The decision is made. You want to join this fancy, free and always happy tribe and become a digital nomad whose life is eternal holidays. You want to sit on the beach with your MacBook, sipping vegan juice from something that will make you thin, pretty and forever young. You want to be location independent. Immediately, if not sooner.
But hold on your horses, before you’ll make this huge decision that will impact your whole life, before you will go homeless and become a nomad, a digital one, please: relax and have a look at this Become a Digital Nomad Ultimate Guide.
Working freelance from home is one thing. Taking your life and office, packing them into a suitcase and going on a trip ? a completely different pair of shoes. Even if you might be thinking that you lead a pretty minimalistic and compact life, the moment when you face downsizing everything you owe to about 30kg…leaves you with your jaw all the way down the floor. This is why aspiring digital nomads should plan scaling down their lives a bit in advance.
Common obstacles and worst enemies: books, clothes that you don’t actually wear anymore and a lot of rubbish like receipts from a supermarket that magically survived almost a century in one of the drawers. You’re not moving house. There will be no “I’ll do something about it later box”. It’s a 1-0 equation. It goes with you or it doesn’t. So get yourself a bottle of wine (or whatever you prefer) and start making multiple decisions at once (this is why the wine is needed). But relax, you won’t need it anymore when you’ll become a digital nomad.
For the pieces that won’t make it to the suitcase:
Rubbish and super insignificant sh..stuff you’re not that attached to:
Breathe in, breathe out, close your eyes and throw it all away. I can guarantee that after a week you’ll completely forget about it and you won’t even feel it’s missing.
Nice stuff that it’s just not nice for you anymore, but it’s good quality and simply not to be thrown away:
Books. 4x4meters wide paintings by nobody famous but still amazing – All of this stuff you can put on eBay or other auction-like websites, give it to a charity shop, antiquarians. Search on Facebook for some local groups of people who are “adopting books” ? they will send you money for the postage and you’ll be one hundred per cent sure that your book will end up in good hands. This is what I did with the half of my library when I’ve become a digital nomad.
Major, important, awesome stuff that just doesn’t fit the suitcase:
Look for storage spaces! We are so damn lucky that this institution became fairly popular among the last couple of years and so, we, digital nomads can benefit from it. Yay! (Check out, for example, Berlin).
So give yourself some time to slowly sort it all out. Maybe a month or two. Depends on how long you’ve been collecting your treasures for. In this way you’ll avoid panic, disorganisation, forgetting about shit or being forced to get rid off something in a very last moment. You should try to aim for 23kg checked in luggage and 7kg carry on. This is going to be your whole life when you’ll make your dream come true and become a digital nomad.
Organize your office.
Bags, cables, covers, adapters. Depends on what your digital nomad work is and on how nomadic you want to go. I am an illustrator and animator (travelling with a laptop and a Wacom graphic tablet) and for the first two years of being a homeless digital nomad, I used to change countries every 2-3 weeks. FOR REAL. That means every 3rd Saturday was spent at the airport. Travelling through cities very well-developed like for example New York or Hong Kong and those… not that well-equipped in electronics like for example Bagan, where not having one cable equalled ? not working. Not working ? not getting paid. So basically being pretty much…fucked.
Prepare some sachets ? I use cosmetic bags and pencil cases.
- Adapters ? those you’re gonna be collecting instead of magnets on your digital nomad journey.
- USB, iPhone cables, android cables, data cables…they sometimes like to break or get wet or just stop working.
- Your phone and a brick phone with your original sim card (for example to receive confirmation text messages from your bank). Best option ? a dual sim phone.
- Cameras, GoPros with batteries, lenses etc (optional)
Segregate everything into sachets, bags to make it safe and easily accessible. This is the most important part of your luggage. Because when you don’t work ? yes, you’ve got a serious problem man! That’s why moving frequently from place to place you want to have those things sorted very well.
To go! But…where?
Of course, you want to go somewhere pretty, cheap and hot.
If you’re a freelancer and you don’t care for the “timing” ? good for you! But if you’re a 9-5 worker who’s just become a digital nomad the whole idea might be a little bit more complicated.
Time is money, time is tricky.
If you care for the time and you need to stay in a real-time kind of touch with your clients/employers, go on google and check the time zones map. That’s the first step. Next, what you want to do (and it might be pretty crucial) ? check all the eventual daylight saving time changes your desired country has. Also ? sunrise and sunset times for the time you’re about to be staying in your new desired destination. Too much hustle? Believe me, after spending a month in Mexico City and starting my work 3 am in the morning waiting for the sunrise at 7:30…believe me, these are the things that can make you go crazy. So even if you think you’re an early bird ? ask yourself once again if you’d be that happy waking up earlier than the sun does. Sorting out the time right is one of the tricks and treats when you become a digital nomad.
Is it pricey?
Nobody will give you the straight answer of how much money you need per month to survive in a foreign country ? everyone is different. Some need hummus and will be perfectly in place in Doha but it’s definitely not a place for a booze and lettuce lover. But to estimate the average cost difference I always go for numbeo. Simple, up to date, will help you to have an idea of what to expect.
The need for speed.
No, you’re not a weirdo. Sending your Airbnb host a request for a speed test screen is absolutely normal. You’ve just become a digital nomad, it’s all good. Also ? check the mobile data because it might be ridiculously affordable and amazing. Also number two – check for desks, good chairs and AC. I know, you love this hot and humid weather, but guess what ? your hardware doesn’t! I’ve experienced my devices getting incredibly hot. I’ve experienced my iPhone displaying a cute thermometer on its screen and kindly informing me that the device won’t work until it’s gonna be cooled down. So better stay cool.
There are several ideas of what to do with your laptop when you feel like you could fry beacon on its motherboard (I saw a guy putting it to a freezer while rendering something), but a good solution is buying a laptop cooling pad or an external fan.
The social part.
You might not believe me but home office sucks. After a couple of months, it sucks for most of the people so badly that they go mad. You can’t organise your time, you spend most of your day looking at the half-open fridge and wondering what else you could eat if you’re not hungry. Eventually walking around the house, doing random burpees, uncontrollably dancing or talking to yourself. If you’ve been diagnosed with those symptoms you might need a coworking space.
Coworking spaces are awesome and you should definitely go for it even if you live in a lavish mansion and this is an additional cost because:
- the atmosphere of people working is amazing and helps you have a lot of more shit done
- you can meet potential clients, investors or at least get some ideas
- changing your surroundings will help you divide your work from the private life which is also very important
- some of the coworking spaces will be able to provide you with a keyboard, screen or other useful stuff for rent
- they usually have pretty decent office chairs and desks (and after some months in Starbucks you’ll appreciate it)
- go for a trial day and see how you feel about the spot
SOCIALIZE FFS!!! That’s one of the most amazing reasons to become a digital nomad: you can meet wonderful people from all around the world. (If you’re tired with Tinder and you still don’t feel very confident talking to strangers on the street, try the Couchsurfing app).
In order to find a coworking space in your desired destination, you can go to coworker.com, look around and book a tour or a free day pass.
And – if you feel like it – go for it! The world is your oyster. Card. Heheheheheeee…