Digital nomad,  TDM

Review of the first 3 months as Digital Nomads

Ouhlala, it’s already the end of August! Time passes faster when we work. It’s already been 3 months and a half that we are digital nomads. During these 3 months and a half, we have had time to make (many) mistakes and to learn a lot of things

The Internet connection must be wired and unlimited

For the first month in Krakow, we only had a 4G connection via a router provided by the owner. We thought it might be enough, given the speeds pre-communicated by the owner, but in fact it wasn’t. We had a 4G connection via a router provided by the owner. The network is very bad when it rains, nothing can replace a good ADSL/Fibre optic connection

=> 3G/4G: never again!

On top of that, we were limited to 50Giga/month, which may seem huge to you, but in fact, we need at least 100Giga for our professional calls and to watch some replay shows

know how to refuse new contracts

When you start a new full-time business, it’s hard to turn down new customers. In the beginning, we just wanted to accept as many contracts as we need to live and enjoy life the rest of the time (we have a fairly accurate estimate of the amount we need per country + charges + taxes + pension + health insurance + contingencies). And then, I don’t know how we managed to accept all the contracts and work full time

Of course, the long weekend we had in Vienna (5 days without working) had a very negative impact on the beginning of our trip to Budapest, where we had to work every day (including the weekend) and sometimes until 10pm

I felt like I was reliving my old Parisian life. At the time, I was working a lot to learn as much as possible (p/s: I had a professional reconversion, hence the need to gain skills in a short period of time). But now I am supposed to enjoy all those years of hard work. I don’t understand what I’m doing anymore

I think we figured we might get fewer contracts once we got to Asia (i.e. in December 2017, because of the time difference), then after a long reflection, I realized that it was just our “stressed out life” side, “fear of the future” side that was talking. It’s exactly the opposite of what we want to do: enjoy the present moment

Fortunately, with the arrival of August, the small projects coming to an end, and the rejection of a big contract, we finally see the end of the tunnel and start to get out more and enjoy (at last) the beautiful city of Budapest

In any case, selling our time isn’t the ideal option for us. After having obtained our geographical freedom, the next goal is to be free of our time. We have to think about it seriously and move to another form of activity in a few years time, attacking a larger market (US?). The holy grail would be to move to a Tim Ferriss and The 4-Hour Workweeklifestyle

Coworking spaces are essential

Photo: the building of our Impact Hub coworking space in Budapest

We have tested some coworking spaces in Krakow and Prague but we have always preferred to work from home. Unfortunately, after a month sitting on kitchen chairs in Prague that aren’t made for that, we hurt our back

In Budapest, we took a package of 80 hours in a coworking area on purpose to force us to go there. There, the chairs are comfortable, we have much more light, a perfect connection… but the most important thing is that they kick us out at 6pm. Every day! And we cannot go there in weekend

For me, it’s all good because it gives me a real break, instead of pushing another 1h-2h… and then looking up and seeing that it’s already 10pm

I continue to work from our Airbnb but rather in the morning. That way I’m quiet in my pajamas and I can sleep a little more

So, for those who don’t like to pay for a coworking space, I advise you to take an Airbnb with a real work desk, if possible in another room. Not easy to find. Kitchen chairs are often very nice but aren’t at all adapted for computer work

one month per city is too short

With the pace of work we had, one month per city is really too short. I think it will take us at least a month and a half – for a city like Prague (where you don’t have a lot of travel outside the city); and two months for Krakow (where you can do a lot of short weekends by train in the surroundings). For Vienna, I would have liked to stay 2 months

find the best French restaurant in town

Even in the best gastronomic country in the world, a dish from its country of origin always does good. For JB, the must is a large cheese board (photo taken in Vienna)

For me it is a good bun cha (noodles and barbecued pork) – photo taken in Budapest

When I arrive in a new city, I type “french restaurants” and “vietnamese restaurants” on Google Maps then I mark the best rated addresses I find. That way, when you’re fed up with local food, you’ll still have 2-3 good addresses in your pocket

Never give up your passions

To be digital nomad is also to travel light. But after several days watching Instagram and imagining all I could do if I had a cutter and an A4 paper in my hand, I said to myself: STOP, you have to keep doing what I like, no matter how much I weigh

1 hour later, I have my cutting mat, cutters and hihihi papers

I can’t tell you how good it makes me feel. Yes, it feels good to be yourself and only do what you love

As for JB, he needs to exercise in the morning before work, it’s part of his balance. So he looks for the best solution for each new destination. In Krakow it was jogging in a park. In Prague it was the swimming pool. In Budapest it was a gym (with a sauna!).

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