Living a Nomadic Lifestyle seems to be the way of the future. In fact, becoming a Digital Nomad or Location Independent Entrepreneur is something that is gaining more and more popularity every day. There is a lot of appeal to being able to work from anywhere in the world, discovering new places, trying new foods, meeting amazing people and learning about their culture. It’s probably the best way to blur the lines between work and leisure travel.
So how does one make the transition from 9-to-5 (corporate) life to becoming a Digital Nomad? You just save some money, quit your job, hop on a plane to your favorite destination, start a business and the rest takes care of itself, right?
Here’s the deal:
Over the last 2 years of travel, I’ve learned a thing or two about a how to work remotely while still being able to balance my health, finances, and social life. I’ve definitely had my share of mistakes or things I would absolutely do differently.
And guess what?
I’m not the only one!
Virtually (see what I did there? 😉) every entrepreneur who makes the transition to traveling and working full-time has learned from their mistakes, overcome them and adjusted accordingly to better their business and their life.
Today you will hear from 25 different Digital Nomads, Freelancers, Expats, Travel Bloggers and other Experts on their top mistakes and how they’ve overcome them to improve their lives for the better.
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- 1 Productivity: Create The Perfect Balance of Work, Travel & Fun To Maintain Long-Term Sustainability
- 1.1 Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #1: Not Establishing a Routine
- 1.2 Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #2: Too Much Digital, Not Enough Nomad!
- 1.3 Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #3: Treating Your Business Like A Hobby
- 1.4 Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #4: Falling Behind On Work When Friends/Family Come To Visit
- 1.5 Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #5: Lacking Proper Discipline
- 1.6 Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #6: Being Lured Into Beginner Digital Nomad Schemes/Scams
- 1.7 Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #7: Failure To Set Yourself Up For Success Prior To Departure
- 1.8 Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #8: Acting On Advice Of Naysayers
- 1.9 Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #9: Failing To Devise A Backup Plan
- 1.10 Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #10: Immersing Yourself In Social Media
- 1.11 Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #11: Shiny Object Syndrome (Stick to One Thing!)
- 1.12 Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #12: Burning Yourself Out
- 1.13 Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #13: Doing Things The Old-Fashioned Way (Avoiding Technology)
- 2 Planning & Research: A Little bit of effort goes a long way; Know Before You Go!
- 3 Minimalism: Travel With Less, Save Time And Money & Avoid Unnecessary Distraction
- 4 Networking & Socializing: Interacting With Others; Travelers, Locals, Expats & Digital Nomads; Will Have A Massive Impact On Your Journey
- 5 Solo Travel: Avoid Distraction While Getting To Know The World & Yourself Better
- 6 Final Thoughts
- 7 Like It? Pin It!
Productivity: Create The Perfect Balance of Work, Travel & Fun To Maintain Long-Term Sustainability
Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #1: Not Establishing a Routine
Meg Jerrard, Mapping Megan
I know, I know, the reason you love working online is because you hated your 9-5 routine. But the more productive you are at your computer, the more time you have to head out and explore the destination you’re in. So finding a routine, or rhythm if you hate the former word, is absolutely key.
If you find you do your best work in the mornings, get into the habit of waking up, committing to 4 hours of work (or whatever you need) and then heading out in the afternoon. Vice versa if you’re a more productive worker bee after afternoon tea. When you’re a digital nomad the success of your business is solely dependent on your level of motivation, and with so many distractions when you’re traveling, I believe it is a grave mistake to not establish a routine.
Personally, I find that working in the morning motivates me to get tasks done quickly, because the sooner I’m finished working, the sooner I can head out and enjoy the day. It helps to designate a work location. This could be the hotel room, a coworking space, or a local cafe, but it helps for your mindset to find somewhere constant you can apply to each new place.
Megan is an Australian Journalist and the founder and senior editor of Mappingmegan.com; a niche adventure travel blog with a focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She visits off the beaten path destinations to cover corners of the globe which still remain relatively undiscovered.
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Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #2: Too Much Digital, Not Enough Nomad!
