View of central Singapore along the river

My Digital Nomad Debut

A very select few of you will be aware of this particular development, so I am writing for the rest of you.


On May 28, I will load up a rental car and drive to Miami, where I’ll catch a flight the next day for Tokyo via Zurich. Cheers to Swiss for selling a plane ticket for $662 when most other players wanted $900-$1300.


From the 31st onward, I will be a full time digital-nomad courtesy of freelance writing. I’ve been fortunate to pick up some substantial work that will keep me going for the foreseeable few months.  I’ll be treading relatively familiar ground in Tokyo, Phuket, and Ubud (Bali).


It will be fascinating to get a taste of living and working in these destination for weeks rather than visiting for days.  Blending into the daily rhythm, tasting all of the delicious food, and getting a handle on the local gay scene are immediate location goals.  In the background, I look forward to developing my professional skills and working on some side projects (SEO/digital marketing). The market values me these days as a travel writer (broadly), so I might as well continue to earn my chops there.


In August, I’ll begin on a holy grail of personal bucket list goals – learning Chinese in China.  After my time in Bali, I will jet off to Kunming, Yunnan to begin Chinese classes.  My brain is thrilled by the prospect, albeit part of me is cautiously girding itself for the challenge. I chose a non-tier 1 city so that I’d be forced to use Chinese or starve.  Learning the key dumpling words is currently high on my priority list.  Fortunately, I already know the word “cha” (tea), so I won’t go thirsty or (heaven forfend!) without caffeine! 


These past two years in the US have been interesting, but I’ve had enough for now and would like to reconnect with my expat self.  The stimulation of new experiences, places, and sensations – and it would be awesome to see my overseas friends again!


Here’s the adventure as it is booked until mid-December!

Tokyo 31/5 – 22/6

Hong Kong 22/6 – 24/6

Phuket 24/6 – 23/7

Bali 23/7 – 21/8

Bangkok 21/8 – 26-8

Kunming   26/8-14/12


Map of flights taken for my digital nomad adventure including Miami Zurich Tokyo Hong Kong Phuket Kuala Lumper Bali and Kunming


Interestingly, all airlines booked thus far will be new experiences to me.  I’m booked on Swiss, Vanilla Air (ANA’s low-cost subsidiary), Cathay Dragon (Cathay Pacific’s regional subsidiary), Air Asia, China Eastern, and Malindo Air. I’ll be sure to post reviews!


–   James out!


Maps generated by the
Great Circle Mapper –
copyright © Karl L. Swartz.