Digital Nomad Lifestyle with Jason Barnard

Published on CraigCampbellseo October 9, 2019 (Craig Campbell)

C: Welcome to today’s podcast. I am joined by another podcast specialist if you like, Mr. Jason Barnard. Jason, thank you for taking the time to come out of your travels.

J: Thank you for having me.

C: It’s good to be able to interview you for a change rather than you interviewing everyone else.

J: It’s going to be an interesting experience.

C: Yes. I’m not going to sing a song to you though, I don’t do that. I’ve been told actually my singing is awful. That was in the karaoke in Brighton, Jerry White and what not said please stop so I don’t have the voice that you’ve got. So I can’t do that.

C: Jason, for anyone that is unaware of what you do, who you are. I’m sure you don’t need an introduction to most, but can you just give the audience a bit of background about what you do and all that stuff?

J: Yeah, well I actually come from music, I’m a double bass player by trade. I played double bass for eight years in a band, it was a funk-punk band in the 90’s. That was really good fun. And then I moved onto cartoons, I was a blue dog in a kids cartoon for about 10 years when I was living in Mauritius. So, I was a remote worker, a nomad even then. And the last eight years I’ve been working just on digital marketing. And this last year I decided to go, digital nomad, full digital nomad, gave up my flat, put all my stuff into storage in the south of France and set off around the world just living in hotels. I don’t have a flat, I don’t have anywhere to go back to. And it’s a great laugh.

C: Yeah, it looks fun. I’ve been watching your journey, and obviously met up with you in a few different places along the way. I think there was a weird one, I can’t remember exactly where you were.

J: Yes, I got a hotel room in Budapest and it was right opposite the Basilica, and they set up a stage during the day and then started practising playing classical music. And I was having a bath, so I did a little video starting with my feet with this classical music playing in the background, and then panned around and looked outside the window and you could see the Basilica with the stage and this classical orchestra playing music just for me and my bath.

C: It’s nice to see things like that happening though, and obviously when you’re travelling it just makes it all look cool and a lot more fun.

J: Yeah, a lot of it is I get hotels in places that I think are going to be interesting and I wander around quite a lot. And I bump into music perhaps more than I would have expected, but I think it’s because I’m paying attention and looking for that kind of thing. So, I’ve seen some great music in the streets and turned up in clubs. I saw an amazing jazz band in St. Petersburg when I was there, completely by luck.

C: So, first off I want to talk to you about your podcast before your music.

J: Okay.

C: Your podcast started in January 2019 and that was your first ever podcast, am I right?

J; Yeah, well I’d been doing the webinar series with Anton, who kindly came on the first episode with Barry Shorts and Andy Drinkwater to get it going. We did 15 episodes, one a week, all about answer engine optimization, which Dawn Anderson calls assistive engine optimization. And then when that ended I kind of thought what can I do next.

J: Sam Rush didn’t want to do another series of webinars because it was already too much, so I just thought I’d record a podcast. And the nice thing about a podcast, several nice things about podcasts. One is I get to talk to really smart people like yourself and learn loads from them. The other is that it’s a really good excuse for me to travel around the world and go to all these conferences.

J: And another one I was talking to, Andrea Volpini and Gennaro Cuofano from Word Lift in Italy brought up that somebody or an organization has a group of people around them … it brings things forward in a really, really positive manner. And with all these interviews you can see those connections being made and creating conversation, and it’s really, really interesting from my point of view that obviously the podcast is a small part of this entire industry coming together and sharing all that information, which is brilliant.

J: I was talking to Bill Slawski on Twitter the other day, I mean how much incredibly interesting information does he bring and share? And then Dawn Anderson and yourself and myself, Ross Tavendale, Gennaro and Andrea. All these people sharing information very generously and very kindly and in a very friendly manner.

C: Yeah, I think the way you do it is done in a friendly manner. There’s not too much structure to it. It’s just a relaxed conversation about a subject that you think will fit your podcast.

