There are many people out there doing similar but not necessarily the same thing, there are different names for them, digital nomads, location independents, remote workers, they also have different ways they make a living and they also live/travel to suit their own individual desires.
There is however one common thread, these people have all created a lifestyle for themselves that enables them to work and live anywhere they choose at any time they choose, a choice I’m sure none have looked back on.
These same people are also at different times of their lives, although it seems from my observations that the majority on more at the beginning of their journey of life rather than in later part of the same.
I fall into the latter category, I’m 54 years young, my youngest child is about to head off to university next year, I have some assets as a financial backup, I’m single and I have a conference and event management business that is set up to be able to work from anywhere, so basically I have some freedom in my life.
So I’m not your backpacking, hop from country to country staying in hostels and couch surfing type of guy. I travel as part of my business throughout the year and I have seen a few countries, albeit for short periods, so the thought of continual travel in my own time is not one that inspires me.
What does inspire me however is finding a community to immerse myself in for longer periods of time. I started this blog whilst living in the French Alps in a small village by the name of Allemont (or Allemond on google maps), a lovely village I spent June and a good part of July enjoying.
I also spent a month here last year, my first trial of the “working from anywhere” way of life. The main reason I choose this area is my passion for cycling but I also enjoy the regional France way of life and I love the French language.
I made a conscious decision to try and connect with the locals, this was made so much easier as I had managed to find a local school teacher (Lionel) that was willing to try and teach me French, a great decision in hindsight, I not only got to learn some French (very slowly) but I also got to meet some locals at the same time.
In the short time I have been here (3 weeks), here is how I have connected with the local community:
Learning the lingo at the local café/bar
All of my French lessons have taken place at a local café/bar rather than in a formal setting, a much more relaxing way to try and learn plus it has the added benefit of being able to practice at the same time (ordering drinks, food etc). At the same time you get to know the café/bar staff and Lionel explained about my efforts to learn French, so now every time I visit the various cafes/bars the staff take the time to allow me to at least try to communicate in their language and mostly help at the same time.
Going it alone at the local bar
I also discovered a very small local bar by myself where the owner ( Carole) speaks a little English (much more than I speak French though), but between us we found a way to have some form of communication. I have since been back there regulary for a couple of beers and a French/English chat with Carole, in doing so I have met other locals at the bar that have also taken the time to have a chat, all with various levels of English and my same poor level of French.
The main discovery apart from the fact that the French people in these small communities are quite welcoming is that they are all quite keen to have the French/English conversation as it i also an opportunity for them to improve their English, so it really is a win win situation.
There are many bars in the main centre of Bourg d’Oisans that have groups of English speaking tourists and visitors that I could go to a strike up a conversation in English but I’ve made a point of hanging out at the places where there are more locals and less tourists, it’s much more interesting.
Really getting into the local spirit at local events
Now I’m not talking about events as in those put on for the visitors, I’m talking the shows put on by the locals for the locals. June is the end of the school year in France before they break for their 2 month summer holidays so it’s the time of year for end of year performances for both the schools and the community other creative groups.
Joining Lionel and his friends after the performances back at Café de Paris gave me the opportunity to meet more of the local people, they were all very welcoming and some became casual acquaintances that I would bump into and join for a drink and a chat from time to time during my stay.
All in all my experience “living” rather than travelling in the French Alps was a special one for me and it was an experience that has confirmed the feeling inside of me that this is my future, the Australian summer in the house on the cliff at the beautiful Tathra on the far south coast of NSW, Australia and the European summer living and immersing myself in the wonderful village of Allemont, France.