Time Management and Other Matters as a Digital Nomad
Traveling and working at the same time is a wonderful experience! Discovering this beautiful world while still contributing to ioet is possible. So, let me tell you about my experience while traveling.
It’s very much the same as working remotely. When working from home you open your laptop or turn on your computer. You connect to your wifi. You clock-in. You join that client meeting, start reviewing code or start that ticket you wanted to tackle. There is no difference when doing it while traveling! Working stays pretty much the same as you are used to. Now, here comes the interesting part. The rest of the day and week you can spend getting lost in a new city, meeting new people at a bar, having an ice cream on top of a hill while looking at the view, or trying different and extravagant dishes!
If you need to arrange something during working hours like finding a tour or getting some tickets for that concert, you can try doing it during lunchtime. You can go offline at any other time, but remember to notify your team and give them an estimate of when you are coming back. Try to avoid doing it when you are having critical meetings. If you have to leave and you have a meeting while Away From Keyboard (AFK), then always have your smartphone with you and join from there. This also helps when you receive that message from your manager, and you need to answer.
When you have to move to another city on weekdays, just check the times of departure and arrival. If doing it by bus, travel after work hours or during weekends. If you are traveling a long distance, you can use the trip to sleep and be ready for another day. And, you have saved one day of accommodation! (I don’t recommend doing that on a Sunday though). So, grab the bus that leaves at 9 PM, and explore the place you are in before taking your bus. Bus terminals are not very strict with their rules.
On the other hand, if you travel by plane, I would suggest trying to pick late hours so you have time to calmly clock out, grab your backpack, take the bus or cab to the airport, and check in. Generally, domestic flights suggest being there 2 hours before the departure time. And, international flights suggest being there 3 hours before. Therefore, that 10 PM/11 PM flight will fit like a glove.
Omio is a great place to check what options are available to move from one place to another.
After work hours, you are free to do anything you want. This includes mornings, nights, weekends, and holidays. So, on a weekend, take that 2-day tour to discover a hidden oasis in the middle of a desert, and go to the city close to the beach and enjoy the sun, the sand, and the water. At night, enjoy hanging out with the friends you’ve made from your hostel, going to that restaurant someone recommended to you, or simply relaxing in your dorm bed.
If you have a long weekend (when a holiday matches a weekend), then go and visit that beautiful place that is far to reach and you need more than 2 days to fully enjoy the experience. Just enjoy those minutes, those hours and days you have, and make the most out of them. Believe me, you are going to be having a great time going out and finding out things you didn’t know before.
Regarding time zone changes, remember to adjust your calendar and Slack to the time zone you are part of now. The advantage of Google Calendar is that when you go to the website, it will prompt you to use the time zone it recognizes. So, accept that and check your new schedule. And based on that, also check what time of day you have to use for exploring! I will be updating this once I see how it is to be in a very different time zone, like 6 hours earlier/later, once I get to be there. So, check out this post a few months from now!
I suggest staying in a place as long as you can! This is because we don’t have the same time as when we are on vacation. And, we cannot spend the same amount of time doing tourist things as we could on vacation. Thus, staying longer in a place will allow you to go and do as much as you can. My suggestion would be to stay for at least 1 month in a country if possible. Taking into consideration the time you are allowed to stay in a country. There are a few countries that have started to offer digital nomad visas to stay for longer periods (like 1 or 2 years). So, it might be good to consider that if you like a place.
As a digital nomad, remember that we are not on vacation (unless you requested vacation). So, we must be responsible.
Go to hostels! No hotels, no Airbnb, no motels, or anything else. Hostels are great places to meet people from everywhere! You literally have to do nothing and you will still be meeting people. Part of the journey is not only the place but also the people you spend time with. Hostels tend to have good wifi and sometimes coworking spaces. Hostels are becoming digital nomad friendly! So, give it a try. Don’t forget to bring a padlock with you if you go to a hostel. They will have designated lockers for every guest. So, you can securely store your stuff and your laptop. Great websites to find good hostels are Hostelworld and Booking.com
I realized a few important things when traveling so here’s my list of things that can help you:
Get a universal adapter - if possible get two, one for your laptop and the other one for your phone. The thing is that countries will have different power plugs. So, if you don’t want to be in a hurry like me when I landed in Argentina, then you’d better get one before traveling.
Better not to exchange money at the airport - the exchange rates of the companies at airports don’t tend to be really good. Find exchange stores in the city and go to the one that has the best exchange rate. You can also ask for advice at the reception of your hostel. They are there to help. For more information, check out this blog post.
Roaming? Better prepaid - if the roaming plan of your mobile carrier is very expensive, then use a prepaid chip! In every country, there will be a chip that you can keep adding cellular data to as needed. And, they tend to cost one or two bucks! Also, prepaid plans are cheap and good enough for your stay in a country. And, you will have a backup in case the wifi is not working properly. Here’s what you need to know if you need more information on prepaid roaming vs postpaid plans
Don’t forget your headphones! - I know you might be into music, and want to have some music playing while on a plane or bus trip. But, they will also have to be used in your meetings, so make sure you have proper headphones that can cancel some noise from outside. You don’t want the client to listen to people partying!
Go with the flow - it’s good to have a plan of where to go and what to do. But, I have learned that plans tend not to go as planned! So, do not be frustrated if you didn’t get to go somewhere, or you missed a bus or the train. As a good friend of mine once said to me, there will always be another one. Enjoy the trip, and adapt to the circumstances. That will help you too and you will learn from it!
Thanks for taking the time to read this passage. I hope some of my learnings while traveling help you too. And maybe, I will see you someplace!