The Digital Nomad Chronicles: Adventrues in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
My new life as a digital nomad is going swimmingly, here in Gran Canaria…
As I write this, I’m sitting in a café on the beach.
The waves are crashing against the shore, a breeze is coming in off the Atlantic, and the sun is beginning to peek through the clouds.
All sorts of people are wandering up and down the promenade – old German couples walking hand in hand, sporty types in various kinds of butt-hugging spandex, some eccentric-looking surfer dudes.
The wi-fi is fast, the women are beautiful, the coffee is strong…
Just another work day on the beach.
Welcome to Gran Canaria
“Pinch me, I must be dreaming” beautiful, actually.
When I arrived on Tuesday morning I was momentarily unimpressed with the whole thing. “What am I doing here? Nearly 2000 km from Madrid in the middle of the Atlantic, in what appears to be some typical Spanish city, maybe a bit more dilapidated, but with a beach.”
Living in the capital goes to your head sometimes. It’s hard to compare anything to Madrid. Because Madrid is awesome.
But after a few days I started to get into the relaxing island groove. Writing in cafés. Walking along the beach.
On day four the sun came out early, and I had an epiphany. I was doing pullups and pistol squats at the south end of Playa de las Canteras. And I realized that if I lived here, I could do this… EVERY DAY.
I could get in shape, synthesize vitamin D, breathe fresh air… and enjoy the walk to the pullup bar in the morning (much more scenic than my walk through el romántico barrio de Tetuán back home).
As we kick it gangsta-style (as only bloggers do) at a pirate-themed beach bar, Sven explains that being a digital nomad is all the rage these days. They’re even in Forbes.
Am I a digital nomad? Maybe.
The night before at dinner, we were eating pizza with a mixed group of online entrepreneurs and language teachers. I’m sitting next to two Irish girls and one of them turns down a second glass of wine “because it’s a school night”. I give her a strange look…
Because honestly, after several months of gainful unemployment, I’ve momentarily forgotten that some people have to wake up on a Thursday morning to go to work.
Another day, Anthony and I go to the center. There’s a Columbus museum (which is a bit boring) and a nice shopping street. Some historical buildings. The view from the Cathedral tower is great.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. We sure ain’t in Kansas anymore…
As we wander the narrow old streets, we’re talking about dedicated practice and how to get good at anything. (Anthony is good at so many things I’m shocked by something new he can do nearly every day we spend together).
As a demonstration, he takes me into a guitar shop, where it turns out he plays multiple instruments. Here he plays the theme song to his Magnetic Memory Method podcast on bass guitar:
(You might remember an episode I did on the podcast where I explained how I used his system of building memory palaces to memorize some vocabulary in Basque: Memory techniques for a language like no other. He also has one about how to memorize Bach on the bass.)
Jimmy is also quite a character. If he could extract his self-confidence and turn it into a pill, I’d pay any price he asked. He walks around like he owns the whole island. Like he’s king of the Canaries (Fernando Guanarteme style, I guess).
He’s all over Udemy with a series of courses about how to be awesome. And you can tell he means it. The energy and enthusiasm he projects is contagious and he manages to get all sorts of people under his spell.
On the other hand…
The dark side of digital nomads and lifestyle design
Of course, being a digital nomad isn’t all fun, games, and drinking on Wednesday (and Thursday, and Tuesday) nights.
I’m trying to figure out some of the secrets of Anthony’s massive success as an author and online educator, and one of them is absolutely clear: He works harder than I do.
No four hour work week for this guy.
Each morning, we sit in the café for a couple of hours, typing away on our respective projects. Then I decide to get up, stretch my legs, take a walk on the beach, get some Vitamin D and check out the scenery.
Anthony keeps working.
After a couple more hours, we go to lunch, where I have wine and Anthony has water. Then, I go back to the beach, and Anthony goes to his hotel… because he’s got more work to do.
I guess it’s not some huge mystery, but hard work and dedication to your craft pay off. Especially if you’re doing it on your own, rather than fattening up your boss’ quarterly results.
But of course, all good things must end. So…
Back to Madrid
A few days later I’m finishing this article back at home in Madrid. It’s a cold, rainy Monday morning. But guess what? I still have no boss, no schedule, and no (physical) students. I can digital nomad it over to the café in a couple hours, then have some lunch, then take a nap.
All in all, it’s a pretty good life. (In any case, “hating Mondays” is the furthest thing from my mind these days. I haven’t felt that way since this job.)
Now, it’s time to do some real work. Anybody interested in some phrasal verbs?
Keep it real, y’all,
P.D. For the self-doubt and existential paralysis I’ve been experiencing since I became a professional online guy, check out 5 questions I’ve been asking myself since becoming a pro blogger. It’s surprisingly candid. You might like it. And if you want more about the Canary Islands, check out digital nomadry in Tenerife.