The evolving idea of a digital nomad hit turbo speed when the pandemic began. At its most basic, the concept of being a digital nomad boils down to choosing where you want to live and working for yourself. It’s a beautiful combination of an adventurer and a freelancer, a wanderer and an entrepreneur, an aspirational traveler, and a calculating risk-taker.
Operating as a digital nomad may be a popular and alluring lifestyle at the moment. But it does take some focus and energy to pull off, especially if you want to maintain things with success over time.
If you’re leaning toward venturing out on the path of the digital nomad, here are a few tips and suggestions to get you started.
Pick a Good Place to Travel
Finding success as a digital nomad doesn’t consist of heading off to wherever the wind may take you. It may sound romantic, but you need to think ahead if you don’t want to end up stranded somewhere or left without an internet connection.
Several factors should go into selecting your nomadic stomping ground. Several of the most important elements include:
safety of the region;
quality of life and attractiveness;
cost of living;
the presence of a local community of digital nomads;
potential incentives for remote workers.
Global HR platform Remote offers the Best Destinations for Remote Work guide that you can use to prioritize which of these factors is most important for you. It then automatically suggests a list of potential locations, in order, based on your settings.
Everyone has different preferences and requirements, even digital nomads. Rather than letting fate decide, put a little thought into your potential work location. This will ensure you set yourself up for remote work success.
Set the Stage Back Home First
Before you head off in search of adventure, take some time to consider the life you’re leaving behind. Unless you intend to never come back to whatever place you call home, there are likely specific responsibilities that you should tend to before you go.
For example, living as a digital nomad means embracing a minimalist lifestyle. If you have any extraneous possessions, you should either liquidate or store them.
If you opt for the latter, you need to find a space. Do you have a friend or family member with some extra storage you could borrow while you’re gone? If not, can you afford to rent a storage unit?
These are essential questions to answer if you don’t want to end up in a Bilbo Baggins scenario where you come home to find your possessions being auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Along with your possessions, have you thought about anyone you should visit or say goodbye to before you leave? Make sure to address social responsibilities before you go. And don’t forget to set up lines of communication with loved ones to keep you close while you’re on the road, as well.
Consider Your Work Responsibilities, Too
As you prepare for your new itinerant lifestyle, remember your work responsibilities, too. It takes some practice to learn how to remain digitally grounded even as your geographic location shifts and changes.
One of the best ways to do this is by setting up a well-organized workspace. Consider using an online collaboration tool like Trello to collect all of your commitments, deadlines, and to-do items in a single place.
With so much changing around you all of the time, you must create online repositories for your work life. These can help you come through for employers and clients alike in a timely and responsible manner — no matter where in the world you’re working from.
In addition, make sure you have clear lines of communication lined up with each of your professional connections. If you’re a freelancer, take the time to ensure your clients know when and how they can reach you. If you’re an employee, set up precise working hours and communication options with your employer before you start traveling.
Perfect Your Equipment Set-Up
Along with software and communication tools, you want to invest in your digital nomad work kit. This should start with a good travel bag that can keep all of your work gadgets safe and secure as you move around.
In addition, make sure you have challenging, durable versions of the following items:
a quality computer;
a smartphone, ideally with a hotspot option;
a quality camera and microphone for video calls;
all of the cords required to charge and maintain your devices.
Along with these essential remote work items, consider any extraneous tech-related devices that you might want to add to your traveling repertoire. For example, you might want a mouse and mousepad, an external monitor, or even a laptop stand.
Don’t Forget Finances
It’s challenging to travel if you can’t keep the money flowing. That’s why the last thing to cover is your digital nomad finances. This covers a lot of different areas.
For instance, do you have savings to tap into if you find that you’re far afield and your current work dries up for a spell? Another consideration is the cost of living in your potential destination points. Can you afford to live where you want to? Can you pick a location that will make your hard-earned dollars go that much further?
Travel costs are another added expense that digital nomads need to keep in mind. These can be minimal if you tend to sit tight for longer chunks of time. But if you want to move often, the cost can add up quickly.
Getting paid on the road is another element to flesh out beforehand. Chances are, you won’t be able to swing by the local bank to deposit a check. So make sure you have a competent mobile banking option good to go before you leave.
Finally, consider how you, yourself, will pay for things. You can only carry so much cash, and having too much legal tender on hand can make you a target for thieves. So instead, look into a quality travel credit card to help facilitate the bulk of your purchases.
Many factors go into a successful digital nomad lifestyle. Fortunately, most of these aren’t complicated. Instead, they simply take a little upfront effort and focus on helping you set the stage.
Suppose you can address the above items as you prepare to launch your new nomadic professional career. In that case, you’ll put yourself in the best possible place to succeed as you officially kick off this exciting new stage of your life.
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