I've noticed two different kinds, bottom-up rituals and the top-down variety. Bottom up rituals evolve organically out of whatever space / situation I happen to find myself in. In some situations I find I need a daily walk to help collect my thoughts whenever life is getting a bit too chaotic. Another ritual I might use when my workload is high is to collect tasks onto a sheet of paper, one per line. This happens perhaps twice a year and is a signal that there is mental cruft that needs to be cleaned out. The process of clearing out the list and striking the line items off of it is meditative and serves to bring that cruft to the surface so I can deal with it.
Top-down happens whenever I decide I need to make a focused change in my life and need a new set of ruts to run my wagon in. I started going to the gym every day a few months ago. I have a very specific routine that I change from time to time to keep it fresh. I often have to acquire things and maintain them in order to keep the routine convenient so I don't have an excuse to skip it.
It's gotten to where if I'm feeling unproductive, I start looking at my rituals, have I stopped any recently without noticing? Do I need a new one?
I've worked from home for the past 5 years and one of the "secrets" is to have a dedicated home office as a work environment.
I personally don't see this working for the job I do. Never thought it's actually a sustainable option for more than a couple of months at best.
If you're working on the beach you're not really at the beach, and you're not really working. You're getting a poor experience on both sides. I think anyone who's actually tried it, in all sincerity, would probably attest to this.
If you have access to a beach you're much better going somewhere optimal for work, saving some hours in gained productivity, then heading down to the beach for lunch or after the working day for some actual relaxing beach time.
At either of those places I know what I'm there to do and there's an inherent time constraint that I find conducive to productivity.
For me my home office is the worst place to try and get things done
I'd rather find a cozy Starbucks. That's where the work gets done. Doesn't matter the continent or the country :D The coffee quality varies a bit (good in most places in Asia, passable in UK, ok in States) but it's "home".
In many places there are better alternatives. Cool hipster coffee shops and whatnot but when I'm in a new location and need an anchor place I just go to Starbucks
- Best thing about being remote is scheduling. There's no commute, so that's extra time to get things done. If you need more time before dinner, no problem. If you have things done early, you can go wrestle with the kid immediately.
- Not everything you do requires 100% attention. Writing emails, updating people on Slack, reading about some new tech, that can be done while you're hanging out with the family.
- You can be updated constantly. Some people would find this annoying, but I like it that way.
- You can spread your work out so it's lower intensity. If you're not on a weekend trip with the family, you can get things done and still have time to hang around the kids.
- When you're travelling, you can still get things done. I've checked in code from an airplane. You can visit friends in different places while not feeling like you're falling behind.
- It helps a lot to be self employed. Not sure I'd want to always be working if I had an ordinary job.
My thinking is to spend one month in a locale, explore it to the extent I desire, get to know a few people, learn how the locals live, and then move on.
The foundations of this lifestyle are Around-the-world air tickets from the major carriers  and AirBnb. I like the notion of finding friendly AirBnb hosts and learning from them what the local lifestyle is: Where they shop for food, how they get around, what activities they enjoy, what their days are generally like... Then spending a month more or less doing the same things. In the meanwhile, working for pay as a remote consultant.
Total cost of this lifestyle would depend on the class of digs you want to live in. Some cities are really inexpensive, say, Athens or Aukland. You could be comfortable averaging US$125/day for a place and $25/day for food. Another $25 for 'other stuff', entertainment, etc. Call it $175/day, 365/year, throw in the air fare, health insurance and taxes, and you're looking at about $85,000 in income to live this way.
What is interesting is that with this lifestyle, you don't need to own an apartment, or a car, or closets full of clothes. So the money you spend where you are is all the money you need.
But totally doable when I retire in a few years.
Working remotely for a foreign corporation generally isn't against the terms of a tourist visa (consult the specific country you're visiting). All officials I asked had no problem with it, from South America/Asia/Europe (Germany will actually let you stay longer, up to 2 years, if you're a remote worker/freelancer). You do need a work visa if you're planning to do work for a company that exists locally (competing with the locals, etc).
