Articles about nomading

Journeyman - Part 2: Itinerary

I'm going on a bike tour this summer while working remotely. I already wrote about my motives yesterday, and I'll talk about my itinerary in this post. The initial idea is to move like a nomad: slowly, carrying all my possessions, and respectful of Nature. Biking doesn't pollute and allows me to carry all I need to survive. I want to live as close to nature as possible, so I'll be wild camping at least 75% of the nights. I'm neither an experienced camper nor cyclist, so I decided to take it easy and choose Scandinavia. Scandinavia is flat, so I won't exhaust myself too much. It'll also be duri...read more

Journeyman - Part 1: Motives

I'm planning to go full nomad this summer, traveling around the Baltic Sea with a bike and wild camping while working remotely. I wouldn't be the first to do it. I stumbled upon a blog with the exact same goal. The guy's been at it for several years now, so for the naysayers out there: I know it's doable. The first article I've seen on this blog is literally titled "How to be a maker and a digital nomad?". Sounds like me. I have several reasons to make this choice. First, I'm a bit tired of the typical digital nomad myth telling you to go to Bali, live off the locals, and hopping fro...read more

Where I Sleep While Nomading

I have a lot of experience living in a van to travel, but I preferred more stable environments over the last two years. I can divide the places I slept at in two different categories: Airbnb rentals, and hostel dorm rooms. Renting an entire Airbnb studio is the best option when I need to recharge my mental batteries. As an introvert, it frequently happens: I spent 80% of my time traveling by myself in small apartments. It's not expensive as it sounds depending on where you stay at. Especially when you stay at the same place for a whole month, thanks to Airbnb's monthly discounts. Sometimes how...read more

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 dollar...read more

Moving to a Tiny House

I decided to stay for another month in Budapest. As a European resident, I'm allowed to stay for three months without needing a visa. That's perfect because I want to stay longer in each city I'm visiting. One month is the best economic trade-off between mobility and stability, but it's often too short to make friends. Three months is a bit better: it's the ideal length to stroll throughout the city and find your place in it. I spent last month in the Western part of the city: Buda. The Danube cuts the city in half, and without going into the details, that's how you know in which part of the c...read more

Nomad Laptop

It is often said that all you need to be a digital nomad is a laptop and a stable Internet connection, but technology has evolved so much over the last ten years that I'm not sure this is even true anymore. The price of 1GB of data is decreasing and new technologies such as progressive web apps and static-generated websites decrease the total amount of data you need to interact on the web. With even planning, a stable Internet connection is never an issue: I never had a problem publishing my daily post in more than a year of nomading, even when I was cruising in Ha Long Bay or lost in the moun...read more

Living On The Road, With A Bike

Is it possible to live a semi-nomadic life, just as simple and respectful of Nature as living in a cabin near Walden Pond, as a tech worker? This is a question I had in mind since I started digital nomading two years ago. It's doable, in theory. I could take my bike and live on the road. I can carry everything I currently have in saddle, handlebar, and frame bags. I know it's possible because I went on a bike tour for a week (400km) with just an everyday 30L backpack. I would just need a camping hammock and two trees to sleep. Of course, I would have to leverage countries where wild camping is...read more

Thoreau's Pyramid of Needs

In the few first pages of Walden, Thoreau proposes that there are but four necessaries of life: food, shelter, clothing, and fuel, "for not till we have secured these are we prepared to entertain the true problems of life with freedom and a prospect of success". I'll call it Thoreau's Pyramid of Needs - food being at the top, shelter in the middle, and clothing and fuel at the bottom. Every part of this pyramid has a single objective: to "keep up the fire within us". Quoting Liebig, he adds: "man's body is a stove [...] the grand necessity, then, for our bodies, is to ...read more

Imagining An Ideal Nomadic Lifestyle For Myself

Nomads are shepherds moving from one location to another according to a seasonal path. Digital nomads could behave in a similar fashion. On the other hand, when I imagine the ideal nomad lifestyle, I think of Henry David Thoreau, his essay on walking and living in Walden, and how he traveled. I can see myself in my 30s combining the two ideas. I could buy a cheap plot of land in two different countries--say, Spain and Sweden--and share my time between them to take advantage of the weather. I would learn bushcraft and make myself a cabin like the ones you can see on Youtube self-reliance channe...read more

Travel Day

I'm back on the road, off to Budapest. Even though I've streamlined my travelling process, I'm always excited to arrive in a new place. I get up, pack a half-dozen shirts, boxers, and socks. I then take two pair of pants and some winter clothes, and finish with electronics, notebooks, running shoes, and personal care. I roll all my clothes to use as little space as possible. A suitcase would be too big, so I take a travel bag I carry on my shoulders. All my possessions fit in this bag and weight less than 7 kg. I wear the most cumbersome items: a winter coat, a hoodie, and a pair of leather bo...read more

