The following post was written by the amazing Maria Selting, a Fintech professional and coliving enthusiast who has had many a WiFi Tribe adventure! After reading her nomadic learnings, be sure to check out her podcast talking about all things coliving. Otherwise, grab a tasty beverage and enjoy.
When I look back at my year with WiFi Tribe, I think of every month as a chapter in itself. That’s what a month together with WiFi is literally called - a chapter. I assume this is not a coincidence.
If you travel to a new country every month, meeting amazing and smart people, not only do you learn a lot about the world but also about yourself. You learn how you can live better and become a smarter global citizen.
Then the pandemic hit the world. I believe the lessons to be learned from the digital nomad community are more relevant now than ever. Digital nomads have challenged the status quo for a long time. Now coronavirus has challenged the whole world. Many people across the globe have had to re-evaluate how they live and work in today’s society. In doing so, I believe the digital nomad community is a great source of inspiration to turn to. At least I’ve learned some valuable lessons from it.
Here are five lessons learned from one year as a nomad, that I believe are more relevant now than ever.
You Can Do More by Doing Less
In the beginning of my year as a nomad, I was still setting the alarm the same time believing I should still work regular office hours. After a while, I started realising that I could get the work done in half the time, if only I did the work at times where I felt inspired and energised. After a while, I started optimising my working hours based on how my brain worked the best, not after a schedule set by the norms in society.
Sometimes you can do more simply by taking a step back. Sometimes you can do more if you allow yourself some downtime and let the ideas come to you instead of chasing them. If you are busy ticking off your to-do list, you won’t find the mind-space to find smarter and more efficient ways of doing things. The digital nomad community is full of people who understand this. Fuelled by the launch of the book “4-Hour Work Week,” digital nomads across the world have started to optimise their schedules based on their brains, not on alarms.
This insight is more relevant now than ever during times of lockdowns. More people are forced to ask themselves how much they actually get done during a workday. If we all start optimising our schedules based on when our brains are the most efficient, I am a strong believer that not only will we increase our output, but also become happier, healthier and stronger.
Optimise for Adaptability, Not “Job Security”
Job security in a traditional sense is obsolete. It can be a secure and safe job - until something happens. Industries change faster than ever. The pandemic has shown that the world can change overnight.
The digital nomad community is full of people who have optimised their lives based on curiosity, creativity and adaptability. Staying on top of change and being quick to adapt to new technologies, new market dynamics and trends is what will help you stay relevant. The digital nomad community is full of people who understand this and actively stay curious about what’s going on in the world around them. Fuelled by the coronavirus, adaptability has become key to survive in many industries. The ones who do successfully pivot might be exponentially rewarded.
Creativity Can Turn a Small Salary Into a Big One
The digital nomad community is full of people who have optimised their lives based on the standard of living, not based on salaries. Truth is, a low-income salary in a wealthy country can take you pretty far in a cheaper country. Or a well-paid job can be decreased to fewer hours if you move to a cheaper city. Or you can live in a castle at a fraction of the cost, if you decide to join a cooperative and buy it together with 50 other digital nomads (check out Oasa.co).
Instead of asking yourself what you want and how much time you need to save up the money for it, ask yourself how you can get the same lifestyle today. It might involve a few changes in your life such as a physical move, however, the reality is that the lifestyle you are dreaming about might be closer to reality than you think - if you just investigate it a bit further.
Never Judge a Country By Its Reputation
After visiting countries such as Colombia, India, Argentina and South Africa, I soon started to realise how affected we are by the media and how we see through their lenses. After a while I decided that I will not base my travel decisions on reputations, because they are rarely the full story. Sure, problems do exist in the countries I’ve mentioned, but likewise problems do exist in the US or my own home country, Sweden. And just like any other country, you have to be street smart and not walk alone in empty parks at night. It’s mostly the unknown that refrains us from visiting countries we are not used to travelling to. Surely if it does not tempt you to go to any of these countries, then don’t. There’s no reason to. But if you let reputation stop you then you might be missing out.
The world is full of amazing people and countries. What used to be the most dangerous city in the world, Medellin, is now a thriving and bustling city full of great vibes and restaurants. What I learned about Colombia in school 20 years ago is no longer up to date. Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve seen. And the best hospitality I’ve ever experienced was in the cutest family-owned hotel in Jaipur, India. Thanks to digital nomads across the world who dare to explore new places, we can expand our view and enrich our experiences.
If you learn to not judge countries by their reputation, you’ll see that around the world we are not so different after all. And that the world is full of friendly people and interesting places.
Home Is Where You Feel Like You Belong
For many people, home is a place - a city, a village or a house. But it doesn’t have to be a place. It doesn’t have to be where your family is. It can be wherever you feel like you belong. The beauty of communities is that it is really the second family we form ourselves. Finding a community where people share the same values, passions and world view as you can truly be a comforting feeling of finding home.
For me, WiFi Tribe was really that feeling of finding a home. It was a community full of people who value the same things as me and who understood me. It was a place to feel safe and to get inspired. A place to feel connected.
And that’s really what matters at the end of the day. Human connection. That’s what makes you feel like you belong. Perhaps, that’s your new home.