I get this question a lot:

How do you get any work done as a digital nomad in a place like Bali?

First, just to get the actual, underlying question in there out of the way: yes, we do work.

We really do.

Case in point: our WiFi Tribe trip of the weekend was to the Gili Islands. A honeymooners paradise about 1.5 hours boat ride from Bali and within spitting distance of Lombok, Bali’s neighboring volcanic island.

Of all the places I’ve travelled to in the world, only Tulum in Mexico can compete with the Gilis’ turquoise waters and white sandy beaches. And the snorkeling here was better than in Cancun. We saw turtles! But that’s a story for another blog post.

My point is: we went to paradise this weekend, from Friday to Sunday. And most of us brought our laptops along, to get some work done on Friday.

And we did:

Working on the beach
Photo by Gerardo Brizwela

Why we do what we do

The thing that a lot of non-digital nomads don’t seem to understand – and the second part of the answer – is this: we digital nomads aren’t trying to avoid work by traveling around the world. This isn’t some cowardly form of escapism, to make our work-life more bearable.

It’s about making our whole lives more awesome. Including the part we do for a living.

It’s about seeing and experiencing the world while building a life we love.

It’s about advancing our careers and businesses in places that inspire us, while meeting people who motivate us.

So you can bet we work our asses off to make that possible.

Routine, Shmoutine

Now, the way we work our asses off definitely looks different than “usual”. We don’t go to the same office, the same desk, at the same time every morning.

We work from home. From rice-field-view cafes. From coworking spaces. From beach-front restaurants.

Warung Passo, one of our favorite breakfast places, surrounded by rice fields and always a breeze going.

We go to cafes for breakfast and work there for a few hours before moving to coworking space Dojo for lunch and afternoon work.

Early morning at Dojo, still empty. But just wait two hours…

Then it’s time for a workshop or to head to the beach to watch the sunset, before finding a place for dinner with good WiFi for another couple hours of work before heading to a beach bar for drinks.

The next day, we might opt to work from home, take aďvantage of the pool, and just make a short trip “outside” to drop off our laundry.

The next day might look completely different again.

Some days we head out or stay in together.

Some days everybody does their own thing.

Some days we get trapped by the rain and have to adjust our plans of work-locations for the day.

There are worse places to be trapped in by the rain than Betenut Cafe.

Some days we work until 10pm because we took the morning off to do something fun.

We have no routine other than getting up in the morning, finding our work-spot of the day (or of the moment) and diving in.

And that’s exactly how we want it.

You need proof?

No problem.

No, I’m not giving you a peek into my bank account. And no, I’m not making millions (yet?). But the month is barely two-thirds over, and I’ve already earned as much as I normally would by the end of it.

Okay, that’s not exactly proof. You’re going to have to take my word for it. And not five days ago I was having an anxiety attack because I calculated that I was making only half of my usual earnings and couldn’t for the life of me figure out why. I’d been working a lot, after all.

Of course, I’d also been playing a lot – work hard, play hard is our motto after all. So maybe I was playing more than I realized, while working less than I thought. That had to be it, right?

Wrong.

Turned out my calculation was off. Way off, for a couple of different reasons. Silly me. I gave myself a scare for no good reason.

Because it’s still life

With all its ups and downs.

Digital nomads aren’t excempt from stress,  scares, panics, anxiety or annoyances, just because we live and work a life we love.

We may have a super productive day, and then the next we get hardly anything done because the spot we chose turned out to have slow wifi or be too distracting, or because we can’t get motivated, or because our laptops are acting up, or because the beaches beckoned with siren calls.

It happens.

But I feel like those days are fewer and farther between than when I was an employee, going to the same office, to the same desk, at the same time every morning.

And isn’t that one of the main appeals about digital nomad life and the way it’s supposed to be?


Want to know more about WiFi Tribe or life as a digital nomad? Contact me anytime.

2 thoughts on “Working with WiFi Tribe as a digital nomad – Do we actually work?

  1. I am a huge fan of this lifestyle as a software developer. I always research internet connectivity options at vacation spots for this very reason. My productivity is much better in these environments.

    Like

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