Something I’ve been mulling over is exactly how I want to arrange my traveling post-man’s life. The simple fact that I will be on the road for the majority of my time means having a home base will be a significant financial “burden.” Not that I can’t afford it, so much as not being around to use it. Sunday I could be flying somewhere, Monday-Friday working, returning Friday afternoon/evening…I’d only be around for a couple days of the week yet paying for rent, utilities, internet…Why?
The digital era has really opened up some incredible possibilities that I’ve been putting to use in my time as a digital nomad. In case you don’t know the term, being a digital nomad means you don’t really have a home base to speak of. Digital nomads work remotely and live wherever they wish to. Some travel the States while others spend time abroad working on software programming, remote customer service, ESL for Asian kids, writing, and other jobs that only require knowledge, a computer, and stable internet.
So after talking it over with Kenny, I think I’m going to continue what’s already been a trend for me. I find it a bit burdensome to have to deal with a lease that I’m inevitably going to break, rent, utilities, deposits that I’m going to lose when I break said lease, buying a bunch of stuff that I hardly use (dishes, appliances, etc)…I think there’s just a certain type of person that digital nomad-ism appeals to, and I am one of them.
So the very first thing I did today was sign up for a local digital mailbox using Anytime Mailbox. I’ve been using PhysicalAddress.com for some time and have been really pleased with them. The only issue is that they have very few physical locations – my current mailbox is in Las Vegas. Since I was passing through Vegas semi-regularly as a Cali-Mexico hub it suited me (Vegas has really cheap hotels). Digital mailboxes are cool because you get a US address and they scan your mail for you to look up on their phone app or your computer. And the prices beat out anything the US postal service and UPS have to offer; it’s only because so few people know about them that regular PO boxes are even viable still. But Anytime Mailbox has physical locations in Charlotte, which will be my new hub, so I can send important documents and packages there and pick them up trouble-free without needing to forward them.
Exercise is also important so I’m looking at a nationwide YMCA membership. According to the YMCA website you have to use your home YMCA branch 50% of the time, so I’m not sure how well that’s going to work. I know there’s other gyms like Planet Fitness with nationwide memberships but I like that the Y has great classes. And the Y is always just so clean and nice and it’s a very American organization that I’d prefer to support so I want to join if they don’t give me shit about where I join.
Shoes! Need a pair of Vibrams to go with my sneakers and boots. ‘Nuff said. My toes need to stretch!
Need a new travel suitcase/backpack, maybe two. I already have an electronics gear bag for work but I’ll need one for my photography gear + laptop as well as my clothes and toiletries. Hauling two bags is usually how you want to handle things; three bags can be a bit of a pain in the ass. I already have a laptop and my camera plus one lens…I can see myself buying another 4 or 5 lenses and possibly a smaller street-casual camera like the Fuji X-T2 body over time. Not really an issue now but it would become one later. Probably don’t need a Kindle as my new iPhone is pretty large.
Speaking of which…There’s another expense I can cut. The company is pretty liberal in terms of how we use our phones. We get a free company phone plus service and only have to pay for additional data if we go over our 2 GB allowance (plus 3 GB from the MiFi). Several of the guys simply use their company phone as their personal number and I’ll probably follow suit.
So where do I live when I’m back in town? AirBnB! Between them and the hotel points I’ll be accruing I don’t really see any problems in terms of crash spaces between projects. One of my friends mentioned how “the feeling of home” was important to him. But in all honesty, I haven’t had that in some time. Every place I’ve been living at for awhile now hasn’t belonged to me. It was a part of work or a work exchange type situation, et cetera. It does grate on me in some ways but so does owning a bunch of stuff and feeling weighed down by all the maintenance. And if I change my mind it really won’t be that hard to put down roots and get a place. But for now? Let’s see if I can be a full-time digital nomad!