This post is part of the Successful Nomads series
Have you even wondered how people can travel and support themselves at the same time? It’s not as difficult as it seems! To show you that there are already plenty of people doing it, and that you can do it too, we’ve interviewed different kinds of nomads. They were all given 30 questions, with a minimum of 10 to answer.
Carlo Cretaro is the one answering them for us today! You can find him at http://nextstopwhoknows.com/
1) Where are you from?
We’re from a town called Boyle, which is situated in a county called Roscommon in Ireland.
2) What is your job?
We own and manage a small freelance content agency since early 2013. It allows us to fulfil our passion of travelling and living anywhere in the world.
3) How long have you known you wanted to be a digital nomad?
We’ve always wanted to be able to have the freedom of travelling wherever we wanted for extended periods of time. However, in order to sustain that sort of lifestyle, we needed to create an online business. Thankfully things have worked out nicely for us over the past few years.
4) When did you start your online career?
We started researching in early 2012 about ways to make money online. We put in a ton of time trying to figure out what could work and what we’d actually be interested in perusing. We made our first dollar online in January 2013 which was a cool feeling. 6 months later we were on a one-way flight to Thailand.
5) What did your friends/family thought of you being a digital nomad?
Honestly, we don’t really care how other people view us or our lifestyle choices. The only ones that matter are our family and close friends. Thankfully, they all support the decisions we’ve made. Obviously, there will be others who think we’re crazy not to have a normal 9-5 job, mortgage, and everything else that society has conditioned us to believe we should have.
6) Where are you right now?
Currently we’re in Bangkok, after spending the past 4 months living in Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand. Next month, we’re off to India to travel for 3 months.
7) How often are you on the road?
We like to combine slow travel with short bursts of exploring. That way, we can keep things aligned with our online business and also see as much of the world as we can in the process. Last year, for example, was a nice combination of fast and slow travel over a 7 month period. We stayed for 6 weeks in Rio de Janeiro during the FIFA world cup, lived for a month in Asuncion, Paraguay, then we travelled through Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and finally lived for a month in Medellin, Colombia.
8) What is a lesson you’ve learned from being on the road?
We’ve learned a lot while travelling over the years. The one thing that we’ve learned to appreciate is that we shouldn’t take anything for granted.
9) What is your favorite place in the world?
We both absolutely love Las Vegas. However, if we’d to pick a country, then hands down it’s Thailand. It’s got the perfect combination of cost of living, climate, food and culture.
10) What is the most important thing when it’s time to choose where to go next?
We only travel to countries that we want to visit. Factoring in the cost of living is a big factor for us, especially if we’re going to set up a base there for a period of time. Weather would also play a factor, but it’s not a major concern.
11) Are you a carry-on person or a checked luggage person?
Because we have laptops and camera gear with us when we travel, we have to have a second bag each. We never mind having to wait an extra 30 mins or that to pick up our checked in bags.
12) What do you always have on you that you couldn’t live without?
A laptop and mobile phone – since both are vital to our online businesses.
13) What kind of lifestyle are you living with the money you make?
We have a comfortable lifestyle. We’re able to do what we want to do on a daily basis, and if we want to jump on a flight to the other side of the world in a moments notice then we can. We value freedom a lot more over the financial side of things. Don’t get us wrong – money is important, but having the freedom to live life on our terms is the whole reason why we’re doing what we’re doing. When we’re going to stay in the one location for a month or longer, then we get an apartment. We generally try and find something that’s as comfortable as possible. We’ve been lucky with our blog – www.nextstopwhoknows.com that we get to stay and review some pretty cool hotels etc around the world too.
14) How much time do you spend on your business versus how much time you spend exploring the place where you are?
We work hard to maintain the lifestyle we have. In fact, we love working on our business. It’s something we created for ourselves and we don’t have to answer to anyone else. Like most people who work online for themselves, we’ve put in 16 hour days when things just have to get done. Other days we just check our emails and that’s it. It all depends on what’s in front of us in terms of projects, client orders and work that needs doing on our blogs. We definitely try to find a balance when we’re moving so that we can work and also explore our new surroundings.
15) What are the essential skills to have as a digital nomad?
Discipline! Working with no one to answer to may seem brilliant starting off, but if you can’t motivate yourself to get work done, then things will end up going downhill eventually. The big thing that puts many people off is the lack of a guaranteed paycheck at the end of the week/month.
16) What is the best advice you could give to someone wanting to become a digital nomad?
We would say to just be prepared to put a ton of work into whatever project it is that you’re getting into. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same is true online. Forget about “passive income” or a “4-hour work week” starting off. Focus on taking things slow and learning as much as you can in the process.
17) What is the most important thing to keep track of?
We’ve started keeping track of our income and expenses by using an excellent piece of software called YNAB. Honestly, this software has changed how we manage our money and we know exactly where every penny comes from and where we spend it.
18) Follow your passion or follow the market?
In life – follow your passions, but in business follow the market 😉
19) Money isn’t always consistent. What is the best way to deal with that?
As we said earlier, working online does not have a guaranteed income (especially in the freelance industry). This prevents many people from taking the plunge – the fear of the unknown. We save as much money as we can. Rainy days or months do happen and it’s important to have a buffer to see you through the drought.
20) What is the mistake everybody makes that you wish you could stop them from doing?
People chase the dream of passive income online from the very start. This is a mistake in our view, as in order to achieve passive income streams – there’s an immense amount of work involved (in most cases) and the majority fail the first time and give up. It’s a better idea to focus initially on a freelancing skill that will start making you money.
21) What do you have to say to people too scared to leave their day job?
It’s understandable to be scared to leave a day job. We’ve never had any interest in climbing any corporate career ladders, so going out on our own wasn’t difficult. The thing that people need to be aware of is that having a “secure” day job doesn’t guarantee anything. Your boss could walk into work one day and say “thanks very much, but we don’t need you any more”. So in reality, the insecurities of working online are probably not that different to those associated with having a 9-5 job.
22) What are the awesome benefits of being a digital nomad?
Being able to travel the world, immerse yourself in diverse and weird cultures, meet new people, hop on a plane to a far-flung location whenever you like, and lastly – to have to freedom to choose how you live your own life.
23) What is the downside that nobody sees?
Like anything in life, there’s going to be positives and negatives. Working online and travelling the world is no different. We’re very fortunate to be in the position we’re in. We put in a ton of work behind the scenes in order to maintain this lifestyle. Not having a guaranteed paycheck also plays on our minds from time to time – but it’s also what motivates us even more.