Next Month in Budapest

On January the 4th, I'll be coming back to the same apartment I rented two Spring ago in Budapest. I loved it. It was cheap, yet clean and minimalist. The internet connection was also lightning-fast. A long desk and a comfortable chair face a window overviewing the interior courtyard. The studio is located in Buda, the western side of Budapest, a hundred meters from the old town. There is a huge mall where I used to get my groceries and a tram station nearby. Everything is convenient. I noticed the listing on Airbnb at $350 for a whole month and jumped on it. The plane ticket was crazy cheap t...read more

A Nomad's Carbon Footprint

Decreasing my carbon footprint as a digital nomad has been a lot on my mind over the last two years. I don't own a car and I don't have to commute every day. All I need during my travels fit in a bag. My websites are powered by renewable energy. I've reduced my consumption of meat. I eat what locals eat and in season. I don't watch TV and I barely use my phone anymore. Most of my electricity consumption comes from powering my laptop, heating, and air conditioning. I could eliminate the last two by migrating to the right countries according to the seasons as birds do. Southern Iberia during win...read more

Travillage

An ecovillage is an intentional community with the goal of becoming more sustainable. This concept fascinates the digital nomad in me. I want to travel better. I am not attracted to places like Chiang Mai or Bali where the practice of digital nomadism disrupted the local culture. To be a good flâneur, you need places where you can live incognito among different people. When you go to Bali, you are surrounded by individuals from a similar socioeconomic background or locals who are here to serve you as a tourist. Don't get me wrong, digital nomad places have their perks. The network is great, yo...read more

Winter Origins

It's almost 0° in Odessa today. Some snowflakes fell from the sky this afternoon. I know because I was walking around town to digest my meal of varenyky. It was already dark by 16:00 and I had to rely on the street's fairy lights to come back home. Oh, how I missed winter. There is comfort to be found in drinking a cup of coffee by a cold night's candlelight. There isn't much to do except getting lost in thought and making sure everyone is warm. This is the perfect time to write and read. Winter is associated with hibernation, and thus death, but I see it more like a return to our origins befo...read more

Flânerie

As a nomad maker, travel is an integral part of my creative process. But not all travels are equal. Some can hurt you, they are the manifestation of an unsustainable escapism. Flânerie, on the other hand, originates from a quest for truth. As a Frenchman, I'm deeply attracted to the concept of flânerie to describe what's a sustainable form of travel, which is not an easy term to define. Reading The Painter of Modern Life, a series of essays written by the infamous poet Charles Baudelaire, I hope to shed some light on the mindset of a flâneur. Baudelaire was a contemporary of Rimbaud, and it is...read more

Odessa's 5 AM Club

Circadian cycles are weird. I've been trying to consistently wake up early for the last 5 years. Except for a few weeks where I managed to join the 5 AM club, I've never sticked to it. My circadian cycle has been completely messed up over the last year. It wasn't unusual for me to work at night and sleep during the day. I like living at night, but I don't feel as productive. I've spent most of my early years as an early bird. Going to bed between 9 and 11 PM, and waking up between 6 and 7 AM. Upon entering college, the problems started to arise. I would party later and wake up accordingly. A h...read more

Eastern Europe

I find Eastern Europe fascinating. It's an uncommon melting pot of rich cultures, and not just Slavic sub-cultures as one might think. Each country is vastly different, even if they share common traits. As a digital nomad from France, it's particularly advantageous. Except for Russia, I do not need any visa to go there. The lack of administrative hassle is liberating. I can just book a ticket and stay in a given city for three months without having to ask anything. Eastern European countries are still under-developed. It's financially interesting, you can easily live under $1000 a month. More ...read more

From Location Independence to Financial Independence

Location independence is a huge unfair advantage in the quest for financial independence. Financial independence is about increasing your saving rate. You can do so by decreasing your expenses or by earning more, or a bit of both. Most people assume that traveling is expensive. It's true, if you're tied down by geographical or time constraints: as long as you don't overly care where you live, there is always a way to find a cheap ticket and an inexpensive yet decent accommodation. Here is how I do it. I open Skyscanner, I enter my departure location, and I ask the website to search anywhere fo...read more

Winter Sky

It's not even November and I'm already debating whether I should wear a warm trench coat inside the apartment or not. The flu doesn't help. But I managed to survive a whole winter in Stockholm, this should be a piece of cake. The cold is unforgiving, you have to prepare yourself or it will run over you. Exercise, warm drinks, and cold showers are your best friends: they will boost your metabolism, to the point where the low temperatures become mere information. It's uncomfortable, but it makes you feel alive. I spent last autumn and winter in South-East Asia, and I missed the feelings you expe...read more

