Back before everyone had a supercomputer in their pocket, only a very few people were able to finance their travels by working from the road. This was usually done by writing, and meant long stretches of lonely research and a bag of handwritten notes you had to turn into a book. People like legendary travel writer Joe Cummings paint a colorful picture of what it was like (especially when he was a guest on the Bangkok Podcast), but things have changed so drastically that an entire new classification of travelers has arisen – the ‘location independent entrepreneur’ or digital nomad. And I hate them.
Okay, I take that back – I don’t hate them. In fact, some of them I love. But I hate the assumption that the sit-on-the-beach-with-a-computer existence is the only existence worth chasing if you’re an expat, especially in Asia. Sure, it’s a neat dream if you can make it work, but many don’t or can’t make it work. Much has been written on how it’s actually a rather romantic pipe dream. Despite the reputation that Bangkok (and other cities) have, it is quite possible to have a real, productive, enjoyable career here that has nothing to do with the tropical beach-bum lifestyle. And that’s totally cool.
As an example of what I’m talking about, see this Tweet from Nomadic Matt:
To be fair, I’m not picking on Matt, a solid dude who talks the talk – that was the name of the article on Mashable.* But this rather negative view of office work is very prevalent these days, especially when you tell people you live in a tropical country like Thailand, doing pretty much the same thing your friends are doing back home.
So let me say this right now: I really like my 9-5 office job in an air-conditioned office. I really enjoy working with my coworkers, a fun, smart, interesting, and culturally diverse bunch of folks. I like the steady paycheck, the health insurance, my decorated cubicle, and – most importantly – the day-to-day structure that it brings to a lazy guy like myself who is too easily distracted