Top 5 Tips For Becoming A Digital Nomad

Photo courtesy of Rhonda Grice .com

Just a few weeks ago I shared some secrets of being a digital nomad with you. I even talked you through it. But soon after posting I realized that my information seemed very domestic. Folks commenting were interested in being a digital nomad on a more global scale. Why create a life of endless opportunity if you stay stateside only? Why have a global Internet system if you only use it in one region? All great points. Being a digital nomad knows no boundaries. Have a video conference with a client at 2pm PST but you are in Kuala Lumpur. Shouldn’t be an issue. Today’s 5 tips should help you really take advantage of being a digital nomad and give you some ideas to make it a sweet adventure!

5. ADD THE WORLD CLOCK GOOGLE CALENDAR WIDGET

On any given day a digital nomad can find himself holding meetings and phone calls across multiple time zones. Even calling from Portland to New York involves a time exchange. Nevermind having a team meeting with a developer in Greenland, a CFO in Paris, a Marketing Rep in New York, and you in Berlin! In days gone by Google would ask you to auto-correct your calendar by defaulting to a local time zone and thereby altering all your calendar entries. I personally have spent several minutes counting on my fingers time zone changes and when to schedule meetings and what time it will be for XYZ if it is 4pm for ABC. What a great recipe for error! The tip here is to keep your calendar settings on your “home” time and then add the city you need to contact to the World Clock List. For further instructions try this link (specifically, #12).

4. HANGOUT WITH GOOGLE

I used to love Skype. Heck, I even did product testing for them and received some residuals for the effort. But in May 2011 when Microsoft purchased Skype it seemed all went downhill. Product enhancements became few and far between. Apple support became abysmal. The call quality was lost in the airwaves. The screen-sharing was a gamble at best. And unless someone on the call has the premium package video calls with more than one party are unavailable. In May 2013 though such technology became infinitely more intuitive and reliable with Google Hangout. Even with a cell date connection or (please keep your audible gasps to yourself) dial-up connection, Hangout offers moderately good video call quality and sound. I also suggest keeping a solid pair of earbuds with microphone available. I personally use the Sennheiser PC300‘s.

Ethernet with laptop. Photo: Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

3. CONNECT VIA HARDWIRE
It may seem antiquated but even as of late 2014 a number of locations in the world had not yet grasped on to accessible Wi-Fi. It isn’t in hotel rooms (Remember the Olympic hotel rooms in Sochi? They were lucky to have sheets on the bed!) If you have an older style laptop or many non-tablet devices with Windows OS you probably have a USB jack on your machine. For those who travel light or have some sort of jack-less tablet a USB Ethernet Adaptor will be necessary. This type of connector will allow you to gain a hardwire connection to the ‘Net. And if you’ve ever worked in a cyber cafe in a Turkish marketplace you’ll know this is essential to command bandwidth substantial enough to work. A hardwire connection is long proven to be stronger than a Wi-Fi at any rate.

2. STAY CHARGED UP

I have personally suffered from battery drainage and at seemingly the worst times. If you use your cell for a phone, a camera, a video conferencing device, etc. you know the battery can die quickly. Why not harness the power of the sun or even your laptop USB to recharge the phone? I find the GoalZero Torch 250 Flashlight to be a “swiss army device” for the digital nomad. The Torch 250 can be charged by the solar panel on the back of the light. It can be charged by being plugged into a USB power source. It can be charged using the hand crank. And once charged you can use it for either the LED light it is (ever stumble around in a hostel in the middle of the night?) or as a USB charger for your cellular device or a top-off to your tablet.

1. UNWIND WITH INSTANT TV/VIDEO

Sometimes being a digital nomad can be an exhausting, isolating, and stressful endeavor. For every breathtaking view of the Andes, each bit of Cardamom Chicken Curry on the streets of India, moment of reflection at a temple in Bangkok, or soy latte in Portland, there is a moment of home sickness for the familiar. What better way to combat that feeling or even numb the mind from a day full of meetings with clients than to find out who received a stem in last night’s The Bachelor rose ceremony or watch the latest episode of Boardwalk Empire to see what level Nucky stooped to this week, courtesy of Amazon Instant Video?  I recommend Amazon because neither Netflix or Hulu work internationally and iTunes requires too much concentrated bandwidth for downloads. But with Amazon Instant episodes and movies are typically available with quality resolution and affordable prices.