Moving to Odessa

I'm in the middle of moving to Odessa. Changing cities can be deadly for my streaks. I didn't prepare anything the day before. I woke up at 7 AM to do some cleaning in the Airbnb studio. I left the keys of the apartment at 10 AM, but before that I was with a lady I met at a party two weeks ago and thus didn't make time to write. Saying goodbye is the hardest part of traveling. I took the bus to Bucharest's Henri Coanda airport. It was too crowded to get some writing done. I was too nostalgic of my time in Bucharest to focus. The feeling persisted till the departure of my first flight to Istanb...read more

Childlike Traveler

Entertaining my little cousins is one of my favorite things in the world. Children are fascinating: witty, smart, playful, and thirsty for knowledge. They are not afraid to interact with the world, you can learn a lot from kids. In his book Mastery, Robert Greene proposes that masters are individuals who managed to revert back to this blank open state of mind while retaining their expertise and their ability to focus. I am convinced traveling is the surest way to come back to this childlike state. A good traveler's mindset is similar to that of a child: no preconception of good or bad, just an...read more

Bucharest Retreat - Micro-habits program

Writing down a daily program never worked for me. I always fall off the wagon after a week or two, because I can be lazy. That being said, I want to try again. I'm better prepared this time: my reason is important, I have people I am accountable to, and I need this discipline to grow. 6:00 - Wake up and start coding something with some music on 6:30 - Bodyweight training + stretching + diaphragmatic breathing + shower 7:30 - Breakfast + podcast/video (if tired, just practice mindfulness without multitasking) 8:00 - Free writing 9:00 - Ship at least one commit to the code base 12:00 - Lunch + p...read more

September Bucharest Retreat - Road2Ramen 2.0

I'm leaving France to Romania in two days. After three months nomading with my family, I need to seclude myself to work on my main goal for the following 12 months: reach ramen profitability from my tech products, before I run out of savings. If I can't predict what will work and what won't, I have to experiment faster. In order to increase my iteration speed, I have to design a strict routine supporting my goal by dramatically sharpening my focus. In other words, I have to work like an athlete monk - to align my daily tasks with my needs, objectives, and environment by living a (temporary) mo...read more

Two Travel Pain Points

What prevents remote workers from nomading? People are naturally attracted to travel, it's in our genes to move, to be attracted to what's different. However, we face two obstacles preventing us from taking action on those inner desires: fears and high expectations. Fear is what prevents you from going on a journey. Expectations prevent you from enjoying the journey, from learning to adapt. Fear is usually overcome by having travel buddies or some sort of mentor figure. My parents told me the basics of living on the road, for example. Expectations are harder to deal with. It's about your minds...read more

34 Hours

I'm about to spend 34 hours in airports and airplanes. 2 hours from Ho Chi Minh City to Singapore, a 4-hour escale, 13 hours from Singapore to Berlin, a 13-hour stop, and 2 hours from Berlin to Paris. Airports are exhausting if you're not well-prepared. I wrote a small to-do list, a bunch of offline work: write the first article of Making a Maker for Makerlog, read a book on MySQL to improve the performance of 200WaD's queries, and finish up an article for another project. This is the work I have to get done within this time frame, but I also have to write my 200WaD posts. The good thing with ...read more

Infinite Conversation

Traveling is an opportunity to experience several lives. All it takes is a good conversation. The hard part is going toward others. Meeting new people is always uncomfortable, almost scary. Aristotle says humans are social beings, but it's a half-truth. We are not completely open to new acquaintances. We meet individuals within our social spheres, and we rarely escape it. Have you ever went to a bar by yourself to strike up a discussion? It's not innate. Once you overcome this lingering fear, you still need to make the dialogue interesting. Talking is always about the other. Everybody has a st...read more

What's your favorite country?

I got this question in my OyeStartups interview. I answered Switzerland, or Sweden, mainly because the living conditions are optimal for me, but let me elaborate. South-East Asian countries are cheap, you don't need to cook, and they are full of friendly people - locals and travelers alike - but the living conditions won't cut it. It's incredibly polluted, the humid heat makes me lazy. I don't see myself living there the majority of the year. On the other hand, my daily life in Switzerland was healthier. Surrounded by mountains and lakes. The fresh air and the clean water. This nature is a lux...read more

Next Destination

Time is often represented by an hourglass - by sand more precisely - to remind you how easily it slips through your fingers. My stay in Vietnam will be over in three weeks. New friendships were born, and new memories were made. It was an enriching experience on the trail of my origins. There is no one Vietnam but four. One in the North where life is a peaceful garden, center Vietnam where girls are spicier than a bowl of Bún bò, southern Vietnam where the food reflects the economy: rich and tasty, and the one I'll keep in my dreams. The hardest part about being a digital nomad is not the work ...read more

