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The Other Side of the Coin – 4 Challenges to Expect as a Laptop Nomad

2012 October 5
by Contributor

We raced from one wing of the busy airport to the next, arriving at our gate a whole five minutes before our connecting flight was scheduled to start boarding in Philadelphia. Though we were in a rush to arrive at our destination so we could continue on with our excellent adventure, I still had a moment to reflect on some of the challenges we’ve met on our path to becoming nomads in this digital age.

The benefits far outweigh the costs, by a longshot, but that doesn’t mean it’s all sunshine and candy canes.  I mean really, who can complain about living in Hawai’i, working under the shade of a palm tree while whales and dolphins provide thrilling eye candy in the ocean which is only steps away?  Part of getting to Hawai’i, however, requires planning, money, and travel.  Depending on your starting point, all this traveling can be very time consuming.

Anchor’s Away!

When adopting the laptop nomad lifestyle, travel is just one of the factors of the job.  A necessary “evil” which must be endured in order to arrive at the next amazing location. I, like so many others, remained fixed in an unfulfilling job, in an apartment with sky-high rent, all because having something, no matter how frustrating and dissatisfying, was better than the unknown.  In short, I was anchored in one place, held down by insecurities and years of accumulated stuff.

Start by Giving Yourself Permission to be Happy

  • Saying Goodbye – Leaving an unsatisfying job or relationship requires its own special sort of strength, but leaving behind friends, family, and beloved pets takes a different sort of character completely.  My friends and family were filled with all sorts of questions when I told them of our decision to become nomads.  Naturally they were curious and concerned about our safety, health, and well-being.  My pets, on the other hand, didn’t have a clue. Saying goodbye to my fur buddies will have me crying into my pillow for several days to come.
  • Sorting Possessions – I had to watch a marathon of Hoarders in order to find the inspiration to clear out years worth of collected stuff.  Much of what I had displayed around my home came from friends, family, and places I’d probably never see again.  But at the end of the day, it’s just stuff.  The memories of those good times still exist, and that I can take along with me anywhere I go.  The wall-sized mural I painted in college, on the other hand, not so much.  I won’t lie, I had to pack my bag three times before I was okay with parting with some items that I simply could not take along.  Those objects found appreciative homes with friends, which offered considerable relief.
  • Short Battery Life on Long Flights – Boy oh boy did I have all sorts of noble plans about writing this article while flying from Philadelphia to Los Angeles.  If deadlines could be met on good intentions alone, I’d be the best darn employee ever!  My one hour of battery life on the five hour flight made for a study in frustration.  The moral of the story, charge up when there’s a chance, and bring backup batteries just in case.
  • Balancing Work and Play – Hooray a week’s worth of vacation before flying to Hawai’i!  Not so fast, deadlines loom and responsibilities must be honored if I want to keep up this rambling lifestyle where I call the shots and make my own hours.  To be a successful freelancer self-motivation and discipline are necessary traits.  There’s a time for work and a time for play.  If visiting with friends and family, communicate these business needs so they can allow ample time for focusing on necessary tasks.

What Others Call Homeless, I Call Emancipated

Condensing my most necessary possessions into two suitcases means I have a limited array of options when it comes to outfits, but I have a great mom who taught me at an early age to buy separates which can easily coordinate with one another.  This way I always have something that looks new and fresh in spite of having a limited number of garments. Besides, I like to get by on my abilities rather than my stunning good looks.  This mentality came in handy when I was the only woman in my Cisco CCNA course and I expect it to serve me well in years to come.

Freelance writer Rachel Cook first caught the traveling bug at the age of 10 when she began exchanging letters with a pen-pal in Ireland. Feeling stuck in her full-time corporate job, she recently retired from the hectic pace of the rat-race and began pursuing her passion for learning, traveling, and writing with a renewed vigor. Convinced that knowledge is the secret to a long, and happy life, she often recommends her friends visit as part of their daily dose of education. When not busy with writing and learning, Rachel can often be found under a palm tree, sipping tropical drinks from coconuts.

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