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  • Chris Gib

10 thoughts on living the global traveller/remote worker/digital nomad dream: Part 2

Ankor Wat, Machu Picchu, the Great Barrier Reef, the Taj Mahal, Chichen Itza, the Pyramids, Grand Canyon, the Whitsunday Islands, Kruger, Iguazu Falls, Banff & Jasper National Parks, the list goes on. The world is full of magnificent sights, cultures, landscapes and adventures that sometimes seem to be beyond imagination.

Alas, the costs associated with embarking on such adventures are beyond the reach of the average worker on an average wage in an average job. But thanks to the wonders of modern technology, experiencing these exotic wonders is getting easier for those that are able to work remotely, and can fund their travels as they go.

But it’s far from easy to live - even for a short while - as a globe-trotting remote worker trying to balance gainful employment while constantly on the move and dealing with the challenges associated with international travel (especially when budgets are limited). With this article we hope to help those that are thinking of taking the plunge and becoming digital nomads and/or travelling remote workers.

Part 1 of this series offered some insight around issues such as VPNs, portable screens, data safeguarding, internet oppression and the dangers of not tracking time zones properly. To round of this series, we bring you a few more tips garnered from our personal experience of remote working around the world on a shoestring budget. Enjoy!

Stay cynical with those accommodation reviews

This point isn’t too much of a problem for remote workers and travellers with minimal budgetary constraints; They will likely be able to afford to stay somewhere with warm showers, comfy beds, good food, a workspace and – most importantly – great internet. However for those who travel on a shoestring budget it’s much trickier because the aim is to find the best possible accommodation for remote work, at the lowest possible price. It gets worse with the realisation that most of the reviews on accommodation booking sites are unreliable!

  • Pro tip #1: Prioritise internet access & quality.

  • Pro tip #2: Always rely on the most recent ‘middle’ reviews on booking sites because they tend to be the most accurate & honest.

  • And Pro tip #3: The photos of the accommodation only advertise the nicest parts of a place so expect it to appear much worse in reality.

Security, Insurance, protection, awareness

Unfortunately, wherever there are travellers there will be those who feel compelled to commit crimes. Becoming a victim of theft is not usually on a remote worker’s wish list, so constant vigilance and awareness is most definitely required. Storing luggage in the overhead racks on a coach is an invitation for burglars to subtly lift valuables (laptops etc) from bags whilst their owners are catching up on some much-needed sleep. Waking up to find that the ability to work and income has been swiped is definitely a worst-case scenario. Likewise, having valuables (like luxury watches, rings, necklaces and electronics) on display whilst exploring crowded new places is dangerous in certain locations, especially for solo or duo travellers. Criminals can strike in numbers and in broad daylight. In scenarios where the worst does happen, it certainly pays to have the best possible insurance and to check the small print of the policy cover.

Introducing traveller fatigue (spoiler: It's different to jetlag)

Travel fatigue is a tough one because it feels ridiculous to be saying “I feel exhausted, disengaged and apathetic on this incredible global remote working journey across a host of mind-blowing locations”. Here is a wonderfully in-depth look at the concept including what it feels like, what causes it and how to overcome it. In more severe cases it can easily result in a homeward-bound flight, so it’s best to know how to identify the signs/symptoms before it ruins some very excellent adventures (and work opportunities).

Try to find the right balance

In a situation where being a successful digital nomad is purely dependant on being a successful digital nomad, it’s very easy to slip into the trap of being more focused on acquiring work and making money than the very reasons for becoming a digital nomad in the first place! There’s no point in travelling to exotic far flung destinations if work becomes a barrier to enjoying the sights, sounds, cultures and wonders associated with being a global traveller. It’s easier said than done, but look up from that screen as much as possible…

Use the experiences for self-promotion

There’s no doubt about it; spending extended time as a globe-trotting digital nomad is one of the most enjoyable challenges a human can experience in their lifetimes, and the developmental benefits cannot be understated. Individuals who have embarked on such a journey tend to be more culturally diverse, adaptable, flexible, communicative, resilient, curious, innovative, organised, budget-conscious, collaborative, patient, tolerant, wise, understanding and open-minded. All of these qualities (and the additional ones we probably missed) can enhance and elevate an individual’s personal brand, making them more attractive and desirable by innovative employers on the look-out for more than just education and qualifications.

No doubt there are many other important and relevant considerations for those who have made the choice to pack a bag, jump on a plane or boat and set up a mobile office in an alien location. We’d love to learn from the experiences anyone else who has lived the nomad life, so please leave a comment and let us know what we missed (or got wrong)

Look out for our future article which dives deeper into the discussion about how employers and organisations can benefit from employing associates, partners, contractors or candidates who have spent time traveling and working around the world on a budget. Or you can just get in touch with us at DarkScorpio to chat about it over coffee. Like anyone else who has recently returned from international adventures, we can spend HOURS talking about it…

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