After leaving his 9-5 job as a hard working product manager in Los Angeles, Charles Du began traveling the world, enjoying the scenery and earning his income as a “digital nomad.”
Du, who now works anywhere his adventures take him, is helping others who want to tread the same path.
While the lifestyle that the 32-year-old is enjoying now was not easily perfected, he was able to discover what worked for him by going out there and actually just doing it.
“The first experiment failed,” Du told the Business Insider. “I joined a surf camp in Costa Rica and did all this adventurous stuff in Colombia. I did a lot of playing but didn’t get a lot of work done.”
He found more success after he joined a co-working program called “Remote Year” while in Chile.
“Being surrounded by a community of people working helped him be more productive,” he was quoted as saying. He added that it has allowed him to take a longer trip.
Remote Year, which invites 75 professionals to work in 12 countries around the world, has allowed Du to live his nomadic lifestyle while still being productive.
“I felt like I was plateauing,” Du said. “But when I travel, I have these growth spurts. I wanted to travel for long periods in a sustainable way, and the answer was to create my own online business.”
Du stays on top of his duties and in touch with his clients with the help of video chatting, messaging and a myriad of digital office tools.
“I’ve always been an early adopter,” he said. “These tools help me communicate in ways there weren’t possible just a few years ago.”
Members of Remote Year move together to a new city every month. The program provides accommodation and workspace but it is still up to the members to create their work routines.
Du has chosen to keep the same work schedule regardless where the group goes. He prefers to wake up at dawn, make his breakfast, meditate and begin working. He would nap shortly after lunch and then work again.
“One of the coolest things about Remote Year is getting to meet interesting people who think differently,” he shared. “Within 48 hours, I went from a stranger to a friend to a wedding guest.”
Du admitted however that being away from his friends and relatives for the entire year can be lonely at times.
To lessen his homesickness, he makes an effort to regularly call his parents and posts his travel schedule so traveling friends can meet with him on the road.
He said he plans to continue his journey even after the program ends.
Du now offers career coaching and in-person workshops via his online video courses to better equip others to get their dream jobs. Through Product Charles, he shares his experience and knowledge for aspiring product managers while using Nomad Charles for those who prefer to work remotely.
“I think we’re going to see more people who want to become digital nomads,” Du explained. “Many people’s careers are evolving into location-independent roles.”