Digital nomadism, THE new popular lifestyle ?

All my trips are made possible by the fact I work from « home ». I only need my computer and an access point to the Internet. I could be on a boat, on a plane, an island or in Thailand it wouldn’t make a difference to my clients.

Here I am again, writing an article on my iPhone 📱 13 mini , this time onboard the french speed train TGV 🚄 to Lyon. I really enjoyed those 3 last weeks in London, almost enough time for me to get that cute British accent. It was so refreshing, the end of covid rules there were quite surprising at first, but felt like we were back to normal life after a few days and Yes it feels good 😊 !

I haven’t wrote much about my trip, because in fact, writing about your daily activities _ which would seem very normal to anyone else before the pandemic _ isn’t that easy.

I must admit it does feel exotic to be there, post Brexit, it does feel even more like a foreign country than before. I was almost getting used to the cars driving on the left, which make crossing the road quite difficult when you are not used to it, that it was already time for me to go back to Paris. I must admit though that Eunice storm 💨 almost made it impossible to go back to France.

The mercato mayfair declassified church with it’s original design and restaurants and bars foodcourt. Lots or people having lunch there
Mercato Mayfair

I already miss the blue eggs, the incredible pub ambiance, the tasty fish and chips, having a pizza and a great german beer at Mercato Mayfair on Sundays and also my favourite British cat 🐈‍⬛.

Working on the go

All my trips are made possible by the fact I work from « home ». I only need my computer and an access point to the Internet. I could be on a boat, on a plane, an island or in Thailand it wouldn’t make a difference to my clients. Travelling gives me a breath of fresh air well needed after the pandemic 😷. Travelling while still making money is the saint Graal in my opinion, it’s way different that travelling for work or for holidays. It’s a lifestyle, I see myself not so different from my favourite Youtube boat channel -> SV delos for example.

When I started freelancing it was the best way I could find to be able to live with my gf, study code 👨‍💻 and work at the same time. I use to travel a lot when I was a kid and a young adult, thanks to my parents living abroad, and I think I was missing the positive energy I absorb from it. Constantly meeting new people, discovering new cities.

Is not for everyone

Sure it’s not for everyone, it’s like people who try expat life for the first time, they would either live the dream or hate it and go home a few months later, I have witnessed it countless times when I was living in Shanghai between 2009 – 2013.

It also means that either your partner is also a digital nomad – or at least able to follow you at some point – or that you are single. 😅

Like Dan and Kika from Sailing ⛵️ Uma would say, don’t buy a couch ! 🛋.

I must admit that so far my polish apartment decoration is … minimalist 😄, I am not buying much things, but in the end do we really need all those things ??

I come to the point of thinking that we buy stuff to make our sedentary lifes more interesting 🤨. No judgment here, there is a lifestyle for everyone, and I use to be from the one’s who would make their places super cosy to be able to basically live there !

Did covid make a difference?

An emergency situation

Well in my opinion, it made a huge change. We discovered that commuting everyday is not mandatory anymore, that most people who have office jobs can work from home. What use to be a rare work from home option became the reality of millions in one second.

Of course when you have kids this was probably a nightmare! Young couple with very small apartments on big cities suffered a lot from this forced situation. I think it was a dream coming true for gamers and stay-at-home. They were suddenly the example of a good behavior.

After covid

What about now ? It seems that companies are trying to bring back workers in their fancy offices. Work from home for everyone was many managers’ nightmare, transportation services from many big cities are on the verge of bankruptcy, and restaurants and businesses in business districts are almost all closed. Big companies like Apple or Google are facing unhappiness in teams that they want back in the office, it really seemed no one had planned that people would actually enjoy work from home so much.

A few companies made a choice to permanently allow their teams to work from where they want. Only a few, and here you go if you really want to work from a distance you must create your own company and offer your services as a freelancer.

What if covid did not happend?

Well, freelancing was already a thing before the pandemic but many many companies where much more reluctant to open their available positions to freelancers. I think without the pandemic I would have never considered becomint independant and that i was in fact “reserved” to certain type of activities like designers.

I am not saying covid was a good thing 😬, but I like to appreciate every things that happened in life in the most positive way possible.

What’s next ?

Good question ! Hard to say, I am listening to the market and will take any opportunity I judge to be nice for myself .

The french speed train TGV in gare de lyon Paris before departure to lyon on a monday evening
The french TGV 🚄

Ukrainian crisis is there to remind us that our relatively peaceful times can change tomorrow and might change the face of the world we know as well. Let’s just enjoy life, explore, learn, stay healthy and celebrate the nearly 🙏 end .. of the pandemic 😷.

To be continued…

Freelance work, the choice of freedom over the security of employment

As my Eurostar train 🚂 is leaving Paris, I am officially finishing my first month as a freelancer. So far so good 😊, I love the mission, the client is lovely, and happy about my work, the team is brilliant, and I am enjoying my work everyday.

As my Eurostar train 🚂 is leaving Paris, I am officially finishing my first month as a freelancer. So far so good 😊, I love the mission, the client is lovely, and happy about my work, the team is brilliant, and I am enjoying my work everyday.

