When did you decide to work online?

Work where and when you want : Life as digital nomads

Marcus Meurer broke up. He quit his job, sublet his apartment and set off. Out into the world. Meurer and his girlfriend Felicia Hargarten always live wherever they like. Sometimes in Berlin, sometimes Myanmar, sometimes Mexico. The two are digital nomads. This is the name of all those who work from anywhere. Those who no longer want to commit themselves: to an employer, a place of residence, a fixed daily rhythm.

Meurer lived a life like millions of other German employees for ten years. Every day he went to the office, had fixed working hours and took vacation that he had to announce weeks in advance. He quickly made a career as a marketing manager. But he wasn't satisfied. “The responsibility increased with every promotion,” says the 36-year-old, “but the quality of life has continued to decline.” At the beginning of his career, he was still proud of the many overtime he worked. “At some point that just annoyed me. I felt like I was trapped in a hamster wheel. "

His girlfriend felt the same way. At the beginning of 2013, the two took a break. They wanted to go on a world tour for six months and then reorient themselves professionally. They flew to Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. To keep their friends and family up to date, they set up a blog on the net. They reported on their trips and uploaded photos. It was on a rainy day in the Philippines that they came up with the idea of ​​doing blogging more professionally. The hobby became a job and travel became a way of life.

They earn money through sponsorship

Today the two are self-employed. Among other things, they earn money through advertising on their blog. For example, they recommend their readers a credit card from a bank that they use themselves. If one of their readers orders the card, they receive a commission. Airlines sponsor their flights and mention them by name in their blog posts. In addition, the two companies advise on online marketing and build websites for start-ups and freelancers.

Like Meurer and Hargarten, more and more young people are living as digital nomads. They are modern migrant workers. Instead of moving to the place where they find work, they work where they want to be: on a beach in Central America, in a café in Berlin-Kreuzberg or a coworking office in Bangkok. All you need is a laptop, smartphone and an internet connection. 200 digital nomads came together this weekend in Berlin to share their experiences at the DNX conference. Meurer and Hargarten organized it. The tickets for the event were sold out within three days.

A company scans his mail for him

The majority of the digital nomads are bloggers, and many work in online marketing. But even with a job far away from the internet, you can work anywhere, says Tim Chimoy. He is a trained architect. And for him, too, life as a permanent employee is nothing. “I don't want to have to give my personality to reception in the morning,” he says. As a service provider, the 33-year-old now produces construction drawings and 3-D models. He only does part of the work himself; freelance workers do a lot. He has organized his business in such a way that he can run it from anywhere. He usually spends the summer in Berlin, the winter in Asia, preferably in Vietnam. When he is on the road, his mail is forwarded to the Dropscan company, which scans his letters and e-mails them to him. He has invoices sent via an online service provider. If he cannot be reached by phone, a secretariat answers.

However, Chimoy warns against imagining life as a digital nomad too easily. It is reckless to simply set off and bet that business is already up and running. He knows that from experience. “I had a pretty long dry spell at the beginning,” he says. After quitting his permanent job as a project manager in the construction industry two and a half years ago, he immediately got on the next plane to Asia. He wouldn't do that again. “You should first build up your business and then move on,” he says. He has also found that he can only concentrate on his work if he's in one place for a little longer. A different dream beach every three days - that is unrealistic. Today Chimoy rents an apartment in Buenos Aires for a few months, then works for a few weeks in Berlin and then retires to a mountain hut in the Alps for two months.

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