Chào bạn! That means ‘hello’ in Vietnamese. I know this because I just googled it. I have no idea how to pronounce it but I expect that I will learn over the next few months as Vietnam has become my temporary home as I give this whole digital nomad thing a go. I haven’t yet found a home base here, but I think that will happen next week when we reach Nha Trang. People tell me disdainfully that it’s like the Gold Coast of Vietnam. I bet I’ll love it.
Last week I attended the annual Problogger conference on the Gold Coast. (See, I told you I love the Goldie). It was my second appearance. It’s a fabulous conference and despite its name, it not just for bloggers. It’s one of the best conferences for a business of any size to attend and excellent value. But more about that in a future blog post…
When the ProBlogger conference dates were announced, my husband TJ, ever the serial travel bargain spotter snaffled some cheap tix to the Goldie for the three of us (seriously, this guy finds the most AMAZING travel deals). Being a serial travel bargain spotter, he later found an amazing deal for tickets for our family to fly from the Goldie to Kuala Lumpur – $A480 for three people! Bargain! Could we go for an extended adventure?Vietnam has become my temporary home as I give this whole #digitalnomad thing a go. Click To Tweet
The seed was planted
Would I be able to grow my copywriting business enough to sustain us while we were away? Who would look after our dog? How would my family cope without the Monsta for a few months? How would people contact me by phone?
Going for an extended period of time wasn’t an easy decision. Sure, I’ve travelled for extended periods before. I’ve lived in South Korea and China and worked briefly in Taiwan. But that was back in my younger and carefree mortgage-free days.
We have a mortgage to pay. We have other house expenses. Then there’s my husband’s job. A daycare place to hold onto. But one by one, we navigated each obstacle.
- My copywriting business is doing well enough to sustain us here and pay the mortgage etc. back home. It will be tight and there will be no five-star accommodation, but we’ll make it work on a budget.
- My husband was offered and accepted a redundancy package from a job he despised. Hooray! (Thank you, Universe!)
- My brother is looking after my dog (he even set up a web cam so we can check on her whenever we like, naaaw).
- My sister is coming to visit us in October and we’re Skyping with my parents at Thursday night dinners.
- My niece is housesitting.
- Daycare is charging us a reduced rate to hold onto The Monsta’s place while we’re away.
- I got myself a Melbourne-based Skype number that people can call and reach me anywhere in the world I have internet access. It all came together.
The real challenge: carry-on only baggage
Having spent time in KL earlier this year on our way to visit family in South Korea, we decided not to stay in Malaysia and fly straight to Vietnam. And when our luggage was last on the baggage carousel after EVERY flight (seriously!) that trip, we decided to go for carry-on only. Why not? Warm climate requires minimal clothing, right? That’s been a challenge for this serial over-packer and suitcase lover. But we did it. And I’m coping. Just.
No more winters in Melbourne?
After the ProBlogger conference last year, I was determined to build my business to the point where we didn’t have to endure winter in Melbourne, at least while our son is not yet in school. I missed my deadline by a few months and we endured another cold, miserable and grey Melbourne winter, but instead of ProBlogger being the end of a trip, it became our starting point.
I was also planning to make passive income streams but I’m trading dollars for time as a copywriter. But that’s OK. I’ll put my copywriting skills to use over the coming year to create those ‘passive’ products.
So here we are in Vietnam. I have a lot of client work to do so I haven’t seen much so far. I didn’t expect my work to THIS busy. I’m not complaining. It’s a wonderful problem for a self-employed copywriter to have. I am learning heaps about how to become a digital nomad.
Tomorrow we’re going to Hanoi for a few days and from there, when we’re ready, we’ll fly to Nha Trang and if we love it as much as I think we will, we’ll set up a base there for a few months. TJ will put his serial travel bargain spotting skills to good use and find us a few ‘holidays’ within our holiday as a reward for doing some excellent copywriting work.
By the way, I won three copywriting gigs this week. Thank you, Universe. Yes, we made the right decision to come here.
Have you done a stint as a digital nomad? Where did you go and how did it go? Have you wanted to but it’s not happened yet? What’s held you back? Let me know in the comments below.
Also published on Medium.