More and more trendy, the digital nomad lifestyle attracts many millennials. A digital nomad is someone who travels the world while working remotely from his computer. This is the lifestyle that Guillaume Dionisi chose. Since the beginning of his professional activity, three years ago, the young man travels the world while working in parallel as a web developer. Discover this new way of traveling through the course and adventures of this accomplished digital nomad!
How did you start your digital nomad business?
It all started 3 years ago, when I was still in my engineering school (Technological University of Compiègne -UTC-). In my university, each student must do a 6-month internship at the beginning of the fourth year and another at the end of the fifth year. I did my first internship in Australia, in Byron Bay, in a micro-business web services (Ostral Pty Ltd). At the end of the internship, the boss suggested that I continue to carry out some missions for Ostral as a freelancer, in parallel with my studies. It was the beginning of my digital nomad career, even though I returned to France for a semester, in the sense that I discovered that I could work remotely while having time to enjoy the place. where I was. I was able to confirm it 6 months later while leaving for another exchange in Chile while continuing my missions for Ostral. I completely hooked on this lifestyle and did my internship graduation in order to sign a remote work contract at the end.
What do you think are the pros and cons of this way of life?
So, first and foremost, I prefer to specify that these pros / cons commit only me and only depend on my way of organizing my schedule and my work. I met some other digital nomads who would probably answer this question differently! Basically, I manage to work about 20 hours a week. With a developer salary, it’s more than enough to live in hostels in most countries. So I have a nice combo « free time – travel – means » that makes me feel on vacation half of the year. I have time to visit the places where I find myself, to do activities on a whole day (even several days), and that from anywhere in the world (as long as there is at least 3G)! In short, when I return to France, I realize everything that happened to me while my friends tell me their galleys of everyday life. The « cons » are a little less obvious from the outside. First, there is loneliness. Living in a hostel permanently, I make lots of wonderful encounters, people with whom I eventually eventually go a long way, or that I see later on another trip. But it’s not as strong as a close circle of friends who live next to each other and meet several times a week. Same thing at work: even though I work sometimes in a team, I do not have as much human contact with my colleagues. The other « against » only appeared to me recently: I feel that I do not give myself 100% in my missions, while I really would like to invest in some projects. I sometimes want to ask myself some part to work hard and build something for a cause that is close to my heart. I think that anyone needs a goal in their life, and we tend to lose sight of it when we are constantly on vacation.
What do you think are the qualities necessary to become digital nomad?
First of all, do not be afraid of screens. Especially as a developer. Spending hours in front of lines of code is not very glamorous. I think the job itself must be a passion, not just an excuse to move around the world at the same time. Job satisfaction is as important a part of my life as my travels.
Then you have to be a philanthropist. Traveling if you do not like people, is like autoflagellation. Firstly because we spend our time meeting new people, and we end up having the same conversations with a lot of people. In fact, we seek more human contact in these discussions, to spend good times with others, who eventually become the memories we keep for life.
And then we have to accept that we do not control everything, especially that the best things happen without being expected. It is a little the principle of this lifestyle : we do a lot of different things to multiply our chances of living extra-ordinary experiences. Which brings me to another important quality: you have to be lucky. I do not count the number of times I’ve done anything about a misunderstanding. For example, for my internship in Australia, which can be considered as the beginning of the adventure, I candidate while they had already found another trainee. I had seen on the internet that the rent for a room was AUD350, so I relaunched them with an email proving my motivation by only asking for this salary. Astonished, they still accepted me thanks to that. What I did not know is that in Australia rents are weekly, not monthly (for the record, I found myself having to get up at 5:30 in the morning to clean the hostel where I was staying to pay Accommodation, before going on with my internship days, it was not easy, but in the end my 6 months in Australia were the best of my life.) In short, if I had negotiated a normal salary to live there, I would not have had the internship, and I may not be digital nomad today. In English, there is an expression that I like: « happy-go-lucky ». Personally, I consider that as long as you stay positive, bad experiences become funny stories to tell, and good memories for life, so that’s all winner!
Which countries have you visited? What is your next destination?
In order, I have been to :
– China, for an exchange semester in Shanghai
– Australia, for an internship in Byron Bay
– Chile, for an exchange, but for two months there were strikes in my university, so I went to Argentina, Peru and Bolivia (while working)
– the United States (California), for a 6-month internship
– around France / Europe (while working)
– South Africa (while working)
– in Singapore / Indonesia (while working)
– in Guyana (while working): not recommended for digital nomads, because there is really zero connection there!
Next destination: Canada! I have a Canadian friend (met in South Africa) who studies in Montreal and invited me there!