How Bali and being a digital nomad made me want a corporate life
Not everyone dreams about remote work after experiencing it
Look, I’ve been living this digital nomad dream for the past three years and I’ve tried various scenarios. Before this, I’ve also been on a path of let’s call it discovery. No, not self-discovery, that’s somehow implied, but discovering what I’m good at, pursuing exactly that and developing better skills. I got involved in projects I believed in, found creative work that by the end of the day made me feel more fulfilled.
And that is partially fulfilled because we are really not good at being happy. We tend to get lost on our way of finding happiness by wanting more.
Yes, I’m generalising: I’m a millennial.
So, I was the lucky one who studied what she liked and managed to work in the same field as a freelancer, as an employee, from 9 to 5 and remotely.
Thank God marketing is wide enough and I can’t imagine being sick of it because there’s always something new to learn or some different industry to turn to.
Future of work
Spoiler alert: my last job was exactly in the future of work industry, promoting the remote work lifestyle in which I still believe because I understand how it should function. And this job was in Paradise, the remote work capital of the world, Silicon Bali. It has so many names and it has a different meaning for everybody, based on their own personal experience.
For me it was a place where I relocated for a job. Lucky b***, right?
Let’s add more envy factors over there: I also had remote work arrangements, could travel around and be pretty flexible. But who wouldn’t choose to live on the Island of Gods? And once you live there, you don’t feel the need to travel around so much, mostly because you have no time. But this is another story that needs a space of its own.
What I imagined vs what I got
Living and working in Bali will offer me the perfect temperature and scenery all your round. Ticked, it did.
Living there long-term will help me meet only smart people who made it or at least they figured out a way to sustain the lifestyle. It will be different from travelling around and moving constantly.
I found the smart people and the very beautiful people too. I heard their success stories only to realize that it wasn’t a scenario I wanted to continue writing. I also found out the behind the scene details that most of the time revealed selfishness, individuality, ego-mania, lack of genuineness…oh the list is long, and it’s mostly negative. I can’t be in the life of such people, and they don’t want me or anyone else in their life anyway. Not many people come on the island and want to stay long-term either.
I will make friends from all over the world.
I did, but I wouldn’t call them friends. Building friendships take time. It’s not about sharing coconuts or a few Bintangs on the beach and maybe meeting in the coworking space two more times. The pace of people coming and going is something you can’t control. Most of the people come for a finite period and have some sort of plan in mind that they won’t adapt for someone they just met. Or they don’t have a plan at all and start adapting after too many ideas and other people. Nothing stable, nothing reliable.
State of remote work by Buffer https://open.buffer.com/state-remote-work-2018/
I met tons of entrepreneurs and travellers. They were solopreneurs and you guessed, solo travellers.
Some love it. Some feel proud about finally making the step and getting out of their comfort zone. Some still have mixed feelings about it. Some are struggling. I was a solo traveller too. People keep telling me how courageous I am and how they could never do the same. I sometimes feel proud when I get these comments, but I would call myself a more of a “go-getter”. I analysed what I had in life, I tried eliminating what didn’t make me happy and I went after new opportunities that challenged me professionally and personally. And yes, I’m proud of myself for not having any regrets about any of my choices.
I won’t say you can’t feel lonely in a company. The painful truth is that a lot of us feel lonely no matter where they are or what they do.
But having that routine you might sometimes hate, and being in the proximity of more people can make things easier.
If you really tried everything and you hate everyone, maybe it is time for you to run away and enjoy the perks of Bali, or any kind of solo travelling expedition. I’ve been there, done that. I prefer having people who I know where they live, who I know what they like and who I can make plans with.
I’m craving some watercooler breaks. I miss those longer lunchtimes with colleagues that go through a break-up, that cute flirting in the elevator with the new guy hired in the neighbouring company. Oh, and how I miss those Xmas parties where somebody gets drunk and starts the real fun. And I miss solving issues that impact all of us as an organisation. When you’re in the middle of a bigger structure, there’s always something to get involved in.
When you’re alone there will only be emails to answer and tasks to tick off in Asana… And many lunches you’ll eat all by yourself after finally choosing from the too many restaurants you love so much in Canggu.
About distractions and motivation
They kinda go hand in hand and I feel that no matter if you’re in the office or work remotely you can experience both. In my case, in order to get the perk of working remotely I had to prove I’m efficient and while being remote I had to prove to myself that I’m respecting deadlines. I constantly taught myself to be more motivated no matter the circumstances and I do adapt easier to anything.
There’s a time for everything and your own experience will dictate what you need in your near future. Living and working as a nomad after you had a more stable job can bring a change in values and priorities. Mark Manson and many other people who experienced this came to the same conclusion as I did.
“ you end up valuing comfort and forming deep relationships over partying and fast-paced travel.” from The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***
Now give me that 9 to 5 job where I won’t daydream about being a nomad because I’ve already experienced it. I know my needs and I recalibrated my values so that I can make the most of the life in an office.