Design Your Own Remote Adventure
You’ve no doubt heard the term “digital nomad” before. If so, you’ve likely salivated over Instagram accounts and blog posts showing white sand beaches, skyscrapers in tech hubs, crowded local markets, and hip coworking spaces. The remote adventure is alluring.
For brief periods of time, I have had the pleasure of being among them—straining to get wi-fi at a cabin in Norway’s Geirangerfjord, logging into Skype for late-night calls in downtown Sydney, and writing a flurry of emails at 35,000 feet to send upon arrival in Udaipur, India.
Glancing out from your home office window, maybe you’re spying a view of the lawn that needs to be mowed or your apartment building’s mostly-vacant parking lot. Doesn’t have quite the same cache, does it?
Location-independent work―a remote adventure—is looking pretty darn good right now, you might be thinking.
Thankfully, if a change of scenery is what you’re after, you have options. Nowadays you can work flexibly while abroad without dipping into your vacation time or finagling an overseas relocation. Below are stories from two digital nomads who are doing just that: designing their own remote adventures!
Here’s a lesson in how to design your own remote adventure, from two experienced digital nomads:
Digital Nomads in Their Own Words
Marketer Kristen Marano works remotely for a tech startup based out of India. This enables her a certain amount of flexibility in terms of choosing her work hours and locations.
“Remote work is all about defining my own days regardless of location in the world. I travel between three home bases: Chennai, India; Toronto, Canada; and Perth, Australia. When I am in Perth—one of the most isolated regions of the world—remote work has enabled me to create a greater sense of community within my neighbourhood, city, country, and the world; I never had that feeling and purpose in my home of Toronto, a huge city with access to a lot of people and places. I lived a lifestyle that was based on someone else’s time with set work hours and location, which limited my time and interactions.
Now, my daily interactions are open to exploration that speaks to me as a person and my needs and wants. From where to work for the day, depending on what I need to achieve—bustling cafe versus quiet library—to making friends and collaborating with other creatives that share similar interests, not just making friends or working together because we work or went to school together.
My suggestion for anyone starting out with remote work: get to where you need to be, and find the work when you get there. When you remove yourself from a place you’ve always known or a structure you’ve always been in, you’ll feel immediate emotions, wants, and needs that you might have been ignoring subconsciously. Listen to that little voice and get attuned to what you want, because you might end up picking a role you never thought of before you left.”
“Remote work gives you greater opportunity to step back and ask how you want to be part of a community, and then it’s up to you to define it. That’s scary and liberating at the same time.”
– Kristen Marano, digital nomad since 2014
Business strategy consultant David Daniel and his wife are quintessential digital nomads who left their conventional jobs to travel the world.
“Dealing with ‘life’ is what sets a traveler apart from a tourist. As a tourist, you have your needs catered to, while travelers must learn to take care of the sometimes mundane aspects of life that can become a huge challenge.
I currently live in one of the world’s biggest tourist destinations, Cancun. Having to deal with the daily chores of living and working here has given me a much broader view of the culture than any beach tourist would ever encounter. The rewards are subtle but amazing. I know that there is a great French café (yes, in Mexico) next to my wife’s dentist’s office.
When we lived in Italy, my wife and I met the woman who sells propane at the local hardware store who invited us into her home for a meal that words cannot describe. We have been taken on a fishing trip by an Australian mechanic who we met when our car needed servicing. In Malaysia, we were invited into a Hindu temple for a feast of unimaginable proportion by our regular cab driver.
Living as a local, rather than as an outsider, opens you up to the warmth of humanity at its finest. Be a part of society, and don’t only interact with expats!”
“In general, people WANT to help you. If you approach it with a positive attitude and welcoming spirit, you find that almost always the person on the ‘other end’ will go out of their way to ensure you get the task accomplished.”
– David Daniel, digital nomad since 2009
Introducing the Planning-My-Great-Escape Checklist
Want to stretch your wings and strike out on your own DIY remote adventure? Now’s your chance! We’ve created a checklist of tips and tools just for aspiring nomads like you. Here’s everything you need to know to get up and running for a brief stay in another country (or three):
- Visa Types, Requirements, Vaccinations and Travel Alerts – American citizens can check out travel.state.gov for the latest info on visas and alerts. If you are a foreign national or have multiple citizenships, check out Project Visa.
- Cost of Living Comparison – Not sure where to go? Teleport is a new tool that can help you compare a wide variety of criteria before you decide.
- Time Zones – Demystifying time zones has become the bane of global remote work. Happily, a Buffer engineer has taken out the guesswork for all of us: Timezone.io.
- Budget – Estimating costs and establishing a budget in advance can mean the difference between an epic journey and a total disaster. To get started, check out the Independent Traveler calculator.
- Cohort Travel – Companies like Remote Year set up application-based annual group travel tours for remote workers across multiple continents; with Roam, you can check out temporary communal living spaces in places like Bali or Madrid, or opt for global locations for coworking and company retreats with enough ways to get out in nature to make John Muir proud, courtesy of Outsite.
- Coworking Abroad – Check out reviews and tips on all kinds of spaces from a global network of remote workers at WorkFrom, or drop in on one of coworking giant WeWork’s offices in one of 12 countries.
- DIY Scheduling – We get it: you’re a travel pro. You’ve probably got dozens of Airbnb reservations under your belt, but it’d be worth checking out Hopper for big data predictions on when to fly (if you’re so inclined), and Fairfly will ensure that you pay the lowest price on airfare, no matter what—even after booking!
- Touring and Mingling – Use TripScout for self-guided tours in your new locale, ArtBit to discover galleries or get location-based info on visual art, or dive into a MeetUp that suits your fancy (Girl Gone International is a great one for ladies).
What’s your dream destination? Share your digital nomad bucket list with us below!
By Kristi DePaul | July 20, 2016 | Categories: Work Remotely