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 😌

Reaching my thirties

I won’t miss my 20s, I would say those 10 years were rich in amazingly difficult situations, permanent doubt and questioning, feeling lost most of the time, pretending that everything is fine when it’s crap. Those years were like crossing Tanzania on a dirt and muddy road, with an old truck.

OMG Where to start ? I have been deflecting all the questions regarding my birthday, avoiding conversations and questions about what I should do on that particular day. Today marks a one month countdown to my birthday and I started to realize it was coming fast. 😄

To be honest, I have never been better. I feel good, confident, I have projects and goals, I am in love too. 🥰 If you had asked me the same question like – a year ago – it would have been totally different.
The past year has been an amazing improvement and I could not thank enough the people who guided me along the way. I am getting emotional to rethink about this in fact. 🥲
I learned to live my emotions, to sense them.
It might seem a little hard to understand or to explain, it’s very subtle. I learned to tell what was on my mind instead of keeping it. I think in a way I became more of an adult. You might think it’s a little late but I somehow never understood that I was not being totally myself before last year.

Of course I wished I had done this whole work before, but I think all paths are different and some matters take time. I guess I was not helped from where I come from, my family would not qualify as very helpful in non-concrete situations or things of the Life, however I know they would have liked to understand it better. I come from a family where silence wins over truth/reality because those subjects might make us uncomfortable.

I won’t miss my 20s, I would say those 10 years were rich in amazingly difficult situations, permanent doubt and questioning, feeling lost most of the time, pretending that everything is fine when it’s crap. Those years were like crossing Tanzania on a dirt and muddy road, with an old truck. A bit like in the TV show relating the nightmare of being a truck driver in Congo. (Youtube Link)
Oh yes I have learned a lot, and nothing scares me I have to say. I learned to plan and anticipate all kinds of situations.
I also had my good share of laughs, travel, relationships, parties. I made friends for life all around the globe. I could make a website dedicated to all the crazy situations I clumsily put myself into 😇.

Today, I am still not quite sure where and with whom I will celebrate my 30s, but I am confident that I will make something for my 31st 🥳. Any idea is welcome in the comments below.