J: In fact, I ask the guest what do they want to talk about, what do you get enthusiastic about? Because I get enthusiastic about pretty much anything if somebody else is really into it. And as you say, it’s unstructured, we start the conversation on a particular point and then it kind of wanders its way through the topic. And lots of really interesting ideas come up that neither person I think expects.

C: So, how many of these podcasts have you recorded? It’s obviously October 2019 and I know I think when I last spoke to you, or at some point, it was actually like in the first half of this year you had done around 60 plus at that point when I had a conversation with you. Where are you at now with it?

J: Well, I slowed down a little bit in August because August is a slow month in general and I was trying to record an online course that I’m going to sell, which is all about brand SERP’s, how to optimize your brand SERP’s, how to make them sexy, positive and reflect your brand message. So, I kind of took it back and only did one episode a week. Now I’m at about 76, but I’ve got another 15 just waiting to be released now that I recorded at Brighton SEO, so I’m up to 90. Probably by next week I’ll be up to 100, and I would expect by the end of the year to be at 130 maybe.

C: Amazing. So I take it you’re going to these events and just bulk finding everyone you can, or everyone you would like to have on and just grabbing them all at like Brighton SEO, or whatever world you meet.

J: Yeah, I mean I arrange a lot of them beforehand, but even the ones I arrange before hand, if I arrange five, I only manage to find two or three people. So I’ve learnt that you just grab who’s ready whenever they’re ready who wants to have a chat. And as you said earlier on, it really is recording a conversation between two people, one of whom is incredibly enthusiastic about a very specific topic and knows loads about it, and the other one, which is me, who’s incredibly interested to learn about it.

J: And it’s a really nice format. Also because we’re face to face, I do all my podcasts actually sitting opposite somebody, and that gives it a really nice vibe because it makes it much more friendly, much more like a conversation from my point of view. And in Brighton, in fact, I did quite a lot because I was doing the live fee for Authoritas. They do a live feed of the main stage. And then during the breaks, we were recording people like Greg Gifford for example on YouTube, on the YouTube livestream. And that was a really good live.

Tel Aviv SEO Meetup

C: Yeah, I think when you couple it in with things like that then it’s a good laugh. And obviously you’re saying you’re hosting the Authoritas livestream. I know that we met in Tel Aviv, and I’m not even sure, were you supposed to be … yeah, you were supposed to be on the panel, but you ended up having to take over the stage when the equipment failed and stuff like that. So, I think even when you’re doing all this travelling and stuff, you’re getting yourself in the right places. Do you see an impact from travelling and getting that exposure? Is that working out well for you?

J: Well the major impact is how much I’ve learnt. I mean I just did three meetings with clients the last couple of days and I just sit down to them and explain several theories that I’ve got. One is I explain to them how Google ranking functions from the conversation I had with Gary Illyes. And that makes sense to loads of people and it changes, people who don’t know much about SEO can understand how that functions and they can understand the importance of rich content, to get those rich elements of the video, the features that fit the images and podcasts and others, as Google becomes a multimedia engine, a multimedia SERP.

J: And that makes a lot of sense to people who aren’t even in the digital marketing world. And then you go onto that and you say when you’re creating new content, you’re looking to create understanding for Google. You’re looking to convince it that you’re a credible solution, and you’ll want to make sure that you have the content. If you have the solution that’s best for its user, you need to have the content in the format that is deliverable for Google. So, all you need to look at now from a content creation point of view is understanding credibility and deliverability.

J: And another really nice point that Jono Alderson made is rather than thinking about a content strategy, let’s start thinking about a solution strategy. We’re producing solutions for people, we’re producing solutions for Google’s users, the problems that they have. And if we look at it from that point of view, we’re saying when I create this piece of content, what solution am I presenting and what format should that solution be to satisfy Google’s user if I want to reach out and touch Google’s user as it were?

C: Yeah.

J: That’s a year of just thinking about all this stuff and listening to all the people on the podcast come up with these explanations that make a lot of sense and really help people move forward without thinking too much about the technical aspects, which is I think what scared a lot of people from the old-style SEO, moving it more into the marketing area that people can really get a grip on.

