Eric created his own company 12 years ago, as a translator working from English and Italian into French. When he was chosen as the main editor and translator for the French version of an online art magazine, he realized that this part-time job was the perfect opportunity to leave France and start a Digital Nomad lifestyle. With his wife, who is a freelance photographer, they chose to take their two girls to the sunny city of Buzios in Brazil!
What’s a “typical” day for you as a Digital Nomad?
One of the main reasons I chose to work as a freelancer was to be free of a regular work schedule and to be able to spend more time with my daughters.
So I usually started my day early, when they were sleeping. I spent about an hour answering emails and handling the administrative/financial aspect of my business. Then, I worked until my daughters woke up, usually between 9 and 10 am.
I worked again later in the afternoon when they were going to school (from 1 to 5 pm). We thought this arrangement would be better for us, in order to be sure to have some time for work, and for them, to have some stability.
What are the main drawbacks of a Digital Nomad life?
An Internet connection can be a real problem, especially in Brazil. For starters, where we lived, we only received an Internet connection through a radio signal! So it wasn’t reliable at all, and that could be very frustrating.
One day, we experienced a total blackout. My laptop battery was completely drained. At first, I was just waiting for the power to come back then I was told that the electrical pole had fallen over. I went to a friend’s place in the city center to get power, but I discovered that no one in the entire town had a signal. I had to drive half an hour to the next town where I tried 3 or 4 places before finding a place with free Wi-Fi. When I was finally able to contact my client, he told me I lost the project since I didn’t give any news for the whole day!
What are the most important things you’ve learned as a Digital Nomad?
Going back to the last question, an Internet connection is fundamental: check all the possible ways to get a connection and choose more than one if you can (landline and mobile, for example).
Then, make sure to have a quiet place to work. When you’re sitting in front of your computer, you need to be able to work: you need quality time more than quantity. You’ll handle way more things if you’re not disturbed!
Communication is key (as always): it’s important to build a strong relationship with the Project Managers or clients you’re working with. You might not be able to always answer their emails right away, but they need to know you’re there, checking your messages on a regular basis.
What would be your advice to a young Digital Nomad?
Since you need money in order to be able to travel and/or live abroad, you need to be sure that you’ll have a steady workflow or a solid network of clients so that you will never be short on work. And avoid only having one contract, even if it’s a big one. These days, especially in our Internet age, your contract could quickly end, landing you in trouble. Be realistic!
Eric and his family are now settled in the south of France, and they are already thinking about where to go next!