My first taste of digital nomad experience ended a few days ago. I went to California for 29 days while remotely work for an employer in Texas. I’ve met several interesting people and seen many beautiful landscapes. Here are what I’ve learned from this trip.

1. Anticipate positively

In the first few days of the trips, I worried about many things not going as planned. These issues either didn’t happen at all or turned out to be easy to fix. Think about how things could go right. They often do.

2. Be friendly to and interact with people, especially people who serve you

Easier said than done. Before renting the car at Dollar Rent a Car, I read many negative customer’s reviews and worried about things that could go wrong. I bought the insurance when I picked up the car. My AirBnb host in Santa Monica, Kam and Far, are insurance agents and told me the insurance wasn’t necessary. I went back to the car rental to cancel the insurance. At first, the agent didn’t want to help me. He told me to ask for a manager (Yes, he didn’t even ask for a manager for me) because only a manager can cancel my insurance. So I went around smiling and politely asked for the manager. She didn’t seem happy but cancel my insurance for me anyway. This saved me about $500. I managed to rent a 2015 Jeep Cherokee Limited for 29 days with about $440. If I didn’t interact with my AirBnb host, I’d not know about the insurance. If I wasn’t friendly to the car rental agents, I’d have $500 less. Do not think that it’s anyone’s job to help you. Make them want to help you.

Using Airbnb for the first time. Cooked Tom Yum and Green Curry with my hosts in Santa Monica - Kam and Far
Using Airbnb for the first time. Cooked Tom Yum and Green Curry with my hosts in Santa Monica – Kam and Far

3. Travel with other

Convinced my fellow AirBnb roommate and host to go see the sunrise with me at 5AM. Very proud of myself to accomplish this.

Traveling alone is rewarding since I learn to rely on myself. But this is not as rewarding as traveling with new friends. People who travel alone are adventurous. We are fun and inspiring together. Look for shared accommodation like AirBnb and hostel to meet people. Be warned, I didn’t get much work done staying with other people. Much fun was done instead.

4. Manage time

Travel and work consume a lot of time. A 9-5 schedule does not work for digital nomads because it only let me travel in the morning and at night. I split my work hours into two pieces. For most days, I woke up at 6AM to see the sunrise. I worked from 8AM to 3PM and went sightseeing again. At around 8PM, I worked until getting 8 hours. Sleep on time. It’s easy to use a smartphone at night and not get enough sleep. It can delay daily schedule.

Enjoying sunrise and trying not to fall off cliff in Lake Tahoe
Enjoying sunrise and trying not to fall off cliff at Lake Tahoe

5. Take care of yourself

The usual meal for this trip.
The usual meal for this trip. Organic (mostly) salad with vinaigrette dressing

Maintaining good health is very important for nomads. Having to rest while we could be strolling on the beach is an incredible waste of time. I bought balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salad vegetable mix to make my own salad. Very easy to make. Also cheaper and healthier than the restaurant’s salad. In California, organic vegetables are easier to find than GMO vegetables. For exercise, I practice the shadow boxing. Several AirBnb places have fitness equipment guests can use.

Have you recently become a nomad? What did you learn when you first start out?

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Categories: Digital Nomad

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