A Few Bucks

I live on about $800 a month. $26 a day. It's very little compared to the average revenue of a western household, but it's also six times an average salary in Vietnam. I live frugally, yet comfortably. I don't have any debt, which directly propels me in the wealthiest people on this planet. Power is not spending $3000 dollars a month, it's being able to save it. It implies a tiny bit of self-control with a drop of grit: it's hard to resist the general tendency for people to accumulate more - houses, cars, partners, bottles of alcohol, job titles full of crap... the opportunities to live less o...read more

Finding the Perfect Environment (II)

In mid-September, I want to seclude myself in a city for three months to spend 14 hours a day working on my tech business. I already wrote about the things I'm not looking for in my environment to be productive, but how about what I'm actually looking for? I want to keep my burn rate low: no more than $350 for a private room with Wi-Fi when I want to be alone, and cheap street food to avoid spending time on cooking when I don't feel like it. The climate should be cold, or at least temperate enough to be able to work outdoor and bike on a daily basis. I am planning to take my bike with me on my...read more

Finding the Perfect Environment

Traveling around gives me the opportunity to experiment with the kind of environment I feel the most productive in. I'd say my most successful period was during my stay in Annemasse, working a full-time job in Geneva while hustling before and after my 9 to 5 on my previous startup. It was the closest I found to a perfect balance between personal growth and work productivity. It's not about how nice your apartment is. I lived in a 25m² appartment located in a small city at the border between France and Switzerland. A desk, a kitchen, a shower, toilets, and a bed. That's all the furnitures it co...read more

What's so hard about long term traveling?

Traveling is like swimming. Anyone can do it, but you still have to learn not to drown. Long term traveling is not as easy as booking a plane ticket, it's a habit to train. People love traveling because it's a radical way to create change. The brain loves distractions. Too much change creates fatigue, however. As a digital nomad, you still need to work. And work doesn't like distractions. Sustainable travel is thus a balance between new experiences and routine, between change and stability. If a lifestyle is a sum of habits, the surest way to fail is to try to develop all habits at once. That'...read more

Mazeophobia

I've been cruising in the Ha Long Bay for two days with ten other westerners. As it's frequent in most tourist attractions many activities are organized to keep us busy. Guides tell us where to go and what to do. I kinda hate it. We bought a package to visit the bay and it happens the activities were included. I started wondering why people would actually like those. My brother and I had rather spend time silently observing the mountains, the sea, and the fishing boats. My conclusion is people either don't want to think for themselves, or are too afraid to go on an adventure. I think it's quit...read more

almost broke my streak

I'm currently writing on a boat in the famous Ha Long Bay. There is no Wi-Fi. I was told there would be. Barely any mobile network either. I'm frantically writing with the hope I will be able to hit publish. Resistance is strong today. We woke up early to catch a bus. It took us four hours from Hanoï to reach the beautiful rounded sea moutains. Then the boat started cruising the sea. We ate lunch inside, then head to the auxiliary boat for a quick tour, which ultimately lead us to a platform full of kayaks. I took one. We landed on a solitary beach with the 14 of us to have a swim. It's now al...read more

Last days in Hanoï

Tomorrow I'm leaving for the Ha Long Bay to spend two days visiting this iconic Vietnamese landscape. Our month in Hanoï is coming to an end. I know I will come back, it's such a unique city. Booming, and yet, authentic. My month in Ho Chi Minh City was quite different: the city center is full of tourists, traditions are being lost. Hanoï remains popular and authentic. The appartment I live in is about a kilometer from the Hoan Kiem lake. Street food stalls are still filling up the buildings. Mornings and evenings are so lively, full of scents, interesting sights, noisy at times. Hanoï is the ...read more

Places where I lived

Note to self - all the places I've been living in for at least a month: Hanoï, Vietnam (1 month) - nomad entrepreneur Penang, Malaysia (3 months) - nomad entrepreneur Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (1 month) - nomad entrepreneur Bangkok, Thaïland (2 months) - nomad entrepreneur Warsaw, Poland (1 month) - nomad entrepreneur Budapest, Hungary (1 month) - nomad entrepreneur Paris, France (1 month) - CTO Geneva, Switzerland (6 months) - internship Stockholm, Sweden (1 year) - studies Bucharest, Romania (1 month) - visiting ex-girlfriend Skopje, Macedonia (1 month) - visiting ex-girlfriend Shanghaï, Ch...read more

Mai Chau, North Vietnam

I'm currently writing in a jungle surrounded by green mountains with rounded tops. Two uncles of mine decided to buy a plot of land in Mai Chau, Vietnam to build a homestay. The scenery is absolutely gorgeous. It's peaceful and quiet. There are fruit trees we can eat from - it's the jackfruit season. Sour cucumbers, sugar canes, pineapples, bamboos, and herbs are cultivated here as well. My family sleeps in a traditional Thai (Vietnamese ethnic group) home down the hill the domain has been dug in. All the facilities are in the main house located at the top of the land. You can navigate between...read more

