Now that we’re a solid four months into our digital nomad adventure — we’re working remotely and visiting a new city every month or so — we’ve learned a few key lessons in how to best approach this adventure of ours.
One of the biggest learnings is that, to us, our concept of ‘balance’ will shift with each new home and each new month.
The Shifting Nature of Balance
As we adjust to this digital nomad life, we’ve found these concepts of balance choose us in each new home.
In New York City, where we lived for over seven years, balance was about juggling schedules to equally prioritize work, friends, date nights, family visits, work outings, relaxation, errands, workouts, weekend trips, sleep…
Montreal was our first real destination as digital nomads. Balance lay between indulging in vacation mode (SEE ALL THE THINGS) and finding normalcy in our new lives.
In Portland, Maine, balance lay between powering through a particularly busy work month for both of us, so that we could enjoy non-stop weekends entirely committed to our visiting friends and family.
And in Nashville, well, balance has taken on its simplest meaning yet: At the end of each day, we ask ourselves: have we offset our work day with enough rest, food, and activities that make us happy?
Finding Balance in Nashville
In Nashville, we’ve ended up taking it easy for (what feels like) once in our lives.
So we’ve worked from coffee shops near our 12 South apartment most days: Bongo Java, Frothy Monkey, and Portland Brew are all great options.
We’ve joined local fitness studios to get our workouts in. I discovered Inner Light Yoga, where instructors walk through flows with you a few times then set you free to work at your own pace. All to amazing music: I attended an ‘Epic Movie Nights Flow’ one Thursday night.
We’ve cooked a ton of straightforward, simple recipes with produce from the Nashville farmers’ market and the 12 South farmers’ market — supplemented with semi-prepared options from Trader Joe’s, like cauliflower rice or roasted beets. We’ve generally followed the non-recipe recipe template: vegetable + vegetable + protein + sauce. Endless options, lots of nourishing, tasty food.
- Greens + avocado + eggs + hot sauce
- Cabbage + potatoes + sausage + mustard
- Cauliflower rice + sautéed vegetables + shrimp + stir fry sauce
- Roasted vegetables + salad + slow-cooked protein + wine, butter, herb sauce
- Lettuce + roasted vegetables + avocado + tahini, red wine vinegar, garlic sauce
We’ve taken walks across Centennial Park. Watched way too much Arrested Development. Read for hours and hours — I’ve torn through, and highly recommend, Lincoln in the Bardo and the Underground Railroad.
Sure, we’ve also had late nights listening to honky tonk at Tootsies and trying cocktails at Pinewood Social. We’ve tried the hot chicken (YES) and the BBQ (eh). I’ve visited the Country Music Hall of Fame and Andrew Jackson’s hermitage (seriously, go). But mostly, we’ve explored our neighborhood’s local go-tos, cooked good food, and relaxed at home.
As a result, we may not leave Nashville having seen every square inch. I’m starting to realize that learning a new city inside and out every single month is less sustainable for us than following the shifting concept of balance.
Who knows what balance will mean in New Orleans, where we’re closing out 2017. We have plenty of visiting friends and family to look forward to, as well as a NOLA Thanksgiving and a solid six weeks to explore all the music, food, and history. We won’t know until we get there — and I can’t wait to find out.
What does balance look like for you in your life right now?
Hi A & J,
Nice reading your blog. I liked your comment about not trying to figure out everything at each of your destinations but, rather, to seek a balance between work and life and see where that takes you and, in doing so, are probably more present for your daily life experiences and get more out of them.
Thanks John! Exactly, that’s the goal at least 🙂