I was never a full-time digital nomad, yet I must admit that, after some amazing experiences, I have come to find this lifestyle very enticing. There is something truly alluring about “floating” through the world, anchorless, as you commence your work on your trusty ol’ laptop. On the one hand, there is something quintessentially cyberpunk about this lifestyle while, on the other hand, it is therapeutically calming and liberating.
Into the faraway lands
Before I proceed to give you broad strokes of my life in Melbourne, I have to get one thing out of the way – the time I spent (four months) in the city was neither my first-time visit nor am I unfamiliar with Australia. With that out of the way, I still have to affirm that the idea of spending more than a month floating around Melbourne came with a sense of trepidation. I’ve never done something like this before. Had I known it would end up being a third-of-the-year sort of arrangement, I would have been frozen.
Yet at the same time, considering every aspect of my job was done over my computer, something encouraged me to try this out. I was not compelled nor was this the only alternative for me. I guess I needed to get it out of my system. Still, it is completely understandable if such a trip to a faraway land of the Australian continent appear to be too much – you can take a stab at the life of a digital nomad in your “neighborhood”, in a way, before you proceed to put thousands of kilometers of distance between you and your home.
The perks of Melbourne
The city of Melbourne lies tucked away in Port Phillip Bay on the southern coastline of Australia. As such, it has that irresistible quality of a sleek, ultra-modern metropolis that teeters on the very edge of the world. This is a place where digital nomads can truly work and enjoy the unique atmosphere of anchorless living. As I settled into my accommodation in Brunswick and spent my first week getting my bearings, the numb feeling of anxiety slowly “untied its knot in my stomach” and I felt the Zen perks of living like this.
I answered to nobody but myself and I had an urban playground laid out in front of me. Even though I was not exactly living in the central business district (where only true cyberpunk slackers find their home), I felt as if nothing stopped me from exploring every nook and cranny of this urban jungle. I started off by exploring the surrounding suburbs; I mostly dwelled around some neat Warrandyte restaurants which were recommended to me by a friend. In other words, I was frightened so I kept to the things I knew, in a way.
The price range and the spaces
Australian cities are notorious for the high cost of living and, while not the most luxurious urbanity, Melbourne is certainly not cheap. The rent within downtown limits is somewhere around 1,700 Australian dollars while the overall monthly cost of living is circa 3,500 dollars (disclaimer – these prices are mostly based on personal experience). Plus, the downside of the city is that it is not that easy to find a hotspot with free Wi-Fi. When it comes to the quality of life and the number of locales that are friendly to digital nomads, this is one of the most ideal towns in the world.
Still, no matter where you are situated, the city is well connected and you can find yourself roaming around the central business district in no-time. You will not have to embark on extensive research before you discover some truly nifty co-working spaces such as Hub Southern Cross, the Commons and Stovetop. Also, a lot of people have recommended Inspire9 in retrospect, but I actually never got around to checking it out. Since I am a creature of habit, I’ve spent most of my working hours in Hub Southern Cross (which I also wholeheartedly recommend as it has a killer connection) and roamed around docks and beaches with the friends I made.
The lifestyle of a digital nomad is an amazing arrangement for people who thrive on chaos. While this does not necessarily mean that their life is without order – it merely means that they are primed and ready to plunge into the unknown and embrace the sense of adventure. What I’ve come to learn during my 4 months in Melbourne is just how beneficial it can be to be a digital nomad at least for a short while – your cognitive abilities are pushed to their limits as you learn to think on your feet and become Jack of All Trades.