Are Digital Nomads Exploiting The Locals?

I keep running into some incarnation of this question in nomad circles. Only this week it reared up again in a Facebook group dedicated to digital nomads. In this case, the question was, ‘when digital nomads outsource their work over the internet to low-paying countries are they exploiting them? Isn’t that damaging the digital nomad image?’ The discussion got heated. Nasty things were said.

To be fair, the original poster didn’t frame the question quite like that. Sure, they used a question mark, but it wasn’t actually a question. For them, the issue was already resolved. Now it was just time for everybody to agree. Low wages weren’t fair. They were exploitive. The digital nomad movement was betraying its roots. Anybody that disagreed with them was a small-minded greedy capitalist.

As you can expect, many people – particularly those who outsourced work to low-paying countries – weren’t happy. Who likes to get judged, right? Some of retorted with well-reasoned arguments. Others were nasty, brutish and small-minded – thereby proving the original poster right about that part.
Continue reading Are Digital Nomads Exploiting The Locals?

8 Things You Need to Know About the Travelancer Life

Many are attracted to the traveling freelancer life. Does that include you? Do you sometimes think, “I could be a digital nomad. I could lounge around in fancy hotels, fly first class and work two- hour days with a Mai Thai in one hand”?

I hear you. I sure could.

The thing is, the digital nomad life isn’t some drawn out hotel commercial. Because of the many myths floating about, it is probably nothing like how you imagine. What digital nomad put in their travel mags and Instagram is just as filtered as the baby pictures your friends fill your social media feed with. The digital nomad life isn’t heaven. It isn’t hell. It’s a life. Nothing more or less. Like any life, it has its ups and downs. It might be perfect for you. It may not be. That’s not for me to say.

Instead, this article is about making you aware of some of the realities of setting up a freelance life on the road. It will discuss the things you need to know – like what you should do before you leave, what you can expect, and how you can make things easier for yourself.
Continue reading 8 Things You Need to Know About the Travelancer Life

Road Interview: Phil Buck, Professional Adventurer

On the road you see some beautiful places, but really it’s the people you meet and the stories they tell that really stay with you. I thought I would immortalize some of the best ones I come across here on VagabondWriters.com. We’ll begin with Phil Buck, who I met in La Paz, Bolivia, where he is building a reed boat and plans to sail it from Chile to Australia.

“I wasn’t going to climb that mountain in Nicaragua,” Phil tells me, “But then I found this guy who specialized in landmine removal and he said he could take me to the top. He still had all his fingers and his toes, so I followed him. He set out a route with red flags but I still made sure I put every foot where he’d placed his. Man, that was scary.”
Continue reading Road Interview: Phil Buck, Professional Adventurer

Write Engagingly 101: Simple Techniques You Can Apply Immediately

If you can’t write engagingly then it doesn’t matter how many words you can produce in a sitting. Nobody is going to sit down to read them. And what’s the point of spilling ink, be it on a story or to reflect on your existence, when nobody cares about the blotches you made? You might as well just throw it at the wall for all the good it will do. Modern art museums are dotted with canvases of a similar ilk.

If modern art is not the path you want to walk, however, and the goal is to write a book or launch a freelance writing career then you’re left with a question. What does it actually mean to ‘write engagingly’? It’s a bit like saying you should paint beautifully, or smile endearingly.

How do you do that?
Continue reading Write Engagingly 101: Simple Techniques You Can Apply Immediately

Want to Write More? Here Are My 5 Secrets.

Two things together form the holy grail of writing: Writing better and being able to write more when you do write. In a seperate article I’ve handled writing better (and expanded on it here and here), while yet another post covers making your words fly. Today I’m going to focus my attention on writing more, as in the last year, as I’ve launched my freelance writing career I’ve made some very big strides in my productivity.

I remember how it used to be.

I would struggle to get more than a few hundred words down a day in the beginning. On most days, the first book I wrote was trench warfare. It was a war of attrition with me against the written word. Every battle was hard fought. On those I came out victorious I would be able to add just a few inches of territory, while those where I lost I ended up deleting whole stretches of text in self-disgust.

I’m sure we’ve all been there; your inner critic like a hard wall against which you repeatedly have to bang your head.
Continue reading Want to Write More? Here Are My 5 Secrets.

Introducing Vagabond Writers

Welcome to the Vagabond Writers first blog post! Thank you for taking an interest. Oh man, what a journey it has been to get here! I had to choose a template, a color scheme, take some pictures, write a couple of things, Skype with my mate Jascha at JSICS who then actually did all the heavy lifting of building the site while I nattered aimlessly in his ear, have cup of coffee, stare out of the window for a bit… Well okay, that was it.

But that took a while. I had to refocus my attention span at least three times!

That reminds me, did you know they recently discovered our attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish? That’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?
Continue reading Introducing Vagabond Writers