Prepping To Go Digital Nomad
Preparing for the Leap to Digital Nomad
Downsizing possessions and decluttering.
Downsizing possessions and decluttering is a practice that, at its core, requires us to reassess and redefine our relationship with material belongings.
The process becomes notably challenging as we age for a multitude of reasons. Let’s explore these intricacies:
- Emotional Attachments: As we grow older, we accumulate not just items but also memories and emotions. Each trinket, book, or piece of furniture might hold a story or represent a specific time in our lives. Letting go of such items feels like parting with a piece of our past.
- Fear of Regret: The older we get, the more we fear making decisions we might regret later. “What if I need this later?” becomes a familiar refrain, even if we haven’t used the item in years.
- The ‘Sunk Cost’ Fallacy: This is the belief that an investment (monetary, emotional, or time-wise) in an item necessitates holding onto it, even if it no longer serves a purpose. People often think, “I spent so much on this; I can’t just give it away.”
- Loss of Control: Aging often brings a sense of loss—loss of youth, health, or independence. Holding onto possessions can be a way to counteract these feelings, offering a semblance of control in a rapidly changing world.
- Overwhelm with Volume: Over years and decades, the sheer volume of possessions can become daunting. The task of decluttering seems so monumental that many people avoid it altogether.
- Change in Physical Ability: Decluttering requires physical effort. Sorting, lifting, and organizing can be strenuous, especially for seniors with health or mobility challenges.
- Fear of Mortality: Decluttering can inadvertently remind individuals of their mortality, especially later in life. The idea of “downsizing” or “clearing out” one’s life can be emotionally linked with the end of life, making the task heavy and poignant.
- Cultural and Generational Values: Older generations grew up in eras marked by wars, economic depressions, or societal values emphasizing saving and holding onto items. These generational values can conflict with today’s more disposable culture.
- Isolation: If one lives alone or has no active social circle, accumulated items can subconsciously serve as companions or fill a void, making parting with them challenging.
- Decision Fatigue: Decluttering requires numerous decisions in a short span: “Keep or discard? Donate or sell?” This decision-making process can be exhausting for seniors, especially those with cognitive challenges.
Understanding these complexities is crucial for anyone assisting older individuals in decluttering. Empathy, patience, and understanding can help navigate the emotional landscape surrounding possessions.
Ultimately, decluttering isn’t just about creating physical space but also about making room for new memories, experiences, and a sense of freedom and lightness that can significantly improve one’s quality of life.
The minimalist’s guide to packing.
Transitioning to a digital nomad lifestyle as a minimalist means packing only the essentials. A minimalist approach reduces physical baggage and mental clutter, allowing one to focus on work and experiences.
Here’s how a minimalist might pack for a digital nomad journey:
- Essential Tech Gear:
- Laptop & Charger: A high-quality, lightweight, and reliable laptop is crucial.
- Smartphone: Doubles as both a communication tool and an entertainment device.
- Universal Adapters/Converters: For different plug types worldwide.
- Portable Hard Drive or SSD: For backup. There is so much free online backup available that carrying a portable hard drive is unnecessary.
- Noise-Canceling Headphones: Helpful in co-working spaces or crowded places. Necessary so as not to disturb fellow travelers on buses, trains, and planes, and to keep your data private.
- Portable Charger/Power Bank: For on-the-go charging needs.
- Capsule Wardrobe: A collection of essential, versatile clothing items that can be mixed and matched.
- Quality over Quantity: Choose durable clothing that can withstand wear and tear.
- Climate Appropriate: Depending on destinations, pack for the climates you’ll encounter most frequently.
- One Formal Outfit: Useful for unexpected formal events or meetings. Optional. The best thing is to avoid formal events when traveling.
- Compact Laundry Tools: A travel clothesline and a universal sink plug can be helpful.
- Health & Hygiene:
- Multi-purpose Products: The only soap I carry is a shampoo that can also be used as a body wash.
- Travel-sized Containers: Fill them with your preferred products. The Dollar Tree or other dollar stores can be ideal for small sizes.
- Basic First Aid Kit: With essentials like band-aids, pain relievers, and any prescription medications.
- Documents & Money:
- Digital Backups: Scan essential documents like passports, IDs, and insurance details. Store them securely in the cloud and on a physical device.
