By Adam J. Carswell
Adam J. Carswell is entrepreneur, social media rock star, Liberland show host
dream chasers host and a lot more.
This article really hit me right in the heart after just going throw a breakup
and then just throwing yourself out in the world towards freedom and greatness.
This is Digital nomad in newfoundland.
Listen to the audio version of this article here:
After a painful yet liberating breakup with the woman I thought I was going to marry,
I packed everything up and moved from Mountain View,
California to St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. May 2, 2019, was the start of my digital nomad lifestyle.
I grew up in Cleveland, OH, went to college in Western Pennsylvania, and
studied for two years in Belize. Additionally, I have lived in Washington, D.C., and
most recently lived in Silicon Valley. So far, I have traveled to ten
countries and am now looking to expand that list dramatically.
At the time of my nomadic transition, I had been working remotely
for two commercial real estate investment firms (Asym Capital and Concordia Realty).
I manage investor relations, media marketing, and strategic positioning for both companies.
Asym and Concordia conduct business throughout the United States, so I
realized my work was clearly not bound to one specific location. In addition, I host
the Liberland Show and Dream Chasers podcast. With Liberland I meet
people from all over the world, some living similar lifestyles.
Although the guests from Dream Chasers are more US centric, lots of them are
digital entrepreneurs as well. The combination of the breakup, and how I
had crafted my job responsibilities made it the perfect time to jump.
Since moving to St. John’s, my daily workflow has hardly skipped a beat.
Except for the fact that I am now an hour and a half (don’t forget the
weird half hour in there) ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
I have strategically moved to scheduling calls via WhatsApp, FaceTime Audio, and Zoom Meeting
to avoid the expense of international calls. Before leaving the US, I switched
my cell phone service provider to GoogleFi, which had the best international
plan at that time. The rates are great, and I use it when I have to, but nothing beats free.
Upon leaving California, I donated nearly my entire wardrobe and became a minimalist.
My wardrobe now consists of about 10 shirts, 4 pairs of pants, and 3 shorts.
This was an excellent nomadic lifestyle decision, but it did
come back to haunt me one time. In late May, I had my first business trip
outbound from St. John’s to Las Vegas. I realized that I
had donated my suits and no longer owned any formal business attire.
A couple of days before my trip, I stopped by a local Salvation
Army to scrape together what I could, but did not find much. To make things worse, when I landed in Vegas I realized I had completely forgotten my “new clothes” in Canada. The trip was to attend the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) RECON, which is billed as the world’s largest shopping center and retail real estate convention. Ninety percent of the male attendees wear suits or sport coats, and the other ten percent certainly do not dress down. With quick thinking I was in front Goodwill at the crack of dawn, waiting for them to open. Once inside, I grabbed a blazer, two dress shirts, two pairs of slacks, and held my breath as I walked into an environment that I was definitely intimidated by at the moment. By the end of the conference not only did I completely impress my boss at Concordia Realty, Michael Flight, but I taught myself a valuable lesson: Goodwill is amazing, and digital nomads should still own at least one suit or a nice pair of slacks with a sport coat.
In June, I dyed my hair pink, white, and green in honor of one of the more celebrated flags in Newfoundland. Although their provincial flag is red, white, blue, and yellow, Newfoundlanders strongly identify with a pink, white, and green flag. The internet will tell you it is the unofficial flag of the Republic of Newfoundland, but an Islander will tell you otherwise. By embracing the pride of the culture, I began making new friends rapidly. Memorizing the lyrics to “Roving Newfoundlander” by Shanneyganock and “The Islander” by The Navigators certainly helped as well.
Newfoundland was the perfect destination to begin a digital nomad journey for a few reasons. One reason was that I had already visited multiple times before. Friends that I had made while studying in Belize, had relocated to Newfoundland in 2015 to continue their studies. They still reside in St. John’s to this day, and are my current roommates.
I have never been to Ireland, but it is common knowledge that the people there are very friendly and love to have a good time. This is the exact same energy emulated by my fellow Newfies. The island is very much influenced by the Irish and has many Irish descendants. I have been to a few other Canadian provinces, but Newfoundland sure is its own special place. Newfoundland is a very affordable place to live. Our 5-bedroom house, which is in one of the most desirable locations in the city, rents for $1900 US per month. The island itself has a population of roughly 500,000 with 200,000 living in the St. John’s metropolitan area. It is not difficult to make a name for yourself here if you come with a purpose.
Another topic worth covering; it was very easy to set up a Canadian bank account. All that was needed was proof of residence, and to be honest, the bank did not even take a look at the document I brought in to set up the account.
It is currently the middle of summer, the most beautiful time of the year to be here. The terrain resembles something similar to what one would find on a Star Wars planet. Extremely unique and picturesque. Additionally, George Street Festival is held in the summertime, Canadians from other provinces are in town vacationing and sight-seeing, luxury yacht owners arrive daily at the Water Street harbor, and everyone is running around in the sun because it is a “super-hot” 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25.5 Celsius). The fun and beauty comes to a halt, however, especially once October rolls around.
A cabbie once told me St. John’s is the third windiest city in the world. Without hesitation, I immediately agreed with him. When the St. John’s temperature starts dropping, it’s probably going to be even easier to agree with his statement. Because of this, I am currently doing my research. By January it will be time to move on to a new country; preferably one that has Spanish as its primary language. Hablo poquito, pero quiero practicar mas. Recomendaciones son bienvenidas!
It has been the experience of a lifetime here as an Islander, and I will continue to maximize my stay. It may not be the most exotic middle-of-the-jungle or Singapore-esque digital nomad location to live, but it is a great environment with great people and loads of fun to be had. Thank you for investing your time in this article, and as they say here in Newfoundland- this is it, by!
Adam J. Carswell is the Director of Media and Investor Relations for Concordia Realty and Asym Capital. He currently lives in St. John's, Newfoundland, an island off of Canada's Atlantic coast. Adam hosts two podcasts: Dream Chasers and the Liberland Show, and is the creator of the BANG Professional Development Courses for individuals looking to jumpstart their careers.