Koh Lanta – It’s been a long day of island exploration, food and drink experiences and supplying/scouring the internet for articles, Instagram photos and YouTube videos. I’m laying on a deck chair, poolside, fanning away a mosquito and admiring the colors of the sunset sky.
Even while enjoying the peace and quiet of Thailand in the low season my new ‘work’ never stops. Writing about social issues, personal experiences, and journalling our travels are all things I can do from anywhere so long as my battery is charged and I can find good internet.
However, this type of work, nomadic blogging or freelance journalism, is not the fairytale you might imagine it to be. Whilst the most obvious perk is that one gets to travel to some amazing places and meet some incredible people, there is a less talked about, less ‘wow’, side to it all.
Earlier today I read an article that took a look at how some young adults were treating the concept of using the internet as their workplace. There was a romantic feel to the article, hinting at an exciting life of travel with no end, having a job that gave you the freedom to do it from anywhere in the world…so long as you had a good wifi connection.
The trade, from what I’ve seen, is that one gives up certain comforts or aspirations to pursue, for an indefinite time, the fulfilment of a dream, i.e., traveling the world. Or at least traveling South-East Asia, more specifically, Thailand.
Thailand is one of the best places to lead a budget life and work online. All the basic necessities and then some are a great deal cheaper than most everywhere else. One can easily find free wifi in coffee shops as well.
The drawback to this ideal picture is the reality that many writing jobs can’t fully support any kind of comfortable, financially secure, lifestyle. There’s not a lot of high paying online writing jobs, not when someone in India can do it for a fraction of what you’d get paid. Sooner or later a person runs the risk of running out of the savings they brought with them.
Not only can a person run out of funds but the life led up to that point is normally one of strict budgeting, toting heavy backpacks from one hostel to another, watching in frustrated amazement as tourists get scammed incredible amounts of bhat by tuk tuk drivers and tour agencies.
So what happens when a person whose workplace is online runs out of money? Well, that’s truly up to that person. Common stories normally see these people becoming ESL teachers or flying back to their home countries to find whatever support they can from immediate family.
Despite the grim picture I’ve attempted to paint, the allure of traveling can never be diminished by the possible threat of bankruptcy. Dreamers, writers, nomads and those who are all three at once always find a way, even if we struggle along some parts of the journey.