Fuel for Imagination

Whenever I travel, I feel inspired. Discovering a new environment stimulates the brain. All the information you need to take in can appear overwhelming, but in the end it's just brain food. Stay too long in one place and you start developing necrosis. Change is entertaining, but a change of air has mental health benefits. There is something about observing people in public places. We are culturally different, but everyone looks so similar. People going to work. People eating. People sleeping. People in love. We all share the same aspirations: to have a good time, to seek a better life. Travel ...read more

Hanoï Daily Routine

Three days in Hanoï and I already settled in a work routine. My parents and I wake up at 7. We go in the street to eat a bowl of phở, about $1 each. I come back to the apartment to work while they spend the morning visiting. Around 1 PM we eat lunch together in another street food stall. My father speaks Vietnamese so it's much easier to try out a lot of different meals. The heat gets unbearable after lunch so we head back to the apartment to have a siesta. I finish my nap and get back to work till the evening. We have dinner at another place - we will soon get to know the whole neighborhood t...read more

Airport Night

One of the worst things that can happen to any traveler, and especially to a digital nomad, is to spend the night in an airport. I did it five or six times, it's never a pleasant memory. Time goes extremely slowly when you are trying to sleep while making sure nobody takes your luggages. Your brain constantly switches on and off, which accentuates the feeling of tiredness. Your comfort at night greatly depends on the airport you are in. I hate Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport for example: no open store at night, no free lounge to sleep in, worn-out chairs... the conditions are pretty terrible....read more

Road to Vietnam

That's it. Tomorrow, I'm back on the road again. I've been using and abusing my parents' hospitality for three months, it's time to take off again. I'm off to Vietnam with my parents and my brother. We go through Bordeaux then Paris by train. We catch a flight from Charles de Gaulle's airport and stop for a few hours in Kunming before arriving in Vietnam. Two days all in all. My mom boards a plane for the first time, in her mid-60s. You gotta start somewhere. It's also the first time I'm nomading with my family - working remotely while traveling. All we know is we are going to stay for three m...read more

On Holidays

I went on a short trip to Rennes for the past three days. First real weekend in six months, I took a break to visit close friends. Rennes is a city in French Brittany with a nice student/working class vibe. We rented an Airbnb in the Horizons tower, inspired by the Bauhaus movement and near the Place des Lices where most places to go out at night are located. It was a lot of fun, time spent creating new memories or reminiscing old ones. Now we are graduated, opportunities for visiting college friends are getting increasingly rare. We all are quite international. It wasn't a chance to miss. I w...read more

Erasmus

The Erasmus program is a standard student exchange program in European universities. The year I spent as an Erasmus student was the most impactful one of college. I suggest two points that allowed me to obtain this result: exchange and introspection. It's important to go toward students and professors. I was lucky to study remotely and to attend one-on-one Skype meetings with my professors where I was able to discuss my professional interests. I was involved in associative activities that lead me to travel to Danemark, Poland, and Romania, where I met brilliant people who profoundly impacted m...read more

Finding places you can call home

I enjoyed imagining my ideal town when I was a child, and I came to the simple conclusion an ideal place is some sort of Eldorado where you can find everything. I still wonder where are the best locations to live from. My environment influences my state of mind, and my mood influences where I like to be. But living somewhere is sacrificing an advantage for another. Big or small cities, fast or slow internet, night life or not... I do not care so much. Traveling is adapting yourself. Little pollution, a good climate, a soothing atmosphere... those are conditions I look for however. I do not see...read more

Back on the Road

The wind brings unknown words. I hear the call of distant lands. The road is burning under the sun of excitement, and so am I. It's been 41 days since I came back to France. I had time to release a small book and recover from my travels. I feel rested and ready to take on new challenges. Days feel slow in the French countryside. Slowness nurtures patience, and patience is a prerequisite for growth. Personal growth is a balance between a need for stability and a need for new ephemeral experiences. I'm going back to South-East Asia in June to spend three months in Vietnam with my close family. I...read more

To become an alter-nomad

To become an alter-nomad is to become a thinker and a maker, rather than a bystander. The mission is to participate in the realization of a better world: The intellectual nomad attempts to escape the codes (of the highway), the conditioning (at a socio-psychological level) and simplistic, locking definitions. But he doesn’t pretend to escape every conditioning. On the contrary, he seeks the best conditions, the best conditioning possible (breathing space, focus space, etc.). He works on himself, never losing sight of both his animal and natural basis. - Le local et le global dans l'oeuvre de ...read more

