Remember this? A hot and sweaty commute, clock in at 9.00am, 50 shades of office grey, lunch at your desk, punch out at 5:30pm and another dreary slog home. Repeat tomorrow, next week, next month, next year and all those years to come.
Location-dependent jobs are still very much the norm for the masses. And despite the explosion of technology allowing us to work whenever, wherever, many must still commute to an office. Then 2020 came along and we had to stay at home and work in our PJ’s. And for many professions, location-dependent roles became mostly unwarranted.
Travelling and work combined? Forget about it! We could be just about anywhere, delivering the same high-quality work. We just need a laptop, a smartphone, and a good Wi-Fi signal (and maybe a pina colada and some sun cream!) Time to make those dreams a reality. Here are our Top Tech Tips For Living Your Best Vanlife.
Choose your future-proof career carefully
We are now alive to the idea of a job unconstrained by location, offices, and face to face meetings. Whilst this presents a real and exciting possibility, we must also be realistic and understand that some roles will always remain stationary.
If you are a dentist, a farmer, or a builder, for example, then you aren’t going to be able to carry on pulling teeth, ploughing fields, or building houses on the beach. (Ok, maybe sand castles!)
But many office jobs function using mobile, connected technologies which are accessible anywhere. Although the corporate world is catching up slowly, some professions can work like this right now. Graphic design, programming, web development and marketing are almost all based online. Other freelance roles such as copywriting, artist and even financial inventors can also be done remotely.
Don’t forget though, being a digital nomadic doesn’t mean you won’t be working in one location whilst you’re travelling. Just bear in mind employers might not be too enamoured with hiring transitory workers (if you’re going to remain employed, that is).
Harness the worlds connectivity
If you are lucky enough to already be in a mobile-ready job, it’s so easy to get online. Across the world, Wi-Fi has fast become, not just a necessity, but a basic human right. Most countries will offer an abundance of free Wi-Fi hotspots, you just need to know where to look.
Convenience stores, coffee shops and fast-food venues are where you can be sure to find a fast and reliable connection, but don’t neglect government facilities or other commercial locations. My favourite spots have been embracing the great outdoors – public beaches, libraries, and sports centres all usually provide quiet and easy accessibility, as well as being well-populated.
We thrive on face-to-face interactions and though it might seem counter-intuitive, there is value in connecting with people, especially when you spend most of your time working alone. It doesn’t need to be every day but be sure to regularly check in with your fellow humans – your mental health will thank you for it.
If free Wi-Fi is spotty or less secure than you would like, then the go-to solution is a portable Wi-Fi hotspot. Whilst your mobile can provide such a service, it often comes at an extra cost and will not offer a signal as powerful as these dedicated palm-sized devices. They piggyback onto the local 4G network ensuring you have fast and pain free connectivity.
Don’t let the power go down on you
With all this tech humming away, it’s important to think about a sustainable and switched on Vanlife. Big tech consumes big power. If your livelihood depends on being online whenever, wherever, then you don’t want to be constantly running on empty.
Calculate what equipment you need, how power hungry it is and calculate a realistic daily usage time. This will give you a good baseline for your requirements.
Solar energy offers the most compatibility with vanlife and there are a wide range of solar solutions. The top end provides built-in solar panels, a hybrid inverter and battery solutions which can be installed directly. This is for full-timers who really want to live off-grid and completely self-reliant. But it will cost you.
The alternative is smaller-scale or even directly-connected panels which can either be directly accessed or connected to an inverter/battery. Plan carefully for your future vanlife – cost savings now, might result in increased expenditure down the road.
Optional, but recommended
There are many desirable items for a safe and secure vanlife, but two absolute essentials we highly advise investing in are a good-quality safe in which to store your valuables, a robust alarm system and recognised GPS tracking system. The most effective way to install your safe is by securing it to the frame of your vehicle, either by bolting or welding.
Finally, consider your quality of life via the quality of your light. To save cost and improve your mood consider LED analogues. They offer softer, more energy efficient light at any time, without draining your central supply. Make sure you purchase those in the ‘warm’ colour range and avoid blue light. As with mobile phones, this will allow your brain to switch off sufficiently at the end of the day.
Amplify your real-world experience by utilising Apps
It’s always difficult being the new guy, isn’t it? Without the need to meet people for work, it can be hard to find ways to break the ice or get involved. Here, technology is your friend again.
Public or professional interest groups can work wonders. Linkedin, local Facebook groups and sites such as meetup.com can be a great way to tap into a local community or find like-minded individuals who share your interests.
Most Apps offer a sharable platform, an interactive element where you can like and find activities or events according to date, location and connections. Google Maps, Hiking Apps, Komoot and Strava to name a few, have features which are easy to search and filter. Use this connectivity as a jumping off point.
So don’t wait around. Take a leap into the unknown with our Top Tech Tips For Living Your Best Vanlife….