I did some digital nomadism in Nosy Be

I finally realized my dream! To travel and visit the island of Nosy Be, in Madagascar: a legend, a myth for foreign tourists, but also for the locals. Because yes, when we talk about Nosy Be, we think beautiful beaches, we think vacations, we think sun, we think fun, we think parties, we think beers, we think nightclubs… And me, on top of all that, I think “digital nomadism” and relocation.

*This article was translated from the French version that I wrote on my other blog, a French-speaking one.

Why digital nomadism?

Freedom.© A friend of mine I met there

I would describe myself as a lover of freedom. An extroverted soul, but also one that has become solitary, by dint of sucking in every emotion a little too deeply. Because I spend my time thinking about and evaluating my life: future, past, present. Every second, every hour, every minute. Hypersensitive, in need of attention, with a contradictory desire for independence and autonomy… I confess that sometimes, even me and the multiple people in my head, we argue. In these moments, I ask myself existential questions, as my friend Audrey, whom I met in Nosy Be, would tell me.

I find that digital nomadism suits me well. I like being alone (although sometimes I can’t stand solitude either). I’ve come to enjoy my own company because I feel like nothing and no one will ever satisfy me as much as I do. Yes, I am sick in the head and no, I don’t want to treat myself.

My dream: bathing under the sun

However, I don’t want to spend my life as a hermit. I want to meet new people every day. To be able to live in the tropics, in a hut (with wifi because this is a must as a digital nomad)… By the sea like the one in Nosy Iranja. And I want to be able to sip a cocktail with friends from time to time.

The question is: where to find these friends who seem to be so rare that I have almost lost hope. And, according to several remarks I have had: I am too much of a “fiainam-bazaha” (1) to be able to have friends and boyfriends who would support me, at least in Madagascar.

Then, if it is to live in a country where one is so narrow-minded, I frankly prefer to exile myself on a desert island, with sea turtles, dolphins and crabs.

But why Nosy Be?

Well, I confess that I don’t really have the answer to that question. Nosy Be is a city where the cost of living is expensive. And I have to admit that the inhabitants are not necessarily friendly (I invite you to read my article about my first time in Diego, the inhabitants of Nosy Be look a lot like those I talk about in the article). And the worst: the road is badly damaged. In fact, it is so bad that I won’t go back to the North of the country unless someone offers me a round trip air ticket. Or a one-way ticket to Nosy Be, to stay, yes.

But despite all that, as I said, I want somewhere sunny and warm. And finally, I don’t want to move away from the Big Island yet, because I might have to go back, sometimes, for personal or professional reasons. And on the other hand, I would like to partially live in Nosy Iranja. How would I do that? I don’t know, but I know I want to, and when I want I can.

The interest of digital nomadism

I want to be a digital nomad because I always wanted to travel while working. I hate working within four walls, I hate the constant pressure from bosses, I hate having to work on non-flexible hours. Especially if it’s only to run after the buses in Antananarivo and return to neighborhoods where the water and power are cut off so often that it feels like we’re living in the stone age. And still, when it rains, I swear you become a stuntman, a ninja, a fighter like in the clip “Fohazy ilay zaza” of Reko. And this is not a joke.

I find more inspiration when I’m in a warm place (around 30 degrees, at least!), sunny, with a nice view. I’m more efficient in those places.

The beautiful beach of Iranja and me. © A friend of mine I met there

And, for those wondering, I have the ability to do this, thanks to my work in the digital industry. I started a startup in July 2018: Book News Madagascar(lien vers book news). It’s both a news blog and a digital agency that provides services in the field, with the vision of bringing positive change through technology. So yes, I can run my business remotely. And I’ve already done it several times: in Toamasina, in Diego, in Kenya

My vacations in Nosy Be: organized trip, adventures, experiences, my best vacations!

If we were to talk about my vacations in Nosy Be, to summarize, I would say that they are my best vacations so far! I am 25 years old, I have traveled to many places, both locally and internationally, and I spent my best vacations on this island.

I went solo, as usual (or I will say, as most of the time). As I didn’t know anything about this place and still wanted to go there for a long time, I took advantage of the offer of Marodia, a local tour operator, whose CEO is also a good friend.

I also wanted, for the first time in my life, to spend the end of year celebrations outside Antananarivo.

A hernia and beautiful meetings

On December 28, 2020, here I am, backpack, camera and tripod in addition, ready for an adventure on the road of a thousand kilometers and more (note to self: never do that again, haha). Twenty-eight hours of driving and about thirty minutes of speedboating, many years old. A trip that gave me a hernia, but also made me meet new people, sunbathe in the sun, take one of the most beautiful pictures on the planet, and feel happier than I’ve ever been! And yes, the thousand kilometers were worth it!

It was the first time for me to participate in an organized trip. It was a bit like a summer camp, but with no age limit. There was more food, more interaction, more atmosphere, and occasionally more frustration (haha). Don’t get me wrong, I had a unique and very constructive experience. I discovered various personalities: from the most sympathetic to the most annoying. These encounters taught me to be more patient, and I learned how to manage a tight budget, when you live in a place where a Coke PM costs four thousands Ariary.

I was also able to make new friends, including Audrey, mentioned above, Mih, Fah, and many others!

Heavenly places

I could visit paradisiac places. Madagascar is beautiful, Nosy Be deserves to be visited by every Malagasy individual. It is not only France, England, the United States, China or Japan that are beautiful and deserve selfies and recommendations. There is Nosy Komba, Nosy Tanihely and Nosy Iranja.

We visited the lemur forest in Nosy Komba, and I also took the opportunity to buy some beautiful earrings.

At Nosy Tanihely, we enjoyed a two-hour swim on an emerald colored beach. We were also able to taste local specialties: a big fried fish, shrimp brochettes, well cooked crab and mango achard with vinaigrette.

We also visited Lemuria Land, the ylang-ylang factory, and the group visited Mont Passot to watch the sunset. I didn’t go: Audrey, Jay (a friend from Tana) and I went into town to buy “voandalana” (2) and do some sightseeing.

Me at Lemuria Land. © A friend of mine I met there

The night of December 31, 2020, the first New Year’s Eve spent outside of Tana for me, I was very excited! We had dinner with the group. The group played to the Werewolf game, and then a few of the young people in the group, including me, went to Ambatoloaka. It is a traditional place to spend the New Year’s Eve in Nosy Be. Nightclubs, alcohol galore, cigarettes … Everything you want, yes, the Nosibeans know how to party! A little too much, I would say! However, it was a great experience.

And finally, to start the year in beauty and close these beautiful vacations, what better than to spend January 1st in Nosy Iranja, the paradise island. A white sand bank, a few umbrellas, a blue sea like you only see in the movies, naturally warm and just right for swimming (neither shallow nor too deep) are waiting for you. I don’t have the words; I let you see all this in pictures, and also in video on my Youtube channel that I just launched (after two years of hesitation). Have a good look and most of all – I hate to say it, but hey, I have to! – subscribe on my Youtube Channel!

(1) “fiainam-bazaha”: a Malagasy expression to qualify the life that Malagasy people lead that resembles that of foreigners, “vazaha” being a term to designate foreigners, especially white people, in Madagascar
(2) “voandalana”: a Malagasy word for souvenirs brought back from travel

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