Don’t get me wrong. Being a digital nomad is the bee’s knees. But being on the road isn’t all sunshine, rainbows, and other stuff that looks good on Instagram. I have some legit complaints about the digital nomad lifestyle, and here are five of them:
So, what are my big gripes?
1. Connectivity Issues
Holy cow! Connectivity issues really grind my gears!
You need Wi-Fi to rock out as a digital nomad, but if you find yourself somewhere with cruddy (or nonexistent) Wi-Fi, no cellular reception, or some other hinderance to getting online, your livelihood is suddenly at stake!
To keep myself online, I:
- Have a big data plan on my phone (and the ability to tether)
- Snag local sim cards with data when traveling abroad (and then use them in my unlocked phone)
- Have a hotspot or tablet with tethering abilities for a carrier other than my phone provider
- Stake out nearby work spots in advance, like cafes, bars, and open coworking spaces
- Keep as much as I can stored locally on my computer so not being able to access the cloud isn’t a problem
I need a quiet workspace. When I am writing or coming up with content strategy, hearing other people talk, listening to loud music with catchy lyrics, and blaring televisions make clear thinking almost impossible for me.
I have to avoid these by:
- Choosing Airbnbs that are whole spaces or staying in a hotel
- Reading reviews of any lodging and looking for red flags
- Picking work bars and cafes that aren’t known to be busy
- Using noise-cancelling earbuds, even if I’m not listening to anything
How is washing clothes so tough sometimes?! Finding a place to wash your wear can be an ordeal, and then it’s often inconvenient as all get out.
To remedy this, I:
- Look for Airbnb listings that let you use their washer and dryer
- Don’t wait to do laundry–if there’s an opportunity, I take it (even if it’s a small load)
- Seek out laundromats that are near cafes or bars or, better yet, have a cafe or bar inside
- Pack a ton of underwear and socks and bring clothing that normally isn’t washed after every wear (jeans, sweaters, blazers, dresses)
4. No Food
I’ve checked into far too many hotels and Airbnbs only to find there was no food on site and nowhere to get food within two miles. Or maybe there was, but it just wasn’t open. After a long day of traveling, I’m famished, and not being able to start my day off with breakfast is a bitch.
This is no longer a problem because I:
- Bring some basics with me, even if it means buying them at a premium price at the airport: tea bags, a bottle of water, an apple, and a cereal bar
- Book Airbnbs and hotel rooms that are near a market as often as possible
5. Snail Mail
Just because you’re digital doesn’t mean everyone else is. Some clients prefer to pay with checks, and even though I could use that money now, those checks gather dust until I return home. Then there are contracts, tax notifications, and all other stuff that shows up in the mail and goes unanswered, which can be to my detriment.
To stay on top of this, I:
- Have a housesitter or assistant wrangle my mail and ask them to open and deposit any checks that come in
- Use a virtual office that scans any mail that comes in and emails the image to me, and I can dispatch someone to snag anything important
- Strongly encourage electronic payments
What are other digs at being a digital nomad?
Honestly, I don’t have too many beefs. And things that used to be issues aren’t anymore–I’ve learned how to avoid them along the way. Since I’ve worked out the kinks, I’ve been having a great time traveling and running my mini marketing empire along the way!
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