By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]

NOTE: List curated from Ally Basak Russell’s original tips for Forbes.com

 

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KATE Kiehlbauch - January 28, 2015 Reply

Hostile what?

    Andrew M. Odom - January 28, 2015 Reply

    Great catch. HAHAHA. Thank you so much. Hopefully only a few saw my chuckleheaded error.

Jax - January 28, 2015 Reply

Your post was perfectly timed and just what I needed in my planning for tech for our family’s big move to tiny living. Thank you!

George Meszaros - January 28, 2015 Reply

Your articles has some great suggestions. I recently wrote an article (http://www.successharbor.com/location-independent-business) on succeeding with a location independent business. I think your article relates to it.

Margy - January 28, 2015 Reply

We use a Wilson cell booster to use our iPhone at our remote cabin. An Internet key lets us get slow speed internet for big bucks, but email and limited web access is a nice addition to living so far from town. For movies, we transfer to our Mac and connect to a 21 inch TV for easier viewing and use headsets for better sound. – Margy

Alexis - January 28, 2015 Reply

This would be so much better if it were original content that you actually wrote … That’s what I come here for. I can go anywhere for recycled old articles. Sorry to be grumpy but I’m disappointed!

    Andrew M. Odom - January 29, 2015 Reply

    I don’t consider you grumpy at all Alexis. Thank you for your comment. The article is clearly noted at the bottom as being curated from an earlier article. The material is new in so much as it has been checked for updates, new commentary added to reflect recent trends, and personal anecdotes added. Sometimes as a web author I will see something that strikes a chord with me and that I think others in the tiny house community will benefit from. In those cases I can rarely say it better myself. But I can put a personal twist on it and reference the original idea. Please understand that my writing for Tiny House Blog is more about the lifestyle surrounding tiny houses and mobility in life so there will be occasions where I credit another source and adapt it to the tiny house community. We appreciate your readership and hope you find every article to be useful in some way.

Dustin - January 28, 2015 Reply

Nobody finds Google Hangouts easier than Skype. It takes five minutes to figure out how to start a call and add people.

Do you use Google Apps for your company email? Oh then you will find Hangouts are not enabled for your domain and it takes 30 minutes of searching to figure out how to enable it.

    Andrew M. Odom - January 29, 2015 Reply

    I actually find Hangouts easier than Skype in terms of connection quality. I work on a Mac and find that Skype is clunky, largely unsupported, and temperamental. I will agree that it takes a Hangout or two to get used to the system because at first it isn’t as intuitive as we would like. However, after that it is nothing more than logging in, clicking on your Tools icon, and starting a Hangout. As for the email situation I think a large number of digital nomads use Gmail or webmail to be contacted (because it is so universal) so there is not the robustness of a company network/server to workaround.

smelsworst - January 29, 2015 Reply

if you’re keen to use netflicks though, just install something like mullvad.. or.. if you’re not looking to be a pirate and DO just want to stream your on-demand service anywhere in the world, try http://www.unblock-us.com, which just spoofs your geo-location data, not acts as an intermediary (and therein pose potential throttling issues). found Amazon Prime left me really disappointed.

    Andrew M. Odom - January 29, 2015 Reply

    Thank you for the suggestions smelsworst. I especially like that you point out not wanting to be a pirate since it is such a hot topic and an ethical one as well. Amazon Prime still fits the bill for me but probably because I don’t use it nearly as much as one might think. Therefore each time I check it out there is something decent for me to look at.

Donatella - January 29, 2015 Reply

Would this help? I’m more Luddite than techie, but it looks promising.

http://www.gotenna.com/

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