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Building a career in the woods thumbnail

Freeing myself from my monitor was my first step towards becoming a digital nomad.

I remember it happened after I wrapped up a conference in Kelowna, B.C. and saw an opportunity to visit my family in Vancouver… if I could work a shift while I travelled. 

The 8 hour greyhound trip was an eye opening experience for me. I was winding through mountains, tethered to my phone’s data, hopping in and out of Zoom calls and crushing my workload.

There was no usual 3 p.m. burnout that always comes along to meddle with my productivity.

I wanted to mimic that feeling with as many days of work as I could, but there is an unfortunate nausea for me that comes with working from an office on wheels. 

Around that same time, I had been watching a lot of YouTube videos about people building “tiny homes” and shipping container homes. Years earlier, I had learned the trade of carpentry and purchased three acres of land in Southern Ontario.

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I decided it was time to put my carpentry skills to use and build my own off-grid cabin in the woods. 

The site was a challenge as it was set back in the bush about a kilometer from the road. Every single material for construction and finishing had to be carried back, so I had to carve a kilometer long path with nothing but a machete and an axe. I used DeWalt cordless saws and hand nailed every piece of wood to avoid the need for power and compressors.

I remember so many times sitting in the woods watching a YouTube tutorial on an installation process for things I had never done before like installing a chimney or skylight.

Three years later, I finally finished my cabin. I now had a 100 sq. ft., insulated cabin with a fireplace, skylight, and lofted space for my bed. I used an auger to dig 4 feet down for my post pier foundation, pulverizing rocks with a crowbar and sledgehammer. The cabin has 16 foot studs on one side and 10 foot on the other which gives it a nice 6/12 pitched roof to prevent snow weight stress. The floor and walls are fully insulated and the cabin meets the maximum allowance for a “shed” so it didn’t require permits. I had chosen a reverse board and batten for the siding and employed an ancient Japanese method called shou sugi ban for the cedar.

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Canada is still seriously lagging in unlimited data plans. I use two 20,000 mAh portable batteries for my phone which I can hotspot to my MacBook Air. A CyberPower 1500VA backup battery works nicely to fully charge my laptop up to 2 full charges.

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I have learned so much about renewable energies and portable WiFi options, but there is still so much more and I am excited to investigate. Though the work I do is the kind of work I thought could only be done from the stifling office tower, my environment remains that of a permanent vacation.

I am writing this, surrounded by trees and natural elements that keep my spirits lifted and my productivity up. I work in the cloud for an app that empowers prosperity through recurring revenue. I am free to work wherever I choose, and I choose the woods.