Picture this: You are hustling in your 9-to-5 desk job and taking on freelance work. You’ve filed that resignation letter but still training the next person in line. You are selling all the shit you won’t need anymore. You’ve been visiting your friends and family to bid goodbye. You’ve been busy researching on your destinations and flights. Surely, amidst all this chaos of preparing for life on the road, there will be things digital nomads forget.
Having thought about the things I forgot and nearly forgot and chatting with fellow digital nomads on this matter, we’ve created this list of most frequently forgotten things in the run-up to becoming a digital nomad.
Getting an insurance
You cannot just hang in there and hope that nothing bad will ever happen to you. Welcome to adulthood! You need to be covered especially now that you are out and about on this planet. You never know what can happen—a weird stomach bug or even having your shit stolen!
Some travel insurance providers offer coverage for long-term travelers and others that have policies specifically designed to suit the needs of expats.
A quick tip on what to look for when buying an insurance policy: Check whether or not you’re still covered if you decide to return to your home country. Some policies become null and void the moment you set foot in the country from which your passport is from.
Also, be sure to read through the fine print when it comes to your gadgets. Some policies will only pay up to USD 500 for one electrical item. So if you’re carry-on bag gets nicked with your phone, laptop, tablet, and all other techie shit in it, you’ll come up short if the payout is only USD 500.
Learning the language
This is one of the common things digital nomads forget and neglect just because locals tend to adjust for them. Surely, you’ll be so focused on making money and hitting your deadlines that you’ll forget to find time to get to know your new home.
Since you’ve been spending so much time already in front of your screen, why not learn a few local phrases online? Then, put those phrases to the test as you do your shopping at the nearby market or chat with the locals.
Take some time off your laptop to meet locals and expats, and hang out and dine at where locals go. As you do these things, you’ll surely pick up some more of the local language beyond just survival phrases. Not only will you have more people to hang out with, you’ll also gain one more language under your belt to impress whoever you’ll encounter next. 😉
You’ve seen me talk about preparing your contingency fund before even hopping on that plane. Continuously adding up to this fund is one of the things digital nomads forget.
Having more of this fund means you have the option to say yes all the more often. Just remember to put a limit on yourself. If you’d rather keep this totally untouched, congratulations, you’ve yourself a retirement fund!
Preparing for retirement
What? This early?! Yes! There are so many digital nomads who are in their early twenties, who don’t value retirement fund just yet. Although retirement feels a long, long way off, you’ve gotta start building your future while you’re constructing your present.
This one is particularly relevant for freelancers and entrepreneurs who are self-employed and don’t have a company pension policy to opt into.
Although bumming from hostel to hostel is all well and good when you’re 25, this may no longer be the case when you’re 65. You’re not gonna want to be sharing a dorm with smelly teenagers and partygoers!
So, set aside as little as $100 a month, especially while you’re starting out. Sooner or later, you’ll get to a position where your monthly income matches or surpasses your contingency fund. If so, don’t touch the contingency fund! Stick it in the pension fund!
Staying in touch
Becoming a digital nomad is much like getting into a new relationship, you just wanna focus on it and forget about the world!
Although jetting off is exciting, you’ve gotta make an effort to stay in touch with the people back home. I find many of my friends have an out of sight, out of mind kinda view of me, and I know that it’s down to me to keep them in my life. Thanks to WhatsApp, it’s easy to just ping the chat group! When I see something fairly interesting and funny, I can also easily send them a photo or a video via Snapchat and Instagram stories.
Now, Snapchat and Instagram stories might not suffice with your family. Granny probably can’t be bothered learning these apps! So, build a habit of calling them to check in every week. Technology has bestowed Skype and FaceTime upon us. Now, these are apps that are as easy as usual call and text. You can also send a postcard!
These are just five of the top things digital nomads forget when they’re starting out. I hope you find this list helpful especially during the run-up to your digital nomad lifestyle. If you can think of anything else I’ve missed out on, feel free to let me know through the comments section below so we can grow this list together!