I just don’t think I was built for the grind of a nine-to-five job. Believe me when I say that I’ve made numerous attempts. Something about getting up at the same time every day, to do the same job every day… the thought alone is draining. No matter how much I may love the job, the routine ends up getting to me which is why I traded in my corporate ID badge and 8’ square cubicle space for a backpack and a laptop. The dream of world travel was just too big. It’s like one of the greatest adventurers of all time, Amelia Earhart once said, “Adventure is worthwhile in itself.” I had to try it for myself!
And I’m neither alone, nor an exception to the idea. The ability to draw an income over the internet means my home office is as close as my nearest WiFi connection. Jonathan and Carrie Kraft, a married couple who are also laptop nomads, often share their adventures and experiences of traveling the world through their blog. They act as an inspiration, not only to me but also to anyone else wishing to experience the world, especially if worrying about the financial logistics associated with this kind of lifestyle.
Not All of Us Are Nomads at Heart
Just like the nine-to-five, corporate lifestyle wasn’t for me; the life of a laptop nomad isn’t for everyone. Saving money means sacrificing creature comforts like basic cable, but I think Carrie Kraft would agree that her amazing time spent in India, dining with neighbors as if a member of their family, and learning how to cook incredible food more than makes up for missing the most recent episode of True Blood. Before embarking on a world tour with little more than a passport and dream, here are some other things to consider:
- Travel light – A handful of shirts, some pants which can convert from shorts to trousers, a week’s worth of socks and underwear, two pairs of shoes, and a bit of outerwear for layering is all you really need as far as garments are concerned.
- Finances – Direct deposit and online money services like Ing Direct and PayPal make access to your money effortless, from anywhere in the world. Accept the PayPal debit MasterCard as another payment option and you’ll find yourself dealing with cash rather than the steep cost of credit card interest.
- Family – Skype and Google Voice make keeping in touch with loved ones a snap. No more complaints of missing Grandma’s birthday from your Aunt Geraldine, you can still experience the festivities over webcam. I’m sure your granny would love to see you happy, healthy and living life to the fullest as she celebrates her 90th birthday – I know mine would.
- Trust your gut – Believe it or not, your instincts are your best guide. If something feels wrong, or too good to be true, it probably is. Jonathan and Carrie often share a story of their visit to Nicaragua, while walking down the street they saw a group of people up ahead and the situation gave them a bad feeling, so they crossed over to the other side of the street just in time to witness a fight break out amongst the individuals they’d been worried about. Trusting your instincts sometimes saves you a little inconvenience, but other times it could save your life.
- Use the buddy system – Traveling alone is great, but having a companion at your side that you can trust implicitly is even better. No matter what you always want to remain alert and vigilant of your surroundings, traveling with a friend means an extra set of eyes and an extra gut instinct to call upon in times of need.
- Plan ahead – Book flights and lodging well ahead of time if you can, and travel in the off-season to avoid costly fees. Better yet, stay with friends and family if possible to avoid the cost of a hotel.
- Protect your data – Even if you’re doing the bulk of your work on your laptop, you don’t necessarily need to carry it everywhere you go. Consider storing important information on a USB stick; even wear it as a necklace, so you can upload information at an internet cafe without having to carry around extra equipment.
If you plan on making a living as you travel then your laptop or iPad will become your most valuable tool, meaning you must consider additional securities measures when visiting a foreign locale. Investing in an iPad security lock from http://www.locksondemand.com is a great place to start, but you’ll also want to remove extraneous information from your hard drive before traveling. Make backups of your important data, and keep them handy on CD or USB drives.
Freelance writer Jason Munroe spends at least twice as much time researching as he does writing. Lacking a dual monitor setup that’s helpful for authors who need to see two screens at once, he often uses his iPad floor stand to position the tablet so that it hovers near the laptop screen. When he’s not working on writing assignments or updating his blog, Jason takes a total break from technology in favor of some kind of outdoor activity, whether it’s jogging through his neighborhood or hiking through the forests near his home.