Digital Nomad as a couple – does it work? Part 1.

Recently, I joined a Facebook group – Digital Nomad – Couples around the world. There are many couples working and travelling around the world. Some couples are like us: the boyfriend/husband is developer and girlfriend/wife is doing other things.

I posted this to the group to introduce ourselves:

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I feel really good that other couples choose similar way of living. So far I would say I love what we are now 🙂 I would like to summarize why I think, it works for us.

Attitude of living and working

I think this is the most important part. If I would imagine thinking differently from my husband about the way of living, I would feel uncomfortable and could not give 100% for anything. I would just do things or live the way he wants.

Luckily, our ultimate goal of living is the same which is FREEDOM.

Freedom in terms of

  • financial – we want to have enough passive income to have financial freedom. Assuming if I still work for cooperate: I would need to save 1 million and get 5% interest. Then I will able to live without working anymore. If I could save 30k Euro a year and 5% more every year, it would take me about 20 years. The bonus of promotion is substituted with the inflation.  It is sad if I think I have to work until I am 50 years old.
  • workplace – we decide where we can live. As we love travelling, learning new languages, new cultures, we would like to live in different places in the world.

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  • job – we decide what business we have. We know that we do not have the so called “employee mindset”. After working for more than 3 years in two companies, I know that I would love to do my own business.

To see how my ideas are realized is my happiness.

 

Quit job

For 2 a half years I worked as IT-consultant in Germany. I loved it very much although there were long hours of work ~60 hours per week.  I loved what I did and I never regret that I went to work for corporate. Why?

Because I learned a lot. All what I have done during work, I can use for my own business.I would not be able to define and optimize our business processes at all!

Having the mindset

However, it was not hard for me to make the decision to leave the job. It is pretty easy actually. You have your ultimate goal and you just compare what you are doing now. You will see if what you are doing will lead to that goal. See?

Corporate job will never bring me to my goal of life. The only way to reach it is quit what I am doing and have my own business.

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What if it fails?

It will fail I am sure. But I will not give up. Simon reads so many biographies of successful people. They have failed before. Why am I afraid of failing. I am more afraid of not having freedom.

Be prepared

We did not just quit the jobs, come to Chiang Mai, find business that suits us. We had a business before we quit and we thought the business was going to have a bright future.

During the time we work we had a side project. It once was our hobby. It generated little income so that we thought we could SCALE it.

We worked hard for the business we have now. We were there when we got bad reviews and someone told us that our products are not useful. BUT there are other people around the world who love our products. This makes us moving forward…

Take the first step

I wrote about how we prepared to come to Chiang Mai in my very first blog post. Preparation for Digital Nomad in Chiang Mai

I hope, you enjoy reading this. Let’s talk about part 2 next week!

 

 

 

 

 

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2. Visa Run: Mae Sai – Golden Triangle – Chiang Mai

Six months have gone by and Simon needed to go out of Thailand for a visa run. This time we decided to go to Mae Sai border again. The difference from the last time was we will go to “Golden Triangle” (Myanmar, Laos, Thailand) as well.

Early morning of 4. July, we left Chiang Mai by bus (Greenbus company). We arrived at Mae Sai at about 10.30 am. Then, we went to the border and Simon did the routine tasks (leave Thailand, enter Burma (pay 10 USD), enter Thailand).

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on the bus to Chiang Khong

I did some research how to go to Golden Triangle from Mae Sai. But it was wrong. At the end of the trip we figured out that the Blue Songtaew from Mae Sai to Golden Triangle leaves very near the Border to Tachilek. The trip would take normally 30 minutes and cost 50 baht pp.

We thought we had to take the the Songtaew from Mae Sai bus station. We went there and got told that we had to take a bus to “Mae Rim” and then take another bus to “Chiang Khong” and then take Songtaew to “Golden Triangle”. We did this trip and it took about 2.30 hours and cost 120 baht pp! But the scenery was incredible and the experience of sitting in old buses was new to Simon 😀

“Chian Khong” provides some places to visit as well. We passed by an old temple and drove along Mae Khong river.

We arrived the Golden Triangle around 3 p.m. We stayed in a bungalow on the hill and paid 500 baht per night.

We visited the temple “Wat Phrathat Phu Khao“, did some pictures, had dinner near the river. But we did not do the boat trip.

Next morning we went to “Hall of Opium” or หอฝิ่น. For me, this is the best museum in Thailand. Our “Somdet Ya”  (the Royal Grandmother) initiated this museum. We learned a lot about history of Opium. How Opium has almost ruined the world. China was one of the countries that had millions of people addicted to Opium and traded with England. England brought Opium from India and sold Opium in many places in Asia. I cannot tell all the story here. But all this has been presented in many interesting ways. You have to visit this museum!

