Tips for getting started as a digital nomad

It’s easier than you think.

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For remote workers seeking inspiration in new spaces, jumping from country to country with nothing but a laptop bag and suitcase is the ultimate lifestyle hack. Known as ‘digital nomads’, these errant workers often travel full time while earning money part time. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Well, that’s why I became one in 2018.

Exhausted after working long hours in a New York office and the general dystopian nightmare of American business, I decided to quit my TV job, sell all my stuff, and travel the world working as a freelance specialist writer. in travel and gastronomy. Let’s just say my parents weren’t thrilled that I was losing my health care, 401 (k), and a living wage. But the freedom to wake up (without an alarm clock), to decide whether to start the day with a swim, a trip to a new cafe, or a hike in the jungle leaves no doubt in my mind that becoming a digital nomad was the right decision for me. me .

In the wake of the pandemic, many Americans, especially millennials, are realizing that working remotely from home provides a better work-life balance. So why not do the same from the coasts of Mexico, Sri Lanka or Portugal? While having a US passport is certainly a privilege, it is also important to respect the local community and the customs of the countries you are visiting. Life as a digital nomad is not just laptop photos against an azure ocean; Here are some crucial tips for making the transition.

You don’t need as much work equipment as you think

Some nomads may not agree with me on this point, but all you really need is a laptop and a charger. If you’re running your own podcast, of course, you’ll need a good microphone. If you are a photographer, you will obviously need all your equipment. But as a writer I’ve never needed anything other than my laptop and sometimes headphones. If I go to a very remote area, Google Fi gives me reassurance about Wi-Fi. So forget about a second monitor and ditch the extra mouse pad, laptop stand, and laptop keyboard. Light pack; you will not regret it.

Don’t expect to spend all day working from the beach

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Who doesn’t want turquoise blue waters like #officeview? Unfortunately, laptops don’t hold up to heat very well, and the glare of the sun on your screen will quickly make you realize that you won’t be doing a lot of work in nature.

While a big part of the allure is ditching the booth and working anywhere, you don’t want to get sand in the cracks in your keyboard. You need a quiet cafe with fast WiFi, delicious snacks, and plenty of outlets. Oh, and depending on where you’re going, don’t forget to pack your converter.

Give yourself a daily routine and do your best to stick to it

This is crucial if you are self-employed or run your own business. We would all love to spend the day wandering the alleys of a quaint old town, but someone has to pay for those plane tickets and Airbnbs (ahem, that’s you).

I’m a night owl, so I get up late and go straight to the gym. As a food writer who leads my way through every city I visit, this is crucial to me. Then I go back to my accommodation, I shower and I go to another cafe or restaurant for lunch and work. You will find that you can get most of your work done in a few very productive hours, and then you will have the afternoon to explore. If you have the freedom, work long hours three days a week and plan your adventures for the other four.

You can find coworking spaces in Chiang Mai, Madeira and beyond.

If you are an extrovert, join a coworking or coliving space

For some digital nomads traveling alone, life can get lonely. This is where digital nomad communities come in, with Bali, Chiang Mai, Thailand and, more recently, Madeira Island in Portugal being the most popular. There are many coworking spaces like KoHub in Thailand and Word game space in Chiang Mai, where remote workers can get a daily, weekly, or monthly pass to enter and use super-fast Wi-Fi and quiet rooms with air-conditioning, as well as attend networking events. There are also many databases like Nomadic coworking to find offices in your nearest city. It’s an easy way for people to find like-minded travelers looking to make new friends, go on a city pub crawl, or even a night of speed dating.

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If you want to be even more immersed in the digital nomad community of your choice, there are also coliving spaces, like Outpost in Bali and Good neighbor in South Africa. Some coworking spaces are doubled as coliving spaces, where workers can live among other digital nomads. It’s one of the fastest, easiest ways to meet other remote workers on the go.

When it comes to well-being, location is essential

One of the most common questions in digital nomad Facebook groups is, “How do I stay healthy while traveling?” The biggest thing I’ve learned in my three years of nonstop travel is to base myself near a gym. Depending on the location, this is easier said than done, especially in places like Japan and Singapore where they aren’t as abundant or affordable. Google gyms in the area of ​​your choice and read the reviews. If you can just walk down the street to the gym, you’re much more likely to go.

I have also found that moving to an affordable location makes wellness more accessible. During the pandemic, I spent a year in Hoi An, Vietnam. There I was able to hire a personal trainer and train with him three times a week for around $ 25, which would have cost New York hundreds of dollars.

Oh, and whatever you do, don’t forget your travel insurance from companies like Allianz and SafetyWing. Accidents happen and people get sick. Paying thousands out of pocket is a quick route to a one-way ticket home.

Slow travel is the way to go

Japan was the first stop I made as a digital nomad. In two months, I had visited 19 different cities in Japan. Let’s just say that when I arrived in my next country, I was exhausted. Packing your bags and getting on planes, trains or buses several times a week is tiring and not very conducive to work. It is also not a sustainable way to travel, which leaves a significant carbon footprint.

I know it’s exciting to visit a new place, but instead pick a place and stay there for at least two weeks. This way you can get into the rhythm of the work, see the majority of the things you were hoping to see, and develop a different understanding and respect for the local culture and community. The good thing about being a digital nomad is that if you like a place, you can always stay longer.

>> Next: All the technology and equipment you need to become a digital nomad

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