‘I’m a digital nomad … I prefer to live for the moment’ | Money

I live as a digital nomad, flitting from one country to the next. I like to explore new places in different parts of the world whenever I want. In the past year alone I’ve visited 30 countries – this included a two-month stint in Thailand, three months in the US for business and pleasure, and a month at a retreat in the south of France to do some brainstorming and clear my head.

Trips in the next month include a work meeting in Germany, a project in the Middle East and Ghana in between. I do realise I’m fortunate – I have a huge amount of freedom compared with my mum and dad who were born in the 1950s when travel mobility was so different.

I run my own marketing company and sometimes combine my trips with work. When I do travel, I usually pay for Airbnbs which can be costly but sometimes the host might say “you’re our friend now – next time you can come back and stay for free”. I also try CouchSurfing – it has a really bad reputation but I’ve been pleasantly surprised as people show you around their home towns and share their culture with you.

Outside of business expenses, I probably spend an average of £500 to £600 of my own money on flights and accommodation every month.

I do have a hub in London as that’s where my business and my contacts are based. For the past four years I’ve lived with a family in Lewisham who rent out rooms in their house. They’re like my extended family. Sometimes we sit around the dining table debating politics or we go out for meals. It costs me £40 a night and I can leave my clothes and other things there. They’re flexible and it works for everyone.

I don’t spend anything on grocery shopping. I can cook but I like going out and having meals with people. I view it as my social time as I work a lot. I probably spend £100 a week on food. I eat at places like Pret and Nando’s but I’m open to different types of food and like to eat international dishes such as Lebanese or Japanese.

I spend a lot of money on travelling around, especially if I’m out for the night. I’m quite lazy and use Ubers or minicabs such as Addison Lee. I probably spend £150 to £200 a month on taxis.

I don’t have any savings. I prefer to live for the moment. My mum and dad say to me “you’ve got to save”, and I will start but I’m just trying to enjoy the lifestyle I have at the moment as I might settle down in a few years or so. I do think about buying a property and saving, but I know this lifestyle isn’t going to last forever.

I started my business, a social enterprise marketing agency that runs campaigns aimed at young people, when I was 18. My first taste of entrepreneurship happened when I was 14 and my school ran a competition where pupils were given £10 each and told to make as much money as possible.

I set up a little IT business giving tech support to teachers in the school. My brothers got involved and we made a few thousand in the year and won the competition. My business is heavily involved in social causes such as leading a youth campaign to try to force a People’s Vote on the Brexit referendum.

I’ve visited 30 countries speaking to schools and colleges to try and educate young people that it’s possible to earn your money on your own terms rather than have a traditional type of job. This is important as the education system is not keeping up with the skills and demands of the job market, so young people need to take direct action themselves.

In the future I’m pretty certain that I will be based abroad. The UK is very stressful, there’s a feeling of pessimism right now, and there’s also uncertainty following Brexit. A lot of my fellow company owners are starting to organise back-up plans. I might move to the south of France. The lifestyle is more laid back, people are friendlier, and it means you can focus on getting your work done and live a more balanced life.

As told to Suzanne Bearne

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