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After visiting the museum we had to take a Songtaew back to Mae Sai as our Greenbus leaving from Mae Sai. BUT… the Songtaew run until 11.30 am. We were told that it will run until 1 pm. So we left the museum at 11.35 and could see the last Songtaew just in front of us passing by…

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We had some hopes and waited until 1 pm. The bus in Mae Sai will leave at 3.30 pm. We only had 2 hours left to go to Mae Sai (30 km.). We could order a taxi but it would cost 500 baht. So we hitchhiked. It took us about 20 minutes that a car stopped. This car brought us 5 km further. We got out at a junction. Luckily, another car let us in and brought us to Mae Sai. They were really kind and could speak English 🙂

We had a lot of fun and excitements on the 5. July that is our 8 years anniversary. We will exactly remember this day!

 

Biz Talk of Simply Learn Languages in Chiang Mai

Last Wednesday we were invited to give a talk about our business. The talk was held in a coffee shop in Chiang Mai. We invited our friends to come and about 10 people (including us) joined our talk 🙂

The event was organized by our friend Greg. He has been living as a digital nomad more than 3 years and currently lives in Chiang Mai. My husband knew him from this video!

Every Monday we have a master mind talk. And maybe he sees our business has potential 🙂

The first half of the event began with how to do “Video Business”. It was really interesting for me as well as I also have my own YouTube channel. My videos are not professional but I did all my best 🙂

Then the second half of the event it came our talk. I started talking about our story and how do we work together. Then, my husband talked about 5 lesson learned. This is the video.

In the video I looked somehow curios and sometimes confused about my husband’s talk 😀 😀 😀

If you are interested to the T-Shirt. This is the link to buy it 🙂

Vesak day in Chiang Mai – วันวิสาขบูชา ที่เชียงใหม่

In Thailand, Visakha Bucha day is the day that commemorates 3 big events in Buddhism: birth, enlightenment, and death of Budha. In Thailand, we call this day also ‘Wan Phra Yai’ which can be translated as ฺBig Buddhist Holy Day and it is an official holiday. You will get 1 day off. Also, if this day falls on Thursday, the holiday will be placed on Friday, so that you can have a long weekend. I like this website as it explains this day in more details.

What we normally do is in the morning, we will give food to monks (ตักบาตร). In the evening, we will go to temples and walk with lighted candles in hand around a temple for 3 rounds. We will think about the meaning of this day. How Buddha was born, has gotten enlightenment, Buddha’s life until his death.

My family is religious. Since my father’s retirement, he goes every day to temple and leads people on different Buddhism ceremonies. That means, I also went to a temple on Visakha Bucha Day. It was not that interesting for me as every year we do always the same.

However, as I live in Chiang Mai this year, things become different. The evening before Visakah Bucha Day, Chiang Mai people will go to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep located on the top of the Doi Suthep montain. There are different parades. One of the parade is to bring a light candle to Doi Suthep, one is to bring water given from our king and queen. So you will find many people still climbing to the mountain late at night.

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To Doi Suthep Mountain in front of CMU

On the way to the mountain, there were many stops providing drinks and food. The providers are from institutions e.g. universities, police departments, temples, and also private persons. The distance up to the mountain is around 10-11 kilometers starting from Chiang Mai university.

My husband and I started walking at 6 pm sharp and we went down with the red songtaew at midnight. There were so many people from different ages. Also foreigners joined the walk. We stopped at different places to get food such as Pad Thai, rice with omelets, snacks, Thai sweeties, fruits. We passed many temples to get holy water and holy threads. We donated some money also.

When we arrived at the top, there was so crowded with people who wanted to go to the temple and flower sellers. I have brought my candle and joss sticks. We did the three rounds walking around the golden mount.

 

There were also some people who will stay overnight to wait for the candle parade and for the morning ceremonies and other ceremonies until night of the Visakha Bucha day. If you want you can join but we did not. There will be monks coming down the stairs that are decorated with dragons.

We went back with the red songtaew. It was not complicated and we got seats immediately. It costed 40 baht per person. The car brought us to the place of ครูบาศรีวิชัย. He was the initiator to build the road to Doi Suthep temple. This place is a must visit place in Chiang Mai as well.

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The distance was more as I forgot to turn on Runtastics after we had a dinner break

Next year, if I will be in Chiang Mai, I will participate in this walk again!

 

 

In Chiang Mai – 1 month

It has been 1 month already since we settled down in Chiang Mai. We have used this time to discover a lot of things and we are get to used to live like a Digital Nomad.

Our work life balance has been increased rapidly although our financial situation is going down. It is the first time in my life that I have spent more money than my earnings. That does not surprise me. I told myself, that I cannot be successful only when a night just passed. It is a process or it is a long process. We can shorten this process with different ways for example by outsourcing some works like manage social activities on Facebook, Twitter, Play Stores, answering emails. So that we can do other works that are more important.

