My digital nomad journey began in summer time 2021. I used to be a user-experience designer at The Washington Put up and had the luxurious of a totally distant job on the time. Working from the D.C. workplace was nonetheless off-limits, international coronavirus instances have been down and “scorching vax summer time” was in full swing. I knew the timing was proper.
So, I ended my lease in D.C., offered my furnishings and headed out on the street with nothing greater than I may match right into a suitcase and a small backpack. It felt like a giant step, however contemplating I used to be a metropolis dweller with no automobile and never many possessions, the shifting logistics have been comparatively easy.
Like summer time camp for grown-ups: The pandemic is altering the digital nomad scene
A yr and a job change later, I’ve labored remotely from 14 international locations throughout two totally different continents. I really feel profoundly grateful for the expertise. I acknowledge that it’s not a luxurious many have, however I imagine the life-style is extra attainable than some distant staff might imagine. Take these classes I’ve realized as an accessible place to begin in your personal digital nomad journey.
Learn all the necessities — twice
Learn, then reread all of the entry necessities for each nation you intend to enter.
This might sound apparent, however within the age of the coronavirus, public well being rules are all the time in flux — and may range drastically from nation to nation. Instruments equivalent to Airheart’s coronavirus restrictions map are useful for planning, nevertheless it’s all the time finest to go straight to the supply. Examine the U.S. State Division’s journey advisories and your vacation spot’s official authorities web site earlier than reserving something.
As a result of I didn’t spend greater than a month in anybody nation, I didn’t want a digital nomad visa. My expertise was extra like long-term tourism slightly than a full-on relocation. However some international locations require a visa relying in your size of keep, so make sure you test.
What it is prefer to be a digital nomad in Rio
And don’t overlook to test for restrictions between international locations in your itinerary. In the event you don’t learn rigorously, you could possibly find yourself with canceled flights and an surprising keep in Montenegro as a result of Austria not accepts vacationers from the Balkans.
Profit from your time zone
Being a nomad means balancing your leisure time along with your skilled obligations. So, work with your schedule, not towards it.
If you must be on-line for East Coast hours, attempting to work from Bali (12 hours forward) will in all probability go away you exhausted. However you’ll be able to fly to Machu Picchu with out ever leaving your time zone.
Work mornings and discover the nightlife within the evenings, or work evenings and go mountaineering within the mornings; there aren’t any proper or mistaken solutions. An important factor is speaking along with your group to make sure you’re all on the identical web page about whenever you’ll be on-line. I’ve discovered that establishing these expectations early goes a good distance, particularly when issues come up.
Even when your job retains you deskbound for many of the day, you’ll be able to nonetheless discover spots near your house base. When working from Medellín, Colombia, I used to be in a position to go paragliding on my lunch break, as a result of I discovered a tour that will choose me up and drop me again dwelling throughout the hour.
House isn’t all the time the place the WiFi is
As a lot as I need to work day-after-day from a sunny cafe in Lisbon, sipping espresso and nibbling pastéis de nata, the truth is that working in public areas has its downsides. And in case you’ve ever tried taking a Zoom name in a crowded cafe, I’m positive you understand them, too.
Plus, public WiFi networks — even ones with passwords — nonetheless pose a major safety threat, so a personal community or VPN is all the time advisable for digital nomads. When attempting to find Airbnbs to work from, seek for phrases equivalent to “WiFi,” “connection” or “working remotely” within the critiques to weed out stays with a spotty connection.
Generally, although, utilizing public WiFi is unavoidable. Take my journey to Bariloche, Argentina, in northern Patagonia, for instance, when an surprising snowstorm led to energy outages and downed bushes. Minimize to me and a busload of individuals trudging by means of a mile of slush to achieve city — and a steady connection. On the flip aspect, the cafe I labored from that afternoon, Vertiente Café con Concepts, was immensely cozy.
Be strategic about packing
Your priorities outline your packing record. You may take something you need, however you’ll need to lug it round, so select properly.
In the event you’ve ever explored the OneBag subreddit, you understand there’s a complete subculture round minimalist journey. And though I recognize their rules (“extra deal with the expertise than the logistics”), I go for a barely extra reasonable method.
Embrace overpacking: The case towards carry-ons
I take advantage of the Minaal carry-on 3.0 as my essential bag. It’s 35 liters, flattens right into a pancake when it’s not full and has all of the pockets I may ever want. I pair this bag with an affordable multiuse daypack that I picked up on the mall for $15. It’s straightforward to sling over my aspect or chest once I’m navigating by means of airports with each luggage. Plus, a budget, unassuming look makes it much less of a goal for thieves or pickpockets. Not all the pieces needs to be premium.
My private rule of thumb is to pack sufficient garments for one week, then do laundry as wanted. This includes researching how one can do laundry in every location the place I’m staying. In Argentina, for instance, it’s unusual to discover a self-service laundromat, however lavanderias the place you will get garments washed and pressed are seemingly on each nook.
Solo journey doesn’t need to be lonely
Not except you need it to be.
For me, touring solo is an almost-spiritual expertise. There may be nothing like the sensation of wandering the again streets of a brand new metropolis — soaking in all the small print that make this place really feel totally different from dwelling. I usually curate city-wandering playlists for this very function, equivalent to this considered one of Czech people musicians and composers that I made for Prague.
That doesn’t imply there aren’t days — and even weeks — once I get lonely. Once I begin feeling this manner, I discover that the simplest method to refuel my extrovert tank is to attend gatherings of fellow vacationers. I’m nearly all the time capable of finding meetups by trying to find “digital nomad” or “expat” teams on Fb or Meetup.com. Attempt attending a language trade to brush up in your expertise or to assist somebody study your native tongue.
However I’d additionally encourage you to embrace the distinctive freedom that solo journey brings. Strike up a dialog with that individual in line on the prepare station. You by no means know the place it could lead.
My pal Renan and I have been whole strangers once we by accident made eye contact within the Medellín airport; 5 minutes later, we have been buying and selling tales about our hometowns. (He’s from Brazil.) Fifteen minutes later, his translation expertise have been serving to me out of a vaccine verification state of affairs on the airline desk.
Two days later, we have been in Santiago grabbing cervezas and completos (Chilean scorching canine) like outdated mates.
And also you by no means know when a pal may come in useful.
Peter Hershey was previously a UX designer at The Put up and now works as an interplay designer at Google. He at present lives and works in San Francisco.