Tag Archives: packing

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.

 

Starting out as a digital nomad – a lesson in living lightly

13 Apr
Image

This tiny bag will soon hold everything I own in the world.

 

I didn’t think I had a lot of stuff. I rarely buy anything and move around so much that I’ve purged piles of crap over the years (and probably a lot of stuff I shouldn’t have ditched. Oops, sorry Nanna.)

But I’ve just spent half an hour looking around my room, then at my teeny 50 litre backpack, then back to the room, then back to the backpack. How the HECK will I reduce all that stuff to the bare essentials? How will I have enough possessions to last 3, 6, 12, 150 months, as I roam around the globe? Can I take my beloved blender? Should I embrace the frizz and forget the hair straightener? Can I still satisfy my inner girl with just a few basic, bland outfits? Will I really wear wedges in Vietnam? What if I decide to flee Asia and explore Europe, but only have yoga pants and el cheapo market singlets? I only just bought some beautiful bed linen for my boudoir (which I can now call a boudoir thanks to said bed linen) – what a waste… 

Moving overseas is an epic lesson in living lightly. 

It’s so tempting to cling to things. To think we really need items that sit around collecting dust. To convince ourselves that survival is about having an outfit, a utensil, a guidebook for every destination, every situation. 

But it ain’t.

As I start to simmer down my belongings to what will fit into a baby-sized backpack, I’m realising that it’s important to strip back.

Even if you’re not planning an overseas adventure, it’s a great experiment to live with little. Get by with what you need – and not much else. We surround ourselves with stuff, security for the ‘what ifs’ that never arrive. We celebrate milestones by giving gifts bought in a hurry at vacuous malls. 

It reminds me of this quote by Dave Ramsey: 

“We buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like.”

A tad cynical, sure, but bloody true!

I’m still struggling to work out what to take on my travels. I’ll be hitting up a few digital nomad blogs in coming weeks for ideas – and will share my eventual packing list with you here.

What are you tips for travelling and living lightly? I’d love to hear your ideas!

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