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My life as a 60-year-old digital nomad

Learn.July 5, 2017
By Margaret Manning

Margaret Manning is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. She is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret is the founder of Sixty and Me. Her mission is to empower and motivate women to find their own voice and value in a transitional time of life that offers so much new opportunity. See her YouTube channel here.

 

I have had many professional titles in my life. I’ve been a Creative Director, Executive Communications Manager, Bookstore Manager and CEO. Now, I have a new title. And, it’s one that I’m proud of. I am officially a Digital Nomad.

My son and his wife have been “location independent” for several years. During this time, I’ve seen first-hand the freedom that it has offered them.

Now, traveling in Bali, I have learned how to stay productive on the road. I have discovered how to use technology to stay connected, while living like a nomad. It’s terrifying and liberating at the same time!

Why would a 60-year-old woman want to be a digital nomad?

According to Hollywood, 60-year-old women are boring, conservative, scatter-brained and risk-averse. Ha! As Stu said in The Hangover, “I wish I had a boring life.” At least that’s how I felt for several terrifying minutes, when I finally came to terms with the fact that I was in the middle of the jungle at night!

In reality, like many women my age, I am embracing technology and redefining retirement. I am not content to sit quietly, watching TV all day and letting my body go to waste. I want to see and experience everything that this amazing world has to offer. Do you feel the same?

By now, you may be wondering what a digital nomad is. In simple terms, digital nomads are people who travel the world, using technology to manage their businesses, while exploring their passions.

They take advantage of co-working spaces and Internet cafes. They work from coffee shops in India, Bali, England, China or whether else their wanderlust takes them.

I never considered myself to be a digital nomad

I used to be terrified of having to manage my business on the road. You see, I’ve always been a creature of habit. I like to have my desk organized just the way I like it. I file my emails into an intricate web of folders. Losing my productivity “systems” was a frightening prospect.

Travelling to Bali has opened my eyes to new ways of working and thinking. For example, at Hubud, I met entrepreneurs, freelancers, corporate escapees, backpackers and independent business owners. They ranged from college kids in their late teens to one lovely silver-haired woman who was considerably older than me!

They are starting businesses, exploring, following their passions and, most of all, having fun!

Why life after 60 is the perfect time to explore this lifestyle

When you think about “digital nomads,” you probably picture young people with plenty of experience with technology and nerves of steel.

In reality, I have come to believe that this lifestyle is perfect for older adults. For starters, many of us have moved beyond our traditional roles as mothers and employees. We have the most important asset when it comes to being a digital nomad – flexibility. We may not have the financial resources to travel as much as we would like, but, we are free to follow out own paths.

When you think about “digital nomads,” you probably picture young people with plenty of experience with technology and nerves of steel. In reality, I have come to believe that this lifestyle is perfect for older adults.

Another reason that older adults make great digital nomads is that we have decades of experience to draw on. During my time in Bali, I have been amazed how many young people have come to me for advice. Sometimes they have wanted help with their businesses. Other times, they simply wanted to get my advice on how to handle a personal problem. Either way, I was happy to help.

So what’s holding us back?

Money? I know that this is the first response that many people will give. It’s absolutely true that getting to places like Bali can be expensive. But, once you get here, it’s much cheaper than you would expect. It’s possible to find places to stay for well under $500 a month.

In reality, I think that fear is a more likely culprit. Because we have always lived a certain way, we can’t imagine traveling and working from places like Bali. I was scared when I left for Bali too. Now, I see that I was holding myself back.

Is this lifestyle for everyone? Of course not! But, I have come to the conclusion that a large percentage of our community would love this kind of experience. If this sounds intriguing, I would encourage you to start doing some research. There is a whole world out there for you to discover!

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