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Dec 25, 2018 07:13:39

One month as a digital nomad in Bali: Less awesome than I thought

by @jasonleow | 511 words | 536🔥 | 575💌

Jason Leow

Current day streak: 536🔥
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Some thoughts after being a digital nomad in Ubud, Bali for one month. Is it all it's hyped out to be? Read why it's awesome here.

😐 It's less awesome than I thought?

👎 I must admit I probably overly-romanticized nomad life prior to this. The idea is sexier than the reality. Truth is, when I'm working, I get sucked into the world of my computer screen. The surroundings dim and cease to matter. I could be working anywhere for that matter when in the world of the screen. The first 2 weeks I'm here, I was working a lot everyday even on weekends, because I was rushing out a delayed project. And when you're working most days and daytime, it doesn't feel much different even if you're in a foreign land. Because everyday your routine is just wake, eat, work, eat, work, eat, sleep. Rinse and repeat, with little mental bandwidth to enjoy novel experiences available outside. And you know that common refrain I mentioned - "If I could be working anywhere, why not somewhere else on the beach/jungle/mountain"? That goes both ways - "If I could be working anywhere, then working somewhere else can be the same as back home". So what's the deeper need here? Need to feel refreshed, need for new inspiration, people. That can be found anywhere, even at home perhaps. So why travel to work? Ease and convenience of being able to fulfill that need due to novel surroundings.

👎 While I could focus more as there's less social commitments, I do feel more socially adrift, and far away from my support network of family and friends. The sense of solitude is nice the first 1-2 weeks, but after a while even that gets dry for an introvert. There's not much social-emotional support you can access on occasions when you do feel like you need it.

👎 I work harder and longer when overseas. With less time commitment needed for other things like running errands, meeting friends, doing chores at home, you get more time to kill. And I end up working more. Less balance, and more chance of burnout if I'm not careful with prioritizing my time.

👎 Working out and staying healthy gets harder. Not all cities have nice public venues for running and exercising. It was hard to find a nice running route in Ubud. The roads aren't built for pedestrians, lest runners. That's compounded by the fact that digital nomads spend a lot of time on the computer. It's awfully sedentary and lack of movement just counters all the workouts you do. Of course, this isn't a problem with nomad life but with the type of work. How can I start making (non-digital) products that gives me more movement?

👎 It does take some time to settle into the groove. I took about a week at least to suss out the right cafes to work in, find the right commuting routes, figure out access to necessities like laundry, food, groceries, and settle into a stable daily productive routine. 

Next: it's still awesome...mostly.

🔥 Day 19 of the #200wad challenge.

From Jason Leow's collections:

  • 1

    @jasonleow agreed! it's never that sexy as all the bloggers set out to be. Other than that it's also your responsibility to make it the way YOU would love it. I would for example try give surfing a chance instead of running (but then I would recommend live near changgu) or yoga because you're in ubud.

    I give myself at least 3 months a place (thats my goal at least) because like you said.. some places take even longer to settle in.

    Don't forget, whatever you see yourself as (introvert, extrovert, etc), you need the basics of every human being. I would recommend set out, find some friends in your space, go out with them and explore. Set a date with yourself to go out every weekend (for example ride a bike to mount butur, Amed, etc and ask others along.

    lowen flowen avatar lowen flowen | Dec 25, 2018 10:58:15
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      @flowen thanks! Good advice. It's interesting how basic needs (like socializing) that we take for granted back home become an issue, because the usual resources are no longer there. Yes, defo will try 3 months or longer next time, maybe with family!

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | Dec 25, 2018 12:53:01
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