You wake up in a beach villa in Bali, drive yourself to a nearby café, order some local breakfast, and call this your working habit. Although some could say only travel bloggers from the U.S. or Australia can work as digital nomads, surprisingly, even people from small countries such as the Czech Republic practice this kind of lifestyle.

Markéta Karvaiová was 27 years old when she realized living an ordinary career life in Prague bored her. “I was really unhappy with my job,” said Karvaiová, who was working as a project manager in an IT company at that time. “I was surrounded by guys much older than me and it wasn’t even a job I’d picked myself,” Karvaiová said. With her passion for travelling, she decided to leave her profession, family, and friends and moved to Portugal. “I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to live as a digital nomad. I just wanted to relocate and find a normal job,” she said. Nonetheless, Karvaiová began to travel more frequently once she lived in Portugal; at 29 years old, she decided to start making a living as a freelancer.

Co-working spaces are often used by digital nomads. Photo: Eliška Havlíčková

From the South of Europe all the way down to Indonesia

Travelling can be exhausting, both physically and mentally, especially if one’s job is ‘on the go’. Karvaiová reflected how she first had to get into the habit of constant roaming, “After travelling for three months, I actually started looking forward to meeting new cultures, new languages. It’s a little bit like a drug.” She also spent some time as a nomad in Bali and noted her change of routine, “I love the freedom this lifestyle gave me. I could decide whenever I wanted to move somewhere else and I really appreciated that”.

Digital nomadism experiences its popularity boom even amongst the Czechs who are known to be less open to modernisation. According to the statistical webpage “Europe in data”, around two hundred thousand, or four percent of Czechs nowadays work remotely. Even though working from home or a co-working space is not quite the same as working from a beach, thanks to digitalisation we can see an increasing trend – a demand for freedom and flexibility in the workplace.

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The job of dreams is not for free

Nowadays, a lot of people would not describe themselves as full digital nomads, they work remotely. Dušan Murčo is a Slovak working as a product marketer in Slido and travels mainly to Prague and other parts of Europe. “The motto of our company is ‘remote first’ which encourages employees to decide freely where they work best and most productive,” Murčo said. He usually works from a co-working centre or from home. “I have to change my working spots to stay concentrated. Co-working centres are great, but sometimes they get really crowded and disrupt my productivity,” said Murčo, 34. The co-working centres look a little bit like a kindergarten for adults. Workers may use comfy sofas to relax on, sit on design rattan puffs, or get themselves some hipster drink from the cafeteria.

Although digital nomadism may sound like a dream job it is certainly not for everyone. Working as a nomad – i.e., remotely – requires a lot of discipline, focus, and professionalism.

“When I was alone, I was basically on a six-month holiday,” Karvaiová said. She noted that being just by herself, constant stress of making a living, therefore, motivated her to work. Although, she would only work a few hours a day. “That was a mistake I wouldn’t do again,” Karvaiová said. Murčo could see himself working from Bali, but he is confident the level of productivity there is lower because of all the distractions. “Working remotely certainly has its minuses. One has to have a fixed regime,” Murčo said. He still works relatively close to the headquarters, which is in Bratislava, and said he is glad to be able to go there every three days or so. “It’s way more effective since the majority of work still happens there,” Murčo said.