Tag Archives: simple living

Third World Digital Nomad – It is not Just a Dream!

Malalison Island kids

To be a lawyer. That’s what I’d subtly sculpted myself into.

So, I studied Political Science as my pre-law course. Now, I am no lawyer. Not even close to becoming one. These days, I am dedicating my time helping typhoon Haiyan survivors re-build not just their shelters but hopefully, their lives. Alongside with that, I play with my younger siblings or bike slowly, as if I’m a little imaginary zipper between country roads.

In 2007, I quit my office job and dared to work remotely. Being from the Philippines, it’s an insane move for many. We spend most years studying as hard as we can – our parents and the society would constantly remind us that education is the only way we can win over poverty. So, most people, after college, take the necessary license exam and try their best to get a job. Not everyone lands at the best places where they can cultivate their interests. Both unemployment and underemployment stop someone here to really take that journey within.

One day, I felt that the usual route is NOT also for me. So I just had to set my self free.

As soon as I started working from home, a lump of fear grew inside me. But then again, I told myself “is life full of certainties? No. I might as well just enjoy the ride and focus on my passions.” I ventured and pursued my love for the written. Then, I seeked for writing-related job opportunities online (Onlinejobs.ph, Odesk.com, Freelancer.com)

Mind you, Charles Bukowski is one of those dead people who have deeply influenced me in my decision.

“now, I’m not saying that I’ve conquered
the world but I’ve avoided
numberless early traffic jams, bypassed some
common pitfalls
and have met some strange, wonderful
people

one of whom
was
myself—someone my father
never
knew. “

(excerpt from ‘Throwing Away my Alarm Clock’)

 

Indeed.

My life as a digital nomad has paved the way to simple living. And by simple living I mean experiencing life as a complex process – rich, enjoyable, affordable and profound.

  • Investing in relationships

In the mornings, I’d walk to the old coffee house in the town center of Barotac Viejo. Owned and managed by a lovely old couple – he is 84, she is 76. He reads a lot of cowboy novels, she wears 1960s dresses. They’d tell me about their lives – about how they once got this book which unraveled her roots. That her great grandfather was a Portuguese pirate. For 10php (0.25 USD), I have native coffee and time machine hitchhiking. They both have become my friends.

Being a digital nomad allows me to spend more quality time with my family. From this, I learn not only from the wisdom and experience of my parents but as well as the wisdom and energy of my younger siblings and cousins. Coming from a culture of close family ties, I can say that at this point of my life, I’ve realized what ‘home’ feels like.

At some point, I’d found it hard to hang out a lot with peers since most of them work 9 to 5. When I began to travel and immerse with the grassroots (doing volunteer work), everything seemed to change.

Keeping rich relationships make life simpler for me. Though I still have to deal with few forced conversations, I feel lighter when I spend time alone and know that whenever I want to find comfort in the company of others, I’ll no longer have to settle for less.

 

  • Investing in experience

Back in the office, the air-conditioning and white walls made me feel sleepy. I knew there was more to life than sitting there and waiting for things that never arrived. Working remotely has opened the world of wandering and wondering to me. With more time in my hands, I enjoy finding myself in a new place, around new people.

When not travelling around the islands, I host or meet people through Couchsurfing or sometimes just by randomly starting a conversation. As I help my family (dominant cultural component of the East), I also water the seeds of my own heart, mind and spirit. I love people, I love the unknown. And I love the intangibles between both loves. I love places. Sometimes, I feel those that I’ve been to still dream of me… until I return.

Because of my heart to experience, I am able to feel that my dreams do breathe and they are sometimes uncategorized. Back in the days, people told me that I’d definitely make a great lawyer but as the years were swept away by my curiosity and Romanticism, I’ve come to realize that I don’t want to be in such place. I am fond of writing, seeking, taking pauses after a deep thought and reflection. I enjoy finding out about my own loopholes. I enjoy carefree clothes and nature. I feel alive when I meet people who feed my longing for the softer world.

Travel through the soles (via my feet, boats, buses and aeroplanes) and the soul (via books, music, films and serendipity) fuel me.

  • Investing in the simplest pleasures

The digital nomad lifestyle has led me to a realization – I want my life simple. Not a shopping mall person here. Not a cosmetic lady too. Not a gadget freak.

