Anyone who knows me would undoubtedly say that I love to travel, probably obsessed. Over the past decade I have gone on countless trips throughout South East Asia, Europe and America. I’ve lived in China, studied in Austria and was even blessed to meet my wife abroad, who funnily enough, also shares my deep longing for adventure.
Back in the early days of my backpacking adventures I would save up all my pennies working long hours doing crappy jobs and spend it all on a ticket to paradise, somewhere in the world. After while I realised that this was incredibly unsustainable as I would burn through my cash and be left with no choice but to return home with my tail between my legs.
It was during one incredible rock-climbing trip in Thailand that I finally realised that I needed to figure out a way to have the life I always wanted. That was, to become a digital nomad.
During a one year working holiday in China my wife and I (girlfriend at the time) decided to radically change our lives so we could have the lives we dreamed of. For me that was learning to code so I could build websites and launch ideas into cyberspace. For my partner, it was social media, food photography and styling. At the time we didn’t really think it was possible to actually be digital nomads – but the idea sounded cool, so we just kept learning and creating.
Over the next twelve months we holed ourselves in our little loft in Hangzhou and began to hone our digital skills. We taught English in the afternoons and evenings, so we had basically the entire day to dedicate towards new skills. At the time our dreams seemed crazy and luxurious. I always thought only geniuses and uber creatives could live this life. Just the pure fact that one could travel the world and earn money was beyond me.
But I gotta say, with time and patience, anything is possible. Over the next 2-3 years my wife and I both built up our portfolios and skill-sets to get to the point where we could confidently travel the world and earn a living. I seriously need to pinch myself right now!
The point of this post isn’t to brag – on the contrary, the point is to empower others to get out there and start something you’re passionate about. Give yourself a long time-frame and don’t believe in overnight success. You won’t make money in your first year or two, and that’s OK. Do it for the pure act of creating something.
I have to admit, though. I do feel like a bit of an imposter. I feel like I’m cheating myself because the real reason I got into coding was so that I could build stuff and share it with the world. But currently I haven't built anything in over six months!
Early on I did launch two ideas – one was called Beta Buddy, which was a platform for rock climbers to connect online. The other was called Plan My City, which was an interactive map where citizens could drop pins in areas around their city and add notes for improvement and ideas. Both ideas were based around my passions and both seemed to have real promise. Unfortunately, both these projects didn’t get very far.
Maybe that’s because I didn’t hustle enough, or maybe it’s because I was afraid of looking dumb. Either way, I kind of got scared away from being vulnerable and sharing my creative ideas with the world. Seeing my ideas fade away definitely hurt. It left me feeling frustrated and a little bit stupid. This is surely all self inflicted, I'm sure. But, instead of pursuing my own creative dreams I decided to hone my skills working for others.
Over the next year or two I mainly worked for companies both full-time in my home city and freelancing from home. I helped numerous clients launch their own ideas and not once did I think they were dumb. I loved (and still do love) helping other people reach their goals. It’s extremely satisfying!
But now there has come point where I am starting to get creative the itch again. Just like getting the travel bug after a few months of being home, I now feel like I want to share my ideas on the web and create more stuff. Creating makes me happy and solving problems is truly satisfying. If I can share that happiness with just one other person through an idea, an app, a website or whatever, then I’m succeeding.
So yeah, that’s my story. I’m writing this post so that I can just put it all out there because I don’t want to forget why I got into web development in the first place. I need to push myself further and grow. Being vulnerable is one big step I need to take to move in the right direction.
So, watch this space. I will be tinkering away behind the scenes and plan to launch some ideas over the coming months. Tell me if they suck, I need to hear it. Otherwise, sign up if they sound good and give me feedback to improve. If something sticks, then I’m ready to pour myself into it. Regardless, it’s not about the money, it’s about doing what makes me happy and creating something I can be proud of.