“Digital nomad.” You may have heard the term thrown around by the media in recent years. It describes people who use technology to work remotely and travel full-time. Around the world an increasing number of freelancers, entrepreneurs, designers, and other location-independent professionals are turning travel into a lifestyle, working and living wherever they please.
Marcus Meurer is at the forefront of this growing movement, co-founding DNX Global, the first global conference for digital nomads. Since it launched in 2014, DNX has expanded to include events, conferences and coworking camps around the world. Marcus also finds time to run an online marketing and website development business, host a life hacking podcast, invest in other startups, and manage a travel blog—all while living in some of the most beautiful places around the world.
You may be thinking, “Well traveling the world while making money online and starting global movements is fine for other people, but I have a full time job! I can’t just drop everything.” But Marcus hasn’t been doing this forever either. Only a few year ago he was climbing the corporate ladder as a successful marketing manager in Berlin. But slowly he began to realize that his career path wasn’t fulfilling.
Marcus explained, “I had the strong inner calling that there is more in this world than sitting in a cubicle and working from 9 to 5. I decided to break free, quit my job and start my own business.” And with that he embarked on a six-month trip to southeast Asia with his girlfriend.
They haven’t stopped traveling since.
Below Marcus shares some insights into his full-time travel lifestyle and gives advice to aspiring digital nomads.
How long have you been traveling while working?
I have been a Digital Nomad for four years and could go on forever. After some years on the road you tend to build up different bases all over the world. My bases are Bali, Berlin and Brazil.
What was the hardest part about making the career switch to digital nomad, and how did you overcome it?
I never planned being a location independent entrepreneur. I stumbled into this lifestyle when I went on a 6-months trip to Asia and took my laptop with me. I started working on a business plan for my online marketing agency in Berlin I wanted to start. When I was all set I just gave it a try and took the first clients while still being on the road.
One of the hardest challenge was staying productive and focused on the road. I tackled the challenge with setting up routines and structure for my days and the time at the laptop. This really boosted my productivity and business.
Are there any software tools you’ve found to be indispensable to your work?
How do you strike a balance between work and experiencing the places you are in?
I do not really need a work-life balance as my life as a Digital Nomad is balanced on all levels of life. I am living like a local in the places I go to. That means I live in long term apartments, buy my food on local markets and do sports with the locals. As I love kitesurfing I am on the water as often as I can. When it comes to business I prioritize my tasks the day before and always start with the MIT (Most Important Task).
Why did you found DNX? What was/is your vision for it?
My girlfriend Felicia (feliciahargarten.com) and I started the DNX movement to enable more people to live self-determined and work from everywhere. We believe that traveling and meeting other cultures gives you the real picture from the world. Combined with their entrepreneurial skills Digital Nomads have a huge responsibility not only in shaping the future of work, but also to make the world a better place.
Which cities have you found to be most conducive to a productive digital worklife?
I prefer the simple life in basic beach spots than being in cities. At places like Jericoacoara in Brazil or Canggu in Bali, I am most productive and motivated.
What advice do you have for people who view your lifestyle and dream of doing the same, yet don’t know where to get started?
Surround yourself with people who are already living this lifestyle. Read everything you can find about the Digital Nomad lifestyle.
Join our free DNX community, go to free meetups for location independent entrepreneurs and come to our DNX - Digital Nomad Conference. Connect with other digital nomads to get inspired and find out where you could add value to the world.
It's a big world out there. And it can be tough to navigate. But that shouldn’t be a reason to avoid venturing into the unknown. As seasoned world travelers who have seen both the highs and lows of travel, we’re here to share why choosing to travel may be one of the most important steps you ever take.