Ryan Biddulph, Blogging From Paradise
The chief digital nomad mistake to avoid is to keep the “nomad” in the “digital nomad” term. I am typing these words from Doha, Qatar. After 12 hours on a flight from JFK in NYC, I plan to do a little work and a whole lot of picture taking. Work some, play some. Sure you have to be fully committed to being a digital nomad to enable your business to grow but don’t forget to enjoy your travels too.
I’d consider working for set periods. Then drop everything. I don’t check email past the late afternoon hours and usually wrap up my work day by 7 or 8 PM. With that, especially when my wife and I are on the road, we head out during the day to do fun stuff in exotic locales. Remember to engineer a life of fun and freedom because who cares if you are living in Bali for months if you spend 12 hours a day working online at your villa. Freedom is the end goal guys.
Ryan Biddulph can help you retire to a life of island hopping through smart blogging at Blogging From Paradise.
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Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #3: Treating Your Business Like A Hobby
Gemma Armit, Make Traffic Happen, Two Scots Abroad
The biggest mistake I made as a digital nomad was treating my business like a hobby. It was not until I stopped traveling, went back to full-time high school teaching, and started paying bills again that I realized my company’s worth. In the first few months of traveling with a blog, I would think nothing of, even get excited at the prospect of, one night’s comped stay in a hostel dorm because that partnership was saving us money.
Now that I run a business and not a blog, I am aware of how much time it takes to create content and market that content too. I did not have time (and still don’t to an extent since I am part-time) whilst I was teaching full-time. This means when a company wants to work with us, I know my base rates and stick to it. The campaign has to work for both my business and their expectations too.
I recently delivered a presentation at my local tourism board’s conference about this topic and this was well received by the audience, in fact, three leads came from this presentation. This was regardless of me stating that I need to pay my mortgage, feed my dog and cover business expenses. So, new digital nomads – create a business plan, build your brand and treat yourself with respect from the beginning.
Gemma Armit, the Scotland travel blogger, is the fingers and lens behind the incredibly useful travel site Two Scots Abroad and part owner of the SEO support site and consultancy team, Make Traffic Happen.
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Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #4: Falling Behind On Work When Friends/Family Come To Visit
Rob Erlich, Money Nomad, A Richer You
The moment you start sharing pictures of yourself enjoying drinks in a hammock, you’re bound to have friends and family eager to come over for a visit. And while having friends and family spend some time at your Airbnb on the beach can be a lot of fun, it can also be bad on your productivity. Especially if you have one group after the next stopping by.
My recommendation is to treat any time that people come to visit you as a vacation. Perhaps you’ll be able to get some work done, but don’t bank on it. It can be incredibly hard to work in a house full of vacationers! So, before they arrive, make sure that you’ve caught up on projects and have everything lined up so that you don’t have to work while they’re around. Then, provide yourself with a few weeks between groups to ensure that you can maintain your work and productivity.
The last thing you want to do is to drop the ball on your clients or customers because you aren’t able to get as much done as you expected! By planning ahead you can truly enjoy your time with your guests without worrying about work. And that’s totally worth it!
Rob Erich runs two websites, MoneyNomad.com and ARicherYou.com. He’s an avid travel hacker and enjoys turning strangers into friends.
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Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #5: Lacking Proper Discipline
Jamie Atkinson, Lets Get Jobless
Taking the first step to becoming a Digital Nomad and converting over from a full-time traveler to a person working every day can be difficult. One of my biggest mistakes that I made early on was not having discipline.
That meant every day that I woke up in a hostel, I was swept up with the events of what everyone else was getting up to; it meant that in my first month or so of travel I didn’t get a lot of work done and was primarily distracted.
I had a lot of fun, but I wasn’t very productive. My advice is to be an early-riser, most people while traveling, party at night and don’t get up until 9am-11am. If you get into the habit of rising early and working from 6-7am, you will have completed 3-4 hours of meaningful work before the others have even got up from their pits!
Jamie Atkinson is a freelance writer and digital marketer who has over 10 years of experience coaching, selling and training in the field. He was born in the UK but now travels all over the world, teaching other aspiring entrepreneurs how to achieve their own success by sharing the benefits of having a lifestyle business. You can find out more from Jamie over at www.letsgetjobless.com.
