Digital Nomad.


We like to travel. I don’t think that’s a secret to anyone. I’ve written enough about our travel adventures to make it blatantly apparent that we enjoy seeing what the world has to offer and we really enjoy discovering both popular and out-of-the-way places as often as we can. This is something that we plan on doing until we are unable to do it anymore.

As we get along in our years we start to look ahead to our retirement years and the like and this is where our age difference figures into the equation. Now I know this sounds crazy, but when Earl retires he actually expects me to keep on working until I am eligible for retirement. While I joke about this sort of thing, the fact of the matter is that I really want to continue working but at the same time I don’t want to detract from Earl enjoying his retirement.

This is where the phrase “Digital Nomad” comes into play.

Because my career is totally dependent on technology, I’m 95% of the way to becoming a Digital Nomad already. Though I didn’t mention on my conference calls this morning, I was already playing Digital Nomad by working from the hotel room I stayed at last night. Using the hotel wifi, with the ability of my iPad to be a hotspot as a backup plan, I was able to be quite productive this morning from the third floor of the classic hotel. Aside from every vending machine being empty (people, I need geek fuel!), it was a pleasant experience and I think the change in scenery actually helped me be more focused than I would have been in my cubicle back at the office.

I’ve played Digital Nomad before during my stints with on-call duties; Earl and I have successfully traveled during on-call and no one ended up any worse off because of it. When you have servers in Fort Wayne, users in Texas and more servers in Upstate New York, it’s not like I need to drive anywhere to actually touch anything to get things going again.

I’ve been reading the adventures of Digital Nomads. Software developers, web designers, writers and the like successfully conduct their business from hotel rooms, coffee shops and other places that offer connectivity. It’s a wicked cool concept to me but there are two important elements that I need to improve on to make this plan a full success: discipline and focus, knowing when it’s play time and when it’s work time and then maintaining a healthy balance between the two.

I like to think that I’m pretty driven when it comes to getting work done. I have a few motivators when it comes to discipline. I’m goal oriented. Give me a timeline and I’ll work to make that timeline a reality.

Focus is another issue, but this is something that I have been working on as well. Though I can be distracted by outside noise and the like, I’ve been working this week with my Bose noise-canceling headphones and this has helped immensely. When I’m working at the office, the surrounding areas can be quite noisy, and while I can’t really wear the Bose headphones in that environment (in case someone comes in my cube, etc), I can wear my iPod earbuds and successfully tune out the noise of the office. I also know that when I’m writing serious code or trying to solve a more complex problem, listening to music with lyrics (or anything with words, like a podcast or something), is going to bring my concentration levels down. Outside of using Apple products, I share Jony Ive’s taste in music as so far that I enjoy ambient electronic music like stuff from DJ John Digweed and the like.

I think this Digital Nomad approach is something that I could pull off when Earl retires. Though this is still a few years away, I’m focused on improving myself to make this a reality. After all, my husband should be able to really enjoy himself when he retires. He deserves it.

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