I am pretty sure some of us – if not all – are tired of the nine to five life. Then there’s this saying: “if you do not build your dreams, somebody else will hire you to build theirs.” Introducing Karl Marty Balingit, co-founder of Amazing Nomads – building his dreams and living the ‘digital nomad’ life. Marty has traveled all over Asia – graced the shores of Bali, chased sunsets in Koh Rong Cambodia, enjoyed ‘Songkran’ nights in Thailand, all the while being a digital nomad. Currently, he is co-founder of Amazing Nomads, an avenue for aspiring freelancers to learn about the digital nomad life.
What is a digital nomad? These are location independent individuals who utilize technology to perform their job. ‘Digital’ by earning money through digital methods and ‘nomad’ by working from anywhere. The digital nomad lifestyle was made possible through innovations, this includes internet access, smartphones, and voice over internet protocol to name a few.
Marty has always been fascinated with everything digital. A graduate of Information Technology, he began as a virtual assistant, then to community manager, and finally propelled his career to digital marketing. One of his remarkable projects is ‘Filspiration’, an inspirational Filipino podcast documenting stories of successful entrepreneurs. Marty has also worked with brands from around the world. Now, he is focusing on Amazing Nomads. Here, I had the opportunity to interview him about what it takes to be a successful digital nomad.
Hi Marty. Tell us, what is life like as a digital nomad?
So I’ve been freelancing for around 6 years now and have been travelling from time to time but it wasn’t until this year (2018) that I got to experience the ‘digital nomad lifestyle’. What inspired me was my trip in Chiang Mai, Thailand during December 2017, I joined a community of digital nomads called Wifi Tribe. Basically, they travel as a group of 10 – 20 awesome peeps – switching countries every month.
One of the founders Julia told me that I was the first Filipino to join which was interesting because I know a lot of Filipinos travel but maybe not everyone is really aware of what a digital nomad is or how to become one. So when I got back to Iloilo I messaged my friend Mike who also works remotely if he wanted to join me to experience being digital nomads around Asia and sure enough he agreed.
Describe your typical day.
Morning: wake up and eat somewhere nearby
Noon until late afternoon: work at a cafe / coworking space/our place OR do some exploring
Evening: eat somewhere & chill
Late nights: #WorkLikeABeast
What are the perks of living the digital nomad life?
Top 3 perks for me are:
Accelerated Growth: We switched countries every two weeks – one month so we had to constantly adjust to new environments. Personally, it made me focus more on productivity & time management since we had to balance getting work done & exploring the countries as well.
Building Your Network: We also spent some time meeting fellow nomads, locals, & other like-minded people by attending meetups, conferences, & the like. This is great for building your network, learning from other people, & making new friends.
Memorable Experiences: Travelling won’t be complete without experiencing once in a lifetime events which is unique in every place that you visit. It also widens your perspective as you learn more about different cultures, this made me more grateful for the life I’m living.
Can freelancing be financially rewarding?
Yes and yes! My first real job was in an office and after 6 months of being unhappy & demotivated I quit and tried freelancing which is the best decision I have ever made. It allows me to have a lifestyle that I want & gives me the freedom to pursue my passion while earning more.
As much as I love freelancing however it’s definitely not for everyone. One of the main perks of being employed is having that long term financial stability but then again, if you are implementing the right framework & have a positive mindset – you can have unlimited earning potential from freelancing.
Tell us more about Amazing Nomads.
Amazing Nomads is really a passion project of Mike and myself – our goal is to teach Filipinos how to become a Digital Nomad. “Digital” by working online and “Nomad” by working from anywhere. We have a free course on how to get started at our website. You can also watch our travel videos on Facebook & check out some photos in Instagram. (Video below: Episode One of the Amazing Nomads Vlog)
Your message to aspiring digital nomads.
If you want to be a digital nomad or a freelancer all you have to do is start. Everything you need to get started is on the Internet, if you really want it you will find a way to do it. My recommendation is to first build skills you can use to make money online, establish a portfolio or case studies, then you can start finding clients. If you have any questions at all feel free to send them our way. For those interested in Web & UI/UX design, contact Mike. For all things Digital Marketing – holla at me!
My heartfelt thanks to Marty for sharing his thoughts about ‘digital nomadism’. Interested in becoming one? Visit Amazing Nomads at www.amazingnomads.com or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/amazingnomads and Instagram at www.instagram.com/amazingnomads