What is a Digital Nomad Lifestyle?

Sep 7, 2023 / Laura Bolt

Thanks to technology, more people than ever are enjoying the digital nomad lifestyle. A digital nomad is a term used to describe workers who have embraced a lifestyle of logging on wherever their life, and travels, bring them.

For some, gone are the days when going to work meant commuting to an office, chatting over the watercooler, and organizing your desk in a shared space.

In fact, it’s estimated that the instance of the digital nomad lifestyle has risen 131% since 2019.

While this style of work certainly has its perks (freedom and flexibility), it can be hard to stay organized on the go. Check out our tips on how to embrace the digital nomad life from an expert who has done it.

How Do you Prepare for a Digital Nomad Life?

digital nomad using a cafe with lush greenery to work on laptop and take notes

Getting organized will be key to not getting too bogged down when you travel. Take some time to determine what is essential for your life (and work), and cut down on the rest.

Figure out what to do with your stuff is important so you can fully immerse yourself in the experience.

Heading to a city? Get what you need there to cut down on luggage. Somewhere more remote? Stock up on essentials so you’re not caught off guard. Invest in durable items like hardcover suitcases and waterproof fabrics. Opt for items that do double duty to cut down on clutter.

And of course, you’ll want to make sure you have enough storage and adapters for the technology that you need to get your work done.

When it comes to being a digital nomad, paring down isn’t a one-time only activity. If you’re traveling to different climates, you’ll want to do a fresh cull each time you change locations so you always have what you need on hand.

“It definitely becomes difficult when you go from locations with different temperatures and vibes,” says Calla Jefferies, Head of Community Operations for Noma Collective and five-year veteran of the digital nomad lifestyle.

For example, being a digital nomad allowed Jefferies to go from the beach in Belize, the beach in Panama, to the city and cooler climates in Medellin, the beach again on the Colombian coast and now city life again in Buenos Aires.

“It’s important to have a variety of clothes that work for all locations,” Jefferies said. “It’s safe to say that I’m chasing summer however, so no need for winter jackets or boots! I have also taken stops at home in the UK to visit family, so I would switch off items I no longer need there.”

What is it Like to be a Digital Nomad?

digital nomad smiling as she talks on her cell phone and works while sitting in an open space

Creating a routine is vital to make sure your productivity doesn’t take a hit on the road, especially when you’re dealing with different time zones.

Finding locations with good WiFi and places to work from that I can be productive is key, says Jefferies. “Managing your own time and getting grounded with a daily routine that works best for you personally is imperative.”

Finding coffee shops, restaurants, and co-working spaces is a great way to get to know the city you’re visiting, and potentially even meet and share resources with other digital nomads.

Of course, if you have items that you can’t bear to part with, or you’d like to hold on to if you settle down again, there’s always a Public Storage unit to help out.

Most traveling starts with a suitcase. Check out our blog for our tips on how to pack the perfect one.

Embracing the van life? We’ve got tips on that too.

Is the Digital Nomad Lifestyle for You?

Even the most seasoned travelers aren’t immune to getting homesick from time to time. Traveling with a few personal items that feel like home can go a long way to making you feel comfortable.

Think outside the box when it comes to what will serve you best. For example, physical photos can get damaged over time, but scents, wearable items, and other evergreen mementos can make for great travel companions.

“I always carry incense that reminds me of home, my journal, a small music box my dad gave me, and a little lamp that gives off a warm comforting light,” says Jefferies. It seems silly but it really helps to change a space and make it your own!”

Before you go, make sure to check out our guide to traveling light.

No matter where you go, don’t forget to stay curious, and stay organized!

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