How to be a developer and live a nomad life
I always dreamed about going to Indonesia; that place with perfect waves, amazing views, active volcanoes, incredible culture and everything else you can imagine from the world’s largest island country nestled in Southeast Asia. The catch here is that Indonesia is really far from my home country, Uruguay. Besides, taking a two-week vacation to such an epic place just wouldn’t give me the real life indo experience I was yearning for. I wanted to try a nomad life.
One summer, I was talking with a friend about the waves in Indonesia while watching videos of this beautiful site. Soon it hit me: I was going to spend some months living, surfing and working in Bali.
At that point in time, I was working on an exciting market research app project on behalf of UruIT. Most of my team was based in the US. This blog post tells the story of how I continued to work on this remote project for three months in Bali. I hope my experience can give you an overview of how you can become a digital nomad yourself!
Step 1: Research the destination
My first step was to start researching about Bali. The culture, the people, the internet connection, as well as accommodation options. In that process, I came across the term Digital Nomads in an advertisement for Dojo Coworking Space Bali. These nomads were described as young millennials travelling around the world, working and living their dreams from different paradises around the globe. Something about this term and nomad life resonated perfectly with me and my dream of living and working in Bali.
Step 2: Select an office
Working from home in non developed cities is not always the best option. Because the internet connection may not be reliable and you can end up being isolated and spending all of your time alone. So I decided to find a coworking space to base my remote work operations.
After researching a little more, I decided that Dojo was the best place to live this dream of mine. It is a beautiful hut, full of young people developing their dreams from a little city on the island in Bali called Canggu. It’s only 100 meters away from the waves and 35 kilometers from the Bukit peninsula. This is one of the world class surfing regions that every surfer dreams to score.
Step 3: Present a clear proposal to your company
Before presenting my plan to UruIT and the client, I tried to think of every detail or possible issue that could arise. To be honest, I was a little nervous about bringing something like this up in fear it could be misunderstood. Luckily, my workmates received very well my idea of working remotely from Bali.
Due to the length of the project, as well as the relationship I had with the client and the company’s general flexibility based on Agile methodologies, my ambition of taking my professional work abroad ended up going over very well. I received some awesome help with more information about the country. Also, they helped me with visas and extra stuff I needed were provided by the company. At this point, I was ready to start my nomad life with this dream trip.
Step 4: Prepare your working tools
I collected all the required databases, verified the internet quality of my work space, acquired the necessary visas, packed two computers with enough ssd, ram and everything else I needed to do my work from Bali. I then spoke with my team and committed myself to work the same office hours as I did in Uruguay, but from Indonesia; so this meant I would work from 7pm to 3 or 4 am, Bali time.
Nomad life: the challenges
So I arrived in Asia. First, I took 3 weeks of vacation that gave me time in Indonesia to settle down, find a good house close to my office and learn to drive a scooter instead of a car every day in some insane Asian traffic. The first days combining surfing and working weren’t easy and I spent some days:
- Restoring my local database
- Fighting to get my vpn to work
- Syncing databases and problems with my IP addresses
After a few days, I finally figured everything out and started to feel comfortable in this new environment. I was ready to do my job! Dojo coworking space was so much more than I expected. It had an incredible internet connection, an in-house gourmet restaurant, lockers to leave my computers safe and even surf racks, showers and a swimming pool to relax after surfing, take a shower and start my work schedule for the night.
So my life became exactly that: surf all day until 5pm, then start setting everything up to work, do my job from that paradise coworking office and then repeat. The good part of this nomad life is that I had weekends free. There I could enjoy myself! Usually, I traveled to different spots and islands in Indonesia and returned by Monday to my coworking space to start my work week and continue my project as scheduled.
In my free days I had the time to immerse myself deeper into a new culture. I could make local friends, climb active volcanoes and discover more about Balinese culture, food and religion. On top of that, I noticed that the coworking space was full of other people at night doing the same routine I was doing. So I got really good help on my project, had some amazing chats and discussions about new ideas, software good practices and all the other exciting things that come from working in such a collaborative space. At this point, it was obvious that this Bali opportunity was a win-win situation for all: myself, my company and my client.
Imagine you wake up, ride a scooter and take in the most beautiful blue beaches with amazing coral reefs, surf the best waves you can imagine on your own schedule, get some rest, then do your job. In resume, to combine everything you love into one place! Sounds too good to be true, but this reality is possible, and I can tell you from experience, it’s amazing.
Become a digital nomad you too!
This experience was an incredible life change for me. Those months living a nomad life on the other side of the world on my own showed me that I could chase my dreams. If you work with good people and friends like those I have in UruIT, you too are closer to making those dreams actually happen.