David Erik

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Working as a Digital Nomad

”A digital nomad is someone who uses technology and the Internet to work remotely - from home, the coffee shop, Internet cafe, or even to collaborate remotely with teams anywhere in the world. These entrepreneurs & professionals frequently use new technologies like a smartphone, wifi, and web-based applications to develop location independence and earn an income wherever they live or travel.”
- Wikipedia

 

According to definition, I am not a digital nomad. Yet. I am still a university student, I have no automated or location independent income sources. But as a student in Computer Science, this lifestyle appeals to me. During our two weeks of traveling Europe by train, I tried the concept of having everywhere as my workplace, or in this specific case: mostly trains.

As a digital nomad, Internet and electricity is a necessity. After a while on the road, you develop a remarkable WIFI and electrical outlet-spotting ability. A cellphone plan with flatrate 3G Internet all over the world would be fabulous. Currently, using data through your cellphone is incredibly expensive and thus not an alternative. You’ll have to rely on public WIFIs in bigger cities, as well as the fact that most hostels offer some kind of Internet service.

I was surprised, however, how hard it is to find electricity. I can work without Internet, to some extent, but without power my MBP cannot. Trains within countries in western Europe usually