C: I think it’s great, especially if you’re learning and you’re able to talk to clients and everything, it’s an amazing experience.

Jasons Podcast

J: Yeah. The second advantage, you were saying what does the podcast bring, the podcast has also brought credibility for me in terms of my clients. And they’re saying if he’s hanging out with Bill Slawski, Dawn Anderson, Craig Campbell, he must be smart. And they stop arguing about the prices. So when I say to them it’s this much, they just say yeah great and they sign.

J: And the other thing is people look my name up, and this is really interesting, every single client I’ve signed in the last year has looked me up on the internet. They type into Google Jason Barnard, and what comes up is what I’ve maybe not controlled, but strongly influenced to get the knowledge panel and all those rich elements. And they just go, “Yeah, you look like you know what you’re talking about.” The SERP is incredibly convincing and very positive.

J: And obviously I’ve been working on it myself to make it look that way, which is why I’m now obsessed with brand SERP’s, what comes up when somebody types your brand name. You want to control it, you want to make it positive and you want to make it reflect your image. Because people are doing that so often these days. And not only your potential future clients, but your existing clients. You need to keep them on board by looking groovy and sexy in your SERP.

C: It is, it’s the first thing … and you see a lot of people having egos about their brand and stuff and just assume that everyone loves them and everything is positive. But very much that’s now always the case, so I think it’s a really good angle for you.

J: Yeah. And a lot of brands don’t want to look at their SERP. And Jono Alderson once again said they don’t want to look the ugly baby. I really like it, and they do, they hide their head in the sands and they’re thinking, “It doesn’t look very good, but I just want to look at it, because if I don’t look at it, it might go away.” Which it doesn’t of course.

C: Yeah, I think it’s a great way that Jono’s put that. So, as I say that’s good to hear you’re learning. But while you’re on the road, you’re doing a lot of other stuff as well, like going to see a Papa Roach gig and various other things that you’re probably seeing like the band in Budapest while you’re having a bath, and you’re doing all sorts of things that you thoroughly enjoy doing.

C: And what I would like to ask is obviously you’re a music man and you’re going to see bands that you like through just where you are and you’re checking all that stuff out. How does being able to do what you really enjoy on top of travelling and bettering yourself and getting knowledge, does that make you work better? Does it make you more efficient being able to have that freedom? What’s it like?

Retaining Clients as a Digital Nomad

J: I like the word helping me be more efficient. Because I’ve kept my clients and I’m still working for them as I trot around the world, I have to be more efficient. I wouldn’t get away with it otherwise. So, I’ve been creating, figuring out ways to be more efficient so that I can travel. And stuff like working on trains, working on planes, I’ve got some great tactics for managing to work as much as possible when I’m actually doing the travelling part so I don’t waste that time.

J: And the other thing obviously being on the road, I can organize my own time. So if I want to go to a gig on a Saturday evening, then I might work the Sunday. And it doesn’t really matter because I don’t have friends in town very often, so nobody’s asking me to go and do something, so I just organize whatever I want to do whenever I want to do it. I just have to be incredibly self-disciplined to make sure I actually get the work done so the clients don’t fire me.

J: And I like the fact you mentioned Papa Roach, it was actually my daughter who invited me. Her Christmas present to me was to go and see Papa Roach in London. And her birthday present to me was to go and see the Stray Cats in Zurich.

C: Nice.

J: It’s lovely. That’s what you get when they’re older. Your baby, how old is he now?

C: Eight months old now.

J: In another 20 years, he’ll be buying you tickets to rock concerts may be.

C: Fingers crossed, I think it sounds like a lot of fun. But yeah, I’m just curious because of the travelling, the podcast, how that related to actually work life. Do you not have any troubles sleeping? For me I do a fair bit of travelling speaking at events and stuff, nowhere near as much as you. But one thing I hate about travelling is some of the hotels you stay in. You get sore backs, and I mean surely you’re not going about there living in the king’s room or the president’s suites in all these hotels?

