, but prices go up to $30 in big coastal cities. Camping is less costly, but it is often not an option due to lack of a solid internet connection. Food is not cheap either and decent restaurant entrees cost $15, although a fast food meal can be found for $11. Taking all of this into account the suggested daily budget is somewhere between $43 and $57.
Major Hubs & Work Spaces
Sydney is on the travel radar of numerous nomads and not just because of the things like legendary Bondi Beach. This burgeoning city is on top of the list due to appealing lifestyle, world-renowned attractions, friendly culture and thriving startup scene. Also, finding a co-working space in Sydney is a breeze. Numerous shared workspaces are popping up across the urban area and they accommodate a growing army of nomads.
These bustling hubs are places where they can meet like-minded people, share ideas and work their fingers to the bone if need be. Entrepreneurs, remote workers, creative individuals and nomads come together and disrupt traditional notions about doing business. What is more, finding a new gig is not hard. The only drawback is that the most populous city in Australia is also one of the most expensive cities around the world (monthly living costs are $2,900). Thus, it might not be a viable option for many people.
Other popular destinations are Melbourne, Brisbane, Wollongong and Gold Coast. All these cities have a lively entrepreneurial and innovation scenes. Brisbane is less expensive than Sydney, but the trade-off is that job opportunities are less appealing. Wollongong is an interesting example because it is a relatively small community: the costs of living start at $1,800 per month, while the average internet speed is 50 Mbps. In addition, a 24/7 full membership in a local co-working space costs $299.
Cover All The Bases
Minding the Tourist Season
Aside from the expenditures, one of the possible issues is the tumultuous tourist season. After all, Australia is one of the hottest tourist destinations on the face of the earth. During the peak period, one may find it difficult to find a quiet and secluded corner. To do that, some nomads decide to migrate inland, away from the busy coast. Fortunately, surfing and soaking in the sun are not the only activities to take on, as backpacking, road trips and camping opportunities are abundant.
Just bear in mind that Australia is a humongous continent-sized country with population that is quite low in perspective. The large stretches of and between towns and rural areas are not covered with a telephone network, and even some urban jungles have notorious “black spots”. This is to say you need to plan well in advance and do your research, especially if you want to wander through the Outback and discover some hidden gems.
Getting to Places
Figure out the best carrier for areas you want to pay a visit to. As a rule of thumb, Telstra and Optus have the best coverage, albeit there are huge differences from country to country, and some people swear by Vodafone. In any event, create your work schedule carefully and get everything done before leaving populated areas. Do not leave the transportation to chance. Distances are vast and not easy to traverse.
Furthermore, in case you want to rent a furnished apartment for a month or two, you have to do your homework because landlords prefer long-term rental periods. Thus, I would say that when you are in the country as big and as expensive as Australia, planning is the cornerstone of success. For seasoned nomads who are fine with being uncomfortable, it is easier to get by. Still, always be prepared to deal with unexpected and difficult situations and try to stay positive.
Birds of the Same flock
The learning and adapting curve is different for everyone. Nevertheless, it pays off to read as much as you can about OZ before you move there. Ponder on the best ways to save money until you get a financial foothold. Get in touch with other nomads and business people. Utilize networks like LinkedIn and capitalize on the fact that the recruiting scene in Australia has exploded in recent years. There is also a myriad of freelance jobs you can apply for in case you need extra money.
Sow the Seeds of success
There is something unforgettable and unique about visiting Australia. Few places under the eternal blue sky provide such a remarkable mixture of culture, entertainment and business prospects. Alas, when you are more than a tourist ready to party around the clock, you cannot dive in unprepared. Test the waters first and know what you are getting yourself into. Come up with a plan, put together a schedule and find your own work rhythm.
It is clear that just hitting the road and letting the chips fall where they may does not cut it. To come up roses you need to embrace a different kind of attitude. Make sure you are ready for high costs of living and everything that comes with that. Consider urban centers where you can meet other digital nomads as well as network, collaborate and learn from them. Make the most of the nomadic lifestyle and get some work done.