Howdy. My name is Josh Koerpel.

(sorry for the extreme close up.)

I have been a digital nomad for over 15 years.

…and my journey started with the photograph you see below. 👇

I took this photo.

(it’s blurry, but it was 2005 and I had to actually send in film to be developed.)

We were in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on a tall ship called the “Pride of Baltimore II.” The swells and waves reached well over 30 ft above our heads and we clipped our harnesses to the ship so we wouldn’t get washed overboard.

See — there are moments in life when you really feel alive.

This photo was one of them.

After this, I knew an office job just wasn’t going to cut it for me.

I knew I wanted more.

From left to right: (1) Working in Namibia (Africa)
(2) Somewhere on the road in Florida (3) and from the deck of my 40 ft. sailboat “Albatross.”

Since then I’ve …

  • Kept people alive in the wilds of Alaska as a wilderness guide
  • Developed optical systems for low earth orbit satellites now used by NASA and the US Air Force
  • Conducted zero-gravity experiments in NASA’s ‘Vomit Comet’
  • Designed mechanical engineering solutions for clients like Disney, Cirque du Soleil and AC/DC
  • Been avalanched into a small Buddhist town called Kaza in Northern India as I rode to Tibet on a 350cc Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycle

I’m Not Your Typical Digital Nomad.

I didn’t book a flight to Bali and rent a villa, or trounce around ex-pat locations like Spain or Columbia working comfortably from co-living spaces.

No. I’m proud of the fact that I was truly nomadic and extremely self sufficient.

I took an old motorcycle drove across the USA. I lived on a sailboat. I worked from coffee shops, pirated WiFi, slept on couches, wrote blog posts from back-country camp sites, fixed clutch plates, took photographs, learned languages.

I really tried to immerse myself in a culture.

And, in addition, built 3 mobile apps, 2 software-as-a-service products, and ran the marketing for a $4MM health and nutrition ecommerce company. All from the road!

Working with my brilliant programmer friend Alex in Kiev, Ukraine.
Дякую Алекс я був час чудово!

What Can You Learn From This Blog?

I understand what it feels like to not feel happy with who you’ve become, or the fear of feeling “too old” to start something new.

Or to not feel like you fit into a place and want a do-over.

If you’ve ever wanted to ‘break away’ and start over, you’ll need someone you can count on to tell you the real deal.

I’ve been there. And I absolutely hate the ‘fluff’ around digital nomading these days.

I’m a big fan of simply taking action.

So if there’s one thing you’ll definitely learn from me, it’s how to take more action in your life.

Obligatory motorcycle road selfie, somewhere south of Georgia.

Fun Facts about me:

I didn’t get along with other kids growing up, was bullied, made fun of, got into fights, and thought the world was a cruel place.

I’m sure a lot of you could relate to that.

But in order to be tough? You’ve got to get hurt.

All of that pain builds personality. It builds grit. And makes you an interesting person.

In fact, my friends have unofficially dubbed me as “The Worlds Most Interesting Man.”

Now I don’t know about that…but I DO know that in order to be interesting, you have to be interested.

Here’s a bit about what I have been interested in over the years…

#1: I was a weird kid and now speak fluent Spanish. In fact, I have a degree in it.

At 16, I learned to speak Spanish by living with a host family in South America for a year. They throw you right into the school system and basically say “good luck, amigo!”

Here I am the first week…I spoke ZERO spanish, and kept wondering what the hell I just got myself into.

Because of this trip, along with studying at the University of Valencia in Spain, I graduated from Denison University with a BA in Spanish.

But…by FAR the biggest mental challenge you face in this situation is not feeling understood. An inability to communicate with anyone. That’s a tough situation for anyone to be in.

You learn to be patient. To chip away at it. And it builds up your capacity to think creatively.

#2: I have a unique appreciation for life — and french.

In 2005, I sailed across the Atlantic on a 160 ft. wooded ship, leading to 3 months shipwrecked in France.

Look before you start judging, know this. We took INSANELY good care of this ship.  We were trained professionals and had licenses of our own.  We had lifetimes of combined rigging experience. We had one of the most well-respected tall ship captains alive today. 

Yet despite all of that, crazy stuff still happens. Like this…

In case you’re wondering, this is the same ship as the photo on the top of this page.

Don’t worry. No one was hurt (amazingly). But I did get to live in France for awhile, learn the language and research the local women. (for science, of course)

Here is the lesson in all of this. No matter how hard you prepare, things are still going to go wrong.

You have to learn how to roll with the punches. You have to adjust your sails. You have to adapt (and learn French), or die.

#3: I am convinced that traveling by motorcycle is the ultimate way to see the world

When I was 26, I spent 2 months motorcycling in the Himalayas of North India…and rode all the way to Tibet.

Headed northeast, deep into the Spiti Valley and up into the high cliffs of the Himalayas…little did I know what was in store.

The lessons you learn on the road are numerous…but one in particular is very relevant to anything in life.

When faced with the unknown, just act. You’ll figure it out along the way.

Or, as one of my sailing heroes Bernard Moitessier said very concisely:

The work teaches you the work!

Bernard Moitessier

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Enjoy the ride,