In his famous book The 4-Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss called digital nomads the nouveau riche. Nomads leverage the power of online entrepreneurship and location independence to buy experiences rather than collecting material possessions.
I’m living this life style since 2014, when I did a try-out to live in Barcelona for a month. It was the greatest experience of my life. Since then I have travelled to Lisbon, Prague, Brussels, Ghent, Berlin, Budapest, Vienna, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Bali, Valencia, Rome, Lecce and Athens with only a backpack.
Now I’m back in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands again and ready to draw conclusions on digital nomadism.
There are three types of digital nomads to distinguish:
- The “Slowmad”: The type that likes to stay in a certain place for about three to six months to take time for discovering a new place and a new culture.
- The “Gomad”: The type that constantly feels the urge to stay on the move.
- The “Homad”: The type that likes to have a home base to return to and from there travel occasionally, for shorter periods.
I tried all three of them and ended up staying in Barcelona, Spain every single time. Traveling around all the time like an endless vacation seems cool, but for me it isn’t. It’s much more complicated than that.
You have to start your life over every time you move to a new location. Making new friends, finding your way around, getting used to your house and your bed. At a certain time you get lost and lonely.
Being a location independent entrepreneur is an experience like no other, but there’s another side of it you don’t often hear about.
Making new friends is quite superficial because you don’t see each other often when both are traveling. All the moving around makes it impossible to develop close ties with people. Gladly I have always been proactively staying in contact with my friends back home.
The "traveling entrepreneur" lifestyle that a lot of millennials dream of is actually not a good life.
You're waste time adjusting to new environments and
all the moving around is makes it impossible to develop close ties with people.
An isolated, lonely life in the long term.
— LifeMathMoney (@LifeMathMoney) November 10, 2019
I learned that I really need a home base to go back to. I don’t mean to own a house, as I’m still not sure if that’s a good financial strategy or just banking propaganda, but a place where I can return to where everything is familiar and where my friends live. Flexible housing, living in Airbnbs, still suits me well for now.
Because of everything that happened in the past five years, I now consider two places my home base:
- Barcelona because of friends, weather, dating, beach and the overall feeling it gives me.
- ‘s-Hertogenbosch because of family, friends, business and it’s where I come from.
My goal for now is to buy an apartment in both cities, as an investment next to FIRE and Bitcoin. This enables me to alternate between my two favorite places about every six months and rent out the apartment the other six, decreasing my cost of living. And then make short trips from time to time.