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Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #6: Being Lured Into Beginner Digital Nomad Schemes/Scams
Jarryd & Alesha Salem, NOMADasaurus
One of the biggest mistakes we feel digital nomads can make is to dive headfirst into all of the pyramid schemes and scams that are out there.
Once you start to show interest in being a digital nomad you’ll come across countless courses, mentorships and other ‘get rich quick’ schemes, that lure you in with promises of the 4-hour workweek, while relieving you of a substantial amount of money. Drop shipping, FBA, affiliate marketing, blogging, etc all require a ton of work and are getting more and more competitive. That’s not to say there’s no room to break into it – there’s plenty! But don’t fall for those people selling the dream of making passive income while sitting in a hammock, promising that if you sign up for their course you’ll be an instant millionaire with no work to do.
What we recommend is to do your research on all of the dozens of different ways to make money online, and find the ones that actually interest you. Don’t become a drop shipper (example) because everyone in the digital nomad hub you’ve landed in is trying to become one. Pick something you will probably enjoy doing, then start looking at all the free resources that are out there first. There’s plenty, trust us. The more you learn and get involved, the more you’ll learn about which courses or consultants are scams. Chances are you can start earning money without ever having to pay someone else for their ‘expertise’.
Jarryd Salem is one half of Australia’s biggest adventure travel blog, NOMADasaurus. He’s been traveling the world for over 10 years, searching for culture and adventure in off the beaten path destinations. Along with his wife Alesha, he now runs two successful digital media businesses, with their blog and social media channels allowing them to ‘get paid to travel’.
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Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #7: Failure To Set Yourself Up For Success Prior To Departure
Marek Bron, Indie Traveller
The big lesson I learned is that if you want to be truly productive on the road, you should set up properly before you go! In my case, I wish I’d launched my travel blog at least six months in advance, instead of launching it on the day of my departure. That way I would have had some time to work out the kinks and set up some proper workflows. Doing this is much easier at home when the pressure is low and there are fewer distractions.
Instead of worrying about your WordPress installation or Adobe Lightroom syncing or your backup solutions, all that stuff should already be familiar and reliable so you can focus on making content from day 1. Of course, I’m speaking as a blogger here, and my goal was to be on the move constantly. It might be different if you’ll be in a fixed location like Chiang Mai for many months on end. But I think the lesson could still apply equally if you’re setting up an e-commerce thing or starting a new career as a remote freelancer. It’s helpful to get your first clients while you’re still at home, for example.
Starting new things just requires your undivided attention, and that can be difficult to muster while you’re also in a totally new environment. I personally found that it’s better to rev up the engines first, check if all systems are go, and then head off to somewhere amazing.
Marek is a full-time travel blogger at Indie Traveller, and author of ‘Travel the World Without Worries.’
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Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #8: Acting On Advice Of Naysayers
Adam & Gabby, Local Nomads
One of the biggest mistakes a DN (Digital Nomad) can make is to act on the well-meaning advice of naysayers. Although many of your friends and relatives will support your decision to go full nomad, some will undoubtedly raise some “concerns” about your future.“What about your dreams?” they’ll ask, “Don’t you ever plan on settling down?”. Maybe you do, but the DN journey isn’t just about discovering the world. It’s as much about discovering yourself, your own priorities, and what makes you happy. Your non-traveling friends will tell you all about the dangers. “Watch out for Latin America,” they’ll warn, “don’t get involved with any drug cartels!” and “be careful not to get scammed!” The reality is that you will make some mistakes as you go along, but the likelihood of ending up in a Drug Cartel is slim.
You’re not going to like every place. You’ll get ripped off here and there. You’ll question your own choices from time to time (or every day), but the mistakes you make are chances to learn and grow. The more mistakes you make, the better equipped you are against them in the future. Haters will hate, but nothing beats the freedom of living your own life, unapologetically.
Adam & Gabby have been traveling full time for 5 years, and still haven’t figured it all out. They probably have no idea where they’ll be next month, and definitely won’t be traveling back to America for your wedding this summer. Sorry.
