I knew about half way through my first week that I wasn't going home. Why would I? I can spend every day hanging out with cool people, working hard and going out every evening, or I could spend every day in my bedroom, no my own, trying to not die of boredom. Which would you choose?
Today, I come to the end of my month in Thailand, the majority of which has been spent in Chiang Mai, the unofficial Digital Nomad capital of the world.
It's hard to know what to expect when you start something so wildly different to what you're used to, so the reality is somewhat different to what I'd imagined.
Lets start with the good stuff.
For one, it's not hard to meet people at all. I was reading a post on Reddit where someone had asked why people fail as digital nomads, and the top answer was 'Well for one, it's crippling lonely'.
It's not. Not anymore at least, not with the online communities available to you.
The world is a lot smaller than you'd expect too.
On my first night out in Chiang Mai, I met a girl who lived one village over from me in England, next door to my brother's best friend. 'You're Michael Dunlop's brother?' is a sentence I only usually hear at marketing conferences, not in a reggae bar in Thailand.
I've had a few experiences like this. I found myself sitting next to a guy who used to work for Google, and I brought up how Google get so much traffic that they can test everything, like 50 shades of blue for their sign up button. His response... 'I was part of the team that worked on that'.
I get the feeling that this is going to keep happening.
Another good thing is that my Monday to Friday 9-5 is no more.
I used to impose these hours on myself, but they've gone now, without an ounce of guilt.
Everyone works whenever and wherever they want. If I want to spend the day at a resort with 16 other digital nomads, I will, but if I'll also spend all day Sunday working if the mood strikes. This is one improvement I like a lot.
There's a few things that aren't quite as expected though.
For example, I thought I'd take more photos than I have. I've barely used my camera. It's too hot to go anywhere in the day, and I've not hired a scooter to get around (scared for my life).
That should soon change as I travel more, but still, it's not what I expected. I'm actually considering changing to a smaller Leica camera as it'll be more portable. Just much more expensive...
I also don't have as much time to write as I'd like.
Every blog post I write has been well written. Easy to read. And that's not easy to do. Plus I have to find the time! I'm currently writing this while waiting to get my hair cut.
Something else I wasn't quite ready for was how hard it is to get products created. I'm working on a course and I'm going so slow. It's hard getting the right setup (I need a quite place with good audio), but all my other work is super productive.
And finally, the people.
I love the people here, I've had so much fun, but most digital nomads aren't in the same line of work as me, and that's not what I'm use to.
I run my own business, and because of that, I talk with a lot of others who do too, and I get a lot of value out of the conversations I have with them. It's that average of five again.
The digital nomads I've met tend to either work remotely, or freelance, and they're great people to know, but I'm yet to really hang people who do what I do (marketing, paid advertising, lead generation, etc.), and that's something I feel is lacking.
I think I need to be more proactive on searching out nomadic relationships that can be mutually beneficial for both party's businesses. Something to work on.
One thing I have to say though is that the community is amazing. I might not spend more than a month with the people I've met, but I know that I'll run into them again (a bunch of us are going to Tokyo together), and if I'm ever passing through wherever they're living, I can call on them.
Whether they're in America, England, Thailand, or anywhere else in the world.