Never Normal Newsletter

“I live a lot better here than I did in the U.S.”

CNBC’s MakeIt profiled Jesse Schoberg, an American digital nomad living in Bangkok these days. As the CEO of a small tech startup, Jesse earns about $230,000 per year.

With that much income, he could afford to live well just about anywhere in the world, but Jesse chooses to live in Bangkok, because he enjoys the quality of life there.

Makes sense to me. Bangkok is one of my favorite cities in the world.

But some nomads were practically apoplectic at the fact that Jesse spends about $8,000 / month living very well in Bangkok, a city where he could live for a lot less.

This sparked quite a Twitter debate. Pieter Levels hilariously proclaimed “The nomad class wars: Bitter lowmads vs High class promads” 😅

A similar reaction happened in one of my Facebook groups for Digital Nomads a few days earlier, when Peter Fabor shared a link to this luxurious apartment designed specifically for remote work.

Once again, the commenters were flipping out – how dare they charge that much money, when there are much cheaper apartments available in the same area!?!

But who cares what a bunch of random people on the internet think?

The reason I mention all of this is because there is still a common misconception out there that being a digital nomad means “living as cheaply as possible.”

It’s a vestigial value owing to our backpacker DNA. Before it was possible to earn money working online, the way to travel the world was to save up before you left, and then spend as little as possible while you went, so that you could keep going for as long as possible.

But we don’t live in those times any more.

Now there are plenty of people like Jesse who can earn a quarter-million per year, while hopping between Latin America and Southeast Asia.

The question is not, “where can I live for the least amount of money” it’s, “where can I get the best quality of life for my money”.

Most people still haven’t figured this out yet. Even within the nomad community (evidence: coworking spaces that have the cheapest Ikea chairs).

That means that there are still plenty of opportunities for ambitious entrepreneurs to start businesses catering to the fast growing, “want to travel, need to work, willing to spend” segment.

That’s all for this week!

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I write occasional emails to share what I’m thinking, learning, and doing. It’s all related to the idea of breaking free from the “default plan” in life.

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