How to be a Digital Nomad

How to be a Digital Nomad

In truth I am currently somewhat under-qualified to describe life as a digital nomad because this is my first day of freelance writing combined with remote working and I still have a home office, but I like to think that I am on my way to the wandering freelance work life of a digital nomad (at least for part of each year). You would think, wouldn’t you, that now I have a camper, and with Devon having so many beauty spots from which to choose, I would have selected, for my first remote working session, somewhere more scenic than a garage car park in Newton Abbot. Needs must, however, the camper needed to visit the garage and I couldn’t wait to have a go at this freelance work, digital nomad lark.

I have been working as a freelance copywriter for over a year now. To say things are going well would be an understatement. I have the freedom to go wild swimming, walking, wild camping, help out with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, run navigation workshops and travel, all with next to no notice, and I am still making enough money to save… for example for this camper van.

It has just started raining outside and here I am dry and comfortable inside the van. I have everything I need right here (see my first ‘what does a digital nomad need?’ list below). In, fact I just typed a sentence whilst being driven around to my next ‘check the van out’ position (seatbelt in place of course). I am writing this blog post and am about to post it onto my freelance website, I have a cup of tea and the equipment to make another one and my feet are warm in my ‘van slippers’. Life is good; I have maybe not yet reached the dizzy heights (and beaches) of a digital nomad but I am on my way and if I choose to work on Dartmoor tomorrow and on the beach the next day, I can… and probably will.

So now to that ‘what does a digital nomad need?’ list. I am fairly sure I am going to discover a few more needs, but for now this is what I have:

  1. A campervan – I have tried working from other vehicles and it can be really hard work. A camper van offers the opportunity for refreshment, a comfortable seat, a desk and an afternoon nap.
  2. A laptop – for me, this will always be Apple and I am not talking about iPads. My MacBook Air does the job admirably, it is lightweight, easy to use and can easily be stashed (in its own bubble wrap and dry bag) into my rucksack instead of being left in the van.
  3. Camping facilities – most of us like a cuppa during the working day so my double burner stove, sink, and running water are a real bonus. I don’t have an onboard loo but there are always bushes and a change of scenery for public toilet is no bad thing.
  4. WiFi access – this is a big one and maybe a sticking point for some contemplating the digital nomad lifestyle. I am learning about WiFi access all the time. McDonalds’ car parks are an easy option but I hate the smell of greasy burgers and can see that being brave enough to ask for access is going to be important. I am looking forward to finding out more about mobile hotspot devices such as Skyroam.
  5. A thirst for adventure – no worries there, I love an adventure be it solo, with my husband or with friends. With the right attitude, a day working in a pub car park can be as much of an adventure as the next day’s mountain ascent.

So there we have it. My first piece of work (albeit unpaid) in the new camper and maybe the first step towards being a digital nomad. Now, all we need to do is to find some freelance design work for my husband and the world will be our roaming oyster.