GJ Thomson: Photographer, Content Creator, Digital Nomad
Hi, I’m Gregory James Thomson, born February 24th, 1966, in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. In 2016, after 18 years of living in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada, I walked away from a high-paying, high-stress business I owned, sold my house, and moved 40 minutes south my hometown of Orillia. My plan was to take my photography hobby and turn professional.
In Fall 2016, I was approached by an established Orillia artist inquiring to sharing a studio together. She was a mixed media artist and her work complimented my photography. The studio space was in the hub of the Orillia Arts District, 2nd floor of an old building, the unit number was 204. Suite 204 opened October 1st, 2016
Suite 204 was very well received by the Orillia Arts Community and patrons, but I was quickly learning what it was like to be starving artist. Despite owning a rental income property, I was having to dig into credit to pay the studio rent. Art on the wall was sharing space with writing on the wall. In late 2017 I was forced to get a job, ugh. I was making minimum wage and DID NOT like the job. The job also took me away from studio and my partner was having to run it solo. Even with the job I wasn’t getting my head above water, sadly I couldn’t afford the rent anymore, December 31st, 2017 was the last day of Suite 204.
I was at a new low point in my life at the start of 2018. I spent Christmas 2017 alone, the studio closed, I was in deep debt and I was making little money at my p/t job. I decided to look for other jobs, but no one wanted to hire a 52 year-old who had been self-employed for 10 years. One day whilst having a bad day at the job I sent my real estate agent a text to inquire how much she thought I could sell my duplex for, her response stopped me in my tracks. I immediately decided to sell my house and start over. The first obstacle I didn’t see was finding an apartment. My budget of $900/month lead me to look at a few places that I would let me cats live in. So, I upped my budget to $1200/month, and so discovered that A) if a place in that price range became available, 40 people were applying to rent it, and B) despite having a healthy bank account landlords also aren’t keen on renting to people who have been self-employed for 10 years. I was freaking out!! Finally, I asked my real estate agent to reach out to the buyer’s agent and a deal was struck to allow me to move into the upstairs unit of my formerly owned duplex. Phew! Exhale! Rent was $900/month and my cats loved it.
In May of 2018 I was starting over. I was debt-free and starting to enjoy life again. My love affair with my camera rekindled. But I didn’t exactly know what my next move was. Find another apartment? Get a job? Open another studio? Move to my happy place in Costa Rica? Buy an RV and travel while taking pictures blogging/vlogging? The answer soon became clear.
My new job title is Digital Nomad. “Digital nomads are a type of people who use telecommunications technologies to earn a living and, more generally, conduct their life in a nomadic manner. Such workers often work remotely from foreign countries, coffee shops, public libraries, co-working spaces, or recreational vehicles”. (source – Wikipedia)