Hammocks and Hard Drives: The Tech Guide for Digital Nomads
If you travel and work online, you're dependent on technology. Love it or hate it, it's part of your daily life — without it, you won't get paid — and yet it's something that's barely mentioned when people talk about this lifestyle.
Working from the road comes with a unique set of challenges. The systems, equipment and processes that are perfect in a traditional office environment rarely work well outside of it. Unreliable Internet and no dedicated workplace make productivity a challenge, and the need to fit everything in your luggage severely limits your equipment choices.
Security is a major problem, yet one that's largely ignored until it's too late. There's a big difference between sitting in a cubicle protected by access cards and security guards, and wandering around the streets of a foreign city trying to find a cafe to work in. In the euphoria of finding a wireless network that actually functions, it's rare to stop and think about the passwords and confidential information that you're sending across it — and who else might be looking at them.
The risk of equipment failure is much higher on the streets of South East Asia than in an air-conditioned Manhattan office, yet there's no tech support person backing up your data or ready to come around with a new laptop when yours breaks.
You can't just walk around to a colleague's desk when they're ten thousand miles and nine time zones away. Working together with a business partner or client is much harder when you're on the road, especially if you're trying to do everything by email.
If you're like most digital nomads, you're not a tech guru nor do you want to be. Instead, you're an expert in your own field — an artist, photographer, writer, engineer or something else entirely. Every hour that's wasted trying to fix a computer problem is an hour you'd much rather spend doing anything else. You just need things to work, using the right tools for the job an
PortraitDave Dean was born and raised in small town New Zealand, providing him with the perfect beginnings for a life of travel. If there's one thing guaranteed to make a person want to get out and see the planet, growing up in a little town in a little country at the bottom of the world is it.
He spent over a decade trying to juggle a high-flying technology career with a travel addiction, working for large corporations around the world and trading his briefcase for a backpack every couple of years.
Finally, in late 2011, he hung up his suit and tie for the last time and boarded a plane to Thailand. Since then he has visited five continents, started two businesses and written about travel and technology for dozens of publications, working from anywhere with an Internet connection and a great view.