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Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #9: Failing To Devise A Backup Plan
Sharon Gourlay, Digital Nomad Wannabe
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a digital nomad is not having a great backup strategy for your online business, whatever that is.
This isn’t just having backups automated for everything you do – and this isn’t just sites but also for all work you are completing on your computing and photos, etc – but having them in places so you can always access them. This should include having them somewhere online and a copy at home or somewhere completely removed from you.
This usually means multiple strategies. You should have automated back-ups of your sites and not just by your host. Make sure they are going somewhere you can access them and you are not screwed if something happens to your host. You should also have something that automatically backs up what you do on your laptop and phone.
I have been caught out because I had backups only at home and on my computer -so when everything went wrong, I didn’t have one I could access while on the road. I also recently ran out of memory in my cloud backup for my phone and never got around to paying for more. My phone broke and the only way to get everything off was to fix it which caused stress in the meantime.
Sharon Gourlay is passionate about working online and helping others to follow in her footsteps. She left Australia with her young family at the end of 2014 determined to grow an online business. She succeeded and now supports her family of 5 to live their dream lifestyle.
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Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #10: Immersing Yourself In Social Media
Chris & Heather Boothman, A Brit And A Southerner
Did you remember to take that perfect selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower or while you were enjoying the breathtaking panoramic views of the Grand Canyon? Congratulations! But wait…I am 99.9% convinced that you likely spent at least some of your time worrying about posting that perfect picture on Instagram or Facebook.
The above scenario happens all the time and let’s be honest folks, we are all guilty of it! What we don’t realize, is that in a self-obsessed universe of social media networks, we are not actually living in the moment and our “experiences” are being spoiled by the need (or desire) to be connected 24/7.
From our travels around the world, particularly given that many of our trips are fast and furious, in order to gain the ultimate “experience” we have to find the right balance. I am not saying that you should 100% ignore social media because the reality is, it’s just not that simple. However, take time to experience the destination. Embrace the local culture. Interact with locals to really understand what life is like there outside of the main tourist hotspots.
You can always find time at night when you are back in the hotel or even when you find a base to catch up on some work. It’s interesting to note that if you follow this approach, your pictures and most importantly, your experiences, will be even better!
Chris & Heather are avid travelers focused on inspiring those with 8-5 jobs to be able to explore the world. Our philosophy of “Exploring the world one weekend at a time” enables us to inspire folks to maximize their vacation time and enjoy experiences they may otherwise never have considered.
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Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #11: Shiny Object Syndrome (Stick to One Thing!)
Brett Goulding, Brett Dev
After 3 years living in the mecca of Digital Nomad hotspots – Chiang Mai. I’ve met my fair share of successful and unsuccessful entrepreneurs.
If I had to identify what I see as being the single most important mistake to avoid as a new entrepreneur; it would be to focus on one thing and one thing only.
It was only last year, that I spoke about this in depth on my channel in a video titled ‘Why Digital Nomads Fail’ here I spoke about what I refer to as shiny object syndrome.
Becoming a Digital Nomad is exciting and as you travel the world you’ll meet many interesting and successful people, but remember, there will always be someone more successful than you. There will always be someone making more money or someone with what might appear, at first, to be a better idea than you.
You CANNOT allow yourself to be side-tracked, you need to focus on you.
We all have a tendency to overestimate our abilities. We think the hours in the day are longer than they are, and we think that we’re capable of a lot more than we actually are.
Trying to be an entrepreneur in multiple different areas before you’ve gained any success in one, is a death sentence. Spreading your focus too thinly across several different projects and businesses will severely hinder your progress and trap you in a vicious cycle of expending extreme amounts of effort with very little return.
Creator of the Freelancing Masterclass. Brett Dev is a Digital Marketer, Web Developer and YouTube Vlogger living in Northern Thailand.
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Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #12: Burning Yourself Out
Agness & Cez, eTramping
If you love what you do, and we’d assume you do if you started your own business, it’s very easy to work a lot without even realizing it. We both enjoy our jobs to the point we could lock ourselves in the room and work on new projects for hours.