Where do Digital Nomads stay?

J: No, I’m not. Sometimes I get really, really bad hotels. Sometimes I get really nice hotels. The one in Budapest had a wonderful view and it was a lovely big room with a four-poster bed. It was a really good laugh. And then I was staying in a hostel another type with cockroaches coming out of the bathroom.

J: But if I come back to the time when I was a funk-punk musician playing the double bass travelling around Europe, we would get anything from the world’s worst hotel with a double bed for two people, because they just thought two people, double bed. So I’d be sharing a bed with the drummer. And those really awful mattresses that kind of sag in the middle so you kept rolling together.

J: Or you’d get somebody who said, “Oh, we don’t have your money for the hotel,” so they’d have you sleep on their floor, or a friend’s floor. And I got very used to just saying I’ll make do or mend as we say in English. Take what’s there and do what you can with it. Another thing is I learnt very quickly carrying a towel around when you’re sleeping on people’s floors when the places don’t have towels, which was often the case when we were touring. If you have a wet towel and you put it in your bag, it ends up stinking and everything goes horrible.

J: So, I used to wear a T-shirt a day, and at the end of the day I would sleep in the T-shirt, wake up in the morning, have a shower and dry myself with the T-shirt. And that was my way of dealing with the fact we didn’t have towels.

C: I’m sure you’re not quite as bad as that now, surely?

J: No I’m not, no. Please be reassured. But when there isn’t a towel, that’s still what I do.

C: Yeah. Fair enough. I think I’ve had to dry myself with a few T-shirts in the past, because we forgot towels or whatever. It’s never fun, but it’s something to look back and laugh at.

J; Yeah. And the major problems in fact for me, and so far I’m very proud of myself because I’ve only lost two things, and that’s two jumpers.

C: Ah.

J: And I think that’s pretty good going for eight months on the road. I’ve managed to not lose anything. I keep losing my glasses and then I find them again, but that doesn’t count. And I mean the problem is actually doing the washing, washing your clothes. I turned up in a hotel the other day and I didn’t have any clean clothes. And I used all the shampoo in the hotel, not in the hotel, in my room, to clean my clothes. And I was kind of thinking these people are going to see me, I’m completely bald. And they’ll come in and see I’ve used all the shampoo and they’re going to go, “What?”

C: You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, improvise.

J: Exactly. Well in French we call that System D, which is the same thing as make do or mend. Do what with you’ve got and don’t moan about it.

C: So you’ve been doing this for eight months or nine months, getting into nine months now. After this year, does it stop?

Will the Nomad continue after 1 year?

J: I don’t know. I’ve set myself up for a year and I said to myself I’m going to do this for a year. And part of it is because I was married, I had a kid and I was living in a village in the South of France. And looking at it and thinking why am I here? Why do I need to be here? And the answer is nobody needs to me to be there, I could be anywhere and it wouldn’t matter. And that’s the point at which I thought I’ll just pack everything away, go away for a year and see what happens. And it really was, when you met me in Tel Aviv, you would say you keep turning up at these events, how are you making money? And the answer is I’m working for clients. And you very rightly said maybe you should find a business model that actually manages to fit in the fact that you’re travelling around the world. And that’s exactly what I’m doing, by the end of the year I’ll have done that with this brand SERP course that I will then promote by travelling the world and going to conferences.

J: Not sure if I’m going to get a flat again. I’ll have a good think about that in January. I was talking to my daughter about it and she’s terribly, terribly wise and just said you don’t have to think about it until January, so don’t think about it until January. So I’m not.

C: I think it’s amazing that you’ve done the whole family thing and you’ve got a daughter there and you’ve grown up and you’ve now got this freedom. You’re in a fortunate position there where you don’t have to think about it. No real ties. But I was curious to know if you would keep it going for another year, another six months. Or maybe that might be your life full stop. I see guys like Stuart Rogers and stuff who just doesn’t have a house full stop, travels, sleeps on couches and does actually really love the nomadic lifestyle.

