When I started to write about my travels, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. While researching for articles about long-term travel, I eventually came across the term ‘digital nomads’. Here is a post on one of my first encounters with digital nomads. Today, one year after starting my blog, I find myself on a cruise ship with 200 digital nomads, crossing the Atlantic Ocean. This post is about why the Nomad Cruise event was not only an economically affordable and relaxing way to get from Colombia to Portugal, but also a very beneficial experience in terms of work.
The concept of digital nomadism
The concept of digital nomadism is straightforward. You earn your living online through remote work or freelancing jobs, travelling around the world as you go. Most digital nomads live outside of their home country for more than the half of the year, while others travel non-stop and have reached a location independent lifestyle with no fixed boundaries. The advanced version of a digital nomad is a location-independent entrepreneur. He/she runs an online business and manages it from anywhere in the world while being on workation. No wonder there was a huge demand for the Nomad Cruise event, as it’s just a smart way to combine transportation, work and vacation.
When I chose to leave my job in 2011 in order to see what else life would have to offer, I did not know about the option of becoming location independent or a digital nomad. It just so happened to work out that my skills as a PR/Marketing consultant are easily applied to remote work and freelance offers. In fact, I’m still amused by the fact that something that I started by accident, with no long-term intentions, now has an official term that also defines a steady-growing crowd of people. I talked to many other digital nomads during the Nomad Cruise and they all confirmed the same: we all started our ‘thing’ and later found out about the concept.
After almost five years of traveling and working around the world, either solo or with my partner, the decision to group up and get to know other digital nomads was big. As much as I like the idea of individualism, and don’t usually tend to participate in group activities or tours, this cruise though sounded just too perfect to not join! The package included two weeks of workshops, networking, partying, relaxing at the pool while cruising towards Europe for less than the price of a flight ticket. If you have the time to jump on board, it’s definitely a great deal!
Life on a cruise ship – luckily we went with Nomad Cruise!
This was our first cruise, and it likely would have been a completely different experience if it weren’t for the other digital nomads on board. Cruise ship life is rather dull and follows a constant repetition of this pattern: eat, relax, eat, get entertained, eat, drink, sleep, repeat. Not that this would be the worst routine to follow, but I prefer to be a bit more self-directed and active on my vacation. But this was not a vacation for us! We travelled intensely over the previous 9 months, from Mexico to Ecuador all by bus. So, this cruise was a nice break from constant moving. We could simply sit back and relax! 🙂
‘Workation’ on a Cruise Ship: the Nomad Cruise Program
Even though we enjoyed the relaxing part of cruise ship life, we were actually really grateful to get our main ‘entertainment’ from the many inspiring workshops, talks and networking events organised by the team of Nomad Cruise. There was a great deal of savvy entrepreneurs and freelancers amongst the participants who shared their knowledge and experiences on how they make it happen to work remotely while traveling the world.
It was refreshing to be among other people who embrace the location independent lifestyle, and think in a different way. It became very obvious to me that this type of lifestyle has a huge potential to attract more and more people over time. I think, for most digital nomads on the cruise, that this lifestyle is not just a phase, but has become the reality that they will keep up for a very long time, possibly for the rest of their lives.
This became especially clear in some of the workshops with topics like starting a family and how to meet the right partner while traveling full-time. One great idea that excites me a lot emerged from one of the workshops: a world school for nomadic couples in order to make it possible for them to keep up with their lifestyle and provide the best education for their children. I really hope that we will see such an option in the future.
In general, the workshops aimed to give solutions for the challenges digital nomads can relate to, are currently working on or may face in the future.
A few examples from the nomad cruise program:
- How to run your business remotely from anywhere in the world
- Fast Track Your Facebook PPC Success
- Financial Planning for Freelancers and Entrepreneurs
- Podcasting like a pro
- Write Your How-To EBook in Two Days
- Co-Living spaces and digital nomads – a love story
And then there were more abstract workshops where people came up with awesome ideas on how to solve some of the challenges nomads are facing, such as ‘How to keep your Flow’ or ‘Emotional Intelligence for Business and Personal Success’.
To sum it up, the whole idea of meeting like-minded people and spending time together, while working on topics related to real-life situations, made this cruise absolutely worthwhile. Whoever wants to jump on the next nomad cruise, there will be one in September 2016. If you are interested in networking events for digital nomads, check out this post about ‘Events No Digital Nomad Should Miss In 2016’.
Excursion Day on St. Martin in the Caribbean
A cruise wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t get to hop off at an exotic island! On top of getting a lift from Colombia to Portugal, we stopped at the Caribbean island of St. Martin. It was a really nice break before continuing another 10 days to cross the Atlantic Ocean. We enjoyed a few hours of Internet in a café by the beach (yes, the digital nomad in me without internet on the ship really missed it in the beginning). After that, we spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying our last dip in the Caribbean Sea. It was a perfect way to say goodbye to this part of the world.
Arrival in Lisbon
After 13 days of cruising, we couldn’t believe how quickly time had flown by. As early as 4:30 am on the 9th of June 2016, we crossed underneath the 25 de Abril Bridge to make our way to the harbour of Lisbon. We then had to wait another 2 ½ hours on the ship until we were able to disembark and set foot on European ground. We used the time to enjoy a final breakfast on the ship and take a few pictures in the morning sun. The skyline of the city was exciting to see after looking at the blue ocean for the past two weeks.