A Thought on Financial Independence and Digital Nomadism

I was interviewed by a French newsletter called Plumes with Attitude two weeks ago about my lifestyle as a maker-writer. An observation by my interviewer Benjamin Perrin struck me as particularly interesting: "I see digital nomadism and the Financial Independence Retire Early movement as two opposites. A bit like the Grasshopper and the Ant, in fact. One is more hedonistic in nature, whereas the other is turned toward sacrifice."

I was 23 when I decided I wanted to reach full financial independence in my early thirties. I was still a student, but I'd already saved about 11,000 dollars from my scholarships and was relatively mindful of my spendings: I would work hard and party harder while enjoying my time as a student, but I had no interest in buying a car, fancy clothes, and a big apartment. Since I already had developed good financial habits and wasn't in debt, I knew it was possible.

Being in a long-distance relationship with a Macedonian girl and volunteering at a global NGO, I also got to experience life as a digital nomad, even though I didn't know the term at the time. Most lectures at Stockholm University being recorded or available online, I was able to study remotely while traveling. I still had to show up during the end-of-semester exams, but it still left me several months to move around.

That's when I understood that traveling didn't have to be expensive. Quite the contrary in fact, because it allowed me to spend less on food, and I had a network of people to host me almost anywhere in Europe.

Quite naturally, the idea of combining financial independence and digital nomadism occurred to me.

The FIRE movement is not about sacrifice, it's about developing meaningful spending habits to work on long-term goals, instead of wasting money on expensive restaurants because I'm too lazy to cook.

Nomadism is not only about pleasure either. Long-term travel is hard: you need the discipline to work from anywhere, and to constantly push yourself out of your comfort zone to deal with a new culture, in an unknown environment, often on your own. Most people would fail for those reasons.

Now that I know how to live comfortably on $1000 per month and that I'm starting to have several income sources (The Co-Writers, Bouquin, freelance writing, and books), I'm confident I'll be able to reach FI in less than 5 years.

$1000 per month in living expenses is $12k a year, so I need $300k in investments by applying the 4% rule. With the right projects and connections, a yearly wage of $90k as a software engineer is not unrealistic, and I'm already making $80 an hour as a junior technical freelance writer. From there, my wealth can only compound.

I'm turning 26 in July, so my predictions from three years ago should turn out alright if I keep hustling without sacrificing my health, and it's thanks to my lifestyle combining FI principles and digital nomadism.