In any profession or any business, you need to invest first before you start earning. The life of a digital nomad also requires the same. It may sound something easy and carefree but make no mistake, it takes significant planning and more hard work than you can imagine. When I had a job, I used to work five days a week. Now I work every day! Nevertheless, I have the satisfaction of working on my own terms, I can travel as I work, and I don’t need to follow any routine or apply for leaves.
So, this post is about a few things that you need to spend on before you put down your papers and turn the world into your oyster so that you remain fully prepared to take on this new life. Make sure that you take care of these things before you put down your paper.
A Laptop Bag That Does More
Well, it goes without saying that someone who calls himself a digital nomad must also be having a backpack. However, the usual travel backpacks are generally not designed for fitting in laptops while laptop bags are generally made for cubicle people and can’t fit in anything else. So, recently I got this hybrid bag. It is a new brand and I was glad to see a local Indian brand trying to bring in such innovation.
It is a big enough bag that can easily fit in everything you need for a shortish trip lasting up to 5-6 days for my humble needs. Even for a long trip, it can be your ideal secondary bag along with the large rucksack. I can easily fit in the laptop, a few pairs of clothes, headphones, a couple of books, power bank, and a few other essential stuff. So, it is compact enough for work and yet spacious enough for most of your travel needs. Surprisingly enough, there is a detachable compartment at the bottom, which they meant to be for footwear but I could fit in my DSLR fitted with a lens! So, I used this bag for a recent Pondicherry weekend trip and I could fit in the laptop, the DSLR, the headphone, some T-shirts and a few essentials.
Overall, I liked the ergonomics of the bag. It fits perfectly with the back and the shoulders and it actually feels lighter than it should, even when fully packed. There are some added innovations like an external USB port that has an outlet inside (Check the top image). So, you can fit it with the power bank from inside and charge your phone using this port attached outside, without even having to open your bag at a crowded place.
The material is water-resistant but you can also consider buying a rain cover with this bag to make it the ultimate short-term travel backpack.
The biggest challenge of this lifestyle is that you have to keep carrying something on your back all the time. It is good to have a good backpack as mentioned above but it is also worthwhile to invest in lighter gadgets. If you are a carefree twentysomething, you will probably not feel it but after a few years, your back will start protesting if you keep carrying heavy loads all the time. This is why, you need to invest in lighter gadgets, keeping the long term health of your spinal cord in mind.
The only thing you need to consider here is the trade-off between lightness and power. From what I have seen, ultra-light laptops are generally too expensive or have weak processors. Thankfully technology is improving and I am seeing more options nowadays than what I used to see even two years ago. Similarly, if you are serious about photography, high-end DSLRs also tend to be very heavy and that is why we are seeing the craze of mirrorless cameras nowadays which offer comparable quality but are much lighter.
I never owned power banks till I was working. I barely felt the need. However, as I started long term travelling, I soon realized that it is a must for travelling because a lot of remote areas have power issues and also during long travels on trains and buses, you don’t easily find a charging point and even if there is one, you will soon find yourself fighting with your co-passengers for the same. Usual power banks are enough for your smartphone and small cameras and that should be enough. It is also possible to buy power banks that are strong enough for laptops but to be honest, they are too expensive as well as too bulky, which cancels the previous point.
As a digital nomad, I often end up working in cool cafes overlooking snowy Himalayan peaks. I know it sounds cool but working in public places is not easy. There are always other people talking to each other and more often than not there will be ambient music that you don’t like or some other distraction. Remember you are a digital nomad and this is not exactly a holiday. You may be at one of your bucket-list destinations but you will still have. If you are into music, chances are that you may already have one but if you are not, don’t hesitate to invest in a good, noise-cancelling. headphone.
Data Backup: Protect Your Work
We all have a lot of digital data including videos, photographs, documents, and much more. You never know what happens during travels so, you should always make additional copies of your data. Generally, I maintain a separate external hard disk. However, to make it more convenient, you can also consider subscribing to some online cloud storage service where you can conveniently upload your valuable data from any place.