Everything You Need to Know about Life as a Digital Nomad
Guest writer Jess from Tripelio has gathered together information on the life of a digital nomad. Personally, living remotely is something I hope to accomplish one day! Right now, I’m splitting my time between a full-time job and travel. Like she says in the article, you don’t have to be a permanent nomad, but that life appeals to me. I hope you all enjoy this article by Jess!
Before I begin, I want to thank Morgan for sharing this post here on her blog. I always love to read what other travelers are up to, but I especially love how Morgan always seems to combine a good dose of humor in with her advice and travel tales. For example, that post about all the times she fell in Norway; as a fellow klutz, I appreciated that! So I’m really pleased to be here.
These days, increasingly more people are opting out of the traditional 9-to-5 office and are instead choosing to set up a mobile office so they can work from anywhere in the world. With the advent of the internet age, there are tons of jobs that can be done remotely, in fields as diverse as technology, art and business. If you’re looking at life as a digital nomad, don’t think twice: you’ll enjoy freedom to work when you want and where you want. But it can be a bit daunting knowing just where to get started.
Here are some things you should know:
- There are plenty of jobs out there.
The key to starting your life as a digital nomad is to find a job that will allow you to work remotely. If you’re already employed, you may be able to talk to your current boss about the possibility of telecommuting in your current position (depending, of course, on what you already do). You can also search for remote positions on various job-searching engines such as Craigslist, Indeed and Monster, but there are also a lot of websites that cater toward remote work positions. Don’t believe there are jobs available in your field? You might be surprised!
- Public WiFi isn’t always safe.
When you’re telecommuting, you’re often working on WiFi networks that aren’t your own. Whether you’re at your favorite coffee shop or halfway around the world, you should be able to get work done, but you don’t want to compromise your device by leaving it open to malware. Just make sure that you’ve properly configured your firewall and sharing settings so that you’re not allowing hackers to access your computer and load it up with viruses. And be wary of the networks you’re accessing too. It’s possible for a hacker to set up what’s known as a malicious hotspot—something which looks like a legitimate WiFi network but which is actually designed to steal your private information such as passwords and banking information.
- You should always be using a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Another way to keep your personal information safe is to use a VPN to encrypt your internet traffic. Every time you access a site, your computer sends packets of information called cookies to the site’s servers. Your cookies contain information such as your usernames, passwords, account numbers and PINs (if you’re doing online banking), etc. Obviously this information isn’t stuff that you want just anyone to be able to get their hands on. But unfortunately, that’s just what normally happens. Anyone could intercept your information en route to those servers and use the information they’ve captured to steal your identity. Because a VPN encrypts your data though, it’s much more difficult for a hacker to get their hands on—almost as though you’ve sealed your information in a tunnel that goes directly from your computer to the server you’re accessing, with no open points in between.
- There are plenty of tools to help you out.
Beyond using websites to find yourself a telecommuting position, there are tons of other tech tools out there that you’ll want to use. If you have a smartphone or tablet, you can use apps to keep you organized and maximize the potential of your mobile office. You may also want to look into gadgets such as keyboards or styluses that you can use in conjunction with your device to get the most out of it. You might even want to look into smartphone data plans that allow you to share your phone’s internet connection with your laptop so that you can really work from nearly anywhere. Once you’ve got your mobile office optimized, you’ll find that the work is a lot easier to get done.
- You should always have a backup plan.
Especially when you’re traveling, you’re going to want to take good care of your laptop, smartphone and other gadgets. But the thing is, life happens. Your device could be stolen, or the disk could fail, or you could have a myriad of other things happen to you. Make sure you’ve got a good backup so that if the unthinkable should happen, you still have a record of your work. These days, cloud storage services are relatively cheap, quick and widespread, so there’s no reason why the death of your computer should mean the total loss of your latest project.
+1. You don’t need to always be on the move.
The thing about digital nomadism is, it’s not like other forms of travel. Where maybe you would normally be okay spending only a few days in the city, if you’re taking work days while you’re on the road, you may find yourself spending longer in each place. You may even settle in a place for months (or years!) if you’ve got good internet and a good ratio of pay to expenses. Remember, just because you’re able to travel anywhere for work, it doesn’t mean you need to constantly be in “vacation mode”.
It’s very easy to work remotely from anywhere in the world, regardless of what field you’re in. Working and traveling can teach you a lot about yourself and open you up to a lot of special new experiences, so it’s something that really benefits a lot of people. That said, you should make sure you’re protecting yourself against possible cyberthreats, and hey, why not make things as easy as possible on yourself so that you have more time to explore your new surroundings?
Are you a digital nomad? Where are you now, and what are you doing? Do you have any tips for other aspiring telecommuters? Share your stories and advice below!