White sand beaches. A shimmering turquoise sea. A warm breeze that glides over your skin. These are the stuff of dreams for those wanting to live a laptop lifestyle.
Yet they fail to mention that sand and keyboards don’t mix and that your internet connection only works between 1 and 3am.
My dream for living beyond the laptop lifestyle is one of variety and freedom.
I love living by the sea; until I get a craving for mountain air. I’m looking forward to be in a Spanish speaking country, while learning the language, until I want to have conversation when I actually understand the jokes.
What I Need
Over the past couple of years I’ve been experimenting with the laptop lifestyle and found that these are the things I need:
- A living space that I’m also happy to work in
- Consistent internet
- A yoga studio nearby
- A place to dance
- A co-working space. This is more for a chance to connect with other business owners as well as an alternative place to work
- Volunteering opportunities. For the past 3 years I’ve volunteered as part of my travels. It’s given me a focus that isn’t all about me, allowed me to meet others with the same interest and I’ve been able to spend time with beautiful animals (elephants then dogs)
- An easy connection to nature. That might be a view of a field from my Air BnB apartment, a bike commute through rice fields or a sliding door that beckons me into the garden.
You’ll see that friends are missing from this list. This is one area of this kind of lifestyle that can be the trickiest. While I’m sure to make new friends on my travels I do sometimes miss spending time with friends who I’ve shared treasured memories with for years. For now I’ll be making the most of technology to stay in touch.
Where To Explore
I’ve realised that I don’t want to choose only one place as I love to explore. While there are times when my home body side craves my own place, surround by the treasure bough on my travels, a community of wonderful people, a home that I adores and a dog (or three) at my feet – I’m not yet ready for that type of location independence.
Variety still sways me which means living in different places. For the last year I’ve been house and pet sitting in Wellington (while training with my team for an event in L.A. in May).
From June I’ll be based in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, renting a gorgeous studio for a month. It’s all white walls and sunlight filled with a garden to sooth the eye and a hammock to relax on. A gorgeous white sand beach is a couple of blocks away.
My general plan is to stay a month in each place that I want to explore yet I expect that may change as I travel through this particular adventure.
How Did I Make It Happen?
Having a plan is essential for me as it gives me a sense of security (that I’ve thought everything though) and a sense of direction (there are SO many places to explore).
A tip for my fellow planners . . . once you’ve made your plan prepare it throw it away. Things will change, some for the better and some for the worse. If you are going to enjoy this type of lifestyle you need to learn to be flexible otherwise you’ll spend your time fixated on making your plan work.
In case you’re wondering if I’ve always done this then answer is a resounding NO! Here is a taste of what my journey has looked like . . .
- Grew up on a sheep and cattle farm in a tiny village in New Zealand
- Left home at 17 to study and complete a double degree in law and accounting
- Before starting my first job as a lawyer I took myself off on a round the world trip for 6 months. The travel bug was firming in place!
- After 4 years working in NZ I moved to London for my OE. My plan of 2 years stretched to 8. Many travelling adventures were undertaken.
- Back to NZ. I never truly settled back in; I began to do contracting work as there weren’t any jobs that I could see myself in beyond a year or two. Trips to Tonga, Samoa, Vietnam and Thailand kept the travel bug fed
- Completed my last contract and made the leap to be a digital nomad. 5 months in SE Asia followed. This was when I began to base myself in places for a month or more rather than my usual backpacker style of travel that involves moving on every few days
- Back to NZ to continue training with my salsa team. I started housesitting for the variety and to reduce my expenses.
- Another winter. Another travel adventure, this time to Bali and Thailand
- A final stint in NZ while our salsa team entered the last training stint for our performances in L.A.
- 22 May 2016 – leave NZ on a one way ticket to L.A. A new adventure awaits . . .
What Does Your Ideal Laptop Lifestyle Look Like?
If you’re inspired to live this kind of lifestyle, or are already doing it, I’d love to hear from you. Please share in the comments below.
I wrote this article to share my journey and show others what is possible. It’s to support the wonderful duo of Judith Morgan and Nicola Cairncross who are hosting a virtual summit from 18 to 19 June. It’s called “Own It! Beyond The Laptop Lifestyle” (#OwnItSummit). They’ll be interviewing people who live the laptop lifestyle – I’m looking forward to hearing about other people’s adventures.