How to prepare for life as a digital nomad (without freaking out)

22 Apr
The whiteboard of endless lists

The whiteboard of endless lists

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There comes a time in every soon-to-be digital nomad’s life when they think:

‘HOLY CRAP! I HAVE SO MANY FREAKING THINGS TO DO! Where do I start? How will I sell all my junk? Why am I doing this? And why did I choose NOW to start watching Breaking Bad? So many episodes, so little time! WAAAA!’

Welcome to my world.

Above is a piccy of my lovely little whiteboard. It looks fairly tame, sure, but it’s been updated about 15 times in the past 2 weeks. As soon as a task is done and rubbed off, I think of another thing to do and it fills back up again.

Let’s just say I’m a wee bit overwhelmed.

On the flip side, it’s thrilling. Every time I tick off a task, I’m inching towards my new life as a digital nomad. The weeks are whizzing by and I can’t wait to hop on the plane and see where I wind up.

Here I share my top tips for getting ready to work overseas – wherever that may be. I hope this list helps you avoid the WAAA! moments:

Sort out your stuff

So, you’ve got a room or apartment full o crap. Eeeexcellent. This is every neat freak’s dream. It’s time to sort that shit out, my friend.

Begin by grabbing some bin bags or boxes, a marker, labels or paper strips and clearing space on the floor. Going room by room (maybe make a goal of one room a day to avoid overwhelm), sort everything into piles:

  • Pack
  • Bin
  • Sell
  • Donate

Then put each pile into a bin bag or box, labelling it accordingly. As soon as you see your stuff start to move out and onto a new life. you’ll feel invigorated about doing the same!

Cancel your accounts

Depending on how long til you go, you’ll need to start cancelling your accounts such as your mobile phone and internet, electricity and gas, library and gym memberships, tolling and any other regular payments. Ensure you advise the company of the day you’re leaving the country…cos cold showers and no phone ain’t fun.

Set up new accounts

Think about how you’ll work as a digital nomad, and the tools and tech you’ll need to thrive. I’m still researching this, but I know I’ll need to sort out my cloud storage, get a VoIP connection so I can keep my Aussie number – or upgrade my Skype account, and find an organisation that will divert my mail and email it to me. I’ll write a post once I’ve worked these little things out.

Get a visa

Some countries offer visa exemptions, others ask you to apply before you arrive, while some (like Indonesia) grant you a visa on arrival. If that’s the case, you may find you can only get a longer visa (i.e. 6 months rather than 3) if you apply before you arrive. So visit the website or office of the relevant embassy in your city to get the down low.

Just be aware that there can be a backlog. You don’t want your passport sitting under a pile of untouched applications when you’re due to fly out in three days time.

Get an International Driving Permit

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is a handy little document to get. It allows you to drive in over 150 countries, so you’re not hopping around illegally on your standard licence. In Australia, the NRMA (and other motoring groups) issues 12 month IDPs for $39.

Just be aware that if your normal licence expires before the 12 months, your IDP does too. My licence expires in 6 months, so I have to wait til the new one comes through before I apply for the IDP. Saves the hassle of renewing it from somewhere in the middle of South-East Asia.

Get travel insurance

Sigh. I know. It’s a pain in the derriere. But it’s worth forking out a few bucks to save your butt. When shopping around for travel insurance, look for annual rates. And ensure it includes emergency evacuation (especially if you’ll be in remote places) and any adventure sports or driving you plan to do.

Throw a party!

I know, it’s really tempting to just take off with minimal fuss. Especially if you’re an introverted nomad like me. But show your friends you care by organising one or a few farewells. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but people will appreciate the chance to buy you a drink and wish you well. Besides, who doesn’t love a party?

Alrighty, that’s all I can think of for now. Because Breaking Bad is calling and it’s been a long day of sorting out my crapola to sell or ditch.

What are your tips for getting ready to roam? I’d love to know! Just leave a comment below.

 

5 Responses to “How to prepare for life as a digital nomad (without freaking out)”

  1. Daniel April 22, 2014 at 6:59 pm #

    Love it, best of luck!

  2. Daniel April 22, 2014 at 6:59 pm #

    And what are you going to do overseas?

    • Kat Tate April 23, 2014 at 10:32 am #

      I’m a writer, so will take my business on the road. I write websites and blogs for businesses…and will spend a lot of time working on this blog too! Are you a digital nomad?

      • Daniel April 23, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

        I’m considering the possibility… If I’m going to do it I really need to work on getting my blog up to speed and getting some clients to write for. Best of luck!

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