Generation Digital Nomad
We are what we do and still we always seek for a category for better explanation of what we believe we are doing … Globetrotter, virtual hobo, location independent, remote worker, mobile entrepreneurs, long term travel, working traveler or just and plain simple – Digital Nomad.
Slow traveling Digital Nomads
Btina DieFarben aka GreenTina and myself Yago1 ARE a couple of very slow traveling digital Nomads maybe because we are Swiss. There is no rush in traveling for us, we rather focus on living in the moment and diving into the place where we currently live. This is extremely enriching and naturally very challenging. BTW great read from our friends at Forbes about the digital nomad movement.
As you may know Life Begins At The End Of Your Comfort Zone :-)
So far we have been renting rooms, houses, living in hotels and hostels. Sleeping in tents in a roof-top-tent on a car trailer. Also great experiences with CouchSurfing as well as AirBnB. Maybe we will try House-sitting in the near future. We will see. Don’t expect to read a lot of blog post here …
Tools of trade for a digital nomad
I decided to write this blog article because none of the existing blog articles about this topic seemed to give any good practical advice at the end of the article… So I hope we can change the situation now and I can share with you about our finding during the last 6 month living the life of a Digital Nomad in Latin America.
(1) Portable router with battery
One of the most relevant gadgets so far is for sure to have a constant and reliable Internet connection. This is one of the major challenges when traveling in Latin America now a days. Even if there is a free-wifi or a paid-wifi network most likely it will not work or just very slowly.
So we researched for alternatives and found a portable router with battery as one the Nr.1 recommendation for Digital Nomads. It’s not expensive, it’s not heavy and when there is a carrier network you will have your own Wifi you can use yourself or even share with your Friends :-) Ideally you have all mayor Carrier SIM Cards pre paid so even if one carrier is not working you can easily just switch the USB-Modem or the SIM-card with another. Since Paraguay most of the locations have worked with TiGo-Paraguay and here in Bolivia with TiGo-Bolivia for data.
(2) Additional battery for the smart phone
Now a notebook is great but the best “console” you have with you is the best “console” you have right now. And most likely you will not be walking around 24/7 with the notebook but with your smart phone. This is why my own smart phone is constantly out of battery-life and I’m re-charging it literally any-where I can. Additionally as backup a keep a small additional battery which can re-charge my smart phone in a emergency kind of situation for example I’m waiting for a hostel / hotel confirmation and just in that moment my smart phone ran out of battery. There are plenty of different mobile external batteries for smart phone on amazon, I have chosen a small and not to heavy one.
(3) USB Charger Universal Travel Adapter and electric plug adapter
Depending where you are originally from and where you currently are staying the electric plug standards will be different or very different. See this Wikipedia article about AC power plugs and sockets which is really something you need to think about.
(4) Additional smart phone USB cables and cable extension
The rule is – there are never enough additional USB cables and cable extension around when you need them. In near future there may be a universal USB connection like USB 3.0 standard which hopefully will establish but until then you should rather have every possible USB cable with you if you want to transfer data or charge a battery etc.
(5) Mobile digital nomad tools – Smartphone Apps
My smart phone App recommendation is limited for Apple iPhone – and I can only recommend what I can test so it’s limited for the Apple iPhone5 with almost the latest iOS update which is currently iOS 8.2 – yes I’m not at all rushed to install iOS 8.3
Classic: But very handy because so mobile Google Translate iOS App. Even the TIME Magazin says that Google Translate Is Now a Way Better Travel Companion – Break through language barriers with Google Translate. Translate 90 languages! According to Google, more than 500 million people use Google Translate every month, making at least one billion translations each day. The new app is available for free on iOS and Android now
Maps.me iOS app (Free Offline GPS maps based on OpenStreetMap Maps data which can also be used for example for Garmin GPS navigation devices). I downloaded the detail map of Bolivia and using the iPhone5 with GPS connection but no data connection, strictly off GPS antenna only. Search and location features have been flawless. – Offline Map with Routing, City Guide, POI Location, Subway and Driving Directions.
How’s the network doing? OOKLA mobile Speed Test ios app. The app tells me whether I have a decent chance of downloading a big file, streaming video, etc, based on the performance it reports. Better to know up front before starting to download and waiting forever. It does a pretty accurate and consistent job of reporting speeds. – Use Ookla Speedtest for easy, one-tap connection testing in under 30 seconds—accurate anywhere thanks to our global network.
Plan and research your stay with the TripAdvisor iOS app. The map information sucks 95% of the time it’s wrong. I have no idea what they have been smoking while gathering the data but the rest of the existing information and reviews do help to plan your trip. – Traveler reviews, photos, and maps from TripAdvisor. Plan and have your perfect trip… With many opinions by travelers, TripAdvisor makes it easy to find the lowest airfare, best hotels, great restaurants, and fun things to do, wherever you go. And booking options for hotels, restaurants and flights are just a tap away.
