What is Digital Nomad Lifestyle Without Coffee?
Written by Fatima Tammy Danan
When morning starts without coffee, then the morning hasn’t officially begun. For many people, brewing a fresh pot is the only morning ritual they need. And then there are those who need more than one cup. Caffeine has a long list of positive health effects. But for the most part, it’s that drink we need to power through our day.
For digital nomads, whose lives are always full of adventure are almost always ever-changing, it’s safe to say that caffeine is their constant. That sounds cheesy, we know. But what is a digital nomad lifestyle without coffee? Well, it’s incomplete. We spoke to five digital nomads to understand exactly how important a cup of coffee is. Or three.
Two years ago, Arjuna Tierney made the shift from being a store manager in retail to becoming a digital nomad. “I’ve always been interested in traveling and exploring, I just never saw how this could become part of my lifestyle where I could work and travel at the same time,” he shares, reminiscing the days when he’s still trying to figure things out. “It started back in Berlin a few years ago. I met with friends and they had the lifestyle I dreamed of. It sounded too good to be true. After a conversation and a few beers I decided in a few months time, I would give up my job and fly to Spain to start a life in the sun. No more 9 to 5,” says Tierney.
Today, he works as a mindfulness coach and energy healer and also has a marketing company. “Life and work are now one, as I love what I do and live and breathe it every day.” Just like most digital nomads, Tierney considers coffee as the fuel of his life, “although now I opt for decaf more often,” he shares, adding that he doesn’t drink after 3 PM otherwise, “I really won’t sleep that night.” “I love my morning routine of meditation, then coffee whilst planning my day. Wandering around a city in the mornings, finding coffee shops, meeting new people, and just working as the day goes by.”
Tiermey recalls that when he’s working corporate, he would have “buckets full of very bad coffee just to get me through a day rather than sit with my feelings or deal with the stress and listen to my body and mind.” Today, two years on the road and traveling from one place to another, he shares that “being a digital nomad is wonderful yet it can be a little lonely at times,” and added that he “met the best people in my life through coffee and in coffee shops - from India to Turkey.” And while it’s sometimes hard to adjust from travelling or as Tierney puts it, when there’s a “need to dig deep into those energy reserves,” he says, “caffeine does help me be more productive and motivated.”
“After becoming a digital nomad, I think it [coffee] has become part of my daily routine. I love brewing my own,” shares Deb Pati. It’s been three years now since Pati started his full-time journey as a freelancer and digital nomad. As someone who constantly travels from one country to another, from Bolivia to Ecuador to Columbia, Pati says caffeine helps boost his productivity and focus. “The undeniable truth is that I can't imagine everyday life without having access to good coffee,” he shares.
Today, Pati works in the tech industry as a remote software engineer. As someone who travels often, access to good coffee is always vital. “Although I used to love it with milk, after being in Colombia, I fell in love with black coffee made with Jaggery. It's called tinto campesino in Colombia. And I need a cup right at 11 AM every day,” he shares. For Pati, as someone living a digital nomad life, he says, “I don't think I would ever consider giving up coffee for any reason.”
“Coffee helps me step into a routine each day, no matter where I am setting up to work,” says Megan Starr. Starr is a travel blogger and digital marketer and has been 100% location independent for 8 years now. She’s currently in between Yerevan, Armenia and Frankfurt, Germany but has also lived in Norway in the past. “I am a morning person (like a 5 AM morning person, not an 8 AM one!) and having lived in Norway, you definitely need that kickstart as you wait for the sun to rise for 5 hours during the winter months,” she says about the experience.
But it’s not all about personal impact for Starr. As someone always on the road, she’s made it a hobby to help out small businesses. “I always hunt out small, independent coffee shops wherever I am in the world. It is a way I can consistently support small businesses on the road,” she says. And workwise, Starr also writes coffee guides on her blog, which is super useful, especially when you’re on the road and don’t have a handy product that lets you make your own cup just yet.
“Coffee is one consistency for me as a digital nomad and it makes each day a little bit better,” says Starr about how caffeine affects her productivity on the road. “I typically have 2-3 cups of coffee daily,” she shares, adding that, “it is crucial for me and I actually look forward to my coffee for the following day before I even go to sleep the night before!”
Before making the shift, Walid Haji was having two-week, three-week -long trips here and there. “2015 was the year when I made it my mission to find a way to transition my career to remote work. Fortunately, as I work in digital marketing, it was pretty straightforward,” he shares. The next few years, Haji was based in Bangkok, Thailand where he continued to manage a marketing team remotely for a luxury travel company. “The experience was spectacular and life-changing.I was living my dreams and fantasies as a kid.”
All the hardwork and effort paid off and Haji now owns a travel company called Rooh Travel. “Rooh is a travel brand for modern Muslims looking for soul-enriching trips in Southeast Asia. It's a byproduct of my experiences as a Muslim traveller and someone who's worked in the travel industry,” he noted. Haji shares that another notable thing that happened while traveling was when a friend introduced him to the culture of Third Wave of Coffee back in 2011. Since then, he considers caffeine a “major aspect of his lifestyle.”
“Caffeine has helped me tremendously with productivity and focus. I use it as a boost first thing in the morning,” shares Haji about how the drink affects his daily routine. “Before I begin my work I like to take at least 10 minutes to enjoy a cup of coffee and wait for the caffeine to do its job. Without it, I would find it very difficult to begin my work. Actually without it, I would find it very difficult to speak with people!”
“I began my digital freelance career actually while serving in the Israeli army. I would edit videos, design graphics, and edit pictures for businesses or individuals who found me generally through word of mouth, as a way of making some extra cash while in the army.” Jordan Kastrinsky has been a digital nomad for about three years now and shares how he started freelancing while in the army. “For example, I'd be closing on base for the weekend and when I wasn't guarding or on shift, I would edit in my barracks video for clients.” When Kastrinsky was released from his service, he decided to pour more time and energy to his video editing and graphics design career.
“Funnily enough, I found myself often spending a lot of time in cafes, chugging espressos or americanos while editing some cool projects,” Kastrinsky shares that coffee is life to him. “While I won't say I'm addicted (and I'm not, truly), I cannot think of a better way to start your day without a nice, warm cup of coffee.” After graduating from instant, he shares that it’s now a “morning ritual for me to open up the freezer, take out my coffee beans, grind them in my grinder, and put them to steep in the French Press. It is truly godly!” As someone who crafts his own coffee, Kastrinsky noted how he loves Turkish coffee in the afternoons. “The caffeine boost is unparalleled and it is great, great coffee. In Israel, we call it 'mud' or botz due to the grounds looking like mud at the end of drinking it.”
Today, as he continues to build his online business and travel when possible, Kastrinsky shares how he is “kind of naturally energetic.” “I don't know if I really get the caffeine boost, per se, except perhaps when I drink coffee in the afternoon.” Kastrinsky further added that days without caffeine are a bit different. “I am a bit off my groove,” he says. “Perhaps I'm just not as aware of the caffeine effect as I would like to think.”