The life of a digital nomad: Is it for you?

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Meet the people who were brave enough to ditch their dreary jobs to travel the world. (Shutterstock)
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Andrew Miller is currently based in Zanzibar, Tanzania.
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Joan Torres now lives in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
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Kate Smith is enjoying her time in Bali, Indonesia.
Updated 12 November 2017
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The life of a digital nomad: Is it for you?

DAMMAM: Traveling to exotic locations around the world without having to worry about running out of vacation days or how you will pay the bills is a dream that many of us may want to live out.
However, this nomadic lifestyle is a reality for some brave individuals, including some who previously lived in Dubai, who are choosing to live as digital nomads.
A digital nomad is a person who works remotely, via technology, and is not tied to a physical location. This could mean retaining the same job, but without the restrictions of an office or it could even mean changing career altogether.
Kate Smith, a former project manager at an advertising agency in Canada, left her dreary nine-to-five cubicle job to pursue the nomadic lifestyle and has not looked back since.
Long working hours and the daily grind had started to take a physical and mental toll on Smith. Ultimately, she desired flexibility and the ability to travel more. Ever since she quit her job and booked a one-way ticket to Prague in 2015, Smith has traveled to more than 23 countries and has lived in 12 countries over a span of two years. This month, she has chosen Bali as her home and office.
Smith employed the services of a US-based company called “Remote Year,” which offers a year-long travel experience. According to the company’s website, 75 like-minded professionals with remote jobs work around the world for a year, spending each month in a new country. They pay for each month and services include travel between countries, a private bedroom, access to a co-working space, Wi-Fi and professional, cultural or social experiences in the country.
During her time with Remote Year, Kate identified a gap in the program — only people who had a remote job were eligible to apply. She then started “WiFly Nomads,” which enables a digital lifestyle by providing the necessary facilities and services, including a SIM card, accommodation, co-working space, high-speed Internet, workshops on how to remain productive while traveling, excursions in the new country and even assistance with finding a remote job or starting your own remote business.
Several Dubai-based professionals have also left their fast-paced, stressful corporate jobs to pursue the digital nomad lifestyle. After working for three years in the marketing department of an international FMCG company, Joan Torres decided he had had enough of the 14-hour work days. Even five weeks of annual vacation could not make up for stress at the workplace and he regretted not dedicating enough time to travel. Andrew Miller, who worked in the Dubai tech industry for five years was tired of paying rent in expensive cities. Later, his company was acquired, which left him with no job.
These days, Miller works as a remote marketing consultant, assisting early-stage start-ups with launch, strategy, content creation, social media and blogging. He is currently in the Czech Republic and will then fly off to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
“Travel helps me learn about cultures and new languages. In the past few years of traveling, I have learnt Spanish and gotten pretty good at Arabic, Hindi/Urdu, French, Italian, Russian, and Yoruba,” Miller told Arab News.
Torres took a different path and combined his passions — photography and writing — to start a travel blog called “Against the Compass,” writing about off-the-beaten-path destinations. He currently lives and writes in Uzbekistan and is enjoying his newfound freedom.
As many professions take to the Internet and four-walled offices become a thing of the past, many people are trading in the stability and structure of a full-time corporate job for the digital nomad lifestyle. Such a lifestyle provides flexibility, greater ownership of work, personal development, a wealth of travel experiences, social and cultural awareness and, most importantly, a sense of belonging to a global community.
As Greg Caplan, founder and CEO of Remote Year, says: “At the core of the remote revolution is the potential to be a better global citizen and move through the world with purpose, cultural sensitivity and awareness.”
Torres says the digital nomad lifestyle has helped him go “beyond all the general misconceptions (of a country) and understand the world better.”
For Kate, the experience has expanded her horizons and perspective.
“I’ve met a diverse group of lawyers, entrepreneurs and bloggers and they can all teach you something. It gives you a better understanding of the world as a whole. You learn to appreciate what you have back home, but also appreciate where you are at the same time.”
So, will you ditch the nine-to-five grind and go digital?


High praise for weed bust: Facebook leads Myanmar police to marijuana-growing Americans

Updated 25 April 2019
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High praise for weed bust: Facebook leads Myanmar police to marijuana-growing Americans

  • Police raided the 20-acre site in Ngunzun township Monday to find nearly 350,000 marijuana plants
  • Seizures of heroin, pills and crystal meth by authorities are more common in Myanmar

YANGON: Myanmar police have arrested one American and two locals after photos on Facebook led them to a huge plantation of towering marijuana plants near Mandalay.
Pictures of the fields of weed started circulating on the platform last week — a rare sight online in a country where police photos of seized heroin and methamphetamine are far more common.
Police raided the 20-acre site in Ngunzun township Monday to find nearly 350,000 marijuana plants — some up to two meters tall — 380 kilograms of seeds and 270 kilograms of marijuana, the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control (CCDAC) announced Wednesday.
A released photo showed arrested US citizen John Fredric Todoroki, 63, standing alongside Myanmar nationals Shein Latt, 37, and Ma Shun Le Myat Noe, 23.
Another man, 49-year-old Alexander Skemp Todoroki, is still “at large,” the CCDAC said.
Police confirmed he is also American.
The detainees have been charged under the Anti-Narcotics Drug and Psychotropic Substances Law, though it remains unclear what penalties they will face if found guilty.
“We didn’t know this (marijuana plantation) existed,” one local police officer said, asking not to be named.
“We only found out when we were tipped off about it.”
Seizures of heroin, pills and crystal meth by authorities are more common in Myanmar, where weak rule of law and conflict-riddled border areas allow for the industrial-scale production of harder drugs.
Reaction on Facebook was swift, with some offering high praise for the arrests.
Others questioned how the pot growers had been able to get away with it for so long.
“How could the plants have grown so big without you allowing it?” Facebook user Kg Zoe Law commented at the police.
But not everyone’s nose was put out of joint by the agronomists’ antics.
“Let me know where it’ll be burned so I can get in position,” San Yu Ko Ko pleaded.