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It’s been 384 days since I’ve stepped foot on American soil. In that time, I’ve been to 19 countries, lived in 10 for at least a month and taken more than 60 flights. And during that time, I’ve more than doubled my freelance writing career—submitting countless articles from six continents. As companies increasingly take on a freelance workforce, more and more people are embarking on this lifestyle change, saying buh-bye to the traditional 9 to 5 and hello to… the world. If you decide to try it for yourself (see below for program information), here are just a few things I’m passing along from my transition from full-time office drone to full-on digital nomad.

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When you have access to WiFi, a toilet or water—take it

Even when a cafe promises an Internet connection, it’s never a guarantee. The same is true about access to bathrooms and drinkable water. Especially when you’re on an eight-hour bus ride through the Andes or traveling through the Moroccan desert. As I’ve ventured around remote parts of the world as a remote worker, I’ve learned to take every opportunity I have when I’m offered these goods. This ensures I never miss a deadline—and I continue to stay hydrated.

sleeping anywhere

When you’re tired enough, you can sleep anywhere

Though I’m ambidextrous, unafraid of heights or creepy-crawlies, I have harbored two very irrational fears for decades: cotton balls and not falling asleep. The former is just icky to me. The latter is one I’ve started to overcome after traveling so frequently. I used to struggle to reap shut-eye, finding myself going through a never-ending laundry list of to-do list items. But when I’m constantly moving from one place to another, wandering through markets, and getting lost in language and cultural immersions? I lose track of time—and thoroughly exhaust myself from living so fully in the moment. Jet lag definitely strikes sometimes—or the impact of a raging hostel—but most of the time, I’m lights out.

VPNs are your friend

If you want to give your career legs, it’s important to prove to your employer (or your clients) just how capable you are of doing everything abroad that you used to do stateside. Due to the regulations in various countries such as Cuba, China and Russia, it isn’t always easy to access US-based websites abroad, making a VPN (or, virtual private network) a must for doing research, and accessing online banking and other sensitive accounts. VPNs also add a layer of security to otherwise insecure shared WiFi networks. TunnelBear is one good example; you can download it for free on iTunes or Google Play.

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finding focus in chaos

Find a way to focus in chaos

I’m lucky to do what I love for a living, but it hasn’t always been easy to figure out how to string together coherent sentences when I have hundreds of distractions around me. But somehow I’ve managed to write on an 8-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney… next to a crying baby. Also on a bumpy bus ride taking me to Cusco, Peru. On a train to the airport in Tokyo. To ensure your work doesn’t suffer on your passport-stamp collecting quest, it’s important to find a way to stay centered, even when your life is off its axle. For me, meditation music helps me stay in the zone, as well as a solid pair of noise-cancelling headphones.

Carve your own schedule to enjoy a destination

When I look back over the countries I had the privilege to experience, I often wish I would have worked less. It’s a coulda-woulda-shoulda game I probably shouldn’t dabble in, but I’m at least thankful that for the past year, I’ve managed to (mostly) take off one day a week. In addition to the luxury of being my own boss, taking off a Friday (or a Tuesday) gave me the opportunity to experience a city from a local’s perspective. Not only did I use this day to sightsee and see landmarks, but to spend a few hours drinking wine and passing time, as the Europeans do. Or waking to see the early-morning fish market, as they do in Thailand.

connecting with other nomads

Connect with other digital nomads

When those you love the most are 16 hours behind you—or ahead of you—it can be difficult to feel connected to a community. Though I was lucky to travel with 57 other professional jetsetters as part of a structured program, digital nomads are a pretty friendly, social bunch. As I worked out of co-working spaces in Colombia, Czech Republic, Peru and beyond, I met plenty of fellow travelers who were more than willing to share a beer—and a killer story.

Remote Year is a program where location independent professionals can be part of a international community as they travel the world for four months to a year. Each month, they move to another country, sharing apartments, workspaces, flights and experience cultural immersion events for $2,000 monthly.

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Tagged: Feature

Note: Orbitz compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Lindsay Tigar

Lindsay Tigar

Lindsay is a lifestyle and travel writer, and content strategist. She is a passport stamp collector with an affinity for great wine, coffee and conversation. You can find a full collection of her work at lindsaytigar.com.
Lindsay Tigar

@lindsaytigar

Freelance Travel and Lifestyle Journalist for @travelleisure, @voguemagazine, @usatoday, @bravotv @brides, @weddingwire and many more.
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Lindsay Tigar

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