In the midst of the crowd as you take a touristy walk around the city, you may notice someone with a heavy rucksack, curiously gazing eyes and a thirst to explore something new, a place or an idea that may not even be located on the map. A strange land triggers anxiety, which demands to be conquered and consequently procreates an amazing transition from moving around to be able to take root in a new place with like-minded people.
This is exactly what we at Tripoto could figure out after interacting with James Clark, a digital entrepreneur from the land down under, who is in a perpetual relationship with wanderlust.
1. Hi James. Please introduce yourself and tell us more about your travels?
My name is James Clark and I am from Melbourne Australia, though these days I live abroad full time. I’m a digital nomad with no fixed address and I’ve been running a web design and travel publishing business for over eleven years. I blog about my travels at Nomadic Notes and I run a resource for digital nomads in Asia.
2. Tell us about your travel beginnings. Your first breakaway trip.
My first trip outside of Australia was in 1995 to Hawaii. I immediately contracted the travel bug and I was already planning my next trip upon returning home. I returned to the USA the following year and when I figured out that 4 weeks of holiday a year was not enough I got a working holiday visa for the UK so I could at least live abroad while I was working.
3. What ignited your curiosity to sell everything and start traveling?
It wasn’t so much an ignition, it was more of a gradual shift. After the working holiday visa in the UK I came back to Australia for a year, and then got a one year working holiday visa in Ireland. After that I returned to Australia and by then I was working for myself so I could work and travel at the same time. I would travel for half the year and return to Melbourne. Each time my trips got a little longer to the point that I figured that I may as well go full time. I was living in a share house so I didn’t have any furniture or a car to sell so it wasn’t a big transition.
4. You have been on the road for more than ten years. How has traveling transformed your life and its ideology?
I suspect that it has ruined me to ever be able to stay in one place for longer than a year. I return to Australia once a year and I can’t see myself taking out a long term lease to stay there in the immediate future. That may change, of course, but for now I prefer the life of being able to live in the big cities of Asia. How I travel has changed over the years as well. Originally I travelled a bit faster so as to see as many sites as possible. Now it is more about staying in one place for an extended period of time and making connections with people with allied business interests and life goals.
5. ”He travels fastest who travels alone.” How easy or difficult was it to venture out into the world as a solo traveler?
Solo travel has always been my preferred way of travel. It just works out easier as I tend to go on long trips with unusual itineraries (for example attending a conference and then visiting a friend somewhere else). It’s easy enough to meet up with people along the way so it’s not like I am alone for weeks on end.
6. You’re a location independent entrepreneur and a tech savvy maverick. Doesn’t it get lonely even with all the gadgets to succumb to?
Even though I travel solo I rarely get lonely. I always try and plan a meet up with someone where ever I go. That could be a person I know from a forum, another travel friend, or someone I met on couchsurfing or similar community. When I get to the big cities I get to the point where I need time out to be alone as I get caught up in so many meet ups. If I was to get lonely or be in a place that doesn’t resonate with me I can always leave.
7. According to your blogs, travel guides go out-of-date quickly. Which one are you using currently?
I use a mix of guide books, blog posts, wikitravel, and niche destination travel guides.
8. What would your advice be for the many travel bloggers just starting out? Three must-dos for a successful travel blog?
- Be yourself/find your own voice.
- Pick a niche or something specific that you focus on and become known for.
- Interact with your readers, whether by social media, comments, or email.
9. As a traveler, what is the biggest challenge you have faced on the road?
For me it is the challenge of the work and travel balance. The more I move around the less productive I am, so I have slowed my travel down to be able to accommodate work and avoid travel burnout.
10. You have mentioned in your blogs that you are a coffee lover. How do you like your coffees? And where did you have your favorite cup?
I usually go with cafe lattes, but any espresso based coffee is good. The exception being in Vietnam, where I enjoy the Vietnamese iced coffee; drip filtered coffee with sweetened condensed milk on ice. Far too many places that could take the title for favourite cup, but one place that comes to mind is this cafe above the water in El Nido in the Philippines.
11. Any advice for people who want to live a life of a ‘digital entrepreneur’?
I would say to try it out before committing full time. The good thing about being a “digital entrepreneur” is the low barrier to entry. If you wanted to start a “bricks and mortar” business, say for example opening a cafe, you will need to risk 10’s of thousands on your project. To be a digital entrepreneur you can work on your business or skill set while you are still working. Try out the digital nomad lifestyle by taking a short work trip and see if it is for you.