How to Work from (Anywhere But) Home

While he was a university student in the Netherlands in 2009, Pieter Levels started an electronic music channel on YouTube that he says became popular enough to pay the bills even after he graduated. Still, something wasn’t quite right.

“Most of my classmates became management consultants, investment bankers, and meanwhile, I had my music channel, and I really liked that,” says Levels, who is now 28. “Life was really good, but it got a little boring, to be honest, because everybody was so busy working.”

Levels, who had studied abroad in Korea, says he came to realize there was no particular reason why he had to operate his music business from the Netherlands. “I flew to Bangkok and, yeah, I just continued to do my music channel for a year,” he says. He used his blog to document his journey, which included exploring scenic islands and checking out state-of-the-art coworking spaces in places like Singapore and Hong Kong.

After a stop home briefly last year, Levels returned to Asia and launched a new project: A series of web services geared to helping “digital nomads” like him. Digital nomads are people who launch startups or do remote freelance work while seeing the world, in places like Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, or Latin America, where they can pay less to live better than they could at home. Many of these itinerant expats, says Levels, are writers, bloggers, and other workers in the digital economy—”mostly developers, designers—think front-end design, back-end development, software stuff.”

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