Ever thought of working around the world? Picking up your bags and going from one city to another seems like a dream job, or something you’d see in the movies. However, of thousands of people in the tech sector, it’s just a way of live.
Aptly termed ‘digital nomads’, these individuals usually contribute their services (which tend to be in the field of programming/IT) to startups for a few months, working on specific projects before hitting the road again for the next step in their never-ending journey.
Anton Podviaznikov is a digital nomad himself. Having worked across Europe and the Americas, he’s seen his share of innovative startups, and has a few interesting stories to tell as well. We caught up with him to find out more about this unique, but ever more common lifestyle, his experiences, and plans for the future.
– What led you to become a digital nomad? Was it spontaneous, or did you have a plan to start traveling the world?
“It was mostly by accident. I had a full-time job and didn’t know it was possible to have such a lifestyle. Then I joined a startup called CircuitHub and our founder wanted to build a distributed team with retreats together 1-2 times per year. I didn’t have a permanent place to live at the time, so I started travelling”.
– What are some of the main challenges someone who chooses a professional lifestyle like this might encounter?
“I guess the challenges depend on your personality and are highly individual. One thing which might be difficult in the beginning is to figure out what style of travelling works for you: e.x. how often can you change cities and feel comfortable, how many things do you need to have with you etc. Also, visa issues might be annoying, but this depends on your citizenship”.
– So far, which countries have you worked in?
“In chronological order: Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, Argentina, Turkey, Macedonia”.
– Having practiced your trade around the world, you’ve probably seen a wide range of approaches to startup success. Does Silicon Valley really differ that much from the rest of the world? If so, how?
“Hmm, if I give you the answer for this question it would be some kind of generalization and I want to avoid such statements. What I want to say is that you can find smart, creative, diverse people all over the world. I want to believe that good things can be build anywhere”.
– Where did you have the most fun, and which project was the most exciting for you?
“I really like Ecuador. It’s a little-known gem. It’s my go-to recommendation because it may surprise all types of travellers. I did like working on CircuitHub.com, it has a great mission and nice team. What you do matters and also people you are working with matter a lot”.
– Would you recommend aspiring developers, and other professionals to follow your lead and try the ‘nomad’ life?
“I’d recommend following your heart and not my lead:) Try different things and find those that make you feel good. There are multiple scenarios to your life and only you can pick the best one. Experiment and don’t be afraid!”
– How about now? Working on anything new? Where can our readers find you?
“Right now I’m living in San Francisco working for a company called Runnable. If you’re in the city please do send me a message. I like to meet people from around the world”.