1. How and why did you choose to go nomadic?
Around January 27 2016, I came across an article called ‘This Guy is Starting 12 Startups in 12 Months’ on the website techinasia.com. I was initially drawn to the headline due to my interest in startups but as I read further, I found that the article resonated with me on so many more levels (no pun intended).
“To Levels, it was a dream come true to be able to put both his work and love for travel together. His wanderlust originated from an exchange program back in 2009, when he was still a student:” — Daniel Tay, Tech in Asia
Like Levels, I had caught the travel bug after an exchange program abroad and like him, I wanted to launch my own startups. At this stage of my life, it was Levels who represented the perfect match of what I wanted to become.
Within days I became convinced. I decided with as much conviction as I have ever mustered that I would become location independent and travel the world with my girlfriend, Denise in 2016.
2. What was it like leaving your home country?
Quite Easy. We’d been planning the departure for 10 months and so we had everything in line to go. I’ve traveled many times before and I was excited by the travel more than anything. The only issue we had was our luggage which was over by 8kg at check-in. Other than that, everything went smoothly.
3. What are your biggest struggles? Fears?
My digital nomad journey has been very public due to my videos on YouTube and as a consequence, I feel like I have a responsibility now to live up to the expectations of my audience who see me as an authority.
The truth is that I haven’t had everything figured out. I’ve had many ups and downs and times where I felt like a failure.
The biggest challenge of this journey is to keep it sustainable. Finding work on the road is much harder than back home and my business is only just getting started.
I sometimes fear that I won’t live up to the hype but at the same time, it keeps me accountable. Pressure can be a good thing in certain circumstances.
4. How are you funding your lifestyle and what projects are you working on?
Currently I work full-time for a location independent entrepreneur that I met here in Chiang Mai. About 5 months ago, I started off as his intern but now I manage his ad accounts, keep an eye on website analytics and create new marketing campaigns.
Concurrently, I’m working on my own project called Chris the Freelancer. It’s a blog and YouTube channel that inspires and educates people on becoming location independent and living the digital nomad lifestyle.
5. What is the estimated monthly cost of living for one of your favorite locations? What lifestyle does that afford?
Here is a breakdown of my last month in Chiang Mai.
- Accommodation (Mid-Range Studio Apartment): $446 (shared with my girlfriend, Denise)
- Food & Drink (We splurge a bit with food): $400
- Getting Around with Public Transport: $15.50
- Relaxation (2 trips to the massage parlour): $10
- A few beers here and there (I don’t drink much): $36
- SIM Cards and Other Connectivity: $12.40
- Coworking Space Membership: $110
- Other: $6
- Virtual Expenses (unrelated to Chiang Mai): $163
Total: $980 (for just me)
This kind of spending affords us a pretty nice lifestyle in Chiang Mai. We don’t go out to bars often or have a motorbike but we live pretty close to how we were back in Brisbane.
6. What is your top tip for someone who aspires to earn money online and travel?
I would advise to be as prepared as possible before leaving home if you want this lifestyle to be sustainable. You could come out here with no idea what you’re doing and you will learn from the community. However, it will be much easier from a financial standpoint to rely on a western income until you’re up to speed on your business or freelance/remote work career.
Any final thoughts?
Helping people with going location independent is what I love to do so if this lifestyle is something you aspire to, please check out my videos and articles at ChrisTheFreelancer.com.
Thanks for reading!