Giving up everything to live as a Digital Nomad

J: I’m like him in the sense that I don’t have a house or a flat or anything, but I’m not like him in the sense that I’ve only been doing it for nine months and he’s been doing it for 10 years or whatever it is. I mean right now, if you were to say to me get a house now and settle down and stop traveling, I would say no. I’m going to get to the end of the year and in January I’ll think about it. I mean in January nothing much happens in the conference world, so I’ll probably be settled somewhere for a few weeks.

J: Then it all gets going again in February. I’ll be doing Search Wide. If you remember that from last year, it was in Disneyland. That’s going to be a great event. They’re going to have trips on the river Seine and big parties. So, it’s going to be another groovy event.

J: And then SEO Camp that you came to in Paris as well. So, it’s going to get going again then and I think by the time … January I’ll think about it, and February I’ll make a decision as to what I’m going to do. I mean who knows, I might fall in love and want to get married again.

C: That’s it, you just need to have a woman brave enough to do that.

J: That’s the incredibly interesting thing this year, I met Kate Toon, who’s from Australia, or lives in Australia. And she said why don’t you come to Australia. And I said why don’t I? And so I went to Australia three weeks later, and just doing things because they seem interesting or a bit different, and doing things on the spur of the moment for no particularly good reason is a really, really, really liberating thing to do. So I mean I’m kind of taking what’s coming and just going with the flow. So, who knows?

Picking the next location as a Nomad?

C: Yeah, I was actually going to ask you about how you actually decided to go from say you’re potentially going to be going to Holland at the weekend or later this week or whenever it is. And then you’ve got Vegas. I was just going to ask you, how are you planning this stuff out? Is it with random conversations and someone like Kate Toon says come to Australia and bang you just go, “Right, I’m coming.” Or, is there a bit organized?

J: No, no, 100%. As you said, my plan is I have no plan. I mean for Holland it was because Arnoud Kellan had said you have to come. All right then. I’m off to Prague for a SEMRush meet up because the people at SEMRush are saying you have to come, it’ll be a really good laugh. Pub Con I’m doing because they invited me to speak. I’m going to Ungagged because I met Damien at the European Search Awards and I was a bit drunk and I said, “Oh, I really want to come to Ungagged. I want to bring my little bass and I want to play a little gig, and I want to bring the podcast, it’d be great.” And he said okay.

J: And then I started organizing the rest of the stuff. And I kind of thought he wasn’t really that interested, and then he wrote to me and said right okay, when you come to Ungagged, that, that, that, that. And I was going oh, I actually did commit to doing that. And I really like it, because it completely doesn’t suit my plans, but because I said I’d do it and because he’s such a nice guy, it’ll be fun.

J: And you never know, when I played in the band, once again coming back to that, people would prepare, people have rider agreements where they have to have comfy chairs and a bottle of whisky. And exactly this kind of food because they want to be 100% prepared for when they get on stage they’re on top form, that their entire psychic being, their entire mental state is perfect.

J: And I realized quite quickly that tired or not, hungry or not, drunk or not, it doesn’t matter. Once you’re on stage, for me at least, the adrenaline kicks in. And the number of times you get it right when you’ve prepared yourself 100%, the number of times you get it wrong when you’ve prepared yourself is about the same as when you don’t. So, I kind of ended up just going “I’ll just turn up and wing it”. Well not wing it obviously, but do it in whatever condition I found myself. And that’s what I’ve been doing with this kind of world tour, is not thinking too much about preparing and planning stuff. Obviously my conference talks I do plan and prepare.

J: And it’s kind of freewheeling I suppose.

C: Yeah. It’s a remarkable thing to do, and as I say, not many people are going to get that opportunity to literally do it properly like you are. You’ve always got the wife or the kids at home. For most people obviously your daughter’s all grown up and all that stuff, so there is no major distractions for that point of view.

