On freedom, digital nomadism and leaving Philadelphia - Technical.ly Philly


Apr. 8, 2016 11:52 am

On freedom, digital nomadism and leaving Philadelphia

Philly technologists Chad Ostrowski and Lisa Yoder are leaving their home in West Philadelphia for Lancaster. Read their eloquent meditations on why.
Chad Ostrowski and Lisa Yoder are heading to the country, kinda.

Chad Ostrowski and Lisa Yoder are heading to the country, kinda.

(Courtesy photo)

Late last month, Lisa Yoder and Chad Ostrowski announced that they were leaving West Philadelphia for Lancaster.

The Philly tech couple — Yoder, a former Urban Outfitters developer, is one of the Girl Develop It mafia, while Ostrowski is the developer behind playful and sometimes mystical projects like the Emoji Life Calendar and Earth Clouds are the Best Clouds — moved from West Chester to the city three years ago.

The way they tell it, the move is really about lifestyle. They wanted something new. They wanted to put down roots. They missed the fresh air.

It’s largely their line of work — technology — that allows them to pick up and leave, which we find interesting. Our existence as a publication is rooted in a sense of place.

You should read their posts because they describe it better than we could. Yoder’s is here. Ostrowski’s is here.

Here are our favorite parts.

From Yoder’s post:

I’ll admit, it is really scary to leave a city where I feel like I know and understand the tech industry and the jobs and opportunities that are available to me there. But it’s 2016, and I’ve wanted to be location independent for awhile now. There’s no point in chaining myself to a place when my ultimate goal is to be able to live and travel wherever I want (as long as there’s a reliable wifi connection). I know those opportunities exist, I just need to track them down for myself.


I owe the tech community here so much for how far I’ve come in the last three to four years, and I’m not saying goodbye to that. I’m profoundly grateful to the Philadelphia chapter of Girl Develop It (with which I want to stay involved!) and the greater tech community here. Philly helped me, rather unexpectedly, turn myself into a web developer, something I never dreamed I’d be capable of. I’ve made friends with so many incredible people. I’ve had opportunities I never would have imagined if I’d lived anywhere else. I definitely don’t take any of that for granted and I’m not letting go of that.


From Ostrowski’s:

I want to live out a whole vibrant life in every exciting and every boring place on this gorgeous planet. And heck, every other planet, too. I want to never move, because cultural diversity grows from people staying still for generations. And I want to participate in every culture to its fullest. I want every experience.

Clearly, I can’t get what I want.

Digital Nomadism might be the closest that I could hope to get to my impossible dream—though it would render me only an observer of, and not a full participant in, all the various cultures.

But for a variety of reasons, digital nomadism is not for us right now.

For a variety of reasons, we desire some roots.


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