How (not) to be a Digital Nomad

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September’s been a funny month. I left London on 27th August, intending to have around a month in Bulgaria, not spend much money (on account of their cheap prices) and catch up on a few ideas I’ve had buzzing around in my head, thanks to their fast, fast wifi.

Then I got distracted by the cheap bus to Istanbul (sometimes, I have the attention span of a 5-year-old), travelled to Istanbul, loved it, started looking at other places in Turkey that I might like to visit and spent the rest of the month travelling around Turkey.

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It’s a little ironic. I left South America because I wasn’t getting anything done; the internet was too unreliable and I was tired from constantly moving on.  I felt that I wasn’t connecting with anybody, because I was moving on all the time. Then I replicated the same lifestyle in Turkey.

Different continent but same problems.

Don’t get me wrong; I have been having an amazing time here, but it has rather taken away my reason to be back in Europe.

Anyway:

Where I’ve been this month:

7 nights in Sofia, Bulgaria
4 nights Plovdiv, Bulgaria
5 nights Istanbul, Turkey
4 nights Goreme, Turkey
2 nights Atalya, Turkey
4 nights in and around Kas, Turkey
4 nights Dalyan, Turkey
3 nights Bodrum, Turkey

September Highlights:

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The balloon ride over Cappadocia, definitely. I’d never been in a hot air balloon before, never had a particular interest in doing it. Now I can’t help thinking what I’ve been missing out on all these years.
The sailing. There’s something very ‘feelgood’ about being in a boat with a calm blue sea all around. Swimming in the middle of the sea, rather than wading out from the beach, is an amazing feeling.
Seeing Istanbul again after so many years. Istanbul is an amazing city. To think I almost didn’t go because I was worried about safety issues there.

September Lowlights:

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I have been feeling a little low ever since I left London; a bit of homesickness combined with a couple of (let’s just call them) disappointments in my life left me feeling quite unsettled. The whole uncertainty over Brexit is compounding everything too.  This is something nobody mentions when they go on about all the effects of the change: what this uncertainty does to the mental health of (some) people.

Turkey managed to distract me (Bulgaria didn’t, which was why I moved on from there) but it is something I need to address now.

Something new I have learned this month:

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In Bulgaria, people shake their heads for yes. This is endlessly confusing. On my first night I asked the waitress for the bill (using the international scribbling in the air sign) and she shook her head (as if to say ‘that’s not my job’).  Later she brought the bill and then I remembered this weird little difference.

What I spent

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My target for this month was to spend less than I have coming in as rental income from my flat, meaning that anything I earned was bonus money. This was back when I thought I was spending the month in Bulgaria. Once I decided to go to Turkey instead I failed abysmally.

rent: €700 (lots of short-term rooms and a couple of places, Goreme and Kas, were expensive.)
travel and tours: €450 (three internal flights, some buses, a few tours but most of that a figure is for the boat trip)
food/cosmetics/laundry/phone credit/books and that kind of thing  (everything else basically): €450 (I couldn’t cook anywhere except Sofia, which pushed my food spend up considerably)
Expenses from ‘home’: €250 (storage, taxes, health insurance and that type of thing):
Total: €1850

Yes, I know.

What is next

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1. I am writing September off as a holiday month (a kind of depression cure) and am going to try and remain more focused in October.

2. I’ve rented a small flat in Istanbul for October. One month/one place. Let’s see how that goes.

 

 

14 replies »

  1. Another fascinating article. I’m loving following your journey – even if it’s unproductive for you! If you don’t mind sharing, what’s your work as a nomad? Best of luck staying focused and keeping the blues away in October. Enjoy Istanbul!!

    • I thought I’d try sharing something a bit more honest here, rather than just putting up the good stuff.
      As ever, I’m limited by my own motivation and the fact that I’m so easily distracted.
      I do some writing here and there, stories and that kind of thing mainly, and I also sell some bits and pieces via Amazon, things I make and things I pick up on my travels.
      Having said that I haven’t done any work for 3-4 months because I’ve been absorbed with travel, or trying to find a decent internet connection or … (insert another excuse here). But I’m working on it. Honesty.

      • It’s awesome that you’re so transparent, particularly with costs and time management. That really helps me think about what it might be like to follow in your footsteps through Turkey (one day!) and in the digital nomad journey more generally.
        It’s also really cool that you’re able to work with what you pick up along the way, but that traveling is your main focus for the moment. I’m too far on the other extreme – too busy working to have much fun traveling.

      • I don’t think you’ll pick up tips from me, except how not to do it.
        But I’m trying to show things as they actually are, and I do get easily distracted which is why I’m the most unlikely person to work for myself.
        I worked long hours when I was younger too, and rarely took any time off. That’s why I’m making up for it now 🙂

  2. Hello Sarah. Yes write September off as things needed to be done. Anyway looks as if you had a blast! You can settle in Istanbul now and see how things pan out form there. For what it is worth, I have loved this September trip and it has made me think different of Turkey and what it can offer. Put down some roots for a few weeks and just go with the flow. All will be good and look what you have done! Go girl. We need to speak about the ‘disappointments’. Hugs and love xxx

    • Ah I’m alright. Just annoyed with myself really for screwing up another month. But it’s been fun so all is not lost.
      Yes looking forward to unpacking my bag, for the first time since Bolivia.
      xx

  3. fantastic photos – yet again. What an adventure. the mosaic work in the mosque front (or whatever building it is) looks so details – I must say I love the look.
    You have certainly lived a VERY full month. Glad you have loved the exposures, sorry you are tired of travelling
    BUT you have been going for so long – kind of like a marathon runner of travel! Amazing.
    So glad you keep the wonder alive and don;t take for granted the little explorations you have!

    You know there is always an airbnb here!

    • I think that’s the palace with the mosaics but stuff like that is all over Istanbul.
      Yes I definitely need to stop for a while and not get sidetracked by something else I could do.

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