Sarah L. (name changed for privacy reasons) has a goal. She wants to visit every country in the world and experience its culture and people – and she’s already more than halfway there! She claims she’s had the traveling bug since she was a child, and she’s designed her life in a manner that allows her to spend extended periods of time satisfying her wanderlust.
“The nomad life isn’t for everyone,” she said. “You have to be flexible. You have to learn to see mishaps as adventures. And you have to be extremely motivated. No one will force you to wake up at three a.m. to attend a meeting or push you to finish a project. The nine-to-five grind feels very distant in some far-off countries, especially poorer countries or countries with lifestyles that favor work-life balance, but you can’t forget that your clients are counting on you.”
Sarah creates websites for a living. She has a background in coding and web design. A digital nomad, her office is on the go. I reached her in Iceland and asked her which tech products she believes are an absolute necessity when setting up a digital office.
Sarah tells me she won’t go anywhere without her MacBook Pro. It’s lightweight, sleek and super-fast. Plus, its long-lasting battery life makes it ideal for someone whose office space shifts on a daily basis.
Wi-Fi is another requirement for Sarah. She makes an effort to search out Wi-Fi spots in the areas she’ll be staying in advance, and she won’t book a flight to an exotic location unless she is certain it won’t compromise her work or her relationship with her clients.
“I need Wi-Fi to stay connected,” she explained. “I have a portable Wi-Fi hotspot, and I usually purchase a data plan separate from my cell phone plan. But, to be honest, in some countries, a portable Wi-Fi hotspot isn’t reliable enough. That’s why I try to book hostels or hotels that provide Wi-Fi whenever possible. My clients depend on me, and I depend on them to maintain my lifestyle. Staying connected, working on their schedule, being available when they need me is of the essence.”
Another product Sarah always lugs in her backpack is a power bank. As a solo traveler, the need to be plugged in at all times is vital for her – and for her family back home. Sarah tells me that there are many sophisticated power banks to keep devices charged throughout the day, including some cutting-edge solar power banks and hand crank power banks. She chose the RavPower 26800mAh, which has enough power to keep even large devices like laptops at optimum power levels.
Sarah invested in a pair of Bose noise canceling headphones a few years ago, and they’ve been a trusty travel companion ever since. Although Sarah’s ideal travel work space is a café or little eatery – she usually enjoys the soothing hum of cafés as background noise, and she says they’re great spots to meet locals and other digital nomads – she admits she doesn’t always have the option of working from a café, and there are times when she requires absolute silence. Her headphones ensure she remains focused at all times.
Sarah also won’t travel anywhere without a set of solid, compact adapters. Most personal electronic devices convert voltage on their own. Still, because not all of them do, Sarah advises those who are traveling to check their electronic devices beforehand to see if an adapter is enough, or if a converter is necessary too.
Like many digital nomads, Sarah uses a backpack to transport her office to and from her working space of the day. She specifically chose a backpack that is water-resistant, since it houses her passport and electronics, and she wants to ensure they don’t get damaged. It also has a series of pockets to keep her items organized at all times.
“Many people have a collection of items, like laptop mounts, USBs, to help them work better,” she intoned. “Not me. I’m a minimalist. An unusual location, encounters with the locals, and the basics to complete my job – that’s enough for me.”