After taking a lot of photos with the heavy EOS Canon equipment I like to transfer a photo selection directly over Wifi with the Canon EOS Remote iOS app to my smart phone to share them on Instagram or Facebook. – EOS Remote is a free application for convenient remote shooting, image browsing, and other operations on Canon EOS digital cameras with Wi-Fi functionality. As you view live images from the camera in EOS Remote, you can remotely set the focus, values etc.
Sometimes I capture a photo with my smart phone and don’t remember the location or would like to explore the exact location where I took the photo. Now with this Koredoko iOS app It can read GPS data from photo and display it directly on the map. Koredoko shows the place of a picture in your photo libraries.
Websites for communication, sharing and hospitality exchange
Social networking and hosting platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, AirBnb (hosting), CouchSurfing (hosting), Twitter (Microblogging), Flickr (Photography), Pinterest (Photography), TripAdvisor (location research & planning), etc. Other helpfull online services such as IFTTT (If This Then That) to inter connect many different services toegther. For example when I publish a new image on Flickr it will be also published within a Facebook group automatically. For photographers Loadlater.com to pre-schedule images for Flickr and of course BufferApp to schedule update on Social Media platform such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Back up smart phones
Two backup phone and 1 backup smart phone and SIM cards regarding the two-factor authentication methods for email, on-line banking and other.
For every country you will have to buy a local data SIM card which you can prepay and then use to gain access to the Internet when having network availability.
Two different physical bank setups additionally to PayPal and Bitcoin. Oh and also have some cash USD / EUR and local currency if possible. In Bolivia if you don’t have coins they will not even sell you the bananas! :o no joke! Check what plastic / credit card let’s you get cash at local ATM without having to pay any fee’s. I can highly recommend the German Internet bank called DKB they have this free VISA DKB card which is without any withdrawal fee! I use it as pre-paid credit card for cash and it works very well so far. When applying for the card to prepare to spend a least 4-6 weeks until you get the card.
Other stuff you might consider working and living as digital nomad:
- Notebook: Mac / Windows / Linux – what ever works best for you
- Earphones with microphone for voip-meetings
- Plenty of physical backup hard-drives and well as USB-discs and SD-chips
- External USB-DVD-drive, you never know how you will get data in a 3rd world country
- Backup for anything: Electric, Water, Money, Clothing
- A old-shool waterproof wristwatch. Timezone management is far easier with the time at your wrist instead than checking your smart phone every 5 min…
- A old-shool map of the continent and the country and ideally the region where you are currently
Never use any device without a password to login. Depending on the the data and the paranoia you can have multiple passwords for the device the SIM card every App etc. Anyway it’s smart and recommended to update all your password once every 12 month. And of course never use the same password for any other service. :-) Also choose smart passwords with words, numbers and special characters, it will save you a lot of time. If you are out of ideas for additional password you can let the password generator create one for you here.
Swiss Army knife
Be sure to not place it in your hand luggage bag else you will have to give it away before boarding into the plane … The above Swiss Army knife is extended it has a USB-stick, bottle opener, knife, can opener and a securing clip to exchange SIM cards of the smart phone. This is one of the most important mobile tools to open a good bottle of red wine :-) And there is some fantastic red wine here in Bolivia from the region of Tarija and a few from Samaipata. The Bolivian wine marketing claim is It’s wine with the highest altitude in the world – something like 2500 meter above sea level! So far we have tried following Bolivian Wines: Aranjuez, Kohlberg Syrah and the Kohlberg Malbec. We are working on testing all the other wines in Bolivia but there are many!
Image: Classic – Working inside Cafe Alexander in Santa Cruz, Bolivia – packed with other Gringo tourist who are also enjoying the fast and free-wifi of the location and sipping a coffee or a local fruit juice!
Image: My digital nomad office set-up: hamaca – back in Paraguay with 43 degrees Celsius temperature.
Image: With a VERY long LAN cable.
This is a first hand example why a very long LAN cable can be practical as nomad. 55 meter long LAN cable was used here from one cabana to the other cabana which had a stable Internet connection… If you can bring a LAN cable this can help you to save time depending where you are connection a LAN cable might be easier than connection the Wifi… Location: Somewhere nowhere near a German colony in Paraguay.
Sometimes the best Internet is only during the night time… it’s fresher in the night than in daytime anyway so why bother to sleep if you can work :-) Above Btina working for www.DieFarben.com creating a new website with custom design.
A software update is a great break to eat another healthy Banana. And yes the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite can be very handy to transport 1000 of books with you without a single additional gram of physical weight. I can recommend the Kindle reading quality as outstanding sharp and better than many physical books I have been reading because the Kindle text size can be adapted to the personal needs – this is real usability I say!
Start exploring today and be prepared to surprise challenges everywhere you go :-) See above. The heavy rain killed the bridge and we had to pass the river like this …