Why I became a Digital Nomad

woman and man riding on motorcycle
This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series digital nomads

A question that gets asked often is why I became a digital nomad. I’ve been trying to find the main drivers to be (and remain) a location independent professional. 

Work hard and hope to retire wealthy and healthy?

One of the significant drivers I find when reflecting on what keeps making this nomadic life so suitable for me is the idea that I don’t have to postpone dreams till retirement: When I talk with people about their dreams, they often explain to me the hobbies they’d likely pursue or all the travel they’ll do when they retire. They hope they’ll have the means and the health when they finish their career to go after their dreams. 

By organizing my life in a way where a successful career and a meaningful life are not two phases, but one life (now!) that requires a different organization, I try to go after my dreams today. 

Inspired by new impressions

Creativity and finding different angles to tackle issues in business, is one of my key strengths. Add to that every time I meet new people or discover new places; I feel extra inspired. You quickly understand how going to new places is extremely attractive to me. 

As an extravert, interacting with people gives me energy. Every time I’d arrive in a new location, trying to meet interesting people there enriches my creativity and boosts my energy. 

Wanderlust

As I wrote in the opening of The Suitcase Office, the wanderlust is strong in me. I long to discover new places, see new countries, visit remote locations, and wander in busy cities. 

 I visited all continents, from the northern ice shelves to the Antarctica Peninsula. And I’m not done. Even while I understood the value of slow travel, I still like to add places to my bucket list. 

Koen’s travel map and blog on Boarding.Today

Combining work with (new) hobbies

Being a location-independent consultant and executive requires its fair share of work. But being in places where I can combine hard work with great hobbies is an invaluable asset of the digital nomad life. A lot of my free time is spent diving, sailing, and photographing. 

Scuba diving

I spent a lot of time in 2016 and 2017 in Central America, combining several complex missions for clients in Europe and the Eastcoast of the USA with my late-discovered passion for scuba diving. In 2016, I finished a three-month program in Costa Rica to become a divemaster, and a year later completed my Instructor Development Course (IDC) to become a Scuba Diving Instructor. 

Sailing

I learned sailing when I was pretty young. But like with many things in life, I did not find the time to spend a lot of time on the water in the first decades of my career. But when having a home base in New York City, a block away from a sailing school. I picked up this hobby again. By 2016 I found myself on a 16-meter vessel, crewing to Antarctica. By 2020, the idea of living part-time on a sailboat had evolved from a dream to a project. As I write this, Sailing Vessel Bagabonda is getting ready in the Med. 

Photography

I’ve always enjoyed taking pictures. Spending time in Alaska to follow the Grizzly bears, seeing harp seals on the arctic ice shelf, city-tripping with a camera, you name it. So when I can travel and work in unique, photogenic locations, I won’t hesitate. 

Digital Nomad life can be challenging, but when you understand the advantages it gives in enriching life and keeps on finding the balance between that successful career and that meaningful life, it’s very enriching. 

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