Where are you from?
I have a Malaysian passport. But I prefer to define myself as a global citizen.
What do you do?
SEO & Growth Manager at Zapier. For fun, I travel the world!
How are you nomadic?
Before Zapier, I was working for Monster.com in an office environment. I took 2-weeks off to travel Europe with Contiki and that trip totally changed my world view and what I wanted to do in life. So when I got the chance to work 100% remotely with Zapier, I immediately jumped on the chance to travel the world.
It took a few weeks of research and planning to look for the right travel program. Then a colleague at Zapier introduced me to Hacker Paradise. I flew from Malaysia to Peru to join them for almost a month in April. Then in May, I flew to Barcelona to join another travel program, We Roam. And now with We Roam, I’m moving to different cities and countries every month across Europe. And as of writing this, it’s my final week in Berlin and about to head for Split, Croatia.
So now I am traveling the world, what else? Fun fact, I’m doing it with only a backpack and no other carry-on or checked luggage!
What’s your favorite part of being a nomad?
Learning new cultures and meeting cool people from all over the world. You get the first-hand experience of learning what they do and how they think. It’s way better than reading about it from a textbook or the internet. You see people, real people face to face and share knowledge with each other. Opening up your mind to the entire world out there and living in the present.
Meeting new people is now so easy. With Meetup and Eventbrite, you can always find something of interest nearby. I recently had a chance to volunteer at TEDxBerlin. If I wasn’t a nomad, I would’ve never got the chance to do that meet some cool and talented people.
Moving around to different cities allows me to redefine myself. Starting from scratch at each new location. Exploring options. Trying new things. Taking risks that I wouldn’t do if I was back home in my comfort zone. I allow myself to fail and learn to adapt to new situations. At each new place, I learn everything I can about them so I can decide if want to come back on my own sometime in the future.
It’s also a great conversation starter. People are always intrigued by the concept of the nomadic lifestyle. I’m always happy to share with them my thoughts and experiences
It’s amazing how technology allows people to a have full-time job while traveling. Yes, it’s fun traveling all around the world, but it’s not all fun and games, you need a job to be able to support it! I appreciate being able to move around and going wherever and whenever I want to. Free from the confines of mundane regularity. Now that is the ultimate freedom.
What’s your least favorite part?
Some would say the not so fun part about traveling is taking economy flights but I actually enjoy flying (even if it’s in coach!). The least favorite part for me is resetting my mind when moving to a new city. This is why I joined travel programs such as Hacker Paradise and We Roam. They help reduce that stress a lot. Everything from logistics, accommodation to co-working spaces are all taken care of.
Laundry is something I have a love-hate relationship with. I like having to travel with only a backpack and nothing else. But that also means that I have to plan for laundry every few days. Making sure either the apartment has a washer and dryer or scouting for a laundromat nearby. I have done the wash in sink method, but only as a last resort.
Also, the getting used to new languages. I don’t speak Spanish that well but I seem to default to it whenever I someone speaks to me in Czech or German. It’s a total mindfuck. Partly because I was in Spanish speaking cities for almost two-months (Lima & Barcelona). It’s funny, but still very much stressful.
What’s your craziest story?
I’m not usually the crazy person in the group as I tend to overthink and have backup plans for every situation. Also, some of the craziest stories are best left untold.
Though I did almost die. I was hiking up to Machu Picchu with slip-on shoes. That was a mistake. On the return trek from the Inca Bridge, I slipped and fell. I managed to grab on something preventing a 1,900-foot plunge to death. It hurt like hell but luckily not a scratch on me. Pro tip, make sure to have proper hiking boots when going on a hike!
What’s next for you?
For fun, more traveling of course! I have a pretty hectic schedule ahead of me. Moving to different continents while flying over the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean several times. Next year I’d like to travel more independently or with a smaller group of people. I’ve now gained enough friends all over the world that I believe I’ll be able to rally a few of them to go on a world adventure with me.