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Ever wanted to live and work from wherever takes your fancy? Happily chasing the sun while you make a living doesn’t have to be a fantasy. There are thousands of people doing it and we’ve asked Pete Hillman, from Digital Nomad Workshop, to give us his top 5 tips on location independent living to get you started.

1. Discipline (Freedom through discipline)

While working remotely you will probably experience more freedom and opportunity than your life has ever known. It is easy to get lost in experience and not complete tasks and work. Over the years I have found it invaluable to to keep strict work and finance budgets to maintain productivity and quality. I rise early and work 6 hours straight unless I am tasked differently or meeting potential clients. We are all different but finding the correct life-work balance will stop productivity lapses and help factor in the seemingly limitless adventures that are available on the road.

2. Adaptation (cultures and lifestyles)

Adapting to new and often exotic cultures demands a certain degree of humility and patience. Depending on the speed at which you travel, you will find hugely varied acceptable cultural norms that need to be observed to enjoy the full experience. Often when I am in a new country I sit outside a local coffee shop and watch street life and social nuances. With a little mindful time your stay in any country can be made smoother after attempting to understand local customs.

3. Vision (Flexibility with direction)

My best travel experience have never been planned. (e.g. Once I started working and travelling in Morocco and ended up writing in a buddhist monastery in Sri Lanka.) Whether you are working on a startup, bootstrapping your first app or working on your first eCommerce store the digital nomadic lifestyle will throw up many opportunities that will colour your working outlook and business practice. Having a vision as to what you want to achieve along with an open mind to the potentialities that arise while working remotely will create business opportunities that are closed to the conventional 9 – 5 employee.

4. Respect (Not expect)

We all bring expectations with us when we travel. Some are very necessary, (e.g. safety etc…) but quite often westerners travelling in the developing world find it very hard to adapt to routine events that happen daily such as power outages, transport delays and of course the lack of super-fast wifi. All these things can make working while travelling very frustrating. By predicting the potential for failure some of my most productive spells have occurred when the internet was unavailable allowing me to focus without online distractions. Letting go of expectations and the western mindset that everything must work as well as respecting the way in which each culture tolerates the failures in ‘normal service’ can bring real personal insight and growth as we learn how impatient and intolerant we can become when are ‘needs’ are not being met.

5. Needs not wants

Often people become location independent to startup a new business, bootstrap an idea or embark on a lifestyle change. Identifying what we really need as opposed to what we want is a wonderful way of slowing the burn rate and allowing us time to iterate and create much more than we could ever imagine back in ‘westernised cultures.’ In asia you dont need to be as frugal and can live a very rich and rewarding lifestyle as costs are often a fifth of what they are back home. Discipline, along with the natural changes that occur when we travel with minimal possessions, enables a wonderful new life working from exotic places we never dreamed possible only a generation ago.

Onto you!

Got any tips to share with the community about nomadic work and life? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Pete Hillman is the founder of the Digital Nomad Workshop: a five-day workshop teaching how to become location independent, travel the world and work online from almost anywhere by creating a web-based business.

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About the author

Melissa Whidjaya

Melissa is the co-founder of Bloombox Co. Bloombox Co works to connect flower growers and flower buyers, creating a distribution system that reduces waste, improves profitability for growers, and removes barriers to consumption, providing flower lovers with a fresher, more sustainable product than ever before.


  1. Stevie Jack

    Great tips, Pete. All makes a lot of sense. Sounds like a common-sense approach!

  2. JC from Holland

    Great tips! I like the observing from a local coffeeshop part. The discipline is mine already, letting go of the Western habits and attitude is what I’m working on right now. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Jeff Bronson

    All good points Pete. Especially the Internet. When I was in Goa, there were daily outages and I’d use an Internet cafe. So when wifi was available it was full on work mode knowing it could go down again any moment.

    A strict schedule is so important I’m learning. Hours can slip away so easy. I find waking up early, doing a bodyweight workout, then going straight to a co-working space helps and tying to get those 5-6 productive hours in.

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