Name: Chris Barlow
Work Wanderers Retreat: Bali
What type of remote work do you do?
I run my own independent WordPress website building company. What that involves is sourcing clients, advertising myself online, getting referrals from friends or previous clients and then designing & implementation of these sites, working closely with clients and designers. I also set up all hosting and optimize their sites to improve SEO.
Why did you decide to become a digital nomad?
I am previously from London and the cost of the commute & living definitely drains on finances and I realized I can make a similar amount of money outside of London. Probably more hours and harder work as well as being reliant on my own work ethic, but it’s far more rewarding, giving me the time to explore an island in beautiful warm weather and being able to stay in a luxurious villa, far better than the setup back home.
Where have you traveled?
I have been on a six-month adventure traveling non-stop. I started in Hong Kong and then flew to Fiji. Fiji was epic! Hopped from one island to another and did some snorkeling amongst stunning coral reefs and scuba-dived with bull sharks (the scariest thing I’ve ever done). I then went to New Zealand for just over a month and hiked up some beautiful mountains – the scenery was unforgettable, would love to go back! I then headed to Australia and managed to see quite a bit, going from Melbourne to Sydney and then up the Gold Coast to Cairns. Next stop was Vietnam. Rode a motorbike in North Vietnam for 3 days which was the best experience ever! Stopped over in Bangkok for a few days and then headed all the way to the US and did a road trip from California to Vegas. Hired a bright orange mustang GT Sport and had the time of my life driving it from LA to San Francisco. Lastly, I jumped on a plane to Bali and joined this retreat.
What challenges do you face as a Digital Nomad?
The main challenge right now is not having a steady income. Another challenge I found is finding a structure to work remotely. Having a desk and setting time to work is necessary to stay productive. I found this quite difficult when traveling as I met quite a lot of cool people along the way and had a fear of missing out (FOMO). This is mainly because I was traveling aloneand didn’t want to miss out on social opportunities.
Why did you join a Work Wanderers retreat?
I was looking to slow travel and needed some structure. It offered everything I needed such as cool co-working space, beautiful accommodation, and a community to immediately embed myself in. I was looking to meet some people, learn some new skills while getting work down and this co-working/co-living retreat seemed like the perfect option.
How has your Work Wanderers experience been?
The people I have met have definitely been a highlight for me. Made some great friends and established a good network. Not only from a professional context, but personal as well as I expect to go visit some of the friends I have made in different parts of the world! I also enjoyed the structure it offered and I actually was able to remain productive for once.
What advice would you give someone looking to become a digital nomad?
It’s important to understand what you may be leaving behind. You do leave friends and family as well as a working environment that is stable and supportive. One thing I missed is the relationships I developed in the work environment when you’ve been around for 6 months to a year. When working independently, you don’t necessarily have that but you do meet friends as you travel which allows you to grow your network substantially. The monetary aspect that you save is also a big factor as you don’t need to live in an expensive city like London or spend hours commuting to and from work every day. Being a digital nomad allowed me to put my money and savings towards better things I wanted to do, like travel the world.
Follow more of Chris’s adventures!