By the age of 30, Jared Polites gained experience spanning multiple countries and job titles. These range from being an intelligence analyst with the FBI to working in Southeast Asia and obtaining a master’s degree at a prestigious university in France. Throughout, Jared managed to visit 50 countries and create a lifestyle that fit his ultimate goal of travel and flexibility.
While not all of these early jobs were lucrative in a financial sense, the journey was rich in lessons, experiences, and friendships. Eventually, Polites struck entrepreneurial success as an early consultant and marketer in the blockchain industry. In just a couple of years, he managed to book over $1 million in sales as a freelance consultant.
Currently, Polites lives roughly half of the year in Europe and the other half traveling around the world. Throughout this nomadic life, he has created a system for remote working efficiency that involves ultimate flexibility with maximum output.
To learn more, we spoke to Jared about his journey and lifestyle.
- What are some surprising things that come with the nomad life?
Polites: For one, I have never owned my own car and or home. When things change so quickly, you learn to adapt and become ultra-flexible. Minimalism works well with this lifestyle as a result. The less you have, the faster it is to move.
Secondly, you will find yourself with a bunch of friends and contacts all over the world, but very few close friends that live in your current home base. I have been lucky enough to build a strong network where I currently live, but in general, you see your global friends only a few times per year.
Let’s just say I don’t expect a lot of wedding invites as a result, but that is fine.
- What are some common challenges?
Polites: Contrary to popular belief, moving becomes one of the easier tasks after the first few moves. The most annoying is time zone differences, which can quickly make for a 12-15 hour workday if you need to take calls in different time zones.
Payments were traditionally a headache but have become much easier in recent months. Paypal is commonly used, as well as various digital banks such as Revolut. I would say healthcare can be challenging, but the reality is that healthcare is much more affordable out of the United States, so anything is a win comparatively if you happen to need it while abroad.
If you move around often enough, visas also do not become an issue as you can maintain your tax residency in your home country since you likely will not reach at least half of a year spent in one place. Overall, most challenges can be solved with a little effort.
- What is the most important thing you have learned on this journey?
Polites: For one, conflicts are much easier to deal with face to face. It is much easier for a client to simply not pay you if you are halfway around the world and have never met in person. When you are in the same social circles, live in the same city, or even share common citizenship, this risk is drastically reduced.
To avoid this, make sure your contracts are very thorough and include provisions that make your client’s jurisdiction liable to process any disputes. Also, have clear payment terms, deliverables, and expectations. Also, work on referrals as much as possible.
- Do you think a nomadic life is sustainable?
Polites: In short, yes. As long as your business is successful, it is very possible. I know multiple families that have young children and continue to live this way. In many ways, the nomadic lifestyle tends to be cheaper than living full-time somewhere, especially in a high-cost-of-living city like New York or San Francisco.
I do think, at some point, it would be nice to have a home base where you can store your collected belongings and build into a home that feels like home. This should be when you are ready, though. I know a lot of people that have bought homes only to have the homes own them. Mortgages, maintenance, upkeep, and other expenses can add up quickly.
When you are renting or even finding short-term solutions, you will never need to worry about some variable expenses like replacing a roof, window, heating unit, etc.
- If you could change something, what would it be?
Polites: I do think there is a general lack of mobility offered internationally between countries for people that want to settle down for the medium-term. For example, tourist visas are great if you are staying somewhere for up to 90 days, but what if you wanted to reside somewhere for 5 or 6 months straight? This is where things get tricky.
Also, even though we are experiencing a rapid increase in remote opportunities within traditional companies, I would love to see a radical shift that makes this the norm. There need to be better-aligned incentives for a generation that wants to control their time.