If your job is your biggest passion, you can easily turn into a workaholic who doesn’t take breaks and thinks only about work. This can lead to a serious burnout. You will feel worn out in the end and that can affect your mental and physical health. Don’t let your business be your whole life.
Solution? Set schedules and breaks between your working hours, take weekends off if you feel like it, be social and active. In the past, we worked long hours, forgot about relaxing and felt a bit guilty when being too tired to continue work in the evening. Now we take regular breaks throughout the day, implement a lot of activities between our work sessions (swimming, indoor climbing, gym workouts) and set coffee breaks. We guarantee you that your performance will improve and you will become more time efficient.
Agness and Cez are travel buddies and best friends. Originally hailing from Poland, they ditched their nine-to-five’s in favor of taking off for unique adventures around the world. Since 2011 they have been sharing their love for travel on eTramping and since last year their passion for fit and budget traveling on Fit Travelling and Atuktuk blogs.
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Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #13: Doing Things The Old-Fashioned Way (Avoiding Technology)
Ron Tuch, Red Pill Rebellion
As a digital nomad running a business, especially when you’re doing everything yourself, you will be wearing many hats. You could be doing Content Creation, Business Relations, Marketing & Advertising, Accounting, Social Media Management, Customer Service, etc.
It’s tempting to continue tracking your finances using an excel sheet or sending out 50 emails a day manually when you don’t know any better. I recently implemented something so simple into my Amazon Business that tripled my sales practically overnight. This is due to the fact that I removed that manual (time) element from the equation.
There are always two things that can allow you to grow your business and get your time back. Valuable time that can be used for exploring the city you’re in, learning a new skill or meeting amazing people that can change your perspective.
So what are these two things? Outsourcing and Automation. It’s much easier to use software to reprice your inventory, list your products, promote your blog post, remind you of when your next meeting is, etc. I used to do things the old-fashioned way but as my businesses have grown I’ve learned, how to use Apps, talented people and technology to gain my time, and therefore, my life back.
Ron is an Army veteran, blogger, Amazon FBA Seller, professional poker player and world traveler. He regularly blogs about breaking free from societal thinking, individuality and his adventures in business and travel across the globe.
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Planning & Research: A Little bit of effort goes a long way; Know Before You Go!
Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #14: Failing To Research Your Internet Quality
Nate Hake, Travel Lemming
There’s one cardinal rule about being a digital nomad: if your WiFi isn’t working, then neither are you!
Yet for all the time we spend on researching the location, size, and pictures of prospective accommodation, it is far too easy to overlook the possibility that the WiFi connection may be substandard. You might be able to swing a deal on the nicest beach villa for a month or two, but no infinity pool is going to compensate for your frustration if it turns out that the internet connection isn’t up to speed.
To remedy this, always be sure to scout out the WiFi situation before booking accommodation. Search hotel and Airbnb reviews for the terms “wifi” and “internet” to see what other guests are saying about the connection. And, if that doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to send the property an email politely requesting that they send you a screenshot of a speed test on their network. It’s a perfectly reasonable request, and it can save you a lot of headaches!
Nate is an American travel blogger and entrepreneur who has been traveling the world since 2016. He writes about travel to emerging destinations around the globe.
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Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #15: Not Researching A Destination’s Cost Of Living
Rachel & Sasha, Grateful Gypsies
As a digital nomad, you have to keep a close eye on your finances. The last thing you want to do is put yourself into debt as that will quickly ruin your good time and force you to have to stay somewhere for a while. Be honest with yourself about how much you can expect to earn month to month. Write it down. Then do your research to see how much your transportation, accommodation, activities, and meals are going to cost. Once you’ve figured out what’s left over, that’s your budget for spending. Stick with it. There are plenty of apps to help you do this. Our favorite is called Trail Wallet. We use it everywhere, even when we’re not on the road. It helps us keep track of our finances so there are never any surprises.
Knowing this number can also help you decide where you want to go. Latin America and Southeast Asia have a cheaper cost of living so your hard-earned dollars go a lot further. More developed areas such as Western Europe and Australia are a bit pricier. Knowing all of these things will ensure your success as a digital nomad!
