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Goodbye, America. I'm becoming a nomad (again)!

Mike Elgan | March 15, 2016
I've been trying to escape the surly bonds of sedentary living for a decade.

I've been trying to escape the surly bonds of sedentary living for a decade.

Mobile devices and the Internet enable us to live and work just about anywhere. I've been trying to realize that possibility for ten years, with mixed success.

I started gradually. In the summer of 2006, my wife and kids had the summer off, but I didn't. It occurred to me that as a writer who worked from home, I could theoretically work from any location where an Internet connection could be found. So what if I took a trip, but worked the whole time?

Long story short: It worked. We visited Central America and Southern Mexico exploring Mayan ruins. I managed to find Wi-Fi almost everywhere, even then. I did research, joined conference calls, held vendor meetings and wrote and submitted my columns.

After that incredible experience, I realized that I could live abroad full time while continuing to work as if I were still in Silicon Valley. So my wife and I "downsized" into a much smaller house. And then we moved temporarily to Greece.

The standard label for a location-independent, live-anywhere online worker is "digital nomad."

I don't like the phrase "digital nomad" because nomads are no more digital than anyone else. Using the Internet to work remotely is no longer rare or exotic. I'm no more "digital" than anyone else. So I prefer simply "nomad."

After several months living in Greece, our nomad lifestyle was ruined when my wife got an unfortunately great offer working at AT&T in Silicon Valley. So she re-entered the rat race, complete with a daily commute, cubicle and all the rest. But after three and a half years, she couldn't stand it anymore. So she quit, and we went nomadic again.

But this time, we went all the way. We got rid of half our stuff and stored the rest. Then we left the country without a home to come back to.

We started in Greece again, but also lived in Spain, Italy, Kenya, Turkey and Morocco.

I had no intention of ever giving up our nomadic lifestyle. But it happened again: More than two years ago, I got an offer I couldn't refuse, anchoring the daily Tech News Today podcast for TWiT. The show was recorded in-studio, so I had to stay put while doing it. That was a great experience, but it kept us from living abroad. I left the show in December. And now I'm going nomad once again!

Over the past couple of months, my wife and I re-arranged our lives, packed all our belongings into storage and tomorrow, we're leaving the United States to live around the world!


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