J: I love the word opportunity. Sorry, you just nailed it, I interrupted you. But the opportunity, yeah, that really hit home to me as you said it. I’ve got this amazing opportunity, aren’t I lucky?

C: Yeah, you are. You’re very lucky. And seeing all the places you’ve seen just throughout this year, I’m just having a look at some of the places you’ve been to. Zurich, St. Petersburg, Budapest, Prague, Rome, Paris. You’re going to Chiang Mai, LA, New York.

J: Chiang Mai is because you told me it’s cool, so I said all right, if Craig says it’s cool, I’ll go.

Digital Nomads in Thailand

C: There’s loads of guys like you out there. Nomads and stuff. So I think it’s something you’ll really enjoy. I mean certainly from a learning side of things I think you’ll learn a lot. Great people to connect with and these guys are all doing what you do. They just do it in Thailand and Vietnam and stuff and the Philippines. They just roam around for months at a time.

J: When you talked about it that’s what really intrigued me, and that’s what motivated me to go. But the Ungagged event actually threw a spanner in those works because I got a cheap ticket that I can’t change from Paris to Chiang Mai, and then Ungagged is just before so I’m going to be in Los Angeles. Instead of going the sensible way around from Los Angeles to Chiang Mai, I’m going all the way back to Paris and then hopping the next day straight to Chiang Mai. So, for jet lag that’s going to be a real killer.

C: Yeah.

J: I’m going to be really unhappy when I get to Chiang Mai.

C: Well, that’s the next thing I want to talk to you about. So obviously we’ve spoken in the last few days about recording this podcast, and I’m in America and talking about jet lag and stuff. Is that something you easily can overcome, that you’re not finding problems with timezones and stuff like that?

J: No, I haven’t had any problems at all. I mean when I went to Australia, no problems at all, that’s a lie actually, sorry. I had one night where at three o’clock in the morning I just couldn’t sleep. But other than that, I’ve had absolutely no problems with my body clock. I don’t know, maybe I’m just lucky and my body just goes, “Okay, it’s light, let’s get up.” Mind you, that might be something to do with Mauritius, be in Mauritius is gets dark at six in the evening and light at six in the morning every single day of the year. And it’s sunny every single day of the year. And you wake up, look out the window and go, “Oh, not another sunny day in paradise.”

C: I would love to have that problem.

J: In Mauritius everything is done by day and night. And I don’t know, maybe that helps. But having said that, I haven’t had any problems so far. When you look at the next few months, as you said, Holland … it’s actually going to be Prague, Holland, Las Vegas, Copenhagen, New York, Los Angeles, Chiang Mai, and then I’m going to go to the Ukraine. And then I’m going to Malta, which I forgot to put on the list. I think that chunk there with Holland, Las Vegas, Copenhagen, New York, Los Angeles, Chiang Mai is going to be the test. And after that I will tell you, A how stupid I’ve been, and B how tired I am.

C: Yeah. That’s also another thing, travelling does drain you. I don’t care who you are, I always seem to do a bunch of events very close together where I’m literally on the road for a month or whatever and by the time I come back I’m just dead.

J: I haven’t actually done that with loads of events very quickly one after the other, so you actually know what you’re talking about and I don’t, so it may well be that I’m talking absolute rubbish and that over the next few months your wise and experienced self will be able to laugh at me suffering from exhausting. You’ll be able to laugh at me heartily for my foolish naivety.

Any negatives of the Digital Nomad Lifestyle?

C: It’s more of a jealous laugh to be honest. So, you speak about all the positives and obviously you sound very happy in doing what you’re doing. Is there any negatives to this at all?

J: Socks.

C: Socks?

J: I never have enough socks. And I keep losing them, so I keep having odds socks, and that’s a bit annoying. No, the downside is trying to keep my clients happy. That’s the real toughie, because obviously they’re paying me for consulting and if they’re happy they pay me, and I have to do the work while I’m on the road, whilst I’m also doing the conferences and the podcasting and writing articles. So I’m over-committed a lot of the time, but I kind of like that, it’s kind of how I function.

