By Sonia Yanez Blum (Twitter: @soniayanezblum)
Work in a company for 30 years and then retire. That was the aspiration of our parents for them and for us. Currently, millennials and centennials see this concept as synonymous with professional stagnation, that is: do you work in the same company for so many years? Wow, you haven’t done anything in life.
Three years ago I started the route so that remote work is the lifestyle that we were going to adapt to as a family. When the pandemic arrived, it had been like this for a few months. After a short period of office work more than a year ago, I changed continents. Now I live a mix of digital nomad and remote work. Greece, Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, Austria, Spain, Italy, Croatia and before Peru and Colombia were my destinations at this time.
Computer, lights, microphones and others gadgets are part of the luggage, although traveling light is a rule for those who want to work without physical borders. Carla Díaz knows that very well, the renowned @carlaconwifi, more than one influencer is a great reference source for those who are planning this lifestyle.
I contacted her on Twitter. We connected and he validated some of my concerns. As If you want to be a digital nomad, your best sources of information are those who experience it on a daily basis.
Change the mental chip
Being a digital nomad is the dream for many. The photos and videos of those who have implemented this style and philosophy of life inspire the rest to believe that it is possible, although there are still few who try.
When in a meeting of professors, via Zoom, with whom he had worked in Guayaquil-Ecuador for many years, he explained to them that at that moment he was in Hungary and then he would return to Germany to finally be in Austria at the end of the month, (what a journey ) they told me: ahh you are a hippy labor. Something clicked in my mind, for although the image of hippies it is of greater debauchery, peace, love and other things. The reality is that a digital nomad is different. Organized schedules, discipline and punctuality, travel itineraries, budget management and paperwork are part of the day.
The change in mentality and habits that is needed to work as a digital nomad and not fail is important. You become a juggler and alchemist of the hours and learn to releasing what blurs you is important.
“I think the main change in mentality is control and detachment. A person who loves to have control of situations or who is very attached to material things, I think they can have a bit of a hard time being a digital nomad”Carla tells me.
Not everything is beautiful living as a Digital Nomad. There are times when you connect like nobody else with unexpected people, who you don’t know if you’ll ever see again. You have to learn to take care of yourself and on the move. In unknown places. And your mood is reflected in your state of health.
– Marco (@marco_zg95) September 16, 2022
When you are a nomad it is difficult to control things. Uncertainty plays a big role in this lifestyle and you learn to make peace with it. “You will get to places where not only do you not speak the language, but you do not know anyone in the city and that (although it is incredible to me, hahaha) requires a very open mind! There I felt identified, confirmed that I was not crazy. Since my last stay in Croatia, I loved deciphering words and people.
But productivity is the axis. After all, being a digital nomad is working without where you are intervening. Since many nomads fail in this lifestyle because they are not in the habit of working. And there the greatest charm is the greatest danger. “They are easily distracted at destinations (they want to go out 24/7 or meet other travelers). So I think two key elements to not fail in this lifestyle is: learn to be detached with material things (because you are going to travel with very little) and with people (you are going to meet many people and they will hardly stay), as well as having the habit of working, it does not matter that the destination from which you are working is the most beautiful in the world, it is not a vacation!”.
found my check list complete basic because when I crossed the continent, as Carla said, I got rid of everything material, yes, the clothes and work equipment came with me. And although because of my work as a public relations specialist, connecting with people is the center of my activity, by constantly traveling, you learn that outings, birthdays and other things were only summarized in the digital version.
Can you work remotely in Latin America?
If you want to jump into this new lifestyle, without putting an ocean in between, you should know that connectivity is the most important thing.
Internet access is like air, without it we cannot live. Carla agrees with that, who not only continued with her activities but also implemented a YouTube channel and a digital academy for those who want to make living with a passport in hand a reality.
