It is not easy being a digital nomad
I’m out of a comfort zone I didn’t even realise mattered to me. I thought I already was location independent really. I work on a laptop and I have for the last 6 years. It travelled up and down the country twice a month all the way through the degree and I worked at both houses, no desk at either, and on the trains.
Now I live in one place but I don’t have a desk so I just perch where ever I can in the house. Occasionally I even stick the laptop in it’s bag and take it somewhere else to work. So I didn’t feel particularly tied to one place, till now.
This latest trip is a bit of a try out for more extended absences from base. Instead of taking ordinary holidays this year the idea is to take extended trips and work for parts of each day. And I’ve been surprised to discover it’s really not that easy.
This is great when it works well but seems strangely intermittent. It may even be affected by the weather! I can get 2G connection some of the time but it’s too slow to do much of what I need to do. The 3G connection is faster but rare.
This leads directly to the issue of where in the house I can work. Some rooms are better than others for comfort or convenience and some for the connection. Everything is compromise. There isn’t an ideal solution.
- Email is fine, reliable but a bit slow to open.
- Multi-tasking with lots of tabs open is not possible
- Blogging’s hard, but not impossible thanks to MarsEdit. I can create drafts and upload them when I’ve got a good connection.
- I can’t add photos very easily, upload takes too long & connection gets lost. Hence no photo in this post, gave up on the 3rd attempt.
- Quickly checking facts and adding links is a bit of a challenge.
- Research for new posts is out of the question
It’s really a bit like time travelling back to a world before broadband and always on internet.
It’s not like coming away and knowing you’ll have no connection. Then there’s not temptation to do any of the ‘normal’ routine of things and the online world is soon forgotten.
The Up Side
On the plus side, like having no internet, it makes it easier to concentrate on a single task, like a piece of writing. On the first day I finally got round to writing a short e-booklet about Classroom Displays I’ve had rattling round my head for months.
Not to mention the walks by the creek, little egrets, the wind in my hair, charming Cornish pubs, watching the surf, green everywhere, birdsong, rabbits in the hedgerows and the pot, and dark nights with no light pollution, no traffic noise, no tubes, no hoards of people.
All of which I would illustrate with a photo, if only I could upload one!
Trouble is that I ran out of well researched things to work on. That’s got to be the major learning from this.
I can work on stuff in draft and upload in a batch, things can get done but I need to do far more preparation and research in advance.
This is a challenge as it’s not my usual way of working. I expect there will be lots of creaking, groaning and moaning till I get used to it.
I’m a bit of a nomad at heart. I’ve never lived in one place for a huge amount of time and I don’t really feel the need to put down roots. I like not having much stuff and being able to just pick up and go. I always wanted to own a yurt (ger) from being very young. (I blame a project I did about Mongolia when I was in junior school !). I love to travel, love the feel of being in different places.
When we work out how make it work we’ll be able to combine work with longer trips and travel more. It’s bumpy just now but it’s got to be worth exploring.
Now to see if I can post this, wish me luck!
Update – comments now open