- Minimalist Wallet: Some cash, a credit/debit card, and an ID should suffice. Consider a travel credit card with no foreign transaction fees.
- Passport & Visas: Essential for international travel.
- You may want to consider a minimalist RFID blocking wallet.
- Accommodation & Travel Tools:
- Compact Travel Pillow & Eye Mask: For quality sleep on the go.
- Collapsible Water Bottle: Stay hydrated and reduce plastic waste.
- Reusable Grocery Bag: Doubles as a tote for day trips. It can be used as a shower caddy or to store dirty clothes.
- Digital Tools & Apps:
- VPN: For secure internet access. This can be critical depending on where you are traveling.
- Digital Banking Apps: For tracking expenses and managing finances.
- Productivity Tools: Cloud storage, task management apps, Grammerly, ChatGPT.
- Language Translation Apps: Useful when traveling to non-English speaking regions.
- A Notebook or Journal: For jotting down ideas or memories.
- A Multi-tool: Compact versions include scissors, a knife, a screwdriver. You may not be able to carry on an airplane.
- Locks: For securing luggage in shared accommodations.
- Openness to Buy & Discard: Instead of packing for every contingency, be willing to purchase items as needed and then donate or discard them responsibly. This is key to traveling light. You don’t want to carry items you might need but only those you use.
The core principle is intentionality. Every item packed should have a clear purpose and function. A minimalist ensures mobility, flexibility, and a smoother transition to the digital nomad lifestyle by focusing on essentials and multifunctional items.
Financial preparation: Budgeting, saving, and setting up passive income streams.
Financial preparation is paramount for anyone considering the digital nomad lifestyle. A minimalist approach can also benefit in this realm, emphasizing focus, clarity, and intentionality in financial decisions.
Here’s how a minimalist would approach financial preparation for a digital nomad journey:
- Evaluate Current Expenses: Before leaping, assess current monthly and annual expenses. Identify which will remain, which will increase, and which will disappear as a digital nomad.
- Research Destinations: Understand the cost of living in potential nomadic destinations. Websites and apps like Nomad List can be helpful. This will give you an idea of what it costs to live in different countries, which can tell you what type of passive income you want before taking off.
- Create a Nomad Budget: Allocate funds for accommodation, food, co-working spaces, transportation, insurance, and unexpected expenses.
- Emergency Fund: Crucial for unexpected expenses, health issues, or periods without a steady income. Aim for 3-6 months of expenses.
- Transition Fund: Moving into a nomadic lifestyle may have startup costs like tech gear, visas, or initial accommodation.
- Regular Savings Review: As a digital nomad, review savings regularly to ensure they align with changing expenses and income.
- Passive Income Streams:
- Affiliate Marketing: Recommend products or services online and earn a commission on sales made through referral links.
- Digital Products: Create and sell e-books, online courses, or stock photos.
- Investing in Stocks & Bonds: Proper research can provide dividends or interest.
- Real Estate: Renting out property, or investing in platforms like REITs can provide monthly income.
- Blogging or YouTube: With substantial traffic, advertising can become a significant source of passive income.
- Dropshipping or Print-on-Demand: E-commerce without the need for inventory.
- Continuous Income Management:
- Diversify Income Streams: Don’t rely on just one source. The online world can be volatile.
- Automate Finances: Use online tools for invoicing, payments, and tracking expenses.
- Tax Considerations: Understand tax obligations in both the home country and places of residence.
- Financial Tools & Resources:
- Digital Banking: Opt for banks with low or no foreign transaction fees.
- Expense Tracking Apps: Apps like Mint or YNAB can help monitor spending.
- Currency Conversion Apps: Essential for understanding expenses in different countries.
- Freelancer Platforms: Sites like Upwork or Fiverr can be secondary income sources.
- Adopt a Minimalist Approach to Spending: Focus on needs over wants. This doesn’t mean depriving oneself but prioritizing value and utility.
- Continuous Learning: The digital landscape changes rapidly. Regularly upskill and stay updated on trends to remain competitive and profitable. This is more vital than ever.
- Stay Adaptable: Financial needs and opportunities can change. Regularly review and adjust financial strategies as needed.
By paying rigorous attention to financial preparation, digital nomads ensure the feasibility of their lifestyle and the peace of mind and freedom they seek.
An intentional, minimalist approach to finance paves the way for a sustainable and rewarding nomadic journey.