Living As A Black Digital Nomad: Christopher Michael
By DeAnna Taylor
Last week, we introduced you to our series that highlights Black travelers who have mastered the digital nomad lifestyle. This week, we spoke with Christopher Michael.
He hails from Dallas, Texas and currently resides in Da Nang, Vietnam with his wife.
We talked to him about the process he went through to become a digital nomad and he’s offering tips to those seeking the nomad lifestyle as well.
Travel Noire: What does being a digital nomad mean to you?
Christopher: To me, being a digital nomad is about reclaiming and redirecting our time and energy into our own pursuits and creating our own agenda outside of the ‘norm.’ It’s about embracing creativity and believing in what you have to offer the world.
TN: How long did it take you to reach official DN status?
Christopher: Quite honestly, it took about a year of straight travel to fully embrace the DN lifestyle. I hadn’t even heard the term prior to leaving the U.S.. Our first year was basically ‘vacation mode’ as were just happy to have “escaped America,” but after savings started taking a toll and we realized that this freedom isn’t free and that we have no intention on giving it up, we began to purse methods of generating income online and officially made that fledgling step to becoming full on DNs!
TN: Walk us through that journey.
Christopher: Before becoming a full-time artist and nomad, I spent close to 10 years as an IBEW electrician (Local 11 Los Angeles). Art was always something that I had a talent and appreciation for, yet I was always restricted to creating on the weekends due to the whole 9-5 setup. I was at work one day working with an older electrician, and
TN: Do you prefer the DN life over standard expat life? Why?
Christopher: I prefer the DN lifestyle much more than the typical traveler, as I do enjoy the stillness in between destinations to allow myself time to paint, draw, make music, etc. Plus, you get a much more immersive feel for the culture when you actually live in places versus just passing through. To each his/her own, but the slower, grandiose, more work-oriented approach to travel life is more my style.
TN: Are you moving again soon? If so, to where?
Christopher: We both just secured one-year visas for Vietnam, so we’ll be based here for the foreseeable future. But Bali has been calling again and I was thinking Japan or Africa for my birthday. That’s the beauty of nomad living, the ability to be anywhere anytime.
TN: Can you offer any tips to those interesting in trying DN life?
Christopher: My tip, is for fellow artists and creatives. This lifestyle was made for you. If you’re any type of creative mind — be it writer, musician, painter, model, photographer, or even if you’ve always aspired to be any of those things — then there’s no better decision that you can make than to travel for a while. You’ll find your creative niche quickly, trust. Also, don’t quit your job abruptly or start talking about quitting your job prematurely. Stack your money and plan your moves amongst yourself and loved ones.
TN: Where can we find you online?
Christopher: You can follow my Travel Journey on Instagram @DiaryOfAMadArtist, shop my artwork and merchandise at AtariArts.com and listen, lease and purchase my beats and instrumentals at Airbit.com/Profile/AtariMusic
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel writer. The Charlotte native recently completed one year abroad working as an English teacher in South Korea. Her hobbies include fitness, traveling to new countries, and trying new foods.