Understanding How To Thrive As A Digital Nomad

Way back when, being defined by a single word seemed commonplace. You were a “doctor” or a “teacher” or a “lawyer.” Fortunately, it’s a practice that’s antiquated as all hell. Think about at, at a party do you feel comfortable defining yourself with one word? You’re not just a secretary, student, or debtor. It’s 2016, there’s more to the story than one word and we now realize that. You can be a model and a championship squirrel suit jumper, or a barista manager and a world record holder. Hell, you can be a therapist and a travel writer or a graphic designer and a soldier for positive self affirmation.

This week on the Mad Ones we talked to one of the founders of, Ben Granas, who operates a team that can’t be defined with just one word. They’re businessmen, sure, but they’re wanderlust-laden travel aficionados, kiln salesman, and the owners and operators of a very useful travel website. Granas found the time to talk with us while in Mexico, setting aside his modern-day-nomad-operation for just a moment to answer our questions about how it’s all possible.

So, you guys just started a business while traveling. Is that the broad stroke definition of it?

Yeah, we [Granas and his business partner] were working in New York. We each had corporate jobs and we each decided that after years of doing that, it wasn’t necessarily for us. We were looking at different ways of starting our own business. When we’d come up with the idea of TripHappy we realized that we probably didn’t need to stay in New York because what we were doing was going to be all online. We could essentially do it from anywhere. We’re all pretty involved in travel anyway. We thought the most logical and most fun step would be to take it on the road.

We’ve been doing this now for about a year. We started out in Asia, moved to Africa at the beginning of the year. Now we’re in Mexico. In the beginning of 2017, we’re going to be going down to South America.

Have you ever not been able to work when your supposed to be working because of spotty Wifi on the road?

It definitely goes out. It was interesting when we were in China. Not sure if you know, but China bans access to Google. Because our site is map-based and we use Google maps, we potentially couldn’t use our own site in China. We had to figure out ways to get around that, which was interesting. We lived in Morocco for almost three months. When we were there, yeah, the internet was really not great. Actually, in our apartment in Marrakesh, we only got signal on the roof. A lot of times we had to go sit on the roof to work, which was interesting. It’s at the end of the world. Everything was ten times slower than it should be.

Yeah. I mean, that’s part of the adventure, though, right?

Yeah. We are all sort of interested in doing non-traditional travel. That’s kind of the philosophy we’ve put into Trip Happy as well, that anyone can see where everybody has gone. We are actively choosing to go to the places that fewer people have gone, I guess. There is a community of people who work from the road, like what we’re doing. There is a lot of very established cities that they live in, Shanghai and Chang Mai, which we were at for a bit. Berlin is another and there’s a few more, but we certainly go to places that I wouldn’t consider hot spots for this type of work.