How to discover new cultures while being productive

Laser-like focus and dedication are key for startup success, there is just no way around both hard and smart work. When you love your work as much as I do, you don’t really consider relaxing. As a direct consequence, I do not make enough time to really make the most of my life as a digital nomad. It is a shame, and I wish to improve on this point. Some solutions to get a better grasp of the local cultures I'm visiting while still feeling productive: Learn the language: I downloaded Duolinguo to serve as a basis for learning and plan on practicing consistently in real life situations. Go to me...read more

Road to Ramen: Conclusion

Today is my last day in Asia, before next time. I'm moving back to Europe for a while. I have to attend my graduation ceremony, and I need to see my family and friends. I set out to become a full-time indie maker 6 months ago. My goal was to build my own tech products and make a living out of it, just enough to cover my living expenses - also known as ramen profitability - while traveling. I called this adventure Road to Ramen: 6 months to reach ramen profitability as a maker in South-East Asia. Today is my last day in the Road to Ramen journey, and it is time to sum it up. Finance I need $700...read more

The Cold

I've been solo-traveling in Asia for close to 6 months now. I'm starting to feel homesick. I miss my friends and my family, but today I want to talk about why I miss the cold. It's always hot here. You might think it's a blessing. I wish we could send all the people dying from hypothermia to Asia during winter. But it's also humid. Everyone relies on Air Conditioning to cool down, but the effects are not the same as living in a cold weather. We tend to hate the cold. It has its virtues however. There is something cathartic about running or biking in the cold early in the morning. Or an exhilar...read more

Achilles, Odysseus, and Travel

Epic journeys occupy a central place in Ancient Greek literature. The Iliad and the Odyssey are among the oldest texts of Western literature. Travel is cultural and its meaning varies over time and space. During Ancient Greece, foreigners who do not travel to trade goods are called nomads, or barbarians if they do not speak Greek. Nomads are not a moving population. Instead, they are individuals perceived as both monsters and gods, or as Aristotle says: “a man who has no need to live in a community, because it is self-sufficient, has no part in the city”. Those travelers are pictured as solita...read more

The Need for an Alter-Nomadism

Globalization has its benefits. It decreased the cost of travels. It's never been cheaper to move across the globe. As a result, seasonal tourists are legion, and trends like digital nomadism, enabled by remote work, are spreading. Travel is not only industry. It has become a lifestyle, in between historical nomadism and traditional sedentism. All you need is an apartment from Airbnb and a plane ticket from Skyscanner. It's in our nature to wonder and to wander. But it comes at a cost. Globalization has its challenges. The economic inequalities between countries are still increasing. We didn't...read more

David-Néel, the Ideal Neo-Nomad

Alexandra David-Néel is the perfect representation of a nomadic ideal. As a Belgium-French writer and explorer, David-Néel displayed through the example of her life a real ethic of travel. Her erudition and thirst for otherness allowed her to transcend conditions: she became the first western woman to enter the Tibetan city of Lhasa, forbidden to foreigners at the time, as she described it herself in her book My Journey to Lhasa. However, even a great explorer like Alexandra David-Néel alternated between long periods of travels and long periods of sedentism. This is what made her a true nomad ...read more

Where I Come From

I am born at home. I guess it's safer to give birth in a hospital. It's not like my mom did it by herself. My dad and a midwife were there. Now that I'm writing this, I have no idea why they did it this way. Maybe I should ask them. It's not like there were no hospitals nearby in 1994. The southwest of France is no wild west either. July 14th is France's national day. I was born overnight, under the sound of the fireworks, just past midnight. I grew up in Tonneins. A town of 10k inhabitants bordered by the Garonne river. Jean Macé elementary school. Then Germillac middle school. During high-sc...read more

On my way back to France

Today I'm leaving Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok. I will stay there for a month before coming back to France. It was a stressful morning. I had to contact Airbnb to cancel my booking. The host wasn't answering me. I was afraid I would end up homeless tonight. Airbnb handled it awesomely well. They tried to contact the host. A few hours later they provided me with a full refund. I was relieved I didn't lose any hard-earned money. Then it hit me: I HAVE TO CHECK OUT AT 12 AM. Ho crap. It's already 12 AM. I didn't clean the place. I didn't book a place for tonight yet. My plane is in 7 hours. "Ok B...read more

New Place

I won't be able to release everything I promised by Monday as I wasn't as productive as usual last week. After working on 200 Words a Day every day continuously for two months, I was wondering if I was starting to burn out or not. I felt sluggish. Not sad, but empty. I tend to be overly passionate about my work, but passionate people burn out easily. It turns out I was overly-reacting: it was the change of environment. My worries disappeared after a week. One thing to take into account when you work remotely is your adaptation period to a new place. In my case, I need a good week before gettin...read more