J: The last two mornings I had meetings with clients and I hadn’t really prepared properly, so I would prepare the evening before from about 10 o’clock. I don’t go out, so I’ve got quite a boring life from that point of view. And then I get up at six in the morning and finish preparing and walk into the meeting with the stuff I’ve just prepared. And in fact it works quite well because it’s all very fresh in my mind, so I can just kind of go, “Here you go, that, that, that, that, that, that, that.” And it’s worked out pretty well up until now. And like with the jet lag, one day I’m going to get caught out and I’ll trip up, and then I’ll go okay, this isn’t working anymore, and have to change plans.

J: But honestly speaking, the only real problem I feel may a little bit bad about is every now and then I get a bit lonely. Mm-hmm.

J: Not too often, but every now and then you kind of think I’m all on my own. And even though you know you’ve got friends and you know you’ve got family and you know you’ve got people who care about you, you’re kind of sitting there on your own in your hotel room looking out the window with this deep cartoony sigh going on.

C: Yeah. Another thing I would imagine it to be, I’ve got lots of people back home who say to me, “You’re living this crazy life and speaking at events over the last few years.” And there is a lonely element to it when you’re in a country where you don’t know anyone and staying in a hotel that’s not that comfortable and the food’s crap. And I totally get that, it can be a lonely thing. It would be amazing if you could travel with your friend or partner or whatever.

J: I saw your wife and baby boy at Brighton, and that was a moment where I thought it would be lovely having somebody I love along with me, my girlfriend if I had one. But that idea of sharing it with somebody. Simon Cox was saying he loves having out with his wife, because she shares the experience of the events with him. So I saw both you and Simon, and sighed deeply on my own in my hotel room afterwards.

Seeing the world as a Nomad

C: Yeah, it’s a great way for us to travel, that’s the way I look at it while the baby’s young. And I think it was Gareth Hoyle that actually said to me take full advantage because by the time he has to go to school when he’s four or five, it becomes a problem taking him out of school and all of that stuff. He didn’t come to France, he didn’t have his passport at the time I was in France. But he’s been to Israel, Portugal. He’s been to eight different countries now and he’s only eight months old, so it’s great for him to just do that stuff, and he travels no problem at all. It’s really weird.

J: I was trying to calculate, if he’s done eight in eight months, by the time he’s 18 he’s going to be at like 400. There aren’t 400 countries so he’s pooped isn’t he?

C: He’s not doing that until he’s 18. I think for me I’ve done a lot of talking in the last few years and I think I’m going to cut it back a bit going forward. I’ve spoken at a lot of places and seen a lot of the world, but I’m probably going to be more selective in where I go now.

J: Gareth makes a really good point, when he’s young, travel. But then you’re going to be forced to be more selective afterwards.

C: Yeah. I think physically you can’t do this for year on year. You see people like Dawn Anderson and stuff who used to do a lot more talking than she currently does. And then ended up with a severe dose of laryngitis or whatever it was she had. Probably a lot of that is down to just exhaustion, trying to do work, travel. So, it’s certainly no laughing matter, it’s not some jolly up all the time. Especially, people will probably look at you and go, “This guy’s traveling here there and everywhere and sitting on the beach or whatever.” And obviously that’s not the case, you’ve got client work to do and stuff like that.

C: So, it’s not all plain sailing as people on the outside may see it, although the job for you is to make sure that you give everyone that impression, because you’re not going to post you typing out big emails or whatever at 3:00 AM. It’s cool to do the sunshine thing and play up, so I think a lot of people have that misinterpretation that all is good.

J: You know what, I would actually like to have … you were saying are there any negative sides and I just said sometimes a bit of loneliness and socks. But when I’m posting, and posting an honest view of my time, obviously I don’t post the depressed parts where you’re sighing and getting lonely, but for me this has been I would say 98% positive.

C: Yeah.

J: The negative stuff has been very small, short lived, and everything else is just brilliant. I wake up in the morning, I’m pretty chirpy and cheerful.