I have always felt a big need for freedom, maybe it’s in my French blood ? I can’t tell, maybe it comes from my father, who was always defending this idea that we work, for being able to not care anymore about money, and to be able to do whatever we want. I am not at this point, yet in my life, where I would be making enough to not care anymore, but the idea of having enough money to feel secure is a nice goal.

I really like the fact that there is no relation of subordination in a Business to Business relationship. It’s all about filling the mission, completing a service and getting paid for it. Of course there is more to it but here I am trying to give the basics.

You will agree or not, but when you join any company as an employee, whether it is a small start up or a big corporation, you have to blend into a new community, keep up with the small talk and overall ambiance, make “friends” into the company, and you are going to be judge at some point not for your work but for your social skills.

It was never my strength, like my father, we might be very smart, our social skills are what they are. Even though I am pretty sure mine are way better than his 😅, I wouldn’t put this in my skills. Don’t mistaken me here, I have close friends and I have a very developed sense of caring, having empathy, talking with people I don’t even know.

Like the other night, I was going back home from a dinner 🍽, and I found an old woman wandering around near my building. As much as I wanted to go to bed, I just had to offer my assistance, it felt like my duty. It was 2*C outside, and she was only wearing a light jacket, I was even ready to offer her to stay inside if she had been homeless or something.

It didn’t take me long to wonder if it was in fact an alzheimer patient that escaped in the middle of the night, I have read a bunch of articles about it, people with alzheimer sometimes imagine they are kids again and that they need to go to see their parents, and leave their home and get lost 😞.

I offered my help, she said she was looking for a taxi 🚕 to go home. I asked her what was the address she wanted to go so that I could potentially help her out, she gave me the address we were at, at the moment. I immediately knew it was an Alzheimer case. You have to keep in mind that you won’t be able to resonate this people, I was innocent and tried to make her figuring out that she was already arrived at this address and that it might be another address she wanted to go to. No luck into changing her mind, she was stubborn to go to this place we already were at. I offered her a few times to go inside the main hall so that we could figure out something out in a warmer place than outside. I tried to ask her to maybe give me contact details of someone I could call 📞 to help her out but I immediately felt she was not going to be cooperative, more in fact that I was annoying her.

Given how cold it was I decided to walk with her to find a taxi, thinking that I could potentially tell the driver to go to the police station so that they could figure out her identity. We found a taxi, the driver tried first to get rid of her, not wanting to lose money or help out, I had to threatening and bullshit him regarding insurance and responsibility, not happy that I did it, but it worked and for saving someone else everything is worth trying. The old lady gave him an address and they left. I learned later on she was in fact living in the nearby building, that her family knew she was at risk with her alzheimer to leave in the middle of the night but that they were all in denial of this situation… She had finished her night in the local hospital where the taxi drived her after realizing the address was not even in Paris, he first went to the police station but they didn’t want to take care of this matter… what a shame.

Anyway, I might have great social skills, I learned a lot and worked a lot to reach this level of confidence; but it was never helping me in companies I have worked for. It is far more convenient to work has a b2b contractor, doing my job, having a great working relationship with my coworkers, leaving aside the part I am not great into.

Given how well it goes in the new company, which I selected because in fact I love their values, I am starting to wonder if either my past impressions were made because I was in the wrong environment of work before or if the big changes I have done last year have changed my behaviour in a good way ? Probably both, my current company’s values include the promotion of parity and diversity, it felt like a decision point for me. They reconciled me with corporate environment in a way ? Maybe 🤔. Time will tell.

I also love the fact that I can do home office from wherever I want. One day in Paris, another in Lyon, another from the mountains, from Poland, from Berlin and tomorrow from London. 🇬🇧 My only needs are my computer 💻 and a good Internet connection, even though I have worked so many times with sharing my phone’s datas which was even faster from the mountains 🏔 than the landline. So you know of course video calls are the one thing draining more data but even this, is not a crazy amount, office work doesn’t really need much data at all.

view from the eurostar speed train on the way to london before entering the tunnel
On the train to London

Last year I even worked once from a taxi, I almost felt like what they like to call a digital Nomad. 😅 My girlfriend and I are thinking to both go nomads and maybe explore one place at a time together while working. This lifestyle is not for everyone, it is not for you if you are planning to have kids or buy a house – not that we won’t end up doing that after a few years- .

Because yes, this freedom comes with a part of risks. We rely on contract we find, if we are sick we won’t get paid, we don’t have paid holidays and we won’t get unemployment’s rights. As a French worker I am at least getting the normal kind of social security, which cover most of my medical expenses if needed. It’s a very big chance and I guess I would never have been into freelancing without this security.

I could make a parallel between freelancing and the covid crisis, we are now accepting that it could go wrong but we are willing to take our part of risk for the freedom we missed so much.

If you read this article, please share your thoughts in the comments 😌

A great start of the year

I like the energy I get from those new discoveries, it gives me strength and ideas to learn more and continue to look into innovative things.

