#19 Paul Austin from Michigan, USA

1. How and why did you choose to go nomadic?

I wanted to start my own business and knew that Chiang Mai was the best place to do so. With the cost of living so low, basing in a place like Chiang Mai gave me an extensive runway to build a profitable enterprise. Further, I traveled throughout college, and love to explore new cultures.

2. What was it like leaving your home country?

I had traveled internationally since the age of 17, so leaving home to move abroad wasn’t a huge deal. I don’t identify particularly well with my home country’s culture, and always embrace opportunities to integrate new perspectives and ways of thinking into my own world view.

3. What are your biggest struggles? Fears?

When I moved abroad to build a business, my only fear was of failure. Would I be able to build a business before running out of cash? If I couldn’t, did I have a back up plan? Thankfully, I did my time and made it through the most difficult period.

Now, my struggles have taken on a different tone. Instead of worrying about whether or not I’m going to ‘make it’, I’m now more focused on whether or not I can cultivate a stable home and friend group.

While nomadism is great in the short-term, the perks of constantly traveling the world begin to diminish over time.

4. How are you funding your lifestyle and what projects are you working on?

I have two main projects:

  1. I run an online language school specific to the ESL market. We provide online self-study courses, private lessons, and group lessons. I’m starting to ramp this project down to create more time and energy for my second project.
  2. I’m building an online space dedicated to the responsible use of psychedelics. Our business model includes publication of e-books, boutique coaching for executives and business leaders, and accessories and accoutrements specific to the psychedelic experience.

5. What is the estimated monthly cost of living for one of your favorite locations? What lifestyle does that afford?

Depends on where I’m basing. In SE Asia, you can generally get by for about $1K per month. In smaller cities in Europe, you can get by for about $2K per month. In big cities, like New York, Paris, San Francisco, expenses are closer to $3K per month. I have lived in Asia and Europe, and I’m now planning a move to NYC.

6. What is your top tip for someone who aspires to earn money online and travel?

If you want to do it, then do it. This lifestyle isn’t for every single person. Understand the pros and cons of committing to such a lifestyle, give yourself some added financial security, and make the leap. If you find yourself hesitating to commit, ask yourself why? Dig as deep as possible into these reasons, then make a decision.

Any final thoughts?

Most people don’t stay in the ‘digital nomad’ lifestyle permanently. Many use it as a transition between a life of mediocrity and dissatisfaction and a life of autonomy.