I remember trying to write a blog post in Buenos Aires in 2008. Wifi as we know it was not widely available, but internet cafes were everywhere, and they worked pretty well if you could get around the non-US keyboards and the impossibility of finding the ‘@’ symbol.
The ease of modern travel with a local SIM card powered smart-phone with broadband internet access is borderline ridiculous. Nothing is impossible when you can get on the internet, and wandering around looking for accommodation has been replaced by some quick tactical research. Continue reading >>
Editor’s Note: Many thanks to all those who encouraged me to get back to writing. 2015 was a bit of a grind, but the good news is I’ve got plenty to share from the experience.
Fear not, trusty readers, SpartanTraveler is alive and well.
But getting somewhere in life is about making hard choices, and the reality in 2015 was simple: focus or die.
‘Like the sculptor, who does not add clay, but strips away the inessentials until the truth is revealed.’
– Bruce Lee character from Dragon
I’ve always thrived at the breaking point of manageable activity. That place where positive stress forces focus and serious action. Where the goals and the necessity for completing them are immediately clear.
As a result, I always assumed as life went I’d continue to be doing more. More traveling, more and different types of adventures, and more varieties of work. Continue reading >>
I get a lot of emails from people who are gearing up for a big adventure, and the most common question is: how do you prepare for this?
While this isn’t the full checklist (I’ll post that at some point), here are a few big things I wish I’d done before I left in 2011.
If you’re only making a short trip this may not be worth the effort, but if you’re in this for the long-haul these 5 things are worth considering.
[Ahem. Ok, maybe not everything]
I did this in 2011: a massive Craigslist sale, re-gifting to friends, taking a few trips to Goodwill. But every time I visit the US I’m appalled by how much is still left. Thousands of dollars in vehicles, equipment, clothes–mostly useless, replaceable, and only losing more value or becoming completely worthless over time.Continue reading >>
[Photo: Most of the kit in Da Lat, Vietnam]
I figured after 2 years I had the technology part wired (more on that below), but my biggest question for this trip was clothing. Would it be possible, I wondered, to wear the same clothes for a year?
After more than 12 months outside the USA I have some answers: my wardrobe looks nearly identical to when I left. The surprising thing is how little I had to supplement the original travel kit I left with on September 7, 2013.
You arrive with no plan, no contacts, no reservations, and in just a few hours you have cell service, a furnished apartment, transportation, a gym membership, and a bead on the best co-working spaces and coffee shops in the area. That is what we’re talking about here.
It’s not that I’m in a hurry, it’s just that I value efficiency and flexibility. Any place where you to set up shop in less than 24 hours usually lets you leave in the same time-frame. Minimum hassle, maximum results. It’s also really fun, and is probably the closest I’ll get to feeling like Jason Bourne. Continue reading >>
There are numerous reasons to ‘retire’ in SE Asia, including low-cost of living and high quality of life. But for laptop nomads, the goal is to minimize unnecessary overhead and and maximize time spent on things we care about.
Which is why SE Asia in general, or Chiang Mai in particular, is digital-nomad central. Old news to the veterans, but for everyone else, here’s one example of a place with virtually no penalty for being there.Continue reading >>
Digital Nomad: individuals that leverage digital technologies to perform their work duties and more generally conduct their lifestyle in a nomadic manner….
Over 2 years have passed since I quit my job.
Despite the image of me sipping Mai-tais on the beach somewhere (which can happen), there’s a big discrepancy between what my friends think I’m doing and what I’m actually doing. I write this overlooking the stunning crystal-blue water of the bay in Kuta, Lombok, but there’s a difference between me and every other traveler here:
I’ve been working on my laptop for 5 straight hours.Continue reading >>
UPDATE: There is a newer pack list! Check out A Digital Nomad Pack List After 5 Years on the Road. It might also be interesting to compare how things have changed since 2013..
Last week I hopped on a 19-hour flight back to Indonesia with little more than a daypack, my laptop bag, and some surfing gear. It may not seem like much, but it’s everything I need to live, work, and travel for an indefinite period of time.
I already wish I’d brought less.
Continue reading >>
Back in the day, airline tickets were really expensive and inflexible. Not anymore.
Welcome to the world of low-cost, flexible world travel.
While visiting family in February I decided not to get on my flight home. I wanted to spend some additional quality time there so I just didn’t show up for my flight.
Mom was flabbergasted: “You can do that?!”
Yep. You’d be amazed by what airlines let me get away with last year.
This conversation led me to the realization that in the last 19 months, every single flight I pre-booked more than a few weeks in advance I either didn’t get on or had to change for a lot of $$$.
If I no longer have pre-defined location constraints, and if pre-booking flights is both “a major turnoff” and expensive, why would I still do it?Continue reading >>
My wildest dreams couldn’t have predicted the outcome of 2012. The original plan (launched in August 2011) was 15-18 months of travel, circling the globe while mixing in a bunch of adventure sports.
What actually happened was a frantic potpourri of world travel, randomly divergent adventures, and moderately successful online business shenanigans.
The adventure starts when everything goes wrong. -Yvon Chouinard
While the plan itself was fluid, the framework certainly wasn’t: back in 2011 I deliberately opened up my time (and bank account) to make these adventures possible. It turned out that everything was easier and less expensive than I thought it would be, and I’ve repeatedly tried to convince my friends that they too–if they choose–can do something like this.