The End of Historical Nomadism

Nomadism took a new turn at the end of the first millennium. Losing its hereditary aspect, historical nomadism gradually disappears. Travel is motivated by curiosity, dogmas, and trade. Pilgrims and crusaders illustrate this new nomadism. Nomadism becomes an intellectual movement, with representatives such as Averroès, Thomas d'Aquin or Marco Polo. Writings and intellectual developments are empowered by the invention of the writing press in 1454. It's the start of a mercantile nomadism. Mercantile nomadism appears with the first wave of globalization, characterized by the discovery of America....read more

Back to Exercising

Finally arrived in Kuala Lumpur yesterday and got myself a new place to live. It was time to shuffle my routine a bit. The main goal over the next two weeks is to release many features and bug fixes for 200WaD while keeping on growing the community. Needless to say, it's going to be an intense period. I need the right habits to support my work, and exercising is one of them. It's the first time I'm working out over the last 2 months. I love sports. France is a football nation. We grow up playing football. I am not good at it and I don't like watching it on TV or in a stadium, but I've always f...read more

Personal notes on nomad entrepreneurship

I am a software craftsman. Creating software products is not only a job or an impulse, but it is also a need. If I spend more than a few days just consuming or doing nothing, I feel drained. Creativity is a fire you must release, or the energy ends up bursting out of you. In June last year, I decided to open a one-man business that would allow me to launch all the tech products I am dreaming of, in order to confront them with reality. Over the last six years as an engineering student, I learned that the success of a project is about three things: community, accountability, and execution. I nee...read more

Moving

The nomad life. A lifestyle based on movement. The nomad never travels. He moves around the same territory following the sun and the seasons. Sedentary societies are a sum of movements as well. Flows of goods, flows of people. We tend to ease the former rather than the latter. Moving populations scare governments, but trade generates profit. Our lives are a pile of movements. We commute. We move in. We move out. We travel. Cities are booming with rushing individuals. We can't stand still. Movement is not only physical. There are intellectual and spiritual movements. Humans are molded by them. ...read more

Last Day in Penang :(

I've been living in Penang for 70 days now. I just started feeling like a local. I had my regular coffee shop. I had my regular bar. I made friends and had lovers. I just started feeling at home at Griffin's capsule hotel Page 63. I will miss the muezzin singing and the waiter screaming. The colorful walls. The colorful sun. The ghost houses. The sidewalk arches. I'm going to miss walking throughout Little India. The shadows of the Prangin mall and the Komtar Tower. The peacefulness of the Guanyin temple. The many cultures, the many faces. The Street of Harmony. Georgetown is the city of harmo...read more

Always Alone, Never Lonely

Yesterday I went to a Tinder date for research purpose. It struck me how easy it is to socialize nowadays. You can travel alone far from your own country and still connect with people whenever you feel like it. The culture might be different, but all humans have the same basic needs for friendship, love, and happiness. All it takes is for us to overcome the invisible social barriers built in our minds. We will die alone. We are always alone, but it doesn't mean we have to feel lonely. I'm a big introvert, but I can switch on my inner extrovert from time to time. I end up drained the next day a...read more

Band of Gypsies

I have always been a traveler. I owe this to my parents. When I was a baby they would take me around Iberia whenever they could go on vacation. They didn't have a lot of money, but traveling was the best gift they could offer my brother and I. My father spent his youth riding his motorbike in Greece and Italy listening to Bob Dylan. My mother was hanging out with gypsy kids when she was still a child and is still a die-hard hippie at heart. Sometimes I imagine myself as a modern Corto Maltese, born from a french gypsy witch and a vietnamese biker. For as long as I can remember I spent my summe...read more

Some ideas to cut my budget while traveling abroad

1) Work from libraries instead of coworking spaces Libraries are free, have books, and are frequented by locals. Coworking spaces don't, plus you can actually talk to people during your coffee break in the chat room. 2) Work from Airbnb for full focus A good Airbnb has a kitchen, a workstation, a laundry, and a fast Wi-fi. It is better to pay for a slightly more expensive rent than to spend money on coffee shops, coworking space memberships or commutes. 3) Get a gym membership instead of partying and doing stupid stuff Gym memberships are increasingly cheap. It's a great investment to stay hea...read more

Spending Christmas Alone: my Experiment

This year I decided to spend the end of December in South-East Asia. The first thing I notice is that Christmas is celebrated here out of sheer western influence. There is no particular reason why people do it, except maybe for advertisement and social pressure. Santa sells more than it gives. The Christmas Spirit feels fake. Yet another attempt at pleasing tourists. This is why I don't miss Christmas these days. It just doesn't feel right. One week ago a sad looking middle-aged Bengali waiter served me food while wearing a ridiculous Christmas hat. He immigrated from Bangladesh to Malaysia to...read more