It was hugely income tax advantageous. There's a huge US tax credit if you aren't living in the US (your first $95-120k tax free), and I wasn't staying long enough in any country to meet their reporting requirements.
I had forgotten the income tax advantage for expatriates. Makes it even more compelling.
My routine when arriving in a new country would be to quickly find a place to stay and a coworking space, then explore the city/country when I wasn't working.
There are several countries that will offer you citizenship by investment, including some with visa-free entry to US and Canada. Of course there is no guarantee this will last or that you personally will be able to travel (see Roger Ver).
Visas would take some planning for countries requiring a visa for your passport. Many cities have consulates that you can go to. For example, if you were in Tokyo and wanted to go to Bankok next and needed a visa for Thailand, you'd head over to the Thai consulate near Meguro station to complete the formalities.
I suppose I may be skirting local employment laws in some places, on the other hand, my employer is not likely based in that country and would therefore have no tax reporting obligations.
As a US citizen there are only a handful of countries/territories that you can work legally without any sort of paperwork (Puerto Rico, USVI, Samoa) and a handful more that have official working holiday schemes:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
If you are in the EU citizen you can work freely within the EU.
However most folks aren't writing about working holiday visas or working within the EU. They are writing about South East Asia and Central/South America. Neither of which allow people to go and work without permits.
People are breaking the law and being way too public about it.
Work visas are a thing because countries want to control the ability for foreigners to compete with locals for local jobs. Canada's definition of work (http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/tools/temp/work/about...):
"What kind of activities are not considered to be “work”?
An activity which does not really ‘take away’ from opportunities for Canadians or permanent residents to gain employment or experience in the workplace is not “work” for the purposes of the definition."
Working for my own US company isn't competitive to local workers.
Every country I've visited has a similar definition, though I can't say for sure if every country does, so it's best to check before attempting to go.
'"Work" is defined in the Regulations as an activity for which wages are paid or commission is earned'
On another Canadian immigration page:
"Most visitors to Canada cannot work or study in Canada without a permit."
It's problematic that most countries immigration websites don't explicitly point out that working for a company abroad or for yourself is not permitted on visitor visas, but if you write to their respective embassies then you will find this to be the case.
I've always gotten the answer from officials "if you aren't competing with local workers, you're fine". As always, depends on the country. Further down the source I just cited:
"Examples of activities for which a person would not normally be remunerated or which would not compete directly with Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents in the Canadian labour market and which would normally be part-time or incidental to the reason that the person is in Canada include, but are not limited to:
long distance (by telephone or internet) work done by a temporary resident whose employer is outside Canada and who is remunerated from outside Canada;"
It's the definition of "work", whether you're competing with locals, and whether you're being paid by a Canadian company.
Many countries don't have this clearly documented, as until very recently (last 10-15 years), the only real "work" was competitive with local citizens/residents. All work visa documentation is written with this implied definition. Many countries are starting to call this out as an exception (like Canada above, Thailand recently, etc, etc).
Until it's clear for a particular country, it's best to talk to an official.
Thailand's laws however explicitly don't. Work is defined very broadly. I've never seen it clarified beyond the report from Chiang Mai a couple of years back. Unfortunately the guy didn't have the authority to make the statement.
If the employer is in the country you are visiting, you are correct. But if the employer is in a different country also (that is my thinking), then I'd expect there is no visa issue because the employer has no tax obligation to that country. It would be the same as if I vacationed in a different country, but responded to work e-mail for my US employer.
If that is not true, I'd be glad to know.
i.e. if you're American, and you visit Australia on a tourist visa and work for an American company while doing so, that's perfectly fine.
If you wanted to work for an Australian company and earn Australian dollars, you'd need a work visa which is a whole 'nother thing.
"if you have a tourist visa, you cannot work at all;"
 - http://www.findlaw.com.au/articles/2140/are-you-legally-allo...
