Top Tips For Traveling Digital Nomads
To many of us, traveling while working remotely seems like a distant pipe dream. Perhaps you picture yourself as the next Walter Mitty, quitting your 9-5 day job and exploring the far-flung corners of the world?
For some industries, such as computer technology or graphic design, it's easier to transfer your lifestyle to that of a digital nomad. But, what does it actually mean to be a ‘digital nomad?’
Digital nomads are people who are location independent and use technology to perform their job. ... The digital nomad lifestyle was made possible through a number of innovations, including cheap internet access, smartphones and voice over internet protocol (VoIP) to keep in contact with clients and employers. - Investopedia
So, if you’re conjuring up images of happily tapping away on your computer in the jungle or sunbathing at the beach on Skype conference calls then you wouldn’t be too far wrong.
I was pondering over this recently as I sat in the living space of a traditional Japanese ryokan in Osaka, straight after the earthquake. I was in the epicenter and as the ground was still shaking below me I thought, wait a minute… how did I end up here?
It was a surreal moment and one that I’ll never forget. It strangely reminded me to be grateful for my nomadic lifestyle and everything that comes along with it. The good, the bad, and the downright random.
Being a person inclined to share, it also gave me the idea for this blog post. Now you too can experience life in a whole new way and discover how to travel as a digital nomad. Let's start at the basics...
Find and expand your client base
Depending on your skills and level of experience you might need to expand your client base. When searching for clients or a role that enables you to be nomadic make sure to use the keyword ‘remote’ in your searches.
Just remember to keep a work/travel balance.
Building a client base is important, but too many and you’ll be stuck to your computer. With a good balance, you can still experience the country that you are traveling in and have set days for working.
Personally, I have the rule that if it doesn’t fit into my Osprey Transporter 40 hand luggage then it doesn’t come. I also carry around my ukulele so I have to be really strict on myself. Take things that are multipurpose, for example, a skirt that can also be worn as a scarf or dress. Give space serious consideration. Depending on your work you might need extra equipment such as a digital drawing tablet or external hard drive. To be honest, 3.5 years ago I had a lot more luggage and soon regretted hauling it around.
Find the ideal laptop bag
This brings us nicely onto one of the most important sections… the laptop bag. In order to work remotely, you’ll need your light computer at all times. Thankfully bag designers have clued in on the fact that digital nomads exist and have created specialist bags to help us out.
These bags are designed with a padded pocket specifically for keeping your laptop safe. Using a laptop bag means that you are far less likely to suffer laptop damage when traveling. Find your ideal laptop bag today.
Thankfully, even laptops are more compact and portable than ever…
Plan where to go
As much as being a digital nomad opens up a whole new world to you in terms of traveling, it can also close a few doors. Did you know that there is no WiFi access in the Amazon jungle or the Gobi Desert? So, you’ll need to plan ahead on how to stay in touch with your clients, keep a track on deadlines and still be able to travel through remote communities. Being organized is the key.
Watch out for the time zone difference
I have fallen short of this more than once. With becoming a digital nomad, you may discover that your clients are in different countries. To be able to live in a world where you can source clients from across the globe is amazing, but remember that a client setting a deadline in Singapore will be an entirely different day if you are in San Francisco.
Keep a diary note of all your deadlines and stay up to date with your clients’ timezones. Download the world clocks on your devices so that you can easily see numerous dates and times at the touch of a button.
Give it time
No career change is made overnight. Expect to work hard and make small steps to begin with. Sit down with yourself and really think about what type of digital nomad you want to be. Whether you want to be a Thrill-Seeker, Pioneer, Self-Improvist or even a Conformist, having this knowledge about yourself will help you to forecast what types of clients you will need.
Sometimes we can spend a lifetime planning and thinking so when you feel ready, take the dive. Simply pack your bag, book a one-way ticket and get ready to explore life through a whole new lens.