Book The World's First Digital Nomad

Traveling the world for over 20 years, getting paid to do what I love and help change the world. 


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How it All Began

We still travel the world as a family...and love it!

The digital nomad revolution started (probably) on a wet afternoon in 1999, when the Palmer family’s rusty VW campervan rolled off the Fishguard-Rosslare ferry from the UK and stuttered onto Irish soil.

 

With my suitcase-sized laptop stowed in the back, and my young family screaming excitedly in my ear, we set off to explore the land of the leprechauns.

But having just quit my job to do digital marketing full-time, I needed to get online once in a while to keep my new business running.

 

The digital nomad revolution began in a rusty camper van.

Today that would be easy. Just buy a local SIM card, or log onto wifi almost anywhere. But 20+ years ago, it was a different story. No wifi and no mobile SIMs.


The era of Internet cafes was just around the corner, but none had reached Ireland. Co-working spaces were not even a concept yet.


So every couple of days, I would knock on the door of random householders and offer them 10 Irish pounds (no Euros yet!) to borrow their phone line for half an hour. Some would take me up on the offer, and I was able to check email and deal with urgent website issues...but I had to be quick.

The new-fangled 'Interweb' gave us the freedom to explore Ireland.

It wasn’t the easiest way to run an online business, but in 1999 it was liberating. Here I was, hundreds of miles from my home in the UK, and still running my business. It seemed magical!


I had no idea then that we were most likely the world’s first digital nomad family - or that we were pioneering a revolutionary way of living life and making money.


But we did know it was the beginning of a fantastic time for our family. This opportunity led to us swapping the smog and snow of London for the sunny beaches of Australia and beyond - as well as enjoying many amazing adventures around the world.

 

Over the last 20 years, we have visited many different countries and had a lot of fun along the way. It has been a wonderful way to raise a family, and we still love every minute of our ongoing adventures.


Who Are We?

I’m Rob - a writer, blogger and online marketer who decided to go freelance over 30 years ago. I quit my last day job in July 1988, and have been making a great living as a freelancer and online business owner ever since.


I still love living the digital-nomad lifestyle

I love running my own business, and being my own boss. And since starting my first online business in the 90s, I have enjoyed the freedom to go anywhere and do anything...it’s awesome!


Having an online business gave us the freedom to relocate from London to Sydney (Australia) in 2001. My four children (Ben, Sam, Joe and Jess) were able to live a wonderful Aussie beach lifestyle, enjoying:


  • Surfing after school at the wonderful Central Coast beaches 
  • Four-wheel driving in the bush and exploring the outback
  • Boating and jet-skiing on beautiful lakes and rivers
  • Skiing and snowboarding in the spectacular Snowy Mountains 
  • Amazing encounters with kangaroos, wombats, penguins and more!

We had a lot of fun in the sun as the kids grew up.

Now that the four children have grown up and set out to live their own, independent lives, I have been able to travel even more, and get back to being a true digital nomad.

 

In 2014, I sold all of my physical possessions, keeping only a few essentials that would fit in two suitcases. And then I set off on a new voyage of exploration - first to Europe, and then to the world beyond.

 

Thailand is a digital-nomad hotspot...because it's awesome!

In 2014, I arrived in Thailand and knew that I had found the perfect base for my travels. Beautiful beaches, a low cost of living, lots of fun things to do and a tropical climate. What more could you ask for?


Now I continue to travel the world - using Thailand as my base, but getting to explore many new countries every year. Being a digital nomad is a wonderful way to live your life.


Second-Generation Digital Nomads

Now we have become a two-generation digital nomad family. Two of my children have gone on to create their own location-independent incomes. They are able to live in dozens of different countries and enjoy lives of exploration and adventure.


Networking in the pool with Ben

When my oldest son, Ben, was 15, I helped him launch his first eBook on ClickBank. Now he has grown this teenage side hustle into a whole business empire.


He is high-volume Platinum Partner with ClickBank, and now we have the pleasure of working together to create new digital products.

 A recent highlight was our trip to the ClickBank Platinum Summit in Cancun. A whole lot of fun in the Mexican sunshine, plus lots of in-pool networking fueled by Mojitos. What a great way to make a living!


My second son, Sam, has traveled the world for years, earning money freelancing along the way. Now his freelance work with fellow traveler, Cob, has grown into a fledgling video production company, poised for rapid growth:


My other two children, Joe and Jess, haven’t got the digital nomad bug yet, but it’s still early days yet...we’re working on it. But between them they have traveled from Tanzania to Finland, so we get plenty of chances to meet up around the world.


Wherever I Lay My Hat...

It’s now over 20 years since our adventure as the world’s first digital nomad family began.

Exploring Budapest with Sam.

The journey has been a rollercoaster ride for sure, but one with far more ups than downs. I feel privileged to have enjoyed the digital nomad lifestyle for so many years.


I love the fact that we can travel on a whim to any part of the world, and still continue to run our online businesses. As the song says:


“For I'm the type of boy who is always on the roam

Wherever I lay my hat that's my home

I'm telling you that's my home”

All of my non-digital assets still fit into two suitcases with room to spare. But most of the time I travel even lighter than that.

 

All I need is my laptop and a few other essentials in my backpack.

All my physical possessions now fit in two suitcases.

In this amazingly-connected world, I can arrive at a new destination on the other side of the planet, and still be in touch with my employees, freelancers and business partners. 


In the last year alone, I have been able to meet up with family and friends in:

  • London 
  • Bangkok
  • Cancun
  • New Orleans 
  • Chiang Mai
  • Budapest
  • Valencia
  • Singapore
  • Penang
  • Yangon

The year ahead will be even busier. So many places to go, people to meet and things to do!

Exploring Bangkok with Jess


Non-Stop Adventure

Over the years, our family’s digital nomad adventures have gotten us involved in a quite a few extraordinary escapades, including:


  • Getting arrested for ‘smuggling’ a single banana (ouch!) 
  • Catching venomous snakes for a wildlife charity (scary but fun!)
  • Motorbiking the 800 mountain bends from Chiang Mai to Pai (fun!)
  • Destroying half a Buddhist abbott’s worldly possessions (sorry!) 
  • Enjoying a rooftop spa bath in Budapest (great views!)
  • ‘Flying’ in a ‘helicopter’ tuk-tuk through Bangkok (don’t ask!)
  • Seeing the Space Shuttle launch from Cape Canaveral (amazing!)
  • Getting soaked in the world’s biggest water fight (love Songkran!)
  • A road trip along Route 66 (got my kicks!)
  • Going on the run from the Vietnamese police (I can explain!)

Braving the 800 bends to Pai with Joe.

After two decades of this 21st-century lifestyle, I am still enjoying it as much as ever. I am looking forward to new adventures in both travel and business. From Toastmasters Bangkok to stand-up comedy, I am involved in many different ventures.


I intend to keep living my life this way until we become a 3-generation digital nomad family...and then some!


Are you wondering whether blogging is the right career for you? Or whether the digital nomad lifestyle would be a good fit? If you are, I recommend jumping in and finding out for yourself. I certainly have no regrets.

Dave Gilmour doing his best to look like me.

 Maybe I’ll see you on a beach somewhere, and we can share a drink and swap stories. You’ll know when you see me - I’m the guy who looks like Dave Gilmour from Pink Floyd (as random strangers keep telling me on a regular basis).


So give me a shout...the first beer is on me!


How we became the world's first digital nomad family, traveling the world and having lots of adventures along the way. 20 plus years on, we are still loving the life...and now we have second-generation digital nomads!
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