“In my 30s this kind of travel was nearly impossible. You are quite lucky to be able to stay connected no matter where you go. This is why I had to wait until retirement to travel,” an elderly British man said to me as we sat on the top deck of a fast boat on the way from Bali to Gili Trawangan.
This past month, with Ketner Group’s blessing, I was able to cross off one of the top items on my life bucket list and travel to Bali, Indonesia, for an entire month. I’ve gotten to explore the beautiful beaches and scenery, unique culture, great food and, most of all, see how the other half of the world lives – literally. And yes, while it was a lot of PLAY, there was definitely some work still involved in my travels, as I promised my KG family that I’d work throughout to ensure we did not skip a beat with our clients.
As the man on the boat reminded me, this past month I’ve felt extremely lucky to be living in an age where my work can be part of my carry-on luggage no matter where I go – as long as there is a strong WiFi connection. And, while I won’t bore with you my many pictures of radiant white sand and crystal clear blue waters on this blog (follow me on the Strings app for more on that!), I can offer some insight and best practices on what I learned from being a digital nomad this past month.
Digital Nomad Rule #1
Plan for it. For this rule, I don’t necessarily mean you have to find the right time to travel and work in order to succeed as a digital nomad – sometimes you have to put “timing” aside and just go for it and see how it turns out!
What I mean is, before you set out on your digital nomad journey, take the time to review your workload, and consider the time difference between where you will be and where the rest of your team and/or clients are. From there, set a schedule that outlines the times you will be online, how you will communicate with your team, and what your projects and assignments will be while you are away. Team work makes the dream work, especially in a fully digital world, so to keep everyone at ease, be sure to communicate with your team and stick to your plan while working remotely. Whether you are 13 hours ahead or just one hour behind, a plan matters.
Digital Nomad Rule #2
Find a digital home. As I mentioned earlier, a strong WiFi connection is a must! As I traveled throughout this past month, I was pleasantly surprised and very underwhelmed by the WiFi offered at my different stays. However, no matter where I went throughout Bali, finding a digital café or even a digital workspace that catered specifically to digital nomads was extremely easy. In fact, during my five-day stay in Canggu Beach, I posted up at a members-only workspace called The Dojo, that offered some of the speediest WiFi on the island 24/7, as well as conference call rooms, food, free coffee and water, and a pool in case you needed to take a break to dip in and relax from your workday. So, no matter where you go, make sure you find a digital home for the day to get your work done, and maybe take a swim while you’re at it!
Digital Nomad Rule #3
Find inspiration from your digital community. As I sat in The Dojo, I couldn’t help but overhear the different conversations people around me were having. I met a variety of people, from editorial and marketing directors, to business entrepreneurs and customer service agents. This communal workspace offered the opportunity to not only come face-to-face with all walks of life, but to also easily ask a question if I was interested in learning about a new topic. The Dojo offered additional networking hours where you could come together as a digital community and talk about everything from productivity hacks to brewing the perfect cup of coffee. This space not only offered several opportunities for inspiration, but also a sense of “home” and belonging in a digital world.
Last but not least, remember the key ingredient: “you are lucky” to be able to do this in today’s day and age, so take advantage of it. Call me a typical millennial but the phrase “you only live once” is quite ingrained in my brain. As they constantly say here in Bali, “you only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” Thanks to today’s technology, the four walls of the office cubicle can now be broken down and substituted for ocean waves crashing in the background.