I programmed on the beach in Barcelona via their free Wi-Fi, overlooked Pu'uhonua o Honaunau while writing some advanced math/programming stuff, had a blast jumping off bungy, rafting and MTB downhill in New Zealand between the session of writing world-class code many people use now etc. It's all about whether you can focus. Learn to focus 100% on what you need to do, leave your brain rested by doing crazy inspiring things on a side and you'll manage digital nomad lifestyle and your output will be far higher than sitting in an office, especially open one. I noticed when I focus for 3-4 hours on some tough problem, then interrupt and do something completely unrelated or sleep, I get surprisingly many ideas quickly leading me to a solution. If I just sit in front of a monitor, it might take a week to solve the same. Weird, but works for me.
Oddly, I have almost this exact same experience. If I work on a tough problem for 3 or 4 solid hours and then either do something completely different or go to sleep, I usually come back with at least three or four plausible solutions.
There's a 50% chance that we're both weird and a 50% chance that you're onto something....:)
>I noticed when I focus for 3-4 hours on some tough problem, then interrupt and do something completely unrelated or sleep, I get surprisingly many ideas quickly leading me to a solution. If I just sit in front of a monitor, it might take a week to solve the same. Weird, but works for me.
I don't think it's weird. There are many anecdotes of that sort of thing being helpful with work, particularly mental work involving problem-solving.
>"and do something completely unrelated or sleep"
The German chemist Kekulé discovering the structure of benzene in a dream - read about it in school chemistry class:
I spent age 22-30 in remote coastal South America. I may have been a digital nomad, but I wasn't a backpacker.
I always had a "home base."
Having a "home base", and living somewhere for at least a couple of months (rent a place, or even buy a house, which is what I finally ended up doing in a little fishing village) is far from what some would consider being a "nomad," but personally I think it's more edifying.
Why are you traveling? Is it really that you love packing and moving? Or are you trying to find great places to live in? Focus on the living part first.
We have several blog posts about this topic since the entire company is 'Remote'. A couple blog posts that you all might find useful straight-from-the-source below, I've listed them in importance from what I think is the biggest bang-for-the-buck for remote workers.
Schedule your days: http://www.sofetch.io/blog/2015/5/19/stay-productive-schedul...
How to work remotely: http://www.sofetch.io/blog/2015/8/4/how-to-work-remotely
How NOT to work remotely: http://www.sofetch.io/blog/2015/8/3/how-to-not-work-remotely
Last but not least, all of our 'desks', some have offices to stay focused, some don't: http://www.sofetch.io/blog/2015/7/23/so-fetch-desks
Since I sorta have a base for work I'd call myself a remote worker. I rarely work outside the boat, nothing ridiculous like working at a beach... So at the end of the day it's just a home office, so it's not too hard to get back into the work mindset after changing location as everything is static inside. Except my backyard changes all the time. I'm currently in downtown Barcelona after taking some time off the cross the Atlantic.
The lifestyle is not for everyone, sometimes it's quite hard, and I wouldn't say it helps my work that much... It's just something I enjoy doing (sailing and changing location), but have to compromise and do some work from time to time.
I do freelance work online. I went "nomad" nearly four years ago, but generally use a less glamorous label. I self identify most of the time as homeless. But having portable income and a past life as a military wife who moved and traveled a lot on a budget has empowered me to design a new life from the ground up to replace a life that simply did not work with one that did.
My income is gradually increasing, I have traveled enough to feel comfortable that I have finally found a city that should work for me for the foreseeable future and I am currently researching what I will need to do to go from sleeping in a tent to owning a house.
I think it is kind of a lie to think you can do portable work and be "free" to just live life as one big adventure. The fact that you have to work prevents you from playing tourist every minute. But, having been a military wife, I already knew what I could and could not get out of moving around. So I didn't have unrealistic expectations.
His kids have explored every state and national park, and every museum of note. I envy that life more than a little.
They have a blog at CurrentlyWandering.com
Amazon FBA, kindle ebooks, online courses, affiliate sales, SaaS, mobile apps and high traffic ad-monetized sites are fairly common self-funded businesses for digital nomads.
I actually wrote a fairly detailed piece on the topic recently: https://toshuo.com/2015/what-is-a-digital-nomad/