Work related

We have discovered working places and where to meet other digital nomads. We have attended the following meetings:

  • Digital Nomad summit 2016 in Chiang Mai – this was cool. Main target of the conference, I think, was for new-comers or someone who wants to be a digital nomad. We did not have a lot of opportunity to talk to the speakers and the visitors with who have the same interests.
  • Digital Nomad coffee and lunch in Chiang Mai – a smaller group of digital nomads who come to have lunch or drink. I like this group as I can talk to other people, learn what they are doing. They also tell their stories such as what they are doing and what are their experiences.
  • Chiang Mai Language Exchange facebook group. Different types of people are coming here, students till expats. A range of ages varies.

We also have searched for different places to work. As I wrote about this last time, my favorite place is at the Main Library of the Chiang Mai university. However, we still look for other places 🙂 It is a lot of fun doing this.

For working details, we have used tools to manage our project. Although we are a small team doing a small project, we need to manage it. My husband is the developer and I am doing everything else. I am a project manager, finance manager, HR director, content manager, marketing executive and I make Simon happy 🙂

  • Project timeline – use Google spread sheet see picture 1 below.
  • Project requirements/issues management – Bitbucket.org. We have classified all the entries with different types: new requirements, bug, task. Each of them have a priority see picture 2 below.
  • Git version control – Bitbucket.org
  • Finance and Cost – Google spreadsheet template see picture 3
  • HR and marketing – Google spreadsheet
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Picture 1 – Timeline. As you see, we missed some releases already! The green color shows our first vacation. We are invited to my best friend wedding.

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Picture 2 – Bitbucket.org to manage requirements and bugs

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Picture 3 – This graph shows our income and expense every month. We have not track any expenses in January. We start in February!

During the day, when we come to work, we have introduced Scrum. Both of us are very familiar with this methodology. We do a daily stand up for 15 minutes to discuss

  • What we have done yesterday?
  • What is the impediment?
  • what we will do today?

It helps us a lot as to know what the other is working on. 🙂

Personal related

Let’s come back to our story. Until now, we have got

  • 1 year house rental with internet for 1 year contract
  • water delivering (In Thailand, it is much easier to let the water car come to your house every week. They will bring water for you. This water got approved from Thailand Food and Drug Administration (อย) 
  • laundry place – 100 m. from our house
  • a motorbike
  • 2 sim cards with a year contract
  • places for exercise
  • different markets to buy raw food
  • different restaurants to have lunch and dinner
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An organic food restaurant. The food is very good and the price as well! A post regarding this next time!

That is for today… 🙂

Digital Nomad and our lifes in Chiang Mai

You already have heard from me that we are ‘Digital Nomad’. But what are they doing or who are they actually? Also for me, I just learned to know this word first time back in 2015. My husband told me that he wants to be a digital nomad. And I asked him, ‘What are you going to be?’

Then, he explained. For me, digital nomads are folks who earn their living digital or online. Lets assume, internet is broken, all my businesses will corrupt. Hmm, I hope, that this would not happen 😉 So how do they earn money? Some digital nomads are freelancer and deliver their work from home. Some nomads blog and earn by affiliate marketing. Some nomads are doing drop shipping in Amazon by buying stuffs from China and sell the products in USA. There are so many possibilities out there. We were at an event ‘Digital Nomad Summit 2016 in Chiang Mai’. We have learned to know many people and how they build their business. It was great to be there!

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Us with other 200 ppl who are either digital nomads or going to be one

So what are my husband and I doing then? Our plan is being a digital nomad who is  doing things that are scalable and will generate passive incomes.

Time Freedom + Financial Freedom + Happiness 

We have not have them yet but I think we are on the way. It could be a difficult way but we are ambitious and passionate going this path! You know already that we have a business going now ‘Simply Learn Solutions‘ on mobile application.

We decide when and where we work. When we will have vacation and when we are ill we just make an appointment as we want to. I can work from where I want to. Now I am sitting in a coffee shop in Chiang Mai, watching tourists passing by. I eat when I am hungry and in the restaurant I want to. I am already feel free!

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On Valentines day we did a fun run for 5.1 km 🙂

It sounds great right? However, since I quit my job, I do not know when are weekday and weekend as we work everyday from 10 am – 8 pm. It is not much at all. So we need to increase our working hours though.

Earning money is not difficult but earn money passively is a big challenge for us. We do sell mobile apps everyday but they are just little. We are now doing other mobile apps to extends our income. We have now

We are working very hard on it but somehow we are not tired at all. It makes us proud that people can use our app for traveling. And the story below has made my day!

One customer sent us an email on Valentines day to thank us! We got sometimes such an email but this one is very special. The customer has proposed his girlfriend and he uses our app to talk to her and her family. I am very very happy!

It is maybe too early to say that I am living my dream 🙂