For me, the term Digital Nomad always used to conjure up images of a Pina Colada, a deck chair and a laptop propped up on shimmering golden sands.
Of course, nobody wants sand in their laptop, or worse their gold lamé hot pants – I know it’s a constant worry for Dave, when we hit the beach! These Essential Gadgets And Tools For Digital Nomads are a great place to start….
A Life Less Ordinary
The beauty of being a digital nomad is precisely that you can choose to live exactly the way you want, regardless of how ‘unorthodox’ that may be. The opportunity for financial and location independence, something most of us could never have imagined, even 20 years ago.
Dave and I have worked really hard to implement such a plan. We have moved in stages, each step giving us confidence and evidence that our choices are sustainable and profitable. From decluttering to downsizing, from vanlife to … lockdown!
Ok, so this year hasn’t quite gone to plan. But one thing 2020 has been good for is preparation. Now is a really good time to get things in shape. Take stock of where you are, where you want to be and plan for how to close that gap. Read and learn about the nuts and bolts of making this dream a reality. And start sorting the gadgets and tools for digital nomads that work for you.
But I’m Not Ready!
Before I completed my first large-scale decluttering exercise, I always had that restless anxiety of ‘not being ready’. So if you are sitting here reading these words right now, in 2021 or even in 2030, here’s today’s headline. It’s one I needed to hear back then, however cliched that sounds…
No-one is ever ready!
You aren’t ever going to be 100% ready. So why wait till you are 90%, or even 50%?
What’s holding you back is not your readiness, but your ego – protecting itself from fear and failure! Of course, prepare and plan, but ultimately – go for it!
The digital age has allowed us to work anywhere and for anyone – as long as we have a laptop and a good internet connection! However, this lifestyle will present challenges conventional jobs won’t. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite gadgets and tools for digital nomads which we’ve found to work for us.
Microfibre Towel – Dock and Bay
A microfibre towel is a definite essential for life on the road. They dry incredibly quickly yet are super-absorbent, reducing dampness and odour in your van or motorhome. They are super thin and lightweight – easy to store and great for travelling light, yet they perform as well as your bathroom towel.
Universal Plug Adaptor
The more remote and beautiful the location, the fewer technology options you will find. This means it’s never a bad thing to have a universal plug adaptor handy. I’m constantly amazed at just how useful and versatile these things are, and just how often they get me out of a massive jam. Positively shocking!
Portable Charger / Power Bank – RAVPower
Never lose power again with a power bank. Depending on your requirements of course. They can even charge tablets and laptops, which can mean the difference between a successful three-hour zoom call and needing to look for a new xxx. Many can charge several simultaneously. An absolute essential.
When working in different locations it’s much harder to optimise your ergonomics for safe and pain free use. If you are anything like me and suffer from regular back pain, the nomadic lifestyle makes this a challenge. Use a Bluetooth keyboard and mount your laptop or screen at a more agreeable height – no more back or neck pain. It offers the same reassuring solid feel of typing on your treasured Mac or surface.
Notepad and Pen
It doesn’t have to be a space pen – remember, the spoilt kid at school always had one! A notepad and pen might sound overly simple, yet it’s the most functional and versatile item in our entire campervan. It has so many applications – recording ideas, budgeting, contact and contract details, and it’s a great tool for international communication when you’ve exceeded your grasp of the basics – dos cervezas, por favor…
Keeping to the communication theme, translation Apps can offer highly accurate audio and written transcription and translation in real time. Google Translate is great, but for actual conversation, I would recommend ‘sayhi’. It records the interactions in both languages and constructs a conversation-like display which means it’s easy to recall and learn new words or phrases from a native speaker. Muy Bueno!
Mobile WiFi Hotspot
During your nomadic life you are going to cross a lot of borders, all with unique phone and data networks. Which network, which tariff? Don’t worry, there is a simple solution. A mobile phone and data hotspot will automatically toggle to the local network for instant access up to 4G. They often require a subscription charge, but overall it is worth the money. The Skyroam Solis X is very popular and offers an integrated webcam and VPN.
A cheaper alternative is a Dual SIM Mobile. From personal experience I can tell you this works a treat.
Solar Charger – Big Blue
A little leftfield, maybe, but electrical power is the lifeblood of any digital nomad, or any worker for that matter. If you want to be ‘off grid’ a solar charger offers the perfect, renewable energy source which will make you truly self-sufficient. There are some awesome portable ones, which are relatively cheap, or you can look to fit higher spec options to charge much more powerful devices.
And last but not least…
First Aid Kit
I don’t think this one needs explaining! When you are working anywhere, you need to be prepared for anything.
This comprehensive kit contains bandages, instant cold packs, scissors, plaster, emergency blanket, moleskin pad and more to treat most minor illnesses and injuries. Each inner sleeve is organized by category, so you can access what you need very quickly. And when you run out, it’s easy to see what needs to be replaced.
This guy is jam-packed with everything you think you might need in a first aid kit, and more. The mini pack hangs on a hook in one of our cupboards and the main kit lives in the back of the van. But it’s also perfect for storing in a rucksack when we’re out and about. and the beauty is, it can be stocked with bits from the main first aid kit, depending on what we’re planning to do or where we’re planning to go. You could even stash it in your glove compartment or medicine cabinet for quick access.
Whatever your choice, any life in pursuit of freedom and flexibility of geography and self-determination has just as much legitimacy. My dream looks something like this, but with a different ending! What are your favourite Gadgets And Tools For Digital Nomads? Please share your suggestions in the comments below.