#29 Yuko Fujisawa from Tokyo, Japan

A 25-years old Blogger/Translator/Speaker of TEDxYouth@Kobe 2016.

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

Before starting this digital nomad lifestyle, I didn’t even know what digital nomad was. I just wanted to live in Berlin right after graduation, because I was fascinated by its free atmosphere  and cheap cost of living with a lot of cool creative people. Also, working environment in Japan is not the best if you prefer more relaxing lifestyle. So I have built a system where I can make my living off with translation and writing to move to Germany. (You can read my blog how I gained clients for my translation and writing job)

At one point, I realized that I can live ANYWHERE even except Berlin, so I started wondering around,and now I settled down in a new city called Leipzig. I am occasionally traveling around Europe while being based here. To me, the digital nomad lifestyle naturally came after me when I followed what I wanted to do.

2. What was it like leaving your home country?

It was easy for me, because I was ready to become a homeless if everything didn’t go well. To me, living and working in Tokyo as a company employee right after graduation like everybody else does almost felt like I’m already dead if I chose that way. I’m not criticizing employed people, and what I’m try to make  is that I can’t see the point of living my life if I don’t challenge what I want to do in my life, and working in Tokyo was not what I truly wanted to do.

However, there is a social stigma in Japan that people don’t reckon you as “a member of society” if you are not a full time employee, so some of my friends didn’t understand what I wanted to do. Working abroad right after graduation sounds a huge risk, because nobody does it in my home country. (See my post “Why Is It Difficult To Be a Freelancer if You’re Young and Asian? Specifically Japanese”)

I also spoke about the topic at my TEDxYouth@Kobe speech. (The video has no subtitles yet, sorry!)

3. What are your biggest struggles? Fears?

My biggest fear was financing. I did have a few good clients from Japan, but I had no clue how I should develop my business. As a freelancer, you should always have several different sources of income to reduce the risks, so I started blogging to advertise and establish my brand. It went really well, and now I sometimes get booked through my blog for my translation and writing business.

People think financing is hard, but I learned that increasing your income is not the only option to make your life secure. I could create some good networks through my blog, and we help each other by sharing information or do collaboration. Also living in a cheap place would naturally increase the amount of money that you can use for yourself. Possibilities are endless!

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

My biggest income comes from translation. I translate various different texts from website’s article to corporate documents from both of Japanese and overseas clients. I also make money by contributing articles to other blogs.

Currently I am pouring my energy into blogging than ever before. The recent article I wrote about the cultural difference in Germany and Japan has gone viral over 40K views, and I am happy! Also, I am sharing some pro-tips about tax and insurance in Germany by collaborating a financial advisor on my blog. It is to encourage those who want to move to Germany, because these bureaucracies would be a huge obstacles for those who want to move to Germany!

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

My monthly cost of living in Leipzig:

  • Rent: 290EUR (Shared flat with one girl. The cost covers gas, electricity, water and Internet)
  • Coworking space: 200EUR
  • Health Insurance: 53EUR
  • Food&Cafe/Eating out: 150-200 EUR
  • Phone: 10EUR

In total: around 700EUR

I don’t neither drink nor smoke. That’s also why my cost on food is relatively cheap! :p

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

I definitely recommend to start your own blog no matter what kind of business you’re going to do. It’s a great way to get connected with people, and it really expands your opportunities if you keep writing things!

Any final thoughts?

Going digital nomad is not the only goal that makes you feel free. You don’t have to throw away everything you have now all at once, and I think freedom is not all about travelling freely. What people want in their life is different depending on the person, but try to follow your heart by changing your daily behavior step by step that are around your ordinary life. I believe that changing the point of view is the key to improve quality of life. It would be great if you find digital nomad lifestyle suits you as a consequence of following your heart. 🙂