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Never Normal Newsletter

What should we call ourselves? (and leaving America)

I’ve noticed over the last few years that, as the term “digital nomad” has become more common, so has the resistance to being labeled as a digital nomad.

I still use the term, because I don’t think there’s a better, more succinct way to describe the same idea. But I do worry that it can give the wrong impression.

People hear “digital nomad” and they imagine a 22 year old strapping on a backpack and hopping to a new country every few weeks.

But you don’t have to be 22 years old to travel the world or move to a new country. And although traveling constantly can be fun for a while, most digital nomads I know tend to slow down at some point and spend more time in each place.

Slowmad Life

Steve Tsentserensky is a perfect example. He was recently profiled by CNBC’s Make It:

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Never Normal Newsletter

Digital Nomad Getting Started Guide

In my last email, I shared five reasons to become a digital nomad in 2022.

This week I want to share my Digital Nomad Getting Started Guide with you, plus a nice surprise I just received on Twitter (at the end of the email).

The digital nomad guide is available on my website now (totally free). Here are a few of the most popular sections:

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Never Normal Newsletter

Home-as-a-Service? Living in Airbnb vs Buying a House for 1 Euro

Airbnb co-founder and CEO, Brian Chesky, tweeted: “Starting today, I’m living on Airbnb. I’ll be staying in a different town or city every couple weeks.”

As longtime readers know, this is something that I started doing in 2012. Since then, I’ve lived in Airbnbs (as well as other short-term rental apartments and the occasional hotel room) in hundreds of cities across 50 countries.

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Never Normal Newsletter

Should you spend time finding yourself? Is travel a “success killer”?

Last week I wrote about what it’s like to become a digital nomad these days and shared a few recent podcast interviews.

This week I planned to write about Web3 and some of the interesting projects I’ve come across recently, but then my little corner of the internet blew up a few days ago, thanks to this tweet:

Needless to say, I couldn’t disagree more (I finally understand what the phrase “triggered” means). I feel so strongly, that I decided to make this the topic of this week’s Never Normal newsletter instead.

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Never Normal Newsletter

Become a Digital Nomad, Pursue your Dreams, and Connect with More People

Last week I wrote about the self-tenured class, the pursuit of wealth, and working on what you love.

This week I’ve got a three new podcast interviews related to becoming a digital nomad and launching new ventures to share with you (plus a crazy love story).

What’s it like becoming a digital nomad these days?

In the past, one of the biggest challenges of becoming a digital nomad was finding a way to make money without being tied to a single location.

Now, since the pandemic hit and remote work has become much more common, there are new challenges and opportunities for those who want to go nomadic.

But at least one thing remains the same…

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Never Normal Podcast

Becoming a Digital Nomad with Justin Gary (Episode 017)

What is it like becoming a digital nomad these days?

Over the past year, Justin Gary ditched his office, moved out of his apartment, and got rid of his car to become a digital nomad. Now Justin runs his businesses while traveling and living around the world. 

Justin Gary is an award-winning game designer and entrepreneur.

He started his career in gaming at the age of seventeen when he won the Magic: The Gathering US National Championships. Justin then escaped from NYU Law School to pursue his dream of becoming a professional game designer (we discussed Justin’s journey in a previous interview on Never Normal).

He’s since made games for global brands including Marvel, DC, World of Warcraft, and Bakugan. In 2010, Justin founded his own publishing company, Stone Blade Entertainment and released the hit deck-building game, Ascension. 

 Justin has also taught creativity principles at the Wharton School of Business and to companies including Twitter, Zillow, and Google.

Earlier this year, Justin and I launched Quality Questions together, where we collect and send questions that help you apply the key lessons from self improvement books and lectures to your own life. 

Justin’s latest project is the Level Up habit journal

In this episode we talk about:

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Essays Never Normal Newsletter

Let’s Meme the World a Better Place

The world has changed, and we have a choice to make:

Should we focus on the bits or the atoms?

I’ll do my best to explain what that means and how it ties together my nomadic lifestyle, the metaverse, crypto, cows, and a radical plan to buy the constitution.

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Never Normal Podcast

Creating Community Wherever You Go with Digital Nomad Alex Salinsky (Episode 011)

By day Alex is a fractional COO who helps technology companies grow quickly without falling apart.

By night he’s a “curator of people” who builds communities wherever he goes around the world, from impromptu 14-person dinners at conferences to a pop-up co-living space in Colombia.

In this episode we discuss:

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Never Normal Podcast

Niall Doherty is a Man on a Mission (Episode 006)

Niall Doherty left his last office job in 2011 and set off on a mission to travel the world while making money online. Since then he’s been to over 50 countries, written a couple of books, and started several businesses. His website, eBizFacts is the best place to find information, reviews, and a much more to about making money online.

In This Episode We Talk About:

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Never Normal Podcast

Valerie Perry Gets Paid to Be on Vacation (Episode 002)

My guest for this episode is Valerie Perry. Valerie has made a career out of exciting jobs that made it possible for her to travel and see the world. Valerie is currently a Cruise & Travel Director with the Holland America Line. Previously she worked for National Geographic and before that she spent four years at sea with Royal Caribbean. Valerie’s mission is to inspire people to live larger, more passionate and adventurous lives than they ever dreamed possible.

In this episode we talk about:

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Digital Nomad Guide

How to Find and Book the Perfect Airbnb Apartment as a Digital Nomad

As a digital nomad, you will generally have a much better experience if you stay in a private apartment or house, rather than a hotel, guesthouse, or hostel.

One of the major benefits of renting a private apartment is that, unlike hotels, apartments tend to be spread throughout the city, not all clustered in one or two main tourist areas.

This gives you a much better opportunity to experience the place you are visiting as a local, instead of as an outsider.

As a bonus, there’s a good chance that your apartment will be hosted/managed by a local who can give you a head start on finding the best places in the neighborhood.

Apartments typically have more space than even high-end hotel suites, and apartments almost always come with kitchens. Even if you are not planning to do any serious cooking, it’s nice to have space to prepare coffee, tea, breakfasts, and simple snacks.

I recommend using Airbnb for booking apartments. There are plenty of alternatives, but I like using Airbnb for the following reasons:

  • you can use the same website anywhere in the world
  • the cancellation and other policies are clearly spelled out, and
  • most important – you can read real reviews from other travelers and communicate with the host before you book.

Here’s the exact process that I have used to book hundreds of nights in Airbnbs all over the world since 2011:

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Essays

Eating My Way Across Uzbekistan – Part 1

My first morning in Uzbekistan, and I’m exhausted. The journey here has taken days. I only fell asleep a few hours ago, but the morning sun is already burning through our hotel room windows.  Unable to sleep any longer, I decided to go for a walk.

Most of the city is still asleep, save for a few birds and the odd policeman. I wandered through the old covered bazaars and caravanserai, past the mosques and medressas that will be packed with tourists in a few hours, and started down one of Bukhara’s dusty back streets.