How To Best Equip Yourself as A Digital Nomad

By Lloyd C | Updated June 13th, 2010

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digital nomad

The digital nomad movement isn’t new, but it’s becoming more and more popular as people realize there’s no point deferring all of life’s fun until retirement.
We tried to convince you of this in a previous post, 7 compelling reasons to become a digital nomad. (Hopefully, we succeeded.)
Once you see the light, once you realize the futility of a cubicle-existence, and once you just let go of normalcy, you’ll need to decide what to take with you on the road.
Not what to wear or what to take photos with, but what to use to conduct business. Here we have some helpful tips on how to best equip yourself as a digital nomad. The following list seems short. But don’t let the excitement of digital nomadism turn you into a crazy consumerist shopaholic. Just take the basics, because less is best.

1. MacBook Pro

You could buy a Windows-based laptop, but please do yourself a favor and just buy a Mac. This isn’t about some misguided fandom for a well-marketed product, it’s first-hand experience and common sense. Macs just work (largely because the software is designed for the hardware and vice versa). Just turn the darn thing on and forget there’s even a device connecting you to whatever you need to do. Go for the new 13-inch model because its battery lasts forever (officially 10 hours = about 5 to 6 in practice). That means a lot less crawling around the floor of Starbucks looking for power outlets.

2. Skype

The first thing to download after turning your Macbook on is Skype. It’s free unless you want to make calls to non-skype numbers, which is generally cheaper than using a traditional phone anyway. There are decent competing products out there, but again, Skype is the easier, quicker and more pervasive. Make sure you test it before you leave and plaster your Skype name/number all over your business website and brochureware.

3. iDrive

This is an online backup service. It’s super cheap, about $5 per month for 150Gb, works on Mac and Windows, is easy, reliable, and will save your life when your MacBook is stolen. You’ll need to download a small application, configure a few settings, then away you go. Now you can access your files from anywhere in the world using a web browser. Absolutely essential.

4. Amazon Kindle

Books are heavy, but reading is food for the soul. And only people who don’t read think you can read on a laptop. The Kindle is a must-have. You can use it to buy books wirelessly from anywhere in the world, it can hold 1000+ books, it’s battery lasts for weeks, but most importantly, it makes reading while in bed enjoyable. It will save your sanity when you wake up at 2 am in a hostel bunk bed after a 5 pm jet-lag crash the day before.

5. Moleskine & Pen

Oftentimes, it’s just easier and more productive to brainstorm on paper. Whether you’re writing your memoirs, jotting down a to-do list, or scripting a play, sometimes you just need the flexibility and rawness of pen and paper. Don’t go for the no-brand varieties, because that’s akin to selling your soul on eBay. No seriously, afford yourself this one luxury, fork out $20 for a genuine Moleskine. When you need your genius and creativity to flow freely, you don’t want it interrupted by substandard paper stock, stiff spine material or an unruly vinyl cover.

6. Universal Power Adaptor

This is just a practical necessity. You can get an all-in-one adaptor to suit a large range of countries. It all fits in the once small box and will help you skip effortlessly amongst power grids around the globe.