On my bike, feeling free

I spent a week with three friends along the coasts in the South-West of France. It was summer this year. We rode our bikes from Royan to Bayonne. Around 400km. Mornings and late afternoons on the road. Middays at the beach. We would rent an Airbnb for the night. It was just us, the bikes, and the road. Small bags to carry the bare minimum: clothes, rations. The burning sun. The forest of the Landes of Gascony. The strong Atlantic waves. But also the sweat. The burning legs. The aching buttocks. The pain is agonizing. But the pain goes away after a few days. Your body adapts. I took a notebook ...read more

Muezzin calling

When you dedicate your life to your craft, you naturally develop a routine. A routine is tightly coupled to its environment. Yet, some parts of it do not change. Those core habits are called micro-habits. They have the particularity of being location-independent. I'm living in Penang this month. I wake up around 11:00 without an alarm clock. My capsule bed is warm. The air conditioner ran all night long, and if you are not careful, you can catch a cold. Still groggy, I quickly put on a t-shirt, a shorts and go downstairs with my bag. I drink some cold water. It is time to publish what the memb...read more

Mobility and precarity

We can observe three kinds of nomadism throughout history: physical (historical nomadism), intellectual/spiritual (globalism or mercantile nomadism), and digital (not only digital nomads but also digital transformation as a whole). This three-dimensional nomadism is called neo-nomadism. Neo-nomadism is everywhere in our sedentary societies. You can witness it in political nomads (migrants, refugees, homeless people...), workers (expats) or travelers. You can especially observe it in every trade flow around the globe shaping both economic and social phenomenon. Unlike historical nomads, a neo-n...read more

Modern travel

Travel fascinates people. Globalism made it mandatory. Students study abroad. Travel is appreciated on the job market. People are expected to be flexible and commute for long hours. Travel is a social enabler. A mandatory step to be perceived as successful. This demand became an industry with mass tourism being one of the results. Tourism is a term from the 18th century describing young bourgeois traveling around France to perfect their education. From a historical point of view, tourism is a lavish practice performed by the elite. Modern tourism followed the Great Explorations era, but unlike...read more

Slow travel

Tourists exhaust me. I avoid them. What is a tourist? A fast traveler. Just like fast food, fast travelers are all about over-consumption. Slow travelers understand that less is more. The world moves fast. Travelers don't have to. I find it astonishing to see people go on vacation, only to make a job out of it. They wake up at 5AM, take their little map and go to each location marked on it. We have to hurry darling. We have to do this and that and this. Then they come back home and feel burnt out. They wonder why and wait for the next holidays to repeat the process. This is shallow travel, why...read more

Why I travel

I think that people travel for two reasons: to escape from daily life, or to use travel as an enabler. My life spent vagabonding is not extraordinary. Extra-ordinary. I am doing exactly the same things I would do at home in France: programming, writing, reading. Except for my environment, nothing changes. This is how I want to travel. Not to runaway from my responsibilities, but to truly embrace them. Not to take pictures of dead monuments, but to raise my own awareness. To loose my identity, by embracing the ones I encounter. To work, be and offer my best. When I graduated from college, I too...read more

Living in Bangkok

My first destination this year in South-East Asia was Bangkok, Thailand. I spent one month there. All I know about Asia comes from a one-month internship I performed in Shanghaï during my first year of college, and from my childhood as a descendant of vietnamese migrants -- I am 25% vietnamese (third generation) and 75% french. All in all, I still know few things about the different, and diverse, cultures here. I won't have enough of a lifetime to discover everything. At least, I can say I stayed in Bangkok for a short time. I did not live it to the fullest, as I was spending most of my time b...read more

Fried oysters, without the oysters

Fried oysters are a thing in Malaysia. It is basically an oyster omelet with some rice flour. The resulting whole is deep fried. Now, cooked oysters seem quite mainstream in Asia from what I saw - I ate for example boiled oysters with butter in Vietnam - but fried oyster, this is a first. In France we use to eat oysters raw with their sea water. It is harder to get your oysters raw in Asia for obvious environmental reasons. The taste difference is quite pronounced, and this is too much of a cultural shock for me - I hate cooked oysters, they make me sick. I am already not a big fan of raw oyst...read more

On commuting in Penang

Digital nomad or not, chances are you are commuting to work most days of the week. Commuting is a part of life, and the way you commute tells a lot about you. Last month I was working from my Airbnb in Georgetown, so my commute consisted in a trip between my bed and the living room. I would just occasionally go out to a coffee shop to get some writing done. This month I moved to a pod hotel and decided to buy a fixed desk at a nearby coworking space for 80$ per month - the Wifi being much more powerful - as I need to get a lot of work done. My routine changed, and so did my commute. My hotel i...read more