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Reach for the Stars

10 Tips on Digital Nomading for the Ultimate Freelance Life

I left the job, the iMac and the country and set out to try and be a designer on the road. It seems like a dream come true, right?

I’m not going to deny it… it has been the most magical period of my entire life, but there have been times it has been a rocky climb. As with almost everything regarding travelling however, it does always seem to work out.

Here are some lessons I’ve gained from the digital nomad lifestyle:

    1. Use those few hours wisely. If you are sat somewhere, and this comes with a pre lesson in CHARGING YOUR ELECTRONICS, even if you’re only there for an hour and if it is pretty safe to do so, get your laptop out. Or your sketchbook, notes on your phone, dictation app… whatever suits. Waiting in train stations and on long buses can be time to rest but better to optimise those times with a bit of brainstorming. Being the sponges that creatives are they need a bit of time to ring out, so much more so when you’re rushing to the next destination and there are new sights to be seen there too!
    2. I eased myself into this lifestyle and had a nosey at what everyone else is doing online. I can say the community of digital nomads can portray the perfect working space with a little too much art direction to what I am usually working in! The ‘spontaneous’ immaculate MacBook Pro shots with added jungle and swimming pool are not scenes I find myself working in too often. I just find that if I want to concentrate then waking up and staying in bed to meet a deadline is the most productive. That fantastic coffee shop will be open later, that temple can be wandered around tomorrow. This lifestyle is about making the breaks for being a tourist count in between.
    3. Always have a back up ‘nuf said.
    4. Wait, back up that back up.
    5. Schedule! Even though you are on a footloose and fancy free journey your calendar should be utilised for reminders for everything! If I know I am going to be travelling/touristing for a few days I email clients a few days before, incase there is anything that we can get created before there is a deadline upon us. Clients like it because I’m thinking of them and it puts my mind at rest so I can go enjoy whatever I am planning. I use the calendar on my phone for everything. If I need to buy something, if a client needs updated visuals or if we are deep in conversation and I think of something you would be interested in reading I’ll set a time to remind me to send you a link. IT JUST WORKS! It’s good to clear some space in the head and know you will fulfil everything you said you’d do!
    6. Freelancing on the road has shown me with less chance of direct {timezones are the factor here} contact with clients we tend to get to the solution a lot quicker than in agency work. Points to be considered are often agreed upon really early in the process and in the few cases we do have to go round the houses a bit you are on an hourly rate so you can try and do it as quickly as you can, money isn’t the driving force and those hours are priceless. You get the change done and you are hopefully sat near a beach or an exquisite view with a beer to hand at a socially acceptable {any} time of the day.
    7. Stretch!! Get up move around, for me yoga is perfect. Why stand still and have a conversation when you can be stretching out on the spot while smoking {I know}, chatting with a friend, drinking a coffee or going to the bathroom. Running is good to clear the head but it isn’t my thing. I prefer dancing and yoga, in the sun, with disco on.
    8. Prioritise your clients. This has only come after being away for a while now and I tell you it wasn’t easy. When I first left I was happy to do {almost} anything for a bit of cash as those little amounts lasted so long in SE Asia and so I picked up, through mostly online sources, some less than valuable clients. It might have to be done at times but remember these are relationships you will thank yourself for getting out of and you’ll feel like a megastar afterwards
    9. Some people have the goal of XX amount of countries. Like money that hasn’t been my driving force. I have no shame in returning to a spot I found peace in, either for the scenery, the people or the vibe. I live by moments not by statistics and I’d encourage you to find homes from home. It is a sensational feeling.
    10. I think for many the work/life balance is still pretty difficult to manage in this lifestyle. It will completely come down to your preferences but I’ve met people who work all day for weeks and then take some time off and some folk who do a little a day {or every other day} and are free to enjoy the people around them at that time. I’ve found this to be the best of both worlds. Cramming work {unless I really must} is avoidable on a lot of occasions and really allows me to enjoy each moment in the present, which is essentially all I’m trying to do for every aspect of my life. Doing it the nomad way however, does make that a hell of a lot easier.

Are you an inspiring nomad? Do you have some tips for me as I continue on this journey? Would love to hear from you folks.

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