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Confessions of a digital nomad – Is the nomad lifestyle for you?

Every time we break away from work and go on a vacation, we just wish if this can be the same forever. Why can’t we just work and travel? Soon we float in the air thinking of the possibility. But the bubble soon bursts when we think about reality. Is it even possible? The answer is yes and we have proof. Meet Gaurav, a software developer who is also a digital nomad.

Over the years, Gaurav has worked digitally while travelling across New York, Bali, Sweden, South America, and Mexico. We got in touch with him and this series is his honest confession of the journey so far.

I have been working and travelling as a digital nomad the last few months starting with Canggu in Bali and these are my thoughts on what’s cool and what’s not with a remote lifestyle.

Working out of Cinta Cafe facing the rice fields in Canggu, Bali

Why be a digital nomad?

  • How the way we work is changing and with advancing technology, location is becoming less important. People are looking at alternative lifestyles, challenging status quo to work better and redefining what it is to have a good life.
  • Travel the world, learn new things and experience new cultures. I am amazed that people have such different lifestyles once you get out of the 9–5 routine.
  • Independence and freedom to live wherever you please.
  • Good quality of life and great savings, because of global arbitrage.
  • Augment immigration and work laws of different countries.
  • Great collaboration tools and they can only get better.

Hmm, why shouldn’t I be a digital nomad?

  • You don’t have your coworkers next to you and associated concerns with being in sync with the vision, product and ideas discussed day to day.
  • “Out of sight, out of mind” that you need to accept and proactively work with communicating transparently, effectively and constantly
  • If you don’t have the discipline to set work hours and stick to you it, its easy to fall into a holiday mood.
  • Close friends and relationships take a hit. Most people you meet are there where you are only for a short term.
  • That being said, there are successful companies like Github, Buffer, Baremetrics, StackOverflow, 37 Signals that thrive being remote and its just the beginning to see how the culture scales in a decade.

What are the best practices for being a digital nomad?

  • Get a coworking space. Don’t work from home. Create your own office. Coffee places are good if you can guarantee a good connection. The advantage of a coworking space is the community of potentially remote workers that you can connect with.
  • Take notes on all video calls, meetings and ideally email it to the team as a summary every day or just for yourself so you know what you worked on.
  • Set the hours and days you want to work for the week beforehand and let your team know. Show yourself. Sync this with at least 4 hours every day when the team works together.
  • If you can’t meet a deadline, let the team know in advance. Well-in-advance if you are remote. Shit happens.
  • Often talk to your team about the challenges of being remote and how it can be solved. Ask the team to write things down in chat or any other medium to keep things noted down and async.
  • Give yourself the time for ad hoc meetings. Be online, ping your team members for a quick 10-minute call. Let them be open for it too. This is the digital alternative to going to your coworker’s desk.
  • I still think remote work works best if the immediate team you are working with is small, < 7 members. I also think being a developer remotely has specific advantages aligned for being remote.
  • Say Good morning
  • Keep all communication transparent and threaded. Start talking, typing more 🙂
  • It takes a couple of weeks to feel comfortable but you’ll get there 🙂

“By working only when you are most effective, life is both more productive and more enjoyable. It’s the perfect example of having your cake and eating it, too.” — Tim Ferriss

Tools I use

  • Slack for day to day questions and discussions.
  • Github for code and PR reviews
  • Trello for threaded long term conversations on features
  • Droplr for sharing screenshots
  • Skype or Appear.in for video calls
  • I am grateful to DailyBitsOf for giving me the opportunity to try the lifestyle as we take the service to more platforms and make learning easy for all!

This article is the first of the many stories from Gaurav. Keep looking at the blog space for more. 🙂

Article originally published on Medium

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