My Nomad Cruise Experience

Last supper on board by Adrian
Last supper on board by Adrian

At the end of November 2018, along with 500 other people, I’ve embarked on the Nomad Cruise 7, a 12-day journey sailing through the Atlantic ocean, from Barcelona 🇪🇸 to Recife 🇧🇷.

In my previous post, I’ve explained what the Nomad Cruise is and how the days look like aboard. Now it’s time to talk about my personal experience aboard and some of my key takeaways.

How did I hear about it?

First, I heard about it from my friend, Zoltán who invited me to join the Nomad Cruise 6 at the beginning of January 2018.

As I was already interested in the laptop lifestyle and was doing remote work periodically, this seemed like an amazing opportunity. 10 days on the Mediterranean sea, exciting workshops and 300+ location independent people I could learn a lot from.

I was not able to join the NC6 though, but I’ve met more cruisers at Koh Lanta, while testing out the location independent lifestyle. I’ve made up my mind and decided to apply to the next one.

Key takeaways 💡

It’s been a fun, eventful, eye-opening and long journey across the Atlantic. I came onboard with high expectations and the journey managed to exceed them. Let me tell you why.

1. It is possible

I am following the digital nomad movement for almost 3 years now by watching videos, listening to podcasts, reading blogs and meeting nomads from time to time.

However, I’ve never had the opportunity to hang out with so many individuals sharing the same interests. Meeting people living this lifestyle in person was a big inspiration and a necessary confirmation that this is real.

But most importantly, it showed to me that living a sustainable location independent lifestyle is possible.

2. Not a developer? It is still possible

There is a common misconception, that digital nomads are mostly developers. In reality, that could not be further from the truth.

During the 12 days at sea, I’ve met with hundreds of people with a wide range of backgrounds. Amongst the attendees were investors, coaches, marketers, bloggers, photographers, online teachers, just to name a few.

Actually, not even 20% of the cruisers are coding for a living. With a little creativity, hard work and perseverance anyone can live the telecommuter life.

3. The power of community

Photo by Perry Grone on Unsplash
Photo by Perry Grone on Unsplash

While traveling full time is no doubt an amazing thing, it has some costs. I’m referring now to the difficulty to cultivate friendships.

Yes, you do meet constantly tons of new people and forming a deep connection is easier, as you both are aware of the limited time spent together.

The hard part is when your paths diverge and you want to maintain the relationship. Even though this has become easier, thanks to the internet, nothing can replace physical connections.

Then everything starts over. You meet new people, tell the same story, have fun and move on.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a lot of fun, but I also want to have more stable people in my life, so that I don’t need to start from zero all the time.

This is where the Nomad Cruise comes in the picture. By attending the conference, you will get access to a global network of travelers sharing similar passions. And thanks to the law of big numbers, the probability that you will bump into a fellow cruiser anywhere in the world has just increased tremendously.

4. Focus

Photo by Paul Skorupskas on Unsplash
Photo by Paul Skorupskas on Unsplash

I was trying to focus on way too many things at once and have not made any significant progress in any of them. I believe that concentrating only on a few areas, could make a huge difference when it comes to progress.

As the conference had so many different programs, my idea was to try out as many of them as possible and see what I like.

This was only a partial success though. While I did do a lot of things, I’ve found even more fun things, which made narrowing down the pool of choices harder.

On the flip side, I finally realized that I need to remove things and focus on the important ones if I want to make progress. Currently, this means concentrating on being a better developer and building up an online presence.

5. The JOMO

The Nomad Cruise can be overwhelming, especially for the first time. I wanted to get the most out of it, to attend every keynote, participate in every workshop, go on meetups during the breaks and attend thematic dinners. FOMO was real and I did not want to miss anything.

While it was extremely fun, in the hindsight it was way too much. By the end of the cruise, I arrived at a point, where I did not even want to hear about anything related to business or self-development. I needed weeks to process all the impressions.

It is important to take time off without feeling guilty. Sleep in, skip the talks, read a book or go for a run. Does not matter how, but give yourself the possibility to reflect and relax for a little bit. This will help you to get the most out of the experience.

Things I’ll do differently next time

1. Offset my carbon footprint

While the cruise is awesome and exciting, let’s be honest, taking a cruise is not environmentally friendly at all. According to GIFT, cruise ships are responsible for at least 0.2% global emissions from fossil fuel consumption and cement production.

I am aware of the fact that I can not undo the damage done by donating money to some organization. However, I feel that the Nomad Cruise contributes a lot to my personal growth and in the long run, I will be able to do more with the received knowledge.

2. Stay longer on the destination

The cruise is just the beginning, more fun awaits when you get on land. After arriving at Recife, hundreds of us went to the beautiful village Porto de Galinhas. As the village is small and we were a big group, it felt almost like walking on the ship, I kept bumping into nomads everywhere.

I’ve spent only 5 days in Porto as I had already bought a ticket back to Europe. However, a lot of people kept meeting up in different places across Brazil and a big group of nomads even celebrated the New Year’s together in Rio de Janeiro.

3. Niche down

At NC7 I was running around trying to do everything. This was fun, however next time I want to find a few interesting and devote full attention to them. This was way too much information to take in at once.

4. Share more

1-minute pitch - Photo by Tijmen Hobbel
1-minute pitch - Photo by Tijmen Hobbel

Last year I mostly consumed information. Apart from one-on-one conversations, I have not shared that much. Next time, I would like to organize at least a meetup or a workshop.

Final thoughts

I really liked the whole experience and I will definitely join a couple of the future cruises. This year should be even more fun, as I already know a lot of people from the previous edition.

I believe this is an experience everyone should try, at least once in a life. If you are interested in the laptop lifestyle, want to hang out with amazing people, or expand your knowledge, this is the place to be.

Have you been on the Nomad Cruise before? What was your experience like? Do you have any questions? Write a comment or find me on any of the socials listed below, I am happy to talk.

See you on board🚢 and thanks for reading. Don’t forget to subscribe to not miss out on any of my future posts! 🙏

Róbert Istók
A personal blog by Róbert Istók about coding, traveling, habit building, and much more (Psst... I am open to opportunities.)