C: I think, yeah, it’s what you make of it as well.

J: Yeah.

C: I think obviously you’re a cheery, happy-go-lucky type of guy. That’s the impression I get from you anyway. But as I say, it’s great to see someone actually doing it and taking it by the scruff of the neck.

J: Yeah, well I’m so cheery, chirpy and cheerful one of my girlfriends years ago chucked me. And when I said why she said because you’re so bloody cheerful in the morning and I can’t stand it anymore.

C: Jeez.

J: Actually I can relate to it when I look at myself. You kind of think about it, you’re going it must be really annoying if you’re tired or you’re waking up or if you’re somebody who wakes up quite slowly. Having somebody who’s bouncing around like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh, getting really excited about what’s going to happen next. It must be fairly difficult to deal with.

C: Yeah, but you’ve got to weight up the option. Do you want some groaning moaner waking up every day grump and all that? I would much rather have it the other way, chirpy and cheery.

J: Well I agree with you, and I think she should have stuck with me. But oh well, can’t win them all.

C: Maybe it’s was the double bass. Maybe it was the signing. Maybe it wasn’t the chirpy and cheeriness.

J: Maybe she was just jealous of my double bass, because I use to hug it and dance with it so much and she got jealous.

C: That could be it. That could be it. Or it could be the fact that you wash your clothes in shampoo.

J: That’s a secret I never should have let out.

C: Yeah, you’re going to get ribbed for that for a while now. I’m going to make sure that all the usual suspects who enjoying trolling are going to fully hear exactly what you said. I’ll make sure I tag them all in it. That’s hilarious.

J: The bald man who uses more shampoo than John Lennon in his worst hippie days.

J: I was going to say something else there. Right said Fred, not John Lennon. But I said that to you once on a call, but it was too good an opportunity. Someone was talking about singing and I said Right Said Fred, and you’re like, “You rotter.”

J: I don’t mind being ribbed, as long as it’s in good humor. I mean I rib people, people rib me back. I think that’s all part of the joy and the fun. And people like you who do it with good and friendly intentions, wonderful.

C: Yeah. You’ve got to in this industry for me, it’s very boring and it’s always good to be able to give people a bit of stick now and again. I get it constantly as well, so I dish it out and I take it back. And it just makes life more fun.

J: Yeah, I would agree with that. That sounds about right.

C: But sadly, Jason we are out of time from hearing your story. But, for anyone who wants to listen to the podcast or get in touch with you for advice on doing this nomad thing or whatever it may be, consultancy, where’s the best place to find you?

J: Well I’m on Twitter a lot, Facebook a lot. LinkedIn quite a lot. So I’m active on those platforms. I also have my site,, there’s a tab which is digital nomad and there you’ve got, what’s it called? A calendar of where I am. And underneath that there’s also an invitation to jam. I’ve got a little bass with me, and if anybody’s a musician out there and they’re in a town where I happen to be and they want to have a jam, I’m serious up for it. We’re going to do a jam with Bibi the Link Builder in Amsterdam on Saturday. She’s going to play ukulele and sing, “All about the bass, about the bass. No treble, it’s all about the bass, about the bass. No treble.” And I’m going to play the bass.

C: She was good. I’ve seen the video a few months back, and she was surprisingly good. I’m quite friendly with Bibi. Didn’t realize she had that in her locker.

J: She’s great, and we had a little practice online the other day and we’re going to have some more using a thing called Jammer. She’s got a really lovely voice for somebody who’s just learnt on their own without taking music lessons. She’s got a really natural easy way of singing that tugs at your heartstrings when she’s singing away. I love it, I’m looking forward to playing with her a lot as it were. Oh dear, that sounded wrong.

C: As always Jason, it always sounds wrong when it comes out of your mouth.

J: Thanks a lot man.

C: Thank you for taking the time to come out, and I will catch up with you soon.

J: That was absolutely brilliant, I’m really looking forward to seeing you in Las Vegas. Viva Las Vegas.

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