- Name: Patrick J. O’Hara
- Age: 56
- Profession: Self-employed (Portfolio Mgr for a content marketing firm & p/t recruiter)
- Location: Houston (for now) – we would be back in Mexico if not for my in-laws’ health concerns
- Home page: www.oharapp.com
Tell us about yourself!
Can you say something about the background for your lifestyle choice? What motivated you? What kind of considerations did you make?
My wife and I decided to sell everything and move to Grecia, Costa Rica in 2016/2017. We were both recruiting at the time; it was our first experience working remotely as well. We were motivated by my wife’s friend and former co-worker and his wife – they had moved to Costa Rica and written a book about their experiences.
Our main consideration was fast, reliable internet; that is still a top priority whenever we explore other places to live and work. After internet, we consider other things such as cost of lodging/food, weather, things to do, visa status, travel insurance, etc.
Can you describe a day in your life?
We work remotely from Midtown in Houston right now. There are a lot of things to see and do, but Houston was home to both of us for many years. We are grateful to be working remotely, but we still have a passion to live and work outside of the U.S.
When we have lived and worked in Costa Rica, Spain, Croatia, Italy and Mexico, our days are much different. We work hard, but then we feel like we are on vacation every non-working moment. We love to explore new places and experience new things, even here in familiar Houston. But we REALLY love to do these things in foreign countries!
What inspired you to decide to live and work as a digital nomad?
Work-life balance and the freedom to travel – those are what inspire us.
What’s the most challenging part of your lifestyle?
I’m relatively “under-employed” in my current roles.
I can make much more in a traditional role here in Houston, but I would never go back. So we make choices to live as frugally as we can in the States. Of course, the money we earn in our remote jobs goes much further in other countries, and we are looking forward to being able to do that again.
Healthcare is the biggest challenge for us, and our monthly premiums are ridiculous in the States.
Have you ever had any regrets about becoming a “free agent”?
None – the only regret is that we didn’t do it much sooner!
How do you promote your services?
For recruiting, I have a premium LinkedIn account. My other role requires no promotion from me, but the company I contract with does have a marketing team.
Do you have any tips on how to work efficiently from home?
Make a comfortable, efficient working space that precludes distractions. Also, I’ve found it very effective to work hard for 50 minutes each hour. Then I take the next 10 minutes to exercise, do chores around the house, pay bills, whatever… Then I get back to working hard for the next 50 minutes and repeat the process. I’m convinced that I’m much more productive doing this compared to working in a traditional office setting.
What are your favorite tools (on,- as well as offline) for organizing your work?
Laptop, 2 monitors and a cell phone!
How do you keep yourself inspired in your work?
Looking forward to the experiences, both planned and unplanned, that our lifestyle affords.
What is your absolute favorite thing about working like you do?
Living and working in foreign countries! There are plenty of other benefits about working remotely, but our travel experiences are far and away our favorites.
Describe where you live, what are your favorite things about the location?
Midtown Houston is just adjacent to Downtown. There are a lot of unique bars and restaurants, and we are very close to so much Houston action. We have “date night” every Wednesday, always exploring new experiences, locations and restaurants/bars.
What is the one advice you want to give anyone considering taking the leap into the life of a digital nomad?
RESEARCH! This is especially true if considering a foreign country. One of the best resources is Facebook; there are usually multiple expat pages and groups no matter what city and country is being considered. I would strongly recommend making a DO/DO NOT list that covers every conceivable topic (e.g., currency, language, customs, food/drink, activities, etc…). While it is nice to learn from one’s mistakes, it’s SO much better to learn from others’ mistakes!
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