Yesterday I was walking along Lamai beach and saw several cottages right on the water—traditional Thai architecture, with seats on small balconies that looked directly over the sea. What an environment for writing, I thought. I even went off to try to find the proprietor of one that was conspicuously empty. This, I thought, is where I should be writing. Not in an office, not at home, but in places like this, where–with glass in hand and the ocean but a short walk away–creative juices will naturally flow.

Travel

Are there places like this around the world? Why not! If they exist in Lamai Beach on Thailand’s Koh Samui, then why wouldn’t they exist in Okinawa or Santorini? The challenge I have set for myself is to find affordable places like these where I can live and write while exploring the world.

Working When I Want To

What a contrast with the lifestyle I’ve led for the past decades. Besuited and office-bound day after day, I’ve trod the corporate treadmill. I’ve put on a brave face regardless of how I really felt, and was sustained only by the prospect of travel to new places. These dreams were the main source of pleasure and stimulation in my life.

New technology has made the chances of living differently so much easier now. I can whip out the laptop wherever I am and write to my heart’s content. Or not. Perhaps I should accept the invitation I received from a neighbor today to join him on that fishing trip tomorrow. And I can write now, or this evening, or in the morning, or at night. When I work is up to me. As long as I produce the copy and meet the deadlines, the hours I work and the places I work in are of secondary importance to the quantity and quality of my output.

Do What You Love

I can also choose the kind of work I want to do. Yes, I’m happy to write commentary on the places where I am, but gone are the days of writing things I don’t care about, or worse still, care for. And I can indulge my particular passions: I am interested in old wooden buildings, genuinely and with passion. Plus I can write about the local cars with gusto and know it will appeal to an audience of fellow car enthusiasts. Fabrics, fashion, and local handicrafts, too, can be the focus of my writing, richly illustrated with the photographs I so enjoy taking.

So I’m off to check out who owns that unoccupied cottage on the beach. A stint there will not only facilitate a conducive writing environment but it will enable me to put down roots for weeks rather than days, which is the way I used to travel. How cool is it to be “a local” long enough that the local coffee seller or store owner recognizes you each morning? How much more enduring will be the personal connections made in places like these? As a digital nomadic writer, I select how and where to spend these blocks of time that will comprise the rest of my life. For who was it that said we need to be rooted in the one place? That’s a laudable choice for many, and something millions in the world would cherish. But for me now, at this stage of my life, the digital nomad lifestyle and the chance to live in places I choose around the world, feels like just the right choice and one I’m blessed to have been able to make.

By Stephen Rainbow

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