A digital nomad’s path from Mallorca to Bali
This story is part of our Jobbatical Stories series.
Joaquin recently said goodbye to his corporate job to take off exploring the world. Since then, he has worked for Nowboat from snowy Prague as well as the sunny digital nomad hub of Bali. You can follow his adventures on Instagram!
How did your Jobbatical journey start?
Jobbatical crossed my path exactly at the right time. It was quite a blessing. Back in November 2015 I was burnt out of the corporate world after a quite intense early career that took me through Australia, Dubai and Spain.
I’ve never been a big believer of the traditional career path, so the idea of joining a digital startup in an exotic location was quite appealing to me. When I read an article about Jobbatical I knew it would be the right place to find that career change.
What is your current role at Nowboat, and what does your typical day look like?
Currently I am the E-commerce Manager at Nowboat, a booking platform for sea adventures and boat charters. Luckily, there is no such thing as a typical day. Since I joined 5 months ago, there has not been one day similar to the other.
I have been located in a small town in Mallorca introducing clients from South Africa to captains in Thailand.
I have been seeing snow in the Czech Republic while researching and contacting sea adventurers all around the world.
As of right now, I am working from a co-working space in Indonesia while crafting a marketing campaign for our new kitesurfing adventures.
Did you have any concerns before starting, and how did Nowboat help you with them?
One of the main concerns was related to the organization and management of a distributed team. While it offers a great deal of flexibility and freedom, some sort of system has to be followed to ensure productivity.
Luckily, the Nowboat team is full XXI century. We use project management tools and KPI reports that help us to keep everyone up to date with what’s going on.
What did you do during your first week working for Nowboat, and where were you?
As soon as I started with Nowboat I presented my 30 days notice at the corporate job. With a big smile.
It was a personal bet, almost an act of faith. But time has shown it was the right decision.
At that time I was located in my hometown (Mallorca, Spain), and we got our hands on the dirt right away. We used those first days to establish procedures and perform a small audit on how the platform was working at that moment, and which measures we could take to improve it.
It was also a week of planning with my beautiful partner in crime: we looked for potential destinations, organized government paperwork, created cashflow projections… I believe planning is quite important to sustain this lifestyle on the long run.
Which countries have you lived in before and how is the culture different there compared to where you are now?
Up until now, I have worked/lived in Australia, Dubai, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic and Indonesia. All of them beautiful countries, with their own style and idiosyncrasies.
Currently I’m located in Bali, and this is a whole league on its own. Perhaps it’s due to personal preferences, but I believe this is one of the best places a digital nomad might be looking to stay at: cheap accommodation and food, great weather, awesome traveling community, chill atmosphere…
I love the fact that lunch break turns into a short ride with your scooter to the closest warung, and then at the end of the day you can enjoy an hour of surfing just before sunset (which is beer o’clock).
What is your favorite thing about traveling and working, and the most difficult?
The best thing about traveling and working is the absence of the guilty feeling… The absence of those thoughts on a cold morning on the way to the office that make you re-evaluate what you are doing with your life.
When you work and travel, you have the best of both worlds. You are nurturing a career, improving your professional skills and increasing your network, all while experiencing the excitement and fulfillment of visiting amazing places.
The dark side of the moon would be the need for self-discipline and high levels of uncertainty tolerance. It is easy to “lose your north” and fall into the mental trap of believing you are on holiday, so people that get easily distracted might not be suited for this lifestyle. People that like to have everything under control might struggle: you change location often, sometimes extra expenses come up, people come and go in your life really quickly…
And how do you think your international experiences have influenced you as a person?
I think everyone who has traveled around agrees that this process widens your perspective and makes you humble. There is no bigger eye-opening experience than seeing firsthand how hard people all around the world work, not only for a basic living but for sustaining their relatives.
Being born and raised in a first-world country might cause to lose a little bit of sense of placement both as an individual and as a society. When you are able to see the situation and struggles of other nations, you appreciate all the efforts that our ancestors took to provide our generation with an environment full of opportunities.
Finally, what advice would you give to someone considering a jobbatical?
Someone considering a jobbatical is clearly a person that is not fully satisfied with a traditional career path and approach to work. It is someone looking to take a detour and experience what the world has to offer.
My advice would be to truly trust yourself. Social pressures may arise when you announce your intention to your family and friends: they might not understand the need for it, they might not see the benefits of it, they might call you crazy. Obviously not everybody is on the same page.
The truth is that there is an incredible number of people traveling and working at the same time, and creating excellent careers out of it. It might be difficult to create a mental picture of it, but once you lean in you can see that the movement is very real.
I would definitely suggest to go for it. Research, plan and execute.
Enjoy the ride of working abroad and come back with experiences that those who stayed will never have.