Olumide Gbenro is a famous digital nomad influencer making a name for himself around the remote work community. He is known across the travel community as a remote work leader who has hosted dozens of virtual and in-person business events across the globe, including Tokyo, Japan.
He’s chosen to call Bali, Indonesia home for now, while his value-driven mission continues to rise by the day.
During the pandemic in early 2020, Gbenro created a premium platform, Globoversity, an education platform aimed at bringing world-class education to the remote work community.
Gbenro shares some of his biggest lessons as a popular digital nomad leader.
It’s not as easy as it looks
Gbenro has been traveling the world for 5 years while working from his laptop. He has traveled and worked in destinations such as Mexico City, Copenhagen, and Berlin and says he’s experienced every level of lifestyle as a digital nomad.
“When I first started out, I was couch surfing so I wasn’t even close to living the luxury lifestyle I live today in Bali. A lot of people romanticize the digital nomad lifestyle but truth is, it can be incredibly challenging financially if you’re not prepared”
Gbenro cautions those considering the lifestyle to focus on building in-demand skills so they can have a solid foundation before jet setting. He says some arrive in Bali and still struggle to build a sustainable business.
“I’ve seen digital nomads come to Bali and have to go home in a few months. If you don’t have a solid income and most importantly a predictable client and customer funnel, you will not survive. Be smart and do what’s best for you”
He’s working to pass a digital nomad visa
As a top leader in the digital nomad community, Gbenro has stepped up to spearhead several crucial initiatives including most recently a formal petition to the Indonesian government to create a digital nomad visa. He’s partnered with local leader Wahyu Taufiq to present the case for such a visa that would both benefit remote workers and locals alike.
“I have been living in Bali a while now and I noticed how so many of us were still on tourist visas. I felt it was right to do something that would benefit our community in the long run.
Respect for culture is paramount
Having lived in Bali for a few years, Gbenro says he’s grown accustomed to the culture and does his best to assimilate. He’s fluent in Bahasa, the Indonesian language and shares his experiences with locals as often as he can. He’s also gone viral several times on TikTok Indonesia.
“Having lived in Bali for a while I’ve embraced learning the language head-on. For me traveling isn’t just about being a consumer and using the lands and people in which I inhabit. I’m friends with many local Balinese business owners and love grabbing a bite with them on a regular basis.”
Gbenro suggests foreigners also put in extra effort, beyond just saying hello at restaurants and when receiving a service. He’s led several efforts to raise funds to support local families challenged due to lack of tourism.
“Bali is a tourist town, I get it but people who live here on a long-term basis could be doing more. Try to see how you can help a local family, or maybe even spend a little more time at a local restaurant versus high-end beach clubs.”
The future of digital nomads is bright
Despite the challenges that Gbenro has faced, as well as intercultural challenges that occur in the community, he remains hopeful. He believes the golden age of remote work is only just beginning.
“We’re just seeing the beginning of a new culture and there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed. I’m excited to partner with others to create a positive impact in both the digital nomad community and the local populations we live in. I see a possibility for harmony if we respect local people and continue to give value.”