By Samantha Bradsky | Journalist
Self-published author Paula Seymour leads a lifestyle organized by her ability to travel at will – or what she calls location independence.
âI’ve always looked for geographic independence – or having a job, earning my money to support myself in a way that doesn’t tie me to one place,â Seymour said.
Later in life, this desire led her to adopt the lifestyle of a digital nomad or someone who helps her travel with her work.
She answered questions about her life as a digital nomad.
What made you want to be a digital nomad? How did your journey start?
âI’ve always wanted to travel,â Seymour said. âI grew up in a very small town in Wisconsin, about 200 people, and I remember when I was little I loved to climb the hill in the back of my house and look at the Mississippi River and think, ‘He must be a big world out there.
With the goal of always traveling in the back of his mind, Seymour began taking nanny jobs in various locations across the United States. She graduated from TEFL in Barcelona to teach English. It ultimately took him 10 years to graduate from college due to his constant travel.
A few years later, Seymour lost her remote job working for an online company and ended up at her parents’ house. Realizing that she needed to earn some quick cash to travel or that she was stuck, she took a self-publishing course and quickly started posting titles on Amazon.
âVery quickly I was making $ 3,000 a month and kind of had in mind how much I needed to travel,â Seymour said. âI was like, ‘My God, what am I waiting for? I can go to Chiang Mai. I can go in there and make it work.
Seymour had read about the high cost of living in Thailand, especially in Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is a known hub for digital nomads and those with geographic independence.
âIt was awesome,â Seymour said. âWhen I first came to Thailand, I really got into a good routine, I bonded and really grew my business from there. “
The “business” Seymour refers to is the collection of her self-published works, including those for which she uses a ghostwriter.
How do you balance travel and productivity with work?
âI’m not very good at it, honestly,â Seymour said. âThis is one of the reasons I like to travel longer, because if you go to a new place every week or so, it takes a long time. Especially if you are traveling and there is a different language, you need to understand the basics of life in each location. The longer you stay in one place, the more you can get into a routine.
Seymour has described the various countries and cities that she visits regularly, where she has local haunts that she gravitates to to stabilize her routine. In new places, it relies on its technology.
âThe best thing about my routine is that I’ve gotten really good with my tech here – so I know what I need,â Seymour said. âFor example, now I travel with my MacBook Air. I have an external keyboard. I have the Perch support who brings it [the laptop] because I really suffered from back pain.
Seymour said the key to prioritizing your productivity in a new location is to get into a writing routine as soon as possible. She said she liked the flexibility the job offers for herself.
What’s your best advice for aspiring digital nomads?
âOnly based on my own experience, really, I would encourage someone not to wait,â Seymour said. “Like, I could have done it [started traveling] much earlier than when I did.
What are the resources to know for aspiring digital nomads?
Facebook groups were (and are) huge for Seymour when he logs into a new location.
What’s your favorite part of being a digital nomad?
âMy favorite part – and this is what I learned about not being able to travel with the pandemic – it really made me realize that I love that every time you get to a new place you have to figure things out, âSeymour said. âYou are always stimulated to learn something or to meet someone. I think you really feel alive when you travel.
What’s the least part of being a digital nomad?
âPerhaps my least favorite thing is the loneliness if you do it yourself,â Seymour said. âI’m very introverted and don’t really need to travel with anyone. But I would say sometimes you do things, and maybe if you’re in a new place you have all of these experiences, and sometimes it’s nice to have someone to share that with right now.