3 years and 12 countries: No longer a digital nomad

After 3 years and 12 countries as a remote worker, I’ve decided to stick to one or two places for the foreseeable future. It has been a wild ride, from learning to ride bikes in Japan’s bamboo forests, to flying over New Zealand’s Milford Sound (it’s a fjord), to eating my way across half the world (the street food in Korea really stands out).

Here are the places I’ve spent at least 3 days at in the last 3 years. I’ve spent at least a week in most of them and a few months or more in many. I’ve been back to my favorite cities multiple times, and hope to go back for long-term trips in the future. For now though, I’m hanging up my digital nomad days for a major change (more on that later).

  • Thailand (Bangkok)
  • Indonesia (Jakarta)
  • China (Hong Kong)
  • Philippines (Manila, Coron)
  • Taiwan (Taipei)
  • Japan (Kyoto, Tokyo, Osaka)
  • Korea (Seoul)
  • Singapore (Singapore)
  • Canada (Vancouver, Richmond)
  • USA (Seattle, Issaquah, Spokane, Portland, Eugene, Ashland, McMinnville, Newport, Redwood City ie. Bay Area)
  • Australia (Sydney)
  • New Zealand (Auckland, Queenstown)

I’ve learned some important remote work lessons along the way, such as how to stay productive and what tools to use. Most importantly, I learned how to be a good visitor and plant roots in multiple cities.

3 reasons I’m pausing my global journeys

As an over-analyzer, I’ve ruminated on many more reasons than the three below, but these are the major arguments for the “stay” camp.

Health

This is the biggest reason. A family member got sick, and I wanted to use the flexibility my work provides to travel back and forth for treatments (our surgeon/doctor is in another country).

Career

I’m fortunate enough to be able to choose who I work with, so I love all my clients. I believe in what they’re doing and am proud to be learning from them every step of the way (even when I’m doing strategy for them–there’s always new results to learn from).

That being said, I was recently asked about joining a client’s team full-time.

I’m still struggling with this decision, but no matter what happens in this particular case, it feels like it’s time to either grow my own services (perhaps by partnering with other professionals and starting something bigger), or joining a company full-time to immerse myself in a single brand for a period of time.

I work with long-term clients, so I understand all of their brands well, but I suspect it isn’t the same as having all my time devoted to a single focus.

Roots

The final reason I’ve decided to stay put for the time being (country undetermined) is I would like to start investing in long-term relationships and assets.

I’ve met some amazing people along the way, but many of those friendships don’t go very far with one lunch a year. I want to work on building history with my friendships, making smart investments and manage property, and I want to adopt pets!

Reminisce with me

Here are some of the posts I wrote during my travels. My months in Australia and Canada are underrepresented here not because I didn’t enjoy them, but because I had to prioritize clients over blogging during those trips.

Thanks for following along!

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