Greetings from Tokyo!
Our family has travelled around the world for half a year now, and I think it would be a good time to sum up a few thoughts about being a digital nomad! Maybe some of you wonder what “a digital nomad” means so let’s have a short definition first. Webworktravel.com -blog defines it like this:
“There are so many types of digital nomads that it’s actually hard to come up with just one description. However, what they all have in common is that they spend at least a few months of the year abroad, change their destinations frequently (usually every few weeks but can stay up to 6 months), and earn a living while working online.”
When we started our journey, I didn´t know exactly what to expect, and I was really curious to see how it would be to travel around the world and work at the same time. I must admit that my thoughts were more romantic than the reality actually is! The journey has shown us that not only being a digital nomad contains all the beauty I imagined but also much more hard work and various difficulties.
Of course, the best thing is that we can see the wonderful world while working. We can decide where to go and schedule our journey by ourselves. On one day, we can be in Hong Kong, meet our agents and discover cool shops there, and on the other day we can move to the sunny paradise beaches in the Philippines and combine holiday and work there. We can also combine market research to travelling, and I bet that we will experience such things that are impossible to learn from books or researches.
Sometimes there are challenges with the time zone differences, but mainly we have enjoyed the fact that Finland wakes up many hours later than us. Lazy mornings are great, and we can help Kosti with his school, read emails with no rush and do some work with no interruptions (except our kids).
But the reverse is that we usually have a couple of meetings in the evenings. Unfortunately, it easily goes so that we work almost the whole day from forenoon till the night. Sometimes some important meetings can be scheduled even after midnight.
At the beginning of our journey, we travelled more around, so we had less time for work. Back then I felt that the few actual working hours were very efficient and we had more time to think and make plans. But now, when we are staying a longer time at the one place (with a good internet connection), my calendar is filled up with all kinds of meetings and tasks.
You might ask now, with what is my calendar filled up then? Here my days consists mainly of having Skype meetings, writing emails, meeting agents, factories and other cooperation partners, getting to know the markets (for example by visiting in shops and fairs) and of course, doing my own job: designing the new Papu collections and, for instance, making marketing materials.
To summarise, I think we almost have the same amount of tasks here compared to what we had in Finland. But on top of that, we have all the travelling hours and the kids are with us all the time.
The one thing that I was not able to think beforehand is how little time we actually have to explore the cities and the places we stay in. We spend so much time working in our accommodation that we don´t have a lot of time to make long trips to see all the main places and sights. Of course, we try to have free time on weekends, but sometimes we need to work then as well… Perhaps that is just part of entrepreneurship. We are still studying to separate our work and leisure time better ;).
One especially great thing is that during our trip our fantastic team in Finland has taken more charge from their jobs and run the whole office. That was one of our primary goals and we think that things have gone well there. Sometimes it is heartbreaking to hear how busy they are there, but it also teaches us all importance of prioritising and choosing what we really want to do and what we really need to get done.
After all this, half a year has been very busy but definitely instructive, amazing and, for sure, worth of doing!! Of course, sometimes we miss home and people there but anyhow one year will pass by very soon…
If you are dreaming of becoming a digital nomad too, you can find some useful tips for example here :).
Enjoy the nice crispy winter days there in Finland or at least a nice sunny weekend, wherever you are!
With love, Anna