Sasha and Rachel are the Grateful Gypsies. They’ve taught English in China, studied Indonesian in Bali, and are currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America. They write about digital nomad hot spots with useful information about the cost of living and where to find the best cafes and coworking spaces.
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Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #16: Traveling Without Insurance
Inma Gregorio, A World To Travel
Probably one of the dumbest things I did when I started traveling, was going to non-European countries (I hold an EU passport, and therefore have my health needs covered within the European Union) without buying a good travel insurance in advance.
Soon I learned that this was not only short-sighted but also could put my life in danger as I fell really sick after eating a meat brochette (probably not refrigerated enough) in Morocco.
Lesson learned! Since then I have always traveled insured.
After studying, volunteering and working her way around the world, Inma started A World to Travel to share her experiences and her passion for festivals, the great outdoors and all things travel.
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Minimalism: Travel With Less, Save Time And Money & Avoid Unnecessary Distraction
Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #17: Carrying Too Much Baggage
Taiss & Rob, Together To Wherever
We’ve spent a good portion of the last couple of years living as digital nomads, mostly in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Our last long-haul stay ended with a two month trip to a few places in Europe. Though we had not accumulated a ton of stuff (because we like keeping it light and minimalistic), we still had a couple of suitcases each along with a couple of carry-ons.
We didn’t think ahead and ended up lugging it all with us for two months through four countries. Not only did it cost us each time we flew, but it also stopped us from visiting a couple of places because we didn’t want to take it around with us or have to pay to store it somewhere (if that was even an option).
Needless to say, we should have known better since we consider ourselves “savvy travelers.” We should have avoided this mistake by just shipping some of our items back to the U.S. where we were headed at the end of our trip anyway. Lesson learned!
Taiss and Rob are location independent entrepreneurs who love travel and living abroad. Working online and experiencing life in different countries is not only their passion but their way of life.
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Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #18: Traveling With Excess Clothing
Scott Hornberg, International Hotdish
We’ve learned that being a digital nomad has a lot of benefits. But one big issue we ran into was knowing what amount of clothing to bring on our adventure. Even though we had traveled before and knew what it was like to carry around heavy packs of clothing, we still overestimated how much clothing we needed, and thus were forced to part with much of it.
A general rule of thumb when packing clothes is to get together what you think you need and then take only half. Travelers are notorious for wearing fewer clothes than someone in a home. Mostly this is due to having less space to work with (and less desire of carrying heavy loads all over).
It started for us in Wellington, New Zealand – our first international stop – and it still hasn’t fully settled yet. A short list of clothing we’ve tossed: extra shoes, boring shirts, extra pairs of underwear, inefficient socks, and clashy blouses.
When traveling you need to be aware you will probably at some point toss out some clothing. Try to hit the right mix by packing less, packing practical clothing, and taking multi-purposeful items. This will help keep your wardrobe well-balanced for your time on the road.
Hayley & Scott are two Minnesotan travel bloggers focused on exploring the world on a budget. They love hotdish, budgets, exploring different cultures, meal planning, and finding deals.
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Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #19: Traveling With Too Many Drugs (No, Not The Illegal Ones!)
Harriet Simonis, Hats Off World
When I first left the UK to go to South America, I took a huge medical kit that was filled with every drug I thought I could possibly need. I was smug and pleased with my organization skills… Invincible against any illness!
However, I soon realized how annoying this was. Not only was this hugely inconvenient, taking up a lot of valuable space in my bag – but the only thing I ever used was the Immodium. And the one time I did get ill (from drinking tap water in Cartagena), I went to see a doctor and was prescribed antibiotics anyway.
Moral of the story? Take what you think you might need – but if you’re going somewhere with enough internet to work, it should be built up enough to have hospitals and pharmacies nearby if you need to get medication.
Hats is a solo female traveler from the UK, who went on a sabbatical… and never went home. Follow her journey to digital nomadism at hatsoffworld.com.