I own less – a bike, a 3-year old laptop, a super cheap old-model cellphone, some clothing, mostly handmade/ DIY accessories and some second-hand books (those I haven’t given away just yet).

Come to think of it, if I have spent my time sitting on that work desk (which I did not like much), I wouldn’t be able to try and err, try and realize, try and journey within my heart. I wouldn’t be able to have enough peace that would one day take me to the path I am more comfortable with. All those people and places, circumstances and solitude have washed me to this happier shore where I am now.

Perhaps, I am not fancied by the shiniest of materials and commerce because I find joys in little things – a slow bike to the foot of the hills, a dip in the nearby sea, a view of the sunset, playing with my younger siblings, an aimless walk, a little yet relaxing conversation with someone, a sight of the trees or wild flowers… cuddles whilst low-voiced talks.

To be a lawyer. That’s how I subtly sculpted myself into.

Now, I am a freelance web writer-social media specialist-crowdfunding VA and…

a free spirit (hmmm yes!).

—–

Kristine Buenavista

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Filed under Digital Nomads, Motivation, The Breakaway, The Decision, Working Remotely

Rules are for Breaking

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Versailles, France

The biggest mistake you can make is to tell yourself you have to do everything by the rules. Doing things by the rules is more expensive, time consuming, and just damn boring. So learn that rules are for breaking.

I am privileged. I am from the United States. Unlike most people in the world, I can travel pretty much anywhere I want. I can cross borders as easily as I can slice through a stick with a machete. I did not fully understand this until I came to Honduras, which is the size of some states in America. Hondurans need a visa most everywhere in the world, even to take a vacation in countries that are close to them. I understand why so many of them feel trapped within this small country. However, I still think that where there is a will there is a way. I have met several people, especially through Couchsurfing, people from places like China, who do not have a free access pass to the world. They have to apply; they have to pay; they have to beg to go to a different country, but they do it because it is important to them. If these people can travel the world so can you, and if you say otherwise, especially if you are American, then you have created your own doom.

There are many obstacles I overcame to get to the freedom I have now, but mostly they were obstacles I set up for myself. In following all the rules that were supposed to help me get to my end goal of traveling the world, I, in many ways, could not see the many different options available. I could only see the ones that fit within the system of socially acceptable pathways for travel such as set vacation times, study abroad programs, or working for oversees organizations. I could not see options like working for a year in your home country then taking a year off traveling, volunteering abroad so you can travel with free room and board, being a freelance writer online so you can go anywhere but still work, Couchsurfing for cheap travel and cultural exchange, or asking for a leave of absence so you still have a job to come back to.

I could not have broken away from the system of rules if not for the people who inspired me to do so by their own real life examples. I would say I first began to think outside the box when a friend, who was also a nurse, told the hospital she worked for that she wanted a leave of absence to travel for three months, and that they could either let her have it or she would quit. She was the first inspiration, but there were others. A Couchsurfer from the UK had also done something similar but in a different job and had been traveling for months in the USA.

Then I had a Couchsurfer live with me who totally turned my world upside down. I had broken up with my boyfriend, and I needed help with rent, so I put up an add in Couchsurfing for someone to pay to stay on my couch long term as a flat-mate. The girl who came broke every rule in the book. She had never been to college, but she was one of the most intelligent people I had met, choosing to learn through reading instead of paying for an education. She, unlike most people her age, was debt free. She would work and save for a year as a nanny then travel the world until her money ran out. She volunteered at a food shelter which often had too much food, so the shelter would give her the leftovers to take home to eat. She rarely had to pay for food herself. She loved to dance and would go out most nights, but she knew all the times when she could dance for free. If she went out with friends to a restaurant, she would not order anything, or if she did, it was tea or a small drink. When there was a free event in town, she would go. Her eyes were on the prize, traveling, and nothing was going to distract her, but she made sure to have affordable fun while waiting for the end reward. She was my biggest inspiration. Because of her I realized that any dream was possible. It was really only about how much you were willing to give up to fulfill it, and I discovered that I could give up a lot quite happily to find my freedom. Within a year of careful planning and positive thinking, I had my reward.

Written by Beth Ann Nyssen

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Filed under Motivation, The Breakaway