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Going Nomad: A Few Lessons Learned

Digital nomad, expat, laptop warrior…so many things I’ve learned that people LOVE to be called. Whatever you call it, we are the type of person who decides to take their remote work on the road. Whether full time or part time, it’s about choosing how and where you want to work every day. It’s not always glamorous, but the pictures of us working in our private room at a hostel on a rainy day in Medellín just aren’t as cute. 🙂

I’ve learned so much over the past three and a half months–most of which can only be covered over a bottle of red wine and some guac. But here are some things that stick out:

1) If it interests you at all, go on a coworking retreat.

I knew I wanted to travel solo, but once I got going I knew I’d want to explore with some homies! Looking back, there could not have been a better way to make such a lifestyle change than joining Nomad House and Wifi Tribe.

On both retreats, I met the most kickass people. I had conversations that truly made an impact on me, either because they were profound or just freaking hilarious. I immediately had a circle that I could relate to on a fundamental level because we were choosing to do similar things with our lives.

For me, the retreats never ended, as I continued to travel with friends I met and plan to do more retreats this summer. 🙂

2) Backpackers are awesome, but that is a different lifestyle.

Being on a budget, it is easy to want to stay in hostels, and I loved staying at one for three weeks in Medellín. My top tip for this is to get a private room. It’s easy to get distracted by wine and rooftops when all these great people you met are leaving tomorrow. And easy to feel down when new friends are talking shit to you because you’ve been there for two months and haven’t gone to Guatape yet.

Working and traveling is a different lifestyle, and you need to be comfortable with the differences you’ll encounter with your new buds.

3) Don’t NOT go somewhere based on someone’s recommendation.

Learn to know what’s important to you in a location, and ask about specifics. During my trip, I’ve talked with people who didn’t like a city or specific activity that I wanted to try out–and if I went solely based on that, I would have missed out big time.

Everyone experiences a place differently. Always do what you want to do. And when someone asks, you can tell them what you liked or didn’t like instead of giving them a “no-go” recommendation.

4) It’s not always baby elephants and secret watering holes.

Yes, I am so happy 99.9% of the time. But the lifestyle doesn’t take away the random bad days, the shitty feeling when you lose your phone, or the fact that you’re missing out on your helping your niece get ready for prom. It’s a side effect of the choices made to live out a dream; but the people you love will always be there, and if you have friends who can relate, it makes it a billion times easier.

If you think you may want to try out this whole work and travel thing, do it! And if you have questions, you can reach me on the Workfrom Slack (@brookehurford) or Twitter (@code_brooke). I’d love to help make this decision easy because it’s the best damn thing I’ve ever done. 🙂


#coliving #digitalnomads #travel

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