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Networking & Socializing: Interacting With Others; Travelers, Locals, Expats & Digital Nomads; Will Have A Massive Impact On Your Journey
Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #20: Neglecting To Request Contact Information From Potential Connections
Crystal Le, The Petite Adventurer
There’s no shortage of conversations and small-talk when traveling. Often times, we’ll strike up a conversation and then go our separate ways, never to meet again. I’ve learned that asking for the contact information of someone I’ve hit it off with is always worth that brief moment of uncomfortable shyness that precedes the ask. Just a few months ago, I was in Ecuador where I chatted with an avid cyclist and trekker from the Netherlands named Piet. We talked about my (then) upcoming trip to Nepal, which he was more than happy to share his knowledge about. We ended up crossing paths again and met for tea in Nepal. If it wasn’t for Piet, my trekking plans wouldn’t have gone so smoothly.
Although it can feel awkward to ask someone for their information when you’ve only just met them, remind yourself that moments are fleeting. If you don’t get the information during that small window of time, you might never get the chance again. Follow up with a brief note so they have your information too. Not only are these connections useful, it also helps to create roots all around the world.
Crystal is the type of person that is ready at a moment’s notice to try anything new. She’s driven by exploring mountains around the globe and handmade noodles (especially ramen or anything topped with lots of cheese). Her ideal adventure starts with food but ultimately revolves around people, culture, and their stories.
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Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #21: Isolating Yourself From Other Digital Nomads & Entrepreneurs
Lauren Melnick, Wanderlust Movement
When I first started my freelance business, I kept to myself. I would either work from my apartment or lock myself way in my hotel room. I went on like this for almost a year, before I stumbled across digital nomad retreats and co-working spaces.
After spending a month in Bali with other digital nomads, I realized what I had been missing out on. In just 30 days, I learned how to edit photos on Lightroom, market my business on Instagram and finally had an “aha” moment with cryptocurrencies.
But the skills trade wasn’t just one-sided. I discovered how valuable my own are. By the time I left, I had helped one girl get her business on the front page of Google and picked up a new client.
So don’t make my mistake of isolating yourself. Networking and joining co-working communities are how digital nomads grow, learn new skills and ultimately thrive.
Lauren is a South African travel blogger. She is passionate about promoting Africa as a destination and inspiring her fellow Saffas to travel more for less.
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Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #22: Overlooking Local Culture and Customs
Brittany Kulick, The Sweet Wanderlust
Before planning a vacation, a person will spend weeks, months even, researching and planning their trip. When they board that plane, they’re armed with guidebooks, blog posts and a wardrobe specifically for the trip. As a digital nomad, though, I think it’s easy to be enticed by the Skyscanner “Everywhere” search, and we often hop on an inexpensive flight to a country where the living is easy and the rent is cheap.
As appealing as that is, I think it’s important to maintain a bit of a holiday maker attitude in long-term travels. Sure- you want to be based somewhere cheap, but make sure to brush up on customs, traditions and a few key phrases in the local language before you arrive. Downloading an app like Google Translate is a great way to learn a few phrases and the microphone feature can even facilitate conversations with locals. And carrying a scarf to cover up is a great way to show respect for the sacred aspects of a new culture.
Brittany Kulick is a travel blogger from Texas who’s visited 54 countries as she searches for the best desserts and greatest adventures. Her blog, The Sweet Wanderlust is for people with a sweet tooth and a taste for adventure.
Solo Travel: Avoid Distraction While Getting To Know The World & Yourself Better
Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #23: Relying On Other People For Your Travel Plans
Patrick Muntzinger, German Backpacker
Ever since I was in high school, I was always dreaming about traveling the world. I would try to convince my friends to go on vacation during the early semesters of my studies at university. Constantly trying to find people for trips in my semester breaks was exhausting. I even started planning many trips with several friends, but in the end, nothing worked out. People were either busy with internships or jobs, felt like they wouldn’t have the budget to travel, or were scared to go on a longer trip. Probably, traveling just wasn’t such a big priority for them as it is for me. Well, at some point I just decided to go by myself – and it was the best decision ever.
