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Digital Nomad 101: 5 Things to Consider
Last week I officially announced that I would be spending the next several months becoming a digital nomad (cue the airhorns).
As I pack up my apartment, I feel ALL OF THE THINGS. Excitement, nerves, more excitement, panic, doubt, MORE EXCITEMENT, and about 500 other emotions.
2020 and 2021 have been some of the most incredible and simultaneously most difficult years of my life, and this truly feels like the best thing I could do for myself. I’ll be traveling with my BFF and #friendmoon co-creator, Kristine, to Europe for a writing retreat and then to Dubai in January because why the hell not.
It seems like I’m not the only one making significant changes that include working while traveling. So many of you reached out to let me know you were transitioning to the digital nomad life or, at the very least, hoping to.
As I prep to head out on the first leg of my trip, here are a few things I’m keeping in mind to make my digital nomad months successful.
What will I do with my stuff?
The first question I’m inevitably asked when I mention that I’m leaving the states for several months is, “what about your stuff?!”
I decided that it wasn’t worth it to keep my apartment (and my lease was ending soon) as a strange sort of empty shrine while I was away. So I’m currently packing the whole thing up and moving my stuff into a storage unit.
Sure, this isn’t a completely free option, but it costs substantially less than keeping an empty apartment. But I know what your real concern is–– what will happen to my plants?
Fortunately, my green children will be going to loving foster homes where they’ll be taken good care of while I’m away. I might be a little sad about it—just a little.
Nomad technical necessities
It should go without saying, but if you’re planning on working from the road or different locations, you’ll need a plan for wifi. I’ll be staying in homes with internet access, so I’m not worried about it–– but plenty of people who go for the more rustic options may need to make alternate plans.
Phone service hotspots can be great–– just make sure you will have service where you’re staying ahead of time, or you’ll be SOL. Unless you’re trying to unplug, which I think we all might need to do for at least a week after this last year.
Another thing to remember when you’re planning your working nomad office set-up is what you’ll need to make sure you’re comfortable and have what you need to keep you inspired.
I’m pretty flexible in different spaces, so I’m just packing the basics. As for my team members, they’re planning to bring wireless keyboards and laptop stands so they can work comfortably in any space and protect their necks and backs in the process.
Working with teams across time zones
I’m fortunate to have an amazing remote team of people who work for me. I structured my business so that it didn’t matter what time zone my employees were in–– as long as their work was finished, I didn’t care when or where they worked.
Being based in the PNW, I’ve managed team members in Georgia, Tennessee, Germany, and more. We all make it work with the different time zones and genuinely love the flexibility we all have to work around optimum productivity hours for ourselves.
In a fun twist of fate, the majority of my “main” team will be spending time in Europe this fall as well, so we won’t have to navigate as much time difference after all.
The exception will be when I’m completely OOO for my writer’s retreat.
That’s right, for about two months, I am stepping back from everything HFK to focus completely on my manuscript. With a February deadline for the first draft fast approaching, I’m using this focused time to create the book I’ve always wanted to write.
Packing for the indefinite
To be completely honest, I don’t know where I’ll land when I’m done with my trip to Dubai. I have a college tour planned in the spring (and yes, you can book me to speak at your school by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org), but otherwise, I’m leaving the door open on my home base.
When you’re traveling internationally, luggage can add up FAST. Not only that, if you’re making a lot of stops on your journey, you need to think about what it will feel like to lug multiple suitcases or bags around.
I’m pretty minimalist when it comes to clothing. I never mind repeating an outfit, so I’m saving a lot of space by utilizing a modified capsule wardrobe while I’m traveling. I’ll have at least one piece for every possible climate (jackets, coats, etc.), but other than that, I’m not stressing about having a new outfit to debut day after day.
The harsh realities of the nomad life
If you’ve ever studied abroad or traveled internationally, you know first hand about the loneliness and even depression that sometimes comes along with realizing that you’re in a completely new country, on a different continent, without anything that feels even a little bit normal. You start to miss your friends, family, and your favorite coffee shop. It’s natural and expected that you’d deal with a bit of homesickness, especially in the beginning.
Culture shock is another huge factor when you’re traveling overseas. Different countries and even cities within those countries have completely different ways of doing things. It can take a while to adjust to new routines, rules, and customs. Give yourself some grace, and don’t be like other ass-hole tourists who don’t even attempt to learn the basics of the native language or adjust to the culture.
Trust me, a few weeks of prep on your favorite language app will save you so much headache. Plus, immersion is the best way to learn–– so take full advantage of this incredible opportunity!
Becoming a digital nomad is something I’ve dreamed of doing for years, and I am so thrilled that I’ve built Her First $100K to the point where I can not only take two whole months of dedicated writing time in the French countryside but also afford to continue my travels and working from my wifi.
I can’t wait to tell you all about it–– au revoir!