Going nomad

Mar 4, 2021  ·  5 min read

I ended last year’s recap blog post by saying this 2021 I wanted to go abroad and do the nomad thing. Well, it’s happened, not for the reasons I was expecting but it happened. I’ve left my home country of Spain and traveled to Portugal, and it seems I’m gonna be here for a while.

I came here because of two friends that were already nomading in the area. I was considering going to other countries like Poland but they –very rightfully– said I should reconsider my decision and pointed to the fact that I would not only be freezing cold there, but also very alone. I’m so happy I listened. It’s nice and sunny here, and I’m so grateful to be in such good company.

They gave me a very warm welcome. Not even an hour after I arrived they were already knocking on my door. We spent the whole evening together, exercised, had dinner and a very long and deep conversation. They made me feel at home. I was feeling kind of unhappy when I arrived, and that welcome totally changed my mood and set the tone for the following days.

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It’s only been a couple of weeks, but I already feel I’m growing personally and professionally. The vibe here is so healthy, uplifting, supportive and positive. We exercise together every other day or so, and we go for long walks on the days we’re not exercising. It helps a lot with our mental health, and it makes it easy to spark conversations, share problems and look for solutions together.

It may be because I’ve just arrived, but everything here feels pretty intense, so I want to document the whole journey to make sure I extract takeaways and learned lessons.

How I feel

  • I feel like I’m at the right moment, at the right time, with the right people. This is my tribe. I wouldn’t consider any other option now: this is what I should be doing right now. It’s a very powerful feeling that provides me with a deep sense of meaning.
  • It feels weird because I’m in the most remote, less tech-oriented place in the world, yet I feel I’m right where the action happens. It’s the same feeling I had when I lived in Boston with my first startup. Feels like being just in the right place.
  • The people I’m with are pretty much role models to me, and that forces me to improve and be better every day. I was underestimating the power of this effect, and it’s being really positive.
  • Learning and growing means realizing you’re doing some things wrong, letting that part of you die, and rebuilding yourself in part. This process is really painful, and you feel weird when you first try to incorporate the new learning into your normal life. But it’s worth it.
  • This experience feels unreal at times. Not only because it feels like I’m living in a permanent summer holiday. I think it’s a privilege to live like this, so freely, in such a place, in such good company – at times it feels like I’m watching a movie, like I’m observing myself in 3rd person, like I’m just an actor in some bigger plot written by someone else.
  • I’m just really grateful to be able to live this remote/nomad experience.

Key takeaways

  • I might be “too smart”: I tend to overthink things. To be a successful entrepreneur, I probably need to be more straightforward and skip that much thinking to go straight to the action. I shouldn’t think at all about doing flashy things or adding cool bleeding-edge tech to all my projects. Just do, do, do.
  • Go where the money is. Focus should be where the money is. Money-making projects are often boring and don’t really reinvent the wheel. One shouldn’t be afraid of doing things that are boring in appearance.
  • Successful products are often extremely simple.
  • Some projects might be very flashy and might look just like the thing, but they might not be monetizable. Often times, the projects that get the most attention from the media are the less relevant ones in terms of revenue.
  • I might be too influenced by my CS background. I don’t think of products like a business guy would. I need to go straight into the money part – or else I’ll be stuck being a product/tech-oriented guy with little to no revenue.
  • Scarcity forces you to be creative. You shouldn’t put yourself in a position where you’re too comfortable, or you’ll risk stop being creative and exceptional.
  • Some people will point at you when you leave your country as if you were doing something wrong or morally reprehensible. That’s to be expected, and the solution is just to ignore them.
  • To measure interest, instead of asking for emails (everyone does that), just take preorders. You can always refund people if you don’t end up building the thing.
  • It may take you years of shitty projects until you do something that’s good. But you shouldn’t refrain from doing shitty projects because that’s where the best learnings hide.
  • You need to keep a good cadence when shipping new stuff. You never know what will spark an opportunity or bring you closer to your goal. Everything depends on luck, so maximizing your opportunities also maximizes your luck surface area. You do that by keeping a good shipping cadence.
  • This might be the last decade where indie developers could make a living by creating indie businesses. We still have an “unfair advantage” by being able to leverage technology to do things at scale. It may be the case that in the next decades most stuff would already be automated. The only thing that’d be left then is creativity.
  • People buy irrationally and then try to justify their purchase decisions in a rational way. This leads to a strange effect where people would knowingly pay a disproportionately unreasonable amount of money for something and feel bad about it YET if confronted, they will defend their purchase decision as if it was the best one in their lives because accepting the fact the price was too high would immediately tag them as dummies in front of their whole community. This has no direct applicability, it’s just a fun little pattern we realized.
  • Business is like surfing: there are big waves and small waves. You shouldn’t push too hard to make something grow. It may very well be the case that you’re riding the wrong wave if that’s what’s happening. You will never make a small wave go faster just by force of will or discipline. If a wave is going too slow, it’s going too slow – and there’s not much you can do to change it. If the wave you’re riding is not taking you as fast as you want to, you can’t do a thing about it. It’s okay to catch a wave, realize it’s too small and then drop it and keep floating for a while on the lookout for a bigger wave. It’s okay to fall in the water and get up again. But you need to catch a big wave to start with. You should choose a market that’s growing so quickly that you could be making $5k/mo with not so much effort.
  • Digital nomad spots are often surf sports because there’s a shared culture of freedom and doing things our own way. It’s like a Venn diagram which also intersects Bitcoin, libertarianism and other movements, which could be summarized into some sort of “hacker culture”, to which I definitely feel I belong.

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As a quick reminder – I'm Rameerez, an indie software developer that's making cool stuff like Hustl or Edit used by people all around the world in 165+ countries, among cool people at companies like Google, Uber or Adobe. My work has been featured in media like Fast Company, Vox, or The Next Web.