I’m so excited to introduce a new interview series on Savoir Faire Abroad. As some of you may have guessed, I am planning to return to Asia in the spring and finally become an expat! As such, I thought it would be interesting to do an Asia specific interview series with travellers, expats, and digital nomads.
I want you (my super awesome readers) to get an inside look into what it’s like to travel, live, and work in Asia. Many of you have dreams of travelling more, or of becoming a digital nomad; but you’re not sure how to do it. It’s my hope that this interview series will give you some valuable tips, inspiration, and a kick in the right direction.
I’m thrilled to kick off this series with an interview with James T. Clark of Nomadic Notes. James is a travel blogger and digital nomad from Melbourne, and has been travelling since 2003. James is an awesome guy, very friendly, and extremely knowledgable about all things travel, writing/blogging, and coffee!
When did you first fall in love with travel?
I first went overseas in 1995 to Hawaii and I was hooked immediately. I went on annual holidays after that, but I soon realised that 4 weeks holiday a year (in Australia at least) was never going to be enough time for me to travel the way I wanted. I did the next best thing, and got a working holiday visa for the UK in 1999, and then in Ireland in 2002.
Where have you travelled in Asia?
Japan, China, India, and every country in Southeast Asia, except for East Timor.
What is the most challenging thing about travelling in Asia?
My challenges are more work related, so that would be finding a suitable work environment with good internet.
In 2012 you visited 30 cafés in Chiang Mai. What’s the story behind your obsession with coffee?
A combination of factors there. I don’t drink or smoke so you could say that coffee is my vice of choice. As I work in cafes a few hours a day I have come to appreciate cafes that serve good coffee, so finding good cafes is something of a hobby for me.
You’ve been a digital nomad since 2003, do you have any advice for those who dream of becoming a digital nomad?
The two things I did was to learn a portable skill before I left and to get my finances in order. For me my portable skill was web design, but it could be any number of skill sets. For finances my first priority was getting out of debt. After that I saved up a nest egg that would sustain me until my business was self-sufficient.
As a blogger, do you find that you travel differently?
Absolutely. I met a young backpacker recently and I was fascinated to listen to his travel itinerary for Southeast Asia. It was a whirlwind trip that covered many destinations in a short amount of time. I did a similar trip before my online business but I could not do that now. As I am now working as I travel, I prefer to base myself somewhere and then go on smaller trips.
Do you have any budget tips for travellers planning a trip to Asia?
I would not prebook any hotels or tours before you go. There are many good quality guesthouses that aren’t always bookable online and they are usually cheaper as well.
As a travel blogger/writer, what is inside your gear bag?
– Macbook Air 11″
– Olympus PEN E-P3
– Kobo ebook reader
– iPod Touch 32GB
– A bag of assorted power adapters from around the world.
Name one activity that you think every traveller should do when travelling in Asia?
I always like to try the local food where ever I go, especially in Asia.