One Way Nomad of the Week - Nic Ruiz
Updated: Jan 19
City of Origin: Miami, FL & Michigan
Current Digital City: Cusco, Peru
First Digital Nomad City: Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
Current Job as a Digital Nomad: IT Corporate Sales
Previous Non-Remote Job: Business Consultant
How long have you been a Digital Nomad? 1.5 years
What made you decide to become a digital nomad?
I just love traveling. The travel bug - it's always been there. Last year, the 'trigger event' was that my lease was up - I could either renew or not. I chose to travel.
The objective was to live below my means and spend less money when I travel. So I was looking for places that were cheaper to go. I balanced it out - plane ticket plus my Airbnb costs and compared that to what I was currently paying in the US. Would it be the same amount or less than what I'm currently spending? I was always saving money while traveling.
Did any one person inspire you?
No. It's always been on my radar. Any time I had a trip planned, I always extended it and just brought my work with me whenever I could.
The first time I tried to do remote work, like a digital nomad, was about five or six years ago. I was doing business consulting and I had planned a trip to the Philippines for six weeks. I had plans to take some of my work with me virtually to finish. And it just worked out.
What was your biggest fear of this transition?
Infrastructure and internet. My job requires me to be on video calls all day, every day. I was concerned that I wasn’t going to have the internet reliability that I needed.
How did you make friends?
Great question. The main concern was honestly putting myself out there. It was doing it, not being afraid, because it's different. Making friends when you travel is much easier than in the US. You find other people that are traveling [doing the same thing as you] and you can easily relate.
But in the States, if you use the same method, people might think you're, like, weird.
I also leveraged communities that I knew were inclusive - Crossfit is my best example. That's how I met a fantastic group of friends. In this international community, everybody is both friendly and welcoming.
What made you pick Playa Del Carmen as your first Digital Nomad City?
I googled best places for digital nomads and then I cross-checked that with places that didn't require a vaccination. I then narrowed down the list to four or five locations, and then I pulled tarot cards.
What is the biggest struggle you currently have as a Digital Nomad?
Currently, this feeling of loneliness comes when I'm traveling for too long - like missing my friends and family. How do I manage to take advantage of my time effectively while I'm here to see as many people as possible? How do I fill those ‘relationship cups?’
For example, I've been back in the States for two weeks. Every single night I have something planned. Now that I think of it, I have solid plans for the next three weekends. And the cool part is that I noticed that my friends and family are more intentional about the time we spend together because we're not taking it for granted.
What do you know now, that you wish you knew when you started nomading?
Don't go out drinking alone. Or I should say, don't get drunk alone and stay out late.
What characteristic is most important to managing work/life balance?
Routine for me has been very powerful. As a digital, I'm very much like, 'let's see how we're feeling today,' and trust that I can live into that. Also being able to have an Airbnb near a gym makes it really easy to go after work every day. Then I would come home, cook dinner, and smoke a cigar. Even those types of activities that maybe don't feel like a routine became part of my routine. And that's what allowed me to recharge my battery.
Also, make sure to find rules that you set for yourself that also have flexible boundaries for freedom. For me, if I can purchase meals for $5 or less on the street, the answer is always yes. So I was going out to eat three or four times a day because it was just so much cheaper.
Where is next for you?
Italy - Sicily, Sardinia, and Tuscany.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a Digital Nomad?
Dive right in. It's so much easier and more fun than you'll ever imagine. Also, downlist everybody else who's telling you you can't do it or it's dangerous.