Valuable Things I Learned From Being A 60 Year Old Digital Nomad [Chills 120 ft Christina Teo She1k]

Christina Teo is not your average 60-year-old. The former Fortune 500 executive and first GM of Yahoo Singapore has reinvented herself as a digital nomad, angel investor, and startup community builder in her “second act.” On the latest episode of The Financial Coconut Podcast, Teo shared her refreshingly candid perspectives on ageism, the nomadic lifestyle in Bali, and why constant learning is key to staying relevant at any age.

Guest detail:

  • Christina Teo: Founder of She1k, an angel syndicate community, and a seasoned professional in the technology industry.

The Ageism Challenge

As Teo approached her 60s, she felt the effects of ageism acutely. “When people give up their seats for you on public transport, even when your face is covered – that’s when you realise people see you as old no matter what,” she remarked. While deeply frustrating, Teo believes much of the stigma around aging is self-inflicted.

“A lot of my peers think ‘why bother learning new things at this age?’ For me, that attitude is self-induced obsolescence,” she said. Teo consciously fights against relegating herself to the “old person” narrative, maintaining an open mindset to constant upskilling and new experiences.

Taking the leap to digital nomadism

Her latest adventure saw Christina become a digital nomad, spending weeks working remotely from Bali at age 60. “Why not experience it myself?” was her attitude. Living simply on a modest budget, she was amazed by affordable, delicious meals and convenient transport apps.

Lessons from Her Digital Nomad Experience in Bali

Tired of the struggles of Singapore’s high cost of living, Teo decided to try out the digital nomad lifestyle for a few months in Bali – something she had inadvertently experienced over a decade prior when she bought (and quickly sold) a villa there.

Christina immersed herself in Bali’s coworking scenes and hosted her C Shark Tank program there. She observed many founders using Bali as an affordable headquarters between ventures or to hatch new ideas. While the infrastructure for remote workers isn’t fully developed, Bali offers low costs and natural calm.

Having tested living abroad multiple times, Christina advises professionals contemplating a change to take risks sooner rather than later. “This could be the most exciting phase of your life too,” she encourages. Her message is that by staying open and curious, and by investing in community, all kinds of opportunities can emerge at any stage.

Her biggest takeaway? You don’t need tons of money to live the nomadic dream in places like Bali. Teo highlighted how a “gourmet meal” in the island paradise costs as little as S$10, while Grab rides maxed out at S$2 even for long distances – a far cry from Singapore’s prices.

What digital nomads need to know about life in Bali

From housing to daily costs, Christina broke down realistic expenses for remote working in Bali:

  • Rentals from $300/month for villas further out, up to $500-600 for Seminyak apartments

  • Meals as low as $3-5 each from warung locals’ cafes versus $10 restaurant plates

  • Transport apps like Gojek and Grab make even late-night trips under $2 anywhere on the island

“The ambiance just makes you chill and reflects. It’s quite a life if you can afford to really treat your body well there,” she remarked.

Beyond the affordable living, Teo was struck by Bali’s potential to become a startup and digital talent hub. She noted many founders she met had either exited businesses before or were actively working on their next big idea while living in Bali’s relatively low-cost environment.

“If Bali could develop training programs to upskill local talent in areas like coding, it could solve the global tech talent crunch given its low costs and proximity to Singapore,” Teo analysed.

However, she cautioned that the coworking infrastructure isn’t as robust as Chiang Mai yet. Relying only on companies like Draper Startup House risks isolation long-term. Christina suggested digital nomads contribute by opening local schools teaching digital skills to give back.

For professionals pursuing freedom or new paths, she affirmed remote careers can thrive from tropical locations like Bali with an internet connection. Just be wary of assumptions that starting fresh abroad means a life of easy partying – it requires constant learning and community-building like any venture. Christina’s story proves the most growth happens outside our comfort zones.

5 Tips for Aspiring Nomads:

For those inspired by Teo’s experiences, she offered the following advice for a successful nomadic stint in Bali or similar locales:

  1. Have a clear business plan or project to work on
  2. Leverage the low living costs to bootstrap your startup
  3. Look for opportunities to upskill and hire local talent
  4. immerse yourself in the local ecosystem and communities
  5. Maintain an open, constantly learning mindset
  6. The Importance of Always Learning

Perhaps Teo’s most poignant insight was the need for continuous learning and reinvention, regardless of age or career stage. After decades in the corporate world, she found herself having to re-learn basic digital skills like using LinkedIn when she transitioned into the startup space.

“The last six years have been the most revealing and invigorating of my career. Instead of focusing on my own achievements, it’s become about how I can empower and uplift others in the community,” Teo shared.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Embrace Change: Christina’s journey demonstrates the power of embracing change and remaining adaptable. Despite her initial resistance to the digital world, she found herself thriving in a new environment and accumulating valuable experiences.

  2. Transitioning from Self to Community: Christina’s transition from a self-focused mindset to one centered around community and empowerment offers an important lesson. By shifting our focus outward and supporting others, we can create a ripple effect of positive change.

  3. Experience as an Asset: Christina’s corporate background provided her with a wealth of knowledge and insights that she could share with budding entrepreneurs. This highlights the value of diverse experiences and the potential for cross-pollination between industries.

Her C-Suite angel investment syndicate She1K is a direct manifestation of this philosophy, bringing together seasoned corporate executives to provide funding and mentorship to startups. As Teo puts it, “Alone I can do so little, but together we can do so much.”

By staying curious, adaptive, and willing to take on new challenges well into her 60s, Christina Teo is living proof that wisdom, combined with an open growth mindset, can make for an incredibly rewarding “second act.” Her unique experiences offer a masterclass in how to embrace lifelong learning and constantly uncover new sources of relevance at any age or stage.

You can check their full interview on Chills with TFC, Episode 120 on Spotify, YouTube, Google podcast or Apple podcast for Christina Teo’s journey as a digital nomad at the age of 60 offers a refreshing perspective on embracing change and finding new purpose in life. Her transition from a self-focused achiever to a community-driven advocate showcases the transformative power of experience and the desire to empower others. As we navigate our own paths, let us draw inspiration from Christina’s story and continue to seek personal growth, seize new opportunities, and make a positive impact on those around us.

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