A Digital Nomad Constantly On The Road: Nathan's Story

Friday, May 25, 2018

1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself? What’s your name and where are you originally from?

My name is Nathan Aguilera and I’m originally from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.A.

2. Where do you currently reside and is there any place in the world you can say for yourself that you’re local there?

I’m currently in Merida, Mexicoinfo-icon where I’ve based myself for the winter. And as for feeling like a local somewhere other than where I’m from - I would say I’m starting to feel like a local here in Merida or perhaps just in Mexico overall.

My family is originally from Mexico on my father's side so while I’m here I’m in the process of of obtaining dual citizenship. When I receive it I will be a full passport carrying citizen of Mexico. I’ll even be able to vote in the elections! I would say this process has started to make me feel like a local.

Other than that, I’ve spent the most time in Thailandinfo-icon and I feel like Chiang Mai is almost my “second city”.

3. We saw you had quite amazing adventures during your journey, so could you share the trick with us? How do you fund your trips and for how long you’re on the road? Do you have a home base or you’re constantly on the road?

Constantly changing cities and countries can be tiresome. You can always base yourself in one destination and explore that destination and its culture more thoroughly.

It has been quite an adventure! I’m constantly on the road, have been for just over four years  now. I’m only back in the States for two weeks a year to visit friends and family.

The first year and a half of my trip I was moving very quickly- changing cities and countries constantly. Now, I’m more likely to base myself from one location for months at a time and explore that country and surrounding countries slower.

As I mentioned, this winter I’m in Mexico. Since I’ve been based from here I’ve taken several trips to other destinations in Mexico. I have a few more trips planned before I leave in May to spend the summer in Europeinfo-icon.

Funding the trip is mixture of several things as I have multiple income streams. I have my food and travel blog but I also do social media management and freelance writing. I also have money invested back in the States. Having multiple income streams has allowed me to stay on the road for so long.

4. What’s the criteria for choosing your next location?

It’s always a mix of several things! Maybe it’s somewhere I’ve read about, or someone has told me about. I don’t usually do a lot of research beforehand. I tend to avoid colder destinations and I favor places where the dollar is strong.

Generally if I’m going to base myself from somewhere I need good Wi-Fi, low cost of living and I can’t live anywhere for very long that doesn’t have a movie theater!

5. What was the breaking point of starting a digital nomad career?

Getting a view like this is guaranteed to fill up your batteries!

The two year point of my trip where I was getting a bit burnt out on traveling but I also didn't want to go home. I needed to do something to structure my time and keep me busy so I started my travel blog.

Blogging led me to freelance writing and social media management. Between the three of these I now have full-time work.

6. What kind of job you’re currently working on? How did you find this one?

I just picked up a new freelance piece that an editor contact referred me to. I’ve found that if you’re able to have good working relationships with a handful of editors that they can help keep you busy even if they don’t have current work for you. They’re often able to refer you to editors of other publications that have current work.

7. What aspect of your job you like the most?

I like the freedom to still be able to travel year round, to work from anywhere that has Wi-Fi. I like working for myself and being able to choose projects and clients that I’m excited to work with.

8. What aspect of your job you dislike the most?

It's sometimes difficult to stay organized while constantly travelling - but adventures pay off.

I find it difficult to stay organized when you’re constantly traveling. I need to find a better system to stay on top of things.

9. How’s your regular working day looks like?

I usually arrive at the coworking space around 10 or 10:30. That’s one of the other things I like about working for myself - no early starts. I only set alarms when I have to catch flights.

I start going through my emails, seeing what’s most important.

I see what’s due immediately and what doesn’t need immediate attention. Then I spend the rest of the morning working on what’s due, putting out fires as they pop up.

I’ll usually have lunch around 2 or 2:30 and come back and work until around 6.

It’s not all that glamorous or exciting really. It’s just that I’m doing this work for myself in locations all around the world rather than working for someone else in an office back in Oklahoma City.

10. Do you pay close attention to work-life balance? Could you tell us a bit more about that?

I’m actually very bad at this and it’s something I need to work on. I’m either very focused on work or very focused on being somewhere new and enjoying the city and my time there. Rarely am I focused on both work and travel at the same time. It’s difficult for me.

11. What’s your advice for someone who’d like to start with digital nomading, but constantly getting discouraged by the society?

If you're eager on starting an adventure, start now! You never know, it may last longer than you expect, and change your entire life in the process!

Line up some clients before you have some savings in the bank and just give it a try. You’ll never know. Maybe you’ll hate it or maybe like me, you’ll leave for six-months and still be gone years later.

Four years ago Nathan Aguilera quit his job and sold everything he owned to set off on what he thought at the time was going to be a six-month tour of South East Asiainfo-icon.

Nearly sixty countries over four continents later he finds himself still traveling, now working while on the road.

Check out his travel stories on his blog, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Antonio Gabric a freelance content writer for aSabbatical.com
Traveling is the best way to learn about the world and cultures. It changes your mindset and you see possibilities everywhere.