The life of a location independent freelancer and that of a surfer go hand in hand.
Not only does the freedom afforded to you as a freelance contractor allow you to surf whenever the waves are good, but being location independent also means you can post up at an exotic surf destination for days, weeks or even months at a time, with one eye on the swell forecast and the other on your inbox.
Of course, these are just a couple of reasons why the freelance lifestyle works so well with the lifestyle of a surfer, but there’s actually a whole bunch of others that prove being a digital nomad who surfs is like living life in a waking dream.
Check them out below and let me know what you love being a digital nomad who surfs in the comments.
1. Strike Missions Become Less Complicated
Convincing your boss to let you hightail it towards the horizon on the hunt for swell rarely goes the way you would like it to when you’re fixed to an office chair… but you’ve got options.
Option one is that you sub in a mannequin to sit at your desk and pray to Huey that your employer doesn’t notice you’ve skipped town for the day.
Option two is that you rock up early with a bottle of Epicac and take a couple of swigs shortly before intercepting your boss on his or her way to their office, with the hope that your violent upchuck of stomach contents is enough to get you sent home.
Option three is that you book those flights or load up the car and point your nose in the direction of where that swells gonna hit, because strike missions when you’re a freelancer are much, much easier to coordinate.
2. Flat Days on Surf Trips Don’t Seem so Bad
It’s day three of your seven-day surf strip to an exotic island chain in the Pacific and you’re yet to see a wave break over 30 centimetres.
Your best mate Gaz has taken to drinking away his misery and has nearly consumed a weeks worth of beer. Your other friend Nicki has been refreshing six swell forecasting websites simultaneously every 5 seconds in the hope that something, anything, will materialize.
You on the other hand, while also ruing the lack of surf, have been somewhat productive with your downtime.
Emails are being answered, new projects are being started and you’ve even managed to fire off some info to your accountant. But the best thing is that you’re doing this all in a beautiful setting and low and behold, Nicki’s just kicked down your door and let you know there’s swell on the way.
So, turn the next flat day into a productive day and rest easy in bed that night knowing work is behind you and the waves will be there in the morning.
3. There Are Now Coworking Spaces That Cater to Surfers
When I first started freelancing four years ago coworking spaces most definitely existed, but they were generally located in cities or other major population hubs.
With the boom of the #digitalnomad lifestyle though, there’s been a massive uptick of coworking spaces opening up in surf communities all over the world.
Take Cowork Surf for example; a coworking franchise that offers a place to hit the keys and the pillow at night with spaces in Portugal, Morocco, Norway and Sri Lanka.
Here you can kick back, connect with like minded individuals and surf your brains out in some of the hottest surf destinations around the world.
Oh… and you’ll even have plenty of opportunity to work, given their locations offer comfortable workspaces with solid Wi-Fi and ergonomic chairs in a productive environment.
4. You Don’t Have to Wear a Suit After a Surf
Once upon a time I was a real estate agent.
During this time I wheeled and dealed with the best of them, only to be chewed up and spat out like a wad of well-dressed gum.
It was fun and exciting until it wasn’t. I blame an industry that’s so hell bent on appearing like they’re honest, they forget that being honest involves telling the truth.
That being said, I didn’t like a lot of things about the job. One of which was the fact I had to wear a suit and tie, which means whenever I ducked off for a surf at lunch or stayed out a little too long in the morning, I’d have to rinse off and change straight into a suit.
I’m happy to report though that as a freelancer, I do not wear a suit, shoes, tie, collared shirt or freshly pressed pants.
And if I was to ever wear one again, say to meet a client at my office or conduct an interview, I would remain in boardshorts and pluggers and just throw a blazer and shirt on for a business up top, ready to surf down below kinda look.
5. There Are Opportunities to Turn Surf Trips into Paid Pressers
This is flat out the dream scenario for someone in my position who writes copy for surf camps, surf lodges, surf hostels and surf schools around the world.
An all expenses paid trip to an exotic surf destination where all I need to worry about is meeting my deadlines and not overdosing on fresh juice while sampling quality waves from a buffet of world-class breaks.
It’s something I’ve actually been offered before, but due to existing plans I couldn’t make the boat.
I did, however, vow then and there that the next time this opportunity arose I’d be all over it like a rash.
I mean, being paid to write about surfing while surfing?
Sign me up, jabroni.
6. You Can Surf More and Spend Less
It nearly goes without saying that some of the best surf destinations in the world are in developing countries.
I’m talking Nicaragua, the Philippines, Chile, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Mozambique, Maldives, Indonesia, Ecuador, Morocco; the list goes on and on.
If you’re from Australia or what the International Monetary Fund calls a developed country though, this means you can essentially live off less while still surfing some of the best waves in these destinations.
I mean, most of us are on a pretty good wicket, so stretching your cash may not be the main motivation behind moving.
But hey; we can live as close as possible to the surf break of our dreams, so why the hell shouldn’t we?
This freedom is why we got into freelancing in the first place anyway, so we might as well take advantage of it.
7. The Surfing and Freelance Lifestyle Teach You About Balance
When you work in an office or on a job site, your hours are pretty well sorted out.
You turn up in the morning, you get a lunch break and sometimes smoko and then you head home.
As a freelancer though, you need to pick and choose the hours you’re going to work, based on what suits your lifestyle or your family commitments best.
This is where finding your balance comes in.
For some (I’m assuming none of my friends), balance could mean working 14 hours a day with an hour or so to read a book or get outside. For others, such as myself, balance might be working for six to eight hours a day with a bit of time before and after work to relax, surf, walk the dog or hang out with the missus.
The reason why my day might look different to someone else's is because everyone’s idea of what balance constitutes in their life is different, which is totally fine.
As long as you have a coping mechanism such as surfing that you know will alleviate the pressure or stress that you accumulate during your work hours, you should be pretty set to handle anything.
It’s important to note though that life doesn't always work out how we want it to. That means you’ll also have to remember that some weeks will require you to work longer hours; something I know all too well.
Here’s some advice though.
Be flexible, stay positive and remember that even if you can’t find time to shred, a 30-minute walk without your phone or a quick meditation session can be enough to help you feel aligned again.
8. You Have the Freedom to Surf Whenever There’s Swell
I’m eternally grateful the job that I do allows me to surf whenever there’s swell.
I mean, some of my mates are also contractors and others run businesses that don’t require them to show up in an office, so there’s definitely other people in the same boat.
But if I think back to when I was coming up through school and even during my four years of real estate, I would have given a finger to live this life.
It’s a dream come true and I try to remind myself just how lucky I am as often as possible, because being a digital nomad who surfs has gotta be one of the best gigs in the world.