Being a digital nomad is becoming increasingly popular. My instagram is flooded with consultants using technology to earn a living, working remotely in foreign countries, cafes, public libraries and co-working spaces.
Inspired, I started researching the lifestyle of a digital nomad. Whilst I have flexible working conditions in my current role at Salesforce I quickly realised that most digital nomads are not full time employees, and more likely to be contractors. I need to be onsite with customers in Australia (and previously Asia), so the freedom to work in Europe and cafe hop is not feasible.
Rather than discount the concept altogether, I decided to be creative and take the next best option. To be a ‘local’ digital nomad.
Taking 2-3 days out of the office to work remotely in a nearby location. You still get to cafe hop and explore a new part of the world, it’s just a little closer to home (and therefore more likely to be in the same time zone).
My first digital nomad experience took me to Gerringong, which is on the south coast of NSW (Australia), about 2 hours from Sydney.
We were lucky enough to stay at the Soul of Gerringong, an amazing boutique accommodation.
Soul of Gerringong
I can’t rate the accommodation at Soul of Gerringong highly enough. I've never stayed somewhere so lush, beautifully designed and presented.
I was so inspired during my stay there. My creativity was flowing, I was incredibly productive, and the abundance of natural light gave me sustained energy all day long.
The peaceful ambiance of the Soul of Gerringong also elevated my meditation practice. I felt calm, stress-free and in alignment with my truth.
The bed was incredibly comfy, and Joel and I had never slept so well. The shower was full of chemical-free, organic soap, shampoo and conditioner, and the kitchenette had organic tea.
There are two accomodation options at the Soul of Gerringong making it the perfect getaway:
- Cottage: located next door to the Farmhouse, which can be rented separately or in combination with the Farmhouse and includes 3 guest bedrooms.
- Farmhouse + Barn + Cabana
- The Farmhouse has 4 double bedrooms with ensuites in EACH room, perfect for weddings, hens and or couples looking to have a group getaway. It has a gorgeous fireplace, open lounge room, well equipped kitchen and dining room.
- The Barn is a luxury cabin, with it’s own bed, bathroom and kitchenette.
- The Cabana has two bedrooms looking into the pool area.
- And access to the pool, garden and outside dining area.
Food and Cafes around Gerringong
Being plant-based, I was prepared for the food options to be somewhat limited in a seaside village however I was completely wrong!
Joel and I found so many local goodies. Here are our top 4:
The Perfect Break Cafe – Gerringong
We absolutely loved this cafe. The name suits it perfectly, it is the perfect break for any digital nomad or remote worker. Joel's favourite was the Vegan Bean Burrito, and mine was the Vegan Veggie Wrap – SO damn delicious!
We were able to work there for a few hours before heading back to our accommodation.
Wild Patch Cafe – Kiama
Joel and I caught the bus to Kiama on Day 2, as our car broke down and we had to be a little creative in getting from A to B. The bus and train were SUPER easy and accessible from The Soul of Gerringong, and Wild Patch was only a short walk from Kiama train station.
The coffee was great too! It can be hard to find a cafe that doesn’t curdle the soy milk but it wasn’t a problem here.
Our favourite meal at Wild Patch was the Nourish Bowl, So healthy, so fresh and a great combination of flavours.
Dandelion and Mallow – Wholefood Catering
If you’re looking for a special treat I highly recommend Dandelion and Mallow whole food catering. Talk about mouth watering!
Karina, the owner, has a special gift, and her beautiful and calming nature was evident in her food. You can taste the love she pours into her dishes.
We ordered a vegan drop off for 6 people, which consisted of:
- Vegan patties with Green Tahini dressing
- Moroccan vegetable Tagine (my favourite)
- Eggplant, zucchini, pomegranate and minted quinoa
- Chopped summer salad with Tahini and za’atar
- Raw chocolates with orange oil, goji berries and buckwheat
We shared this scrumptious meal with dear friends of ours who had recently moved to Gerringong, and had enough leftovers for the next day.
Karina also has a no plastic policy which I love! So if you’re staying at The Soul of Gerringong the kitchen was equipped with more than enough utensils. And we took some tupperware with us, to bring the leftovers home.
Clay Collective – Gerringong
Coffee, coffee, and coffee! Wowie, the coffee here is the best in town! I adored this local gem, with their cute handmade pottery mugs and cups.
The staff are very hip and friendly.
Joel is a massive coffee snob, and he thought the coffee was on point, hehe.
The tables are a bit small, so if you’re planning on working at this coffee shop, keep your work items minimal (eg. laptop only).
Places to explore in Gerringong:
I had a lot of walks, and experiences on my wishlist, but given our car broke down we were limited to what we could do before and after work hours. However I know this won’t be the last time we visit Gerringong so hopefully I can update this section at a later date.
Summary of my First Digital Nomad Experience
Overall my first experience as a local digital nomad was a huge success.
I thoroughly enjoyed working at The Soul of Gerringong. The ambiance of the location, with the singing birds in the trees and calming energy really elevated my productivity.
I had never felt so calm during and after work, and it was the first time I felt comfortable leveraging my feminine energy at work. I was in flow, focused, empathetic and my creative juices were flowing.
Tips to stay focused
If you’re looking to take your first digital nomad trip here are some tips to stay focused:
- Plan your trip prior. Know what cafes and restaurants you want to visit, and how long it takes to get there (you may need to allow extended travel time in remote locations).
- Ask if you can work for a few hours at a cafe before arriving. Some don’t like guests working for hours and only ordering a few coffees, so it’s best to check!
- Block out lunch in your calendar so you don’t get overbooked with meetings. I have a bad habit of eating lunch at my desk, so blocking this time out has actually helped increase my productivity!
- Leverage time before and after work hours to go sightseeing – again plan this in advance.
- Don’t over plan your stay!!! Allow some time to decompress, relax, practice self-care and enjoy the location.
- Get an early night – be asleep by no later than 10:30pm.
- No “blue light” from 7pm onwards, this includes TV, phone and laptop.
- Meditate and move your body daily
Have you had experience being a digital nomad? Leave a comment below with an outline of your experience.