The pandemic accelerated a remote employment trend many embrace for its attractive work-life balance. Last year, upwards of 44 percent of office professionals held positions with offsite capabilities. That begs the question: Why live somewhere when you can live everywhere? About 35 people worldwide and 11 million Americans agreed and went full digital nomad.
Transitioning from the daily commute and workplace structure to working from home wasn’t for everyone. Some trailed back to cubicles once offices reopened. On the other hand, the taste of freedom experienced while enjoying home-brewed coffee with a laptop on your patio can be like a daily Zen moment. Those considering the logical next step of buying an RV, tricking out a van, or hotel jumping around the world, would be well served to conduct thorough due diligence. Life on the roam presents new challenges.
1: How To Maintain Power
Solar panels rank among the trendy options remote workers too often believe will keep their electronics powered. Jackery emerged as the big name among RV-ing nomads in the last few years. Maintaining enough battery charge to complete a project using a portable panel is unlikely to work consistently. Digital nomads develop a heightened awareness of just how many cloudy and rainy days there are when you occupy a confined mobile space.
Mounting several commercial-grade solar panels on your rig’s roof with a cache of batteries is a good start. It’s also prudent to carry some type of traditional generator — gas or propane. Ignore advice about hauling 20 gallons of water — unless you’re heading to the desert — and prioritize consistent energy resources.
2: How To Nomad At A Low Cost
Some polls indicate the majority of digital nomads stay at a hotel or Airbnb while traveling. One of the ways digital nomads staying at Airbnbs can cut costs is by using online coupons. In some cases, you may be able to negotiate a lower price with the host. In terms of saving money on hotels, booking well in advance typically provides a lower nightly rate. And visiting before and after peak season usually results in lower-cost rentals.
If you’re considering wheels on the ground living, like Frances McDormand in the film “Nomadland,” the cost of campgrounds with leisure amenities can also prove a bit pricey. Finding inexpensive and free places to live-work has become increasingly easy. There are platforms such as FreeCampsites, Campendium, theDyrt, and iOverlander, to name a few, that list low-cost and free boondocking opportunities. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and state parks and forest websites are also valuable resources.
But the nuance to utilizing these spaces involves planning your stays. Most have maximum limits between 3-14 days. When planning your travel, think about staying power and check reviews about Wi-Fi availability and cell signal strength.
3: Know Your Traditional Infrastructure
Once you step away from suburban or urban landscapes, Wi-Fi grows inconsistent. Peaceful forests, beaches, and mountains may not necessarily offer five bars, or any at all for that matter. The same may hold true of staying at a remote beachfront cottage or a cabin in the woods. Lack of work connectivity puts the first part of your new life in jeopardy, that being a “digital” nomad.
Purchasing a Wi-Fi booster helps, but job security may require leaning on traditional resources. Public libraries typically offer reasonable internet access and private study rooms to hold video conferences or concentrate. Keep in mind, librarians shushing people who talk loudly has become something of a movie myth. College and university libraries are often open arms to traveling professionals, offering guest passes in many cases.
Many of the things housed people take for granted can be challenging when traveling. Don’t sweat the little things. Stay warm, well-fed, and digitally connected. The rest will fall into place in time.