This is a guest post by Eleni, a lifelong nomad. A Southern California native, she is currently a digital nomad; writing about her experiences through the lens of a young millennial professional living abroad. She manages the marketing efforts of the world’s largest accommodation search engine, and in her spare time runs a blog about multicultural relationships.
The new trend for millennial professionals: the digital nomad lifestyle.
With just a laptop and an internet connection, the world is your oyster.
Sound intriguing? Here are some tips for first-time digital nomads.
1. Work remotely.
The first step to becoming a digital nomad is to get a digital job.
There are a lot of sites created for solely this purpose. A couple of job portals for remote work include: Remote.co Jobs, We Work Remotely, and Working Nomads.
2. Research, research, research.
In every city you live in you’ll have to expect the unexpected.
It’s a completely new culture with a new language and new customs and habits; but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare, and even adapt quickly.
Some basic things you should know about your new city before you arrive:
- The best/safest neighborhood in the city;
- Cost of living;
- Access – and safety – of ATM’s;
- What type of crime is common (i.e. a lot of gun violence vs. pickpocketing);
- Passport and visa rules;
- Weather (obviously);
- Vaccinations – do you need them? Which ones?
- Where your home Embassy is located and how to get in touch with them;
- What types of drugs, and public displays of affection, are legal.
Read the blogs. I guarantee there will be many blog posts about being a nomad in whichever city you decide to live in. Follow along and join the discussions on the Facebook groups. Message people on the Facebook groups before you even take off for your new destination. And most importantly, understand the laws of your new home.
You never want to break any rules (cultural or legal) in a new country.
Understand how long your visa allows you to stay, what are the day-to-day laws you should be following, and how to get out of trouble in case anything goes wrong. You never know.
3. Spend smart.
Traveling to a foreign land on vacation is really fun. Spending like you’re on vacation is not (and is not sustainable).
You should spend some time looking at all your options to find a reasonably priced place to stay. This can be done on AllTheRooms.com, which shows everything including Couchsurfer, Airbnb, and every hotel, hostel and vacation rental.
You should also take advantage of public transportation. For example, in Medellin, Colombia (a big digital nomad hotspot) taking the metro is faster than going by taxi more often than not, because of all the traffic and any opportunity you can.
Also, cook your own meal – this will be friendly to your waist in addition to your wallet.
4. Manage your time.
Again, seeing the world is an amazing experience and one of the main reasons why people choose to live the digital nomad lifestyle.
However, it’s not a vacation; and that is a very important distinction to make. While going to museums, grabbing drinks with friends, attending language exchanges, and exploring your new city is all part of the digital nomad lifestyle, you still need to get work done.
My advice is to create a schedule that you like.
For example, I like working from 10am to 7pm Monday through Fridays and completely going off-digital for the weekends and in the evenings.
Working remotely is synonymous with managing your time well.
5. Create a community.
The most important aspect of living in any city in the world, is a sense of community. NomadList, NomadBase, and local Facebook groups make this easy. I recommend joining a couple local Expat and Digital Nomad Facebook groups and reaching out to individual people.
Find community in other travelers who are living the same lifestyle as you. Attend every meetup you can. Invite people out for coffee even if you don’t know them.
Stepping out of your comfort zone is what allows you to create a sense of community.
A lot of digital nomads tend to travel and stay in similar cities, so even if you only spend a month with them in your current city, you’ll make a friend for life and will be able to connect with them in the future. Remember to stay in touch.