As I was packing my bag to travel back home to Australia after my four-month internship* had finished in 2014, I decided that Chiang Mai was just too good to leave. All I needed to do was make my online income my MAIN income.
From 2014 until 2018, I rented condos around Chiang Mai. From Sang Serene to Hillside 4 and Convention Condominium, I finally settled on The Trio Condominium because of the awesome location, large studio space, pool with a view of Doi Suthep mountain and minutes walk to Maya and Nimman.
I had a fantastic time in and around Chiang Mai. There was an active Digital Nomad (DN) community of smart people who loved working online and were willing to help me succeed. I mostly hung out at a now-defunct but legendary co-working space called Coffee Monster.
From long benches, fast internet speeds, recreational activities like ping pong to parties and salsa lessons in the evenings, Coffee Monster was a sprawling house that was converted to satisfy the needs of DNs. It had a green-screen video recording room and a separate and totally silent podcasting booth. Brilliant.
There were many local Facebook groups – and I ended up in a weekly MasterMind that rapidly accelerated my business.
These DNs also loved to travel and knew a lot about the best places to go and how to get there for a bargain. It felt like I had hit the jackpot.
But just like technology changes, the digital nomad movement itself was constantly morphing into something new every month.
So being at the beginning of the DN movement in 2014, I decided to make up my own definition of what being a digital nomad meant. And use Chiang Mai as my base for travelling the world.
I was MC for the Nomad Coffee Club for nearly 3 years. That opportunity introduced me to hundreds of newbie and experienced nomads; so I felt like I had a pretty good idea of what the nomad movement was and where it was headed.
One thing I did know was that we didn’t resemble backpackers in any way shape or form. Most of these intelligent guys and gals had previously slaved away in a corporate environment and they all came to the same conclusion: it sucked. So they saved their money and went looking for answers. First stop: Chiang Mai.
As opposed to the breath-taking growth we witnessed in the first few years after 2014, it has plateaued now; but becoming a digital nomad will always be the best way for educated people to break out of the boring corporate 9 to 5 treadmill and earn a living online from anywhere in the world AKA ‘location independent’.
*PS The internship was purely being in the right place at the right time. I wanted to travel to South East Asia after my divorce in 2011, so I took up an offer to visit a friend in Jakarta. BIG mistake. I got taken to the cleaners by a professional gold digger and lost all the money I had to a very beautiful but totally corrupt and ruthless liar.
I returned to Australia with my tail between my legs; feeling bashed about the head and heart – but not beaten. As luck would have it, my second chance came when an email arrived asking for experienced marketers to join a small group re-launching a clever software called Copy Sniper. After sending off my intro video plus a 90 minute Skype interview, I was chosen to be included for a four-month internship. It was a successful launch – and it changed my life dramatically. I’ve never looked back.