Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil

Top 10 Questions People Ask First About Becoming Digital Nomads – Part Two

April 3rd, 2012 | Posted by Ian and Brianna in About

Without further ado, here is Part Two of the Top 10 Questions People Ask Us First About Becoming Digital Nomads…

5. What are you doing with your dogs, and are you driving your Civic?

It would certainly be possible to make this journey in a sedan by sticking to major highways and large cities.  However, we are currently searching for a larger all-wheel drive vehicle, both in anticipation of the rough roads we might encounter when we veer off the beaten path (especially during the rainy season in the tropics) and so that we will have a somewhat comfortable amount of space for the things we take with us.  Our cargo list will indeed include our two mangy mutts, who will be stationed in the back seat.  Border crossings in this hemisphere with pets aren’t nearly as difficult as one might think (for most countries) and generally involve documentation and paperwork.  Procedural annoyance?  Yes.  Impossible?  No.  Bribes?  Maybe.

4. How long will you be gone?

There are two ways to answer this question.  The first is the answer we usually give.  We don’t really know, and we don’t really plan on knowing.  Most countries limit “tourist” stays to somewhere between thirty and ninety days.  Not having a solid itinerary is part of the appeal of our grand experiment.  No set plans, no deadlines, just following our whims and the wind.  The second is a bit of philosophical mumbo jumbo.  Don’t think of us as gone, think of us as present elsewhere.

3. How will you be able to access the internet?  

Believe it or not, the internet is nearly everywhere, even in countries Americans think of as less developed than our own.  Presence and quality of internet connection is sure to be one of our most important criteria when deciding where to spend our time.  Any decent size city or town these days is wired-in, and while speed might vary from place to place, we don’t anticipate having any problems getting connected.  Most of the places we have found while browsing AIRBNB are already set up with high speed Wi-Fi included.

Note: We reserve the right to use a bad internet connection as an excuse for anything we want.

2. Aren’t travel and hotels going to be expensive?  How are you paying for it?

Perhaps most important in answering these questions is to dispel the idea that we are going on a long vacation.  We like to tell people that we aren’t really traveling so much as living in other places for short periods of time.  We won’t be staying at resorts or in hotels, and we won’t be leaving “real life” behind.  Our standard of living and lifestyle is not going to change dramatically in either direction, it will just happen in different places.  Rather, we plan on utilizing resources such as Craigslist, AIRBNB, and connections we make on the road to find affordable short-term apartment and house rentals where we will live and work for two weeks to a month at a time (and maybe longer if we fall in love with a place).

Ian is a “web guy” now, and as such can work from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.  This is the main idea behind the digital nomad lifestyle.  The web has made the world infinitely smaller and more connected, and working in a medium which is accessible from anywhere allows location independence.  Add in the concept of geoarbitage — getting paid in US dollars while living in areas with weaker currencies and comparatively inexpensive service industries — and maintaining a standard of living similar to that we knew in the US will cost much less.  In addition to Alchemy Web Marketing and potential telecommute possibilities, we will be maintaining and developing this blog, perhaps launching other websites, and running with whatever opportunities the universe presents us.

1. Is it safe?

Yes, yes, yes!  Sure, there are some particularly dangerous areas currently outside government control — think Northern Mexico and parts of Colombia — but they are well known, well documented, and easy enough to avoid entirely. In general, violent crime along our intended path does tend to be higher than the U.S. average, but the same can be said of St. Louis, Detroit, and Durham (where we used to live).  A little common sense and a little research go a long way.  Our biggest concern is petty crime, theft in particular, but we are prepared to safeguard against such things.  Awareness and attention are the most important steps to take, as we learned first hand when a wallet unattended for ten seconds in a Chetumal, Mexico bus station disappeared.  Fortunately, the list of items we plan on taking that would even be a hassle to lose is quite minimal (electronics, mostly), and thanks to the cloud even those would simply be monetary losses and not personal ones.

Didn’t get your question answered here?  Feel free to post your question as a comment below, and we’ll be more than happy to answer it for you.

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2 Responses

  • Cristin Mattione says:

    I have a question: Would you consider visiting us in Seattle at some point in your journey? You’ll need to enjoy the west coast eventually, and Vancouver, BC is a perfect place to enter Canada (from what I hear). We’ll probably have an apartment by then and you’ll be more than welcome to stay in it :)

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