Start Up

Working digitally and moving to Colombia

sketchperez | 07.16.2017

Digital jobs are taking over, you know this already. One of the biggest perks of digital jobs is that you don’t have to physically be present in a particular place to work. Jobs play a huge factor in where we decide to live and build our families. We often move in hopes to finding more opportunities. With digital work, you can literally work from anywhere. You can work on projects with people all around the world from your small studio in Brooklyn; or now in my case, a remote farm with no address in the mountains of Colombia. Digital work has opened up the borders and we are now able to explore like never before. My parents, like many other Latin American parents, left to the United States for a better life. Now imagine having access to those same opportunities without needing to move.

My wife, Jacquelin, has a grandfather that got really sick two months ago. We took a short trip to Colombia to pay him a visit. During the time there, we saw how much he needed from us and our initial 2 week trip turned into a month and a half. Luckily, because our work is digital we had the flexibility to stay and help Grandpa with everything.

You see, Grandpa has been running a Finca (farm) that Jacquelin’s mother has kept for over 30 years with hopes of one day passing it down to Jacquelin. There was a period of 20 years where the Finca was completely abandoned. It wasn’t until recently that the Finca regained life, after grandpa moved in and started working the land. He’s brought cows, chickens, rabbits and other livestock. He’s also grown plantains, fruits, and all types of little plants. Grandpa took the little farm house that was completely in ruins, and with the little money he’s made, split it into two apartments. Slowly he’s been able to fix up his side. He’s really put in a lot of work to get the Finca to where it’s at, but being in the condition he is in, he can’t possibly continue to do so. He even told us this and said if we didn’t come out here, the Finca will go back to being how it was, meaning all of his efforts would have been in vain.

My wife and I have always talked about moving out of the USA, but it never seemed obtainable. There are clear complications with just picking up and moving to another country, however having stable digital work makes everything go a little smoother. We just finished a 6-month contract with our pop up studio in Florida, so the transition couldn’t have come at a better time. We spent the past month packing everything up in boxes and shipping them out to Colombia. Shipping boxes to Colombia are $0.99/lb, which is pretty cheap, relative to the rates of other latin countries like Mexico and Ecuador where the prices can get up to $4/lb. While we did this, we paid to get the other side of the house renovated for us to live in. In the past 7 years we’ve rented in 6 different places. I never would have imagined that the first property we’d own would be in Colombia.

Okay so we have work figured out and home to live in, but what are we actually doing?
A lot of my friends have asked:

  • “Are you going to Colombia for good?”
  • “What about kids?”
  • “Is it safe?”

The short answer is:

  • I don’t know.
  • I have no clue.
  • … I think so?

Growing up I never questioned that America was the greatest country in the world and that living here was everything. Now having traveled to 15 other countries, I see that America is great, but so are a bunch of other places. So if happiness isn’t exclusive to the United States, then I’d like to explore as much as I can. It’s a dream to be able to experience something so different than what I am use to. Colombia is an amazing place, and I can’t wait share more about my experience here.

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