How to Become a Digital Nomad: Bring Your Work and School On The Road

It’s the understatement of the century to say that 2020 forever changed the landscape of how we work and learn. Working and attending class remotely became the norm for countless numbers of us who had previously become accustomed to commuting to a centralized location to undertake these activities. Still — while there was certainly a period of adjustment inherent to working and schooling from home — many of us acclimated fairly quickly to the “new normal.” 

As we move forward, some enterprising souls have taken “working from home” a step further. Many have come to realize that as long as we can legitimately work and attend class from anywhere, then why not do so from EVERYWHERE? The widespread availability of mobile Internet access, compact computing, and teleconferencing apps has given rise to an entirely new class of mobile worker — one who travels the country (or even the world!) while still maintaining peak productivity. 

Want to join the “have laptop, will travel” crowd? Here are some tips on how to become a digital nomad.

Readjust Your Mindset

Becoming a traveling worker isn’t as simple as loading up a backpack and striking out. Committing to this traveling lifestyle represents a fairly serious realignment of priorities. First, will you be going fully mobile, or only hitting the road for a month or two here and there? What is your living situation? Do you have family, a partner, kids, pets, or even plants that will feel your absence? Will you be maintaining a permanent residence while you travel, or leaving it all behind? Will you be heading from point A to point B by car, public transit, RV, or other form of transportation? It can be very liberating to simply walk away from property and possessions, but it also represents a very serious lifestyle change. Leases might need to be canceled, ties may need to be severed, and explanations could become necessary. So be certain you know what you’re capable of and what you aren’t before you commit.  

Make a Plan

Routine is safe and predictable. A nomadic lifestyle is anything but. Life on the road can — and will — throw all kinds of unexpected curveballs your way. Traveling in an RV? You may not be able to find a place to camp. RV parks’ expenses and amenities vary wildly. One may have a pool, restaurant, and clubhouse, while another may not even have electricity or water hookups. And if your batteries or propane tanks run out of power in the middle of your workday, you could be out of luck. Even if you plan to set up camp in hotels, sometimes there may not be any vacancies in absence of a reservation. Flights can be canceled, flat tires pop up at the worst moments, and getting lost in unfamiliar territory is always in the cards. So planning ahead and having contingency plans is always crucial.

Budget, Budget, Budget

Staying in one place for work and school is a fairly straightforward financial proposition. Obviously, emergencies still happen under the best and most reliable of circumstances. But since life as a nomad represents a constantly-shifting set of circumstances, being financially flexible is a necessity. Are you planning to pay for rent on a permanent “home base” PLUS payments and campground fees for an RV? Will you primarily be staying in hotels? Couch-surfing? Working out of co-work spaces in whatever city you land in? Do you have any debts you may need to reduce or eliminate entirely? Outlining a consistent budgeting plan that balances income and expenses is paramount, regardless of your lifestyle. Even so, the topsy-turvy nature of mobile work calls for an entirely different level of adaptability.   

Ensure Feasibility

It seems as though it should go without saying, but it still bears a mention: While your job or school may understand that you are logging in from home for the time being, they could have plans for the future that you might not be privy to. So before heading out on the open road, it’s necessary to have a discussion with your instructors, administration, and/or supervisors to ensure that decentralizing your space won’t result in any issues with your productivity. Many businesses and institutions of learning may have the intention of re-convening at some point in the future, which could result in issues. So making your travel plans clear — and getting the reassurance from your work or school that your remote attendance will continue to be acceptable — is a necessary step. Of course, it’s then incumbent upon you to continue to be as present and productive as you’re expected to be in order to perpetuate the continuation of your arrangement. 

Choose the Right Environment

(Photo: Charlie Gibson)

The life of a digital nomad takes many forms. As we’ve said, some travel place-to-place in RVs. Others stay with friends or family. Still others avail themselves of professional hospitality options. More than any other reason, that’s why Pacific Terrace has gone to such great lengths to be a productivity-friendly environment. Professionals and students who visit us while working remotely tell us they appreciate our property-wide high-speed Wi-Fi, in-room workstations, on-site laundry, fitness center, and convenient refreshment options. Of course, once it’s time to log off for the day, our heated ocean-view pool, hot tub, full bar, massage services, and stunning private balconies with ocean views will all you unwind. 

Looking for a great place to log in, log your hours, and then enjoy the many benefits of making the world your office or classroom? Take a look at our specials and packages, and let us know when you’d like to be our guest.