Putting on the scales to determine what is the most important the country or the tools in the results of working remotely or as a digital nomadthe difference is in the access speed. “In Latin America I have heard that the internet is a lottery depending on the country you are in (some have incredible connections and others have lousy internet). Here in Europe the access and speed is quite standard almost everywhere, so you will not find big differences”.
What does influence the results of work is the frequency with which you move, many nomads want to have a very backpacker lifestyle in which they change cities every couple of days and in the end they find that their productivity has dropped to 0. “If you really want to have good results at work, it is very important to travel a lot slower”, says Carla. And I also second it.
I’ll give you an example: each move to a new place implies you do a preliminary investigation about hours, local currency, mobilization systems, health issues, so if you decide to live like a backpacker staying one day in each city or four days in a country and then move, concentration and lack of productivity will shatter you. So it is very important to plan your destinations based on the weather, work projects and rest times.
You live learning every moment. Like that time I got the time wrong and ended up participating in a communication congress when it was 02:00 in Greece and the night in Mexico. Or carry an agenda with the clothes I wear so as not to confuse recording dates of my programs or courses on-line what I record
Legal procedures and details
VISAS: Governments, companies and people are aware that work systems have changed. That is why there is a list of 33 countries that issue visas for digital nomads that simplify the steps, in almost all of them or more importantly, it is to ensure that you already have a stable monthly income that will not be affected by embarking on the adventure of remote work. Rates range from $50 to $2,500 depending on the destination.
Digital nomads: the countries that offer exclusive visas to attract remote workers
HEALTH INSURANCE: Health is important and remember that in many visa procedures you will be asked for international health insurance, so that is another point to clarify.
MONEY: Since bitcoin, credit cards and bank accounts are part of your luggage. You must define how you will manage your income; as well as the billing methods if you will undertake and need to charge your new customers for digital. It is no longer just Paypal or Stripe to link your accounts. There are digital banks like Wise in England that allow you to do many things regardless of your territory. Charles Schwab or N 26 are other options.
WORKED: You don’t have many clients. Don’t worry there are several platforms on-line that will allow you to offer your professional services. The best ones are in English.
PERSONAL BRAND: When you work remotely, your personal and professional brand are your assets and heritage in this new way of life. Your future clients, students or new bosses will look for information about you in this way, so do not let it loose.
The office on a beach or in an elegant building
If you live in Ecuador and want to start small. A co-working may be the alternative. And, it is that despite the fact that the concept of being a nomad implies walking from one place to another -at the time of being digital- to continue being productive requires having a base site that can serve you for hours a day, weeks or months without contract pressures.
In much of Latin America and the rest of the world, the number of co-working spaces has increased in recent years.
There are global franchise alternatives that see the future of the workforce in this trend. And, just as you join a club, you can pay memberships to co-working and have an office or headquarters in any country you visit on all continents. For this year in Quito there will be a Regus headquarters, and so those of us who are affiliated remotely and can base ourselves from Austria, England or Spain through Europe, if we go to Latin America we have a place to arrive in the capital. This type of affiliation saves you if you have to hold a physical meeting or need to do networking to the new country you visit.
“Quito is a natural location for us, with many potential clients looking for a professional place to work and looking to take advantage of the world’s largest hybrid work platform. This is the next step in IWG’s global vision. We are very happy to partner with GLS and delighted to welcome them to the flexible workspace sector”, explained Mark Dixon, founder and CEO of IWG, a multinational that has seen how digital nomads and even technology companies have turned to these systems so as not to lose collaborators.
That is, Google, Disney and others pay memberships in this type of space and offer their workers offices and rooms that allow them to maintain the dream of digital nomads without giving up the company. All a dream!
Then, If you want the world to be your office, but still can’t decide, start with the basics.
Join a space coworking, improve your English, manage your personal brand and look for work on virtual platforms.
Remember that the being a nomad does not make us improvised, but professionals with an open mind, willing to experience new cultures, visit new countries, hours of travel and improve technological skills while still producing income and why not, letting a little of that spirit come out hippy that we all carry inside.