After some research, I picked an easy and cheap destination for my first solo backpacking trip (Southeast Asia). I booked my flights and just left for two months. Sure, I was nervous and scared at the beginning – but traveling solo turned out to be so easy. I met plenty of awesome people – I basically didn’t spend a day by myself and didn’t feel lonely for a second.
I really needed this first solo trip to realize that I don’t need other people if I want to travel somewhere. After this experience, I left several times again for bigger and smaller trips all around the world – now, every time I want to travel somewhere, all I need to do is buy a flight ticket since I’m not dependent on other people anymore. And I’m very happy about it – I wish I would have realized it earlier.
Patrick is a travel blogger and business student from Germany. During the last few years, he used every opportunity to travel the world and was actually able to combine traveling with his studies.
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Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #24: Traveling Too Fast!
Kate Carter Hickey, The Toronto Seoulcialite, That Girl Cartier
Over the past 3 years, I have been living a life adjacent to “Digital Nomad”. As an ESL Teacher in Korea, I am in the gateway to the East. Lucky me, right? Not quite. I have all these amazing opportunities, but not enough time! If I ever have more than 4 or 5 days off, my Skyscanner and Google Flights alerts are on overdrive.
I’ve tried to cram far too much into the span of a week or so and find that a lot of my readers do the same. When I went to Thailand, my flight path was Seoul – Bangkok – Phuket- Chiang Mai – Bangkok – Seoul…all within a span of 9 days (well…10, but one was a red-eye flight)! If you’re going to a beach destination for part of your trip, enjoy a couple of days lounging before getting back on the road. Cities are meant to be explored! If you don’t leave yourself enough time to see, explore, taste, and discover every destination, then what’s the point in traveling there?
My biggest mistakes while traveling abroad have always been trying to do too many things without enough time. That annoying expression “I need a vacation from my vacation!” definitely rings true here!
Kate Carter Hickey is a freelance writer and travel blogger with a focus on food, fashion, and fitness on the road (The Toronto Seoulcialite) and writes about Korean Beauty products and Expat dating (That Girl Cartier).
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Nomadic Lifestyle Mistake #25: Making Too Many Promises about Your Whereabouts
Arimo Koo, Arimo Travels
Once you start traveling, you might hear from several friends who’d like to come meet you somewhere around the world. On one hand, meeting your friends can be a true highlight of your long-term travels. On the other, promising to meet somebody at a specific location in the future will take away from your freedom.
Instead of traveling at a natural rhythm and changing your plans when you feel like it, you’ll end up spending a lot of time staring at your calendar, trying to work out how you could reach your meeting point on time. Or if you’re already there, you might feel stuck as you don’t have the chance to move on when you feel like it.
This problem is made worse if you prefer to travel overland like I do. I’ve truly loved all the reunions I’ve had with my friends during my 2-year trip around the world. However, they’ve meant that I’ve had to rush through some other destinations.
The longer I travel, the fewer promises and plans I make.
Arimo Koo is a 26-year-old Finnish man who’s been on a 2-year-trip around the world since May 2016. His travel blog Arimo Travels focuses on long-term travel tips and the psychology of travel.
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So is becoming a digital nomad all it’s cracked up to be? That depends on who you ask. Many of us have made mistakes along the way. The key is to pick yourself up, learn from it, and integrate those lessons into your life. I always found it interesting that you can take two completely different people and put them in the exact same situation and they will respond differently.
Are you the type of person who will get completely thrown off when a little speed bump comes your way? Or are you laser-focused and ready to tackle any obstacles that stand in the way of your goals?
Whether it be putting ourselves into isolation, burning out by working too much or just overbooking the time we have allocated to travel, we’ve all been able to bounce back from the ways of our errors and thrive as a result.
Do you have something you want to accomplish in your life? Maybe you are considering jumping into the realm of remote work & Digital Nomadism? Perhaps you’d like to be a savvy investor and fire your boss. Whatever the case may be, never give up and always be willing to fight for your dreams!
Okay, now it’s your turn!
What’s one thing you’ve overcome in your life that you wish you could’ve done differently despite your success?
Let me know by leaving a comment!
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