A day in the life of a digital nomad

Sponsored by Holiday Inn

By Kimberly Gillan

The thought of working from a remote Mexican beach, a chic Parisian café or a grungy New York bar is enough to make the most ambitious of us quit the commute and jet off.

But what is daily life really like for a digital nomad? We asked two remote workers how they manage to travel and work full time, and their tips for anyone wishing to follow suit.

As a digital nomad, the world is your office.
As a digital nomad, the world is your office.Credit: Holiday Inn

Adventure bookends the workday

While one would expect that travelling might cut into some of the exploration time, Aaron McDowell, 34, has found that waking up in new places means he capitalises on his free time in ways he never would at home.

At first, babies might be synonymous with “settling down”, but Aaron and his wife Jordy have continued to stoke their wanderlust, bringing Luca, seven months, along on their nomadic life.

Aaron sought out a remote role with a marketing agency just before Luca was born so he could be a more present new dad and continue their travels. “If you’d asked me five years ago, I’d have assumed it wasn’t possible to have a corporate career and work remotely,” McDowell says. “But the world is now set up differently. In the last six months alone, I’ve travelled Sydney, Bali, the Philippines and Hong Kong while working.”

Dormitories and hostels are now distant memories as the McDowells opt for comfortable hotels where they can find the most flexibility.

“No two days are the same for me, so the most important thing is a space that works for whatever I need in the moment,” he explains.

“Holiday Inn hotels are great because they have a flexible open lobby where I can find a quiet space to work, play a game with the family, have a meeting — whatever I need. It also helps that I’ll know before getting there the room is sure to be comfortable with a good internet connection. This is the biggest risk otherwise.”


And, boasting over 1200 locations worldwide and a newly refreshed design, Holiday Inn offers roaming workers a place to call home — with flexible meeting spaces, full-service bars, restaurants and fitness centres.

The McDowells tend to lay down roots for a month at a time and while Aaron logs on for work meetings or catches up with international colleagues and clients, Jordy takes Luca to meet friends and local expat mums she’s found online.

“Most of my day is still a workday and I’m not on holiday, but I think being in new places brings a sense of adventure and it motivates me to get up early or do things in the evening more than I would at home.”

Holiday Inn offers roaming workers a place to call home.
Holiday Inn offers roaming workers a place to call home.Credit: Holiday Inn

A new career direction

Whether he’s working from a Guatemalan hostel or the front seat of a rental car flying along a US highway, Eliot Davenport, 31, shifts his work hours to maximise time for exploring.

Having no fixed address was not the original career ambition for Eliot Davenport. “After I left university, I went to work as a product manager and later in insurance, wearing a suit every day and working my way into management,” he says. “Then about five years ago I met my current partner who was a travel blogger, and I quit my job to go travelling with her.”

After returning to Melbourne with an empty bank account, he sought out a way to make a living remotely, eventually settling on SEO (search engine optimisation) and investing in Fjaka Sail, a Croatian sailing business.

“Suddenly, I was a junior in a small marketing company taking a 50 per cent pay cut from what I’d been earning as a manager,” he says.

“But my work is now 100 per cent remote — I just have to get my 38 hours of work done within the week and attend required meetings and manage the marketing for Fjaka Sail on the side.”

Over the past five years, he’s worked from coworking spaces, cafes, hotels, hostels and in transit. “I might clock in hours while cruising the highways or rise at dawn to wrap up by afternoon, leaving the rest of the day for exploration,” he says.

Often Davenport will be parked in front of his computer while his partner is scoping a local festival or gallery, but it’s the price he’s willing to pay to be able to earn money while travelling.

“One of the biggest challenges I’ve found is creating time for myself and not feeling a sense of guilt that I should be going out and exploring,” he explains.

“I’ve had to get comfortable with the fact that, yeah, I’m living my dream going to all of these beautiful locations, but sometimes just sitting on the balcony looking at them while working is enough — that’s the trade-off for working like this to make sure you don’t burn out.”

New day, new stay. More than just an iconic accommodation destination, Holiday Inn hotels and resorts are home to the meaningful moments of life – celebrating with family, laughing among friends, celebrating that team win, planning the big strategy, or indulging in “me time”. With over 1,000 locations across the globe, Holiday Inn is wherever you need — no matter who you are or why you travel. Learn more.

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