Digital Nomad

Your Unsettled is My Settled

I was coming down the steps of the Merchant Hotel, a five star hotel in the Cathedral Quarter of Belfast and a great spot for a Bramble (gin cocktail), when I ran into an old friend. “Och well” he said, “where are you living now?”. He was doing great in his career with a nice house and a husband and here was I appearing to float around between cities and countries and sounding unfixed, unsettled.

Don’t get me wrong, I tried a settled existence. I bought a house that I kept for 10 years, although I didn’t stay in it too much, except during Covid. When I was a corporate worker bee, I could explain staying in a city like London, Dublin or Brighton for six months or a year, because those were the lengths of typical contracts. Even then, I needed travel kicks on long weekends or in between work gigs when I could get away for a few weeks. Travel is my life’s oxygen.

Travel is my life’s oxygen.

It wasn’t until I went to a gathering of travel writers that something fell into place; that starts to describe my wanderlust. I can’t be sure who said it, or their gender, but they said something like “your unsettled is my settled”. That phrase had become their stock response to friends or family who seemed pissed off that they were still not settled down.

…a thread of inner stillness runs through the constancy of my movement…

Perhaps travel writing, travel photography and travel film-making find us. We see beauty in difference, we capture an angle, we share the flavour, tingle your senses. We burn to share our curiosity, my nosiness about the world, watching people take coffee on the Rive Gauche, the smell of ozone when hiking the Snæfellsnes, in the tilt of the language of my homeland of Ireland. For lots of people, maybe even most people, their sense of home is fulfilled by the stillness of a settled location. But for me, a thread of inner stillness runs through the constancy of my movement, of travel.

I hadn’t thought that this was a thing, a passion that could be named… and, actually, if I’m being hard on myself, I might have developed an idea that desiring full-time travel was problematic. A wise therapist told me that a behaviour isn’t problematic unless it is problematic. And, I came to know that, for me at least, travel is unproblematic.

Life as a Digital Nomad

I had heard the term ‘digital nomad’ somewhere. I associated it with Instagrammers kickstarting a modelling career in Dubai (lol, now I’m all about the ‘Gram). But my attitude was lazy and I sharpened it. I like this definition:

Decoupling Corporate & Location

It turns out that I AM a Digital Nomad.

When I was Mr Corporate, the Job was intertwined with the Location, being present in the client’s office. Hence contract terms spent in Dublin, London and elsewhere (side eyes 🙄 at you, Worthing).

Now I’ve decoupled Corporate & Location. In 2021, I started to travel full-time and in 2022, I sold my house once and for all. I’ve not bought a new one. I write and edit Planet Patrick, run a bunch of social media accounts and photograph and make travel videos for YouTube. I dip back into the corporate world as a consultant, but I am now driving the location where I choose to live and selling my skillset as a portable service to industry.

Articles in this Section

In this section of Planet Patrick, you’ll find any article that relates to my experience as a Digital Nomad. Yes, I have burned out doing full-time travel. I’m also a huge advocate for following this as your path as a way to get off the treadmill and live your life differently. Plus you’ll find Gear Recommendations (and Fails), accounts of major cities as Digital Nomad Hubs and insight into meet-ups, office spaces and long-term rentals.

DIGITAL NOMAD ARTICLES