Interview with James, who has been living the digital nomad lifestyle for over 17 years5 min read

Interview with James, who has been living the digital nomad lifestyle for over 17 years5 min read

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Hi James, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your lifestyle?

I‘m originally from Melbourne Australia, and I first got the taste of living and working abroad when I got a working holiday visa in the UK in 1999. After that experience I applied for a working holiday visa in Ireland for one year. In my free time I learned about web design, SEO, and affiliate marketing. By the time my visa ended in April 2003 I was ready to start working from my laptop while travelling around Europe. I‘ve now been living the digital nomad lifestyle for over 17 years.

What is your current destination?

Ho Chi Minh City. It turned out to be a fortuitous choice to stay here as Vietnam has done well to contain the pandemic. With international travel restrictions in place I will be exploring more of Vietnam.

Can you tell us a bit about the projects you are currently working on? Are you currently looking for some new projects and clients? 

I work on my own sites and ideas, so I don‘t have any clients as such. My travel blog is at Nomadic Notes, where I write notes and observations about places I‘ve visited. 

My current project is Living In Asia, which is about transport and infrastructure projects in Southeast Asia. I‘ve been based in the region for a decade, and the cities are changing fast. This site aims to be a comprehensive resource on what is planned for the future. I‘m spending most of my time on this at the moment, so I have no plan to start any new projects this year.

What do you like the most about being a Digital Nomad?

When I became a digital nomad in 2003, I didn‘t know I was becoming a digital nomad (it wasn‘t a common phrase then). What I wanted was to have a job that I enjoy doing, which happened to be making websites in my own time. The fact that I love to travel and that I could do this job anywhere was a bonus on top of that.

And what are the downsides of it (in case there are any)? 

I don‘t consider any downsides as downsides. I‘m in a privileged position in the world where I am able to travel with a powerful passport (Australian). Most downsides that you read about in posts about “the downsides of being a digital nomad“ are self-inflicted. So if I find myself complaining about the wifi or visas, I just rememebr that no one forced me to be there. There are inconviences where ever I live.

What is a place/country you liked the most while travelling and why? What’s on your to-travel-list? 

I don‘t have a favourite place, but if a vote is tallied by how much time I‘ve spent in a place then it would be Vietnam. It‘s a great place to be based or to travel in. It has dynamic cities, amazing beaches, and majestic mountains. The food is in my top-5 favourites of the world, and the cost of living is the lowest in Southeast Asia.

I think the next place I want to spend more time in  the “The Stans“ of Central Asia.

How often do you use coworking spaces? Is there one that you’d like to recommend to other nomads? 

I rarely use coworking spaces. Instead I swtitch my time between working from my room and working in cafes. On the occasion that I need a coworking environament somewhere in the world I would use to compare my options.

James, what was the craziest thing you have ever done?

I‘m not sure what would be considered crazy, but the most often I was ever called crazy was when I left my job to go and travel.

Can you tell us what is your biggest dream?

I guess you could saying I am living the dream.

In case you have a motto, could you share it with us?

I like the Charbonneau quote: “Embrace the detours“.

Could you share with us the names of two inspiring digital nomads that you are following?

Dan and Ian from Tropical MBA are good examples of running businesses while travelling the world, and Wandering Earl as been wandering the planet for as long as I have.

Is there something that you would like to add?

I often get asked how to be a digital nomad, but it‘s the wrong question. You should be asking what can I do that enables me to work remotely. After that you can be any where, from your parents basement, to a cafe by a tropical beach.

Written by: Kristina Lukacova, a DN that enjoys good food, good wine and good vibes. If you would like to know more about James, you can have a look at his blog or his latest project Living Asia.


Kristina Lukacova, a DN that enjoys good food, good wine and good vibes.

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