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Digital Nomad is a bit of a buzz-term. Those who flaunt the breakfast in the pool, Bali lifestyle are often (but not always) more show than dough, more walk than talk when it comes to their actual situation. The real digital nomads are often in a dark corner of their Airbnb hard at work while the influencers are busy taking flat lays at local cafes. After three years as a legitimate digital nomad, I know the ins and outs of keeping a balance on the road. The reality is that to maintain a lifestyle balance across the board you need maintenance weeks or mini blocks to allow the parts of your life that have fallen behind to catch up. 

(Photos from the week at bottom of post)

After my motorbike road trip to Bohol, I immediately backed up the next morning with an 8-day adventure to Coron. Wifi and work time was limited to say the least. Josh and I managed to fit in our running totals of the week, which was 85km for him and 40k for myself but the gym sessions dropped and the blog, emails, and other admin began to pile up.

Enter the ‘Manila Maintenance Block‘.

Knowing that I start a 9-day sailing experience (likely off-grid for the majority of the time) and then head straight to El Nido (known for having terrible WIFI) I knew this week was important. I needed to consolidate from my last two weeks of adventure and set myself up for a steady three weeks to come knowing that my work conditions, fitness conditions, and overall life balance will be unpredictable. It’s not rocket science but there is a reason why so many digital nomads ‘burn out’ or ‘hit a wall’. 

Knowing at what moments you need to schedule a block is important and leads to the longevity of your digital nomad life. It is even more important to understand this concept if you are combining fitness goals on the road.

With that strategy in mind, Josh and I decided to head to Manila five days prior to our sailing trip (which leaves from Manila). This meant we had five solid days in Manila to put in work on the blog, emails, video, photo editing, and other admin tasks. We were able to run daily, gym daily and catch up on some sleep we had missed earlier in the busier weeks prior.

Being able to eliminate the tasks that are inevitable with constant travel is vital to optimal efficiency. For example having a computer plugged into power, with a hard drive connected and constant reliable wifi may seem like normality but it is a dream situation for me and one I never take for granted. 

With constant conditions, I managed to pump out 12 blogs in this Manila Block, 5 gym sessions and complete my 45km running total of the week. There were a number of other tasks that I managed to tick off, which will make my next three weeks run as smoothly as possible. 

I think a lot of people traveling get caught up in how much they can do in the shortest amount of time possible. Whether you are a digital nomad or a regular traveler I can’t encourage you enough to slow it down even if only during certain periods. Catching your breath and catching up on your life balance keeps you healthy, keeps your love of travel strong and keeps your priorities sorted. It’s just all about life quality.

The highlights of this week in Manila were:

  • Checking out a few cool vegetarian cafes in Manila such as Greens and Earth’s Kitchen. We got around with Grab, which is a taxi app like Uber and most rides didn’t cost more than a few dollars, which Josh and I then split. It’s a cheap way to get around.
  • Watching sunsets on our sky deck on the 23rd floor (One day we watched a huge fire as well, which was full on)
  • Running through the streets of Manila and waving and greeting back and forth with surprised locals.
  • When we joined 61-yr-old ‘Nep’ halfway through our run in UP Diliman.
  • Eating home-made granola bowls out of pots and pans in the Airbnb
  • Meeting up with Ave and Martin for dinner after a long time between catch-ups

Here are the photos surrounding those highlights and more from a week in Manila while staying at our Airbnb in Quezon City.

Agness | the adventure traveler

Tuesday 9th of April 2019

Great post, Jackson. It really is important for us nomads to keep a healthy balance of everything. I feel you on this one. I haven't really been on this side of the Philippines as I have only stayed in the countryside. I appreciate you showing us around through the nice photos!


Monday 1st of April 2019

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Tuesday 26th of March 2019

Love to watch your photos. I already left Philippines but got so much help from your posts!