Today is a grey day in Paris, you can not tell how high the clouds are because it looks like the sky is just a big grey cloud with no limits. I am not a big fan of thoses days to say the least, it somehow impacts my energy in a negative way and just makes me want to sleep and hide until it’s better.

It’s Sunday with no sun, so I decided to make an effort and write a bit, might go to a co working space later today, to gather more positive energy 😇. Not sure why, but co working spaces really help me to do more that I would have been doing, at home. Of course it’s not free but just seing new faces and people working on something – whatever it is – helps me sometimes.

I had surgery last week, it went great 👍 and recovery is faster than I expected. No worries, I know that by hearing the word surgery, people often anticipate it as a last chance scenario for a bad thing happening; truth is it was just a very minor and very casual surgery known as saphenous veins removal. 😌 I tend to think that my great diet and new lifestyle has helped so much with it in the way that I am healthier today than I was last year.

I started a new job also, a freelance mission for a client for the next 5 months. It just feels so great, the team is amazing, I fit greatly in this new job and most importantly I am having a blast every day !

I decided to go freelance first because I wanted to be able to work where I wanted, and also because it would fit my project of working and studying at the same time for the next 6 months.

From there I am not sure 🤔 yet I will sign for another mission or try to start my new carrier as junior developer. Anyway time will say and I am very confident 🙂 that watever it is, it will be a nice journey.

Opening my own little company was not that difficult, of course it means you have to do things by yourself, meaning a bit of administrative tasks. In the end the most difficult was to figure out which tax forms I would now need to fill and to wait for the administration to take into account my new company. I came accross plenty of blogs, videos, websites, posts, giving tips and not always the greatest ones, it just felt sometimes I was the particular case no one was really talking about.

If you need help setting up your company in France 🇫🇷 don’t hesitate to contact me 😀, I have now a good knowledge of the do’s and don’t. Plus I am always keen to learn about new projects, yes I am that guy who goes to the startup Christmas market and talk to everyone to get to know their projects better. I went to the one in Station F in Paris this year and made some great discoveries.

I think 🤔 I developed this ease to talk to random strangers about different projects while traveling and living in countries where I was not speaking local language. I know how to make people at ease and make then tell me what their project is and feel confident.

One of the woman I met at this market was telling me she was in fact facing great difficulties in opening her own company. We had a little chitchat and I was able to make her more confident that the little administrative issues she has now are easy to go around. I do it for free, it empowers me and makes me more creative and happy about myself.

There was a bunch of nice little projects, one young startup from Lyon was proposing to industry to use fish skin to replace leather for example. The final texture or the product was very impressive, I guess the most difficult part with this product is to make consumers forget the brain 🧠 association they probably make in their minds with fish 🐟 being stinky.

I also admired a great project of a young woman who’s business she first started in her own kitchen had developed greatly already. Petit Côté is proposing portions of cakes made of at least 30% of vegetables 🥕. This have the advantage to reduce fats and sugar added in those pastries 🥮. I tried myself the chocolate cakes (with 30% beets) and it was really nice 👍.

Most of these businesses where launch during the pandemic and I can only be admirative of the resilience and the courage of those entrepreneurs !

The project I was the most excited and interested about is a company called Flakon. I do feel a bit mitigated about their current market target and I will do my best to explain why.

The product is great looking, simple and smart. Let me share a picture because you can then decide for yourself right away.

They bottle french wine 🍷, and the good ones, in 100mL cute packages, to put into perspective, the size of the bottle cap is the exact same as a standard 750mL wine bottle. They kepts the overall design of the standard bottle, adaptating it to the new for factor which IMO makes it really cute looking ! I find the form factor really attractive and wants to buy it and collecting it right away !

Their goal right now is to offer this product in boxes containing a few of them for wine tasting. Let me show you:

Boxes are far from being cheap and looks kind of ugly (just a better carton 📦) my guess would be that french consumers might prefer to buy actual bottles of 750mL and share with their guests instead of sharing one little test tube 🧪 for each wine.

I personally see this product in Asia, in China and in many luxury clubs of Asia ! Available in hotels too, at the bar and in the mini bar to allow clients, who don’t necessarily have the culture of drinking french wine , to try them and develop a taste for it. This product is far better looking than mini bottles we sometimes see will ever be. I aslo can only thing of seeing this product becoming the new thing to order all together at the club with friends instead of glasses of wine 🍷. I would totally see this product available in Bar Rouge in Shanghai for example.

I tried to share my enthusiasm but it doesn’t seem to me that they have any international ambitions at the time. 🥴

I like the energy I get from those new discoveries, it gives me strength and ideas to learn more and continue to look into innovative things. I might sound very Schumpeterian talking about innovation but what else is THIS interesting nowadays ? Our economies rely on innovation and I will do my best to be part of it in the next decade.

I admit I wanted to write about this for some time but never had the chance to yet. In the end, this grey Sunday was a chance 🍀

I might go to London in two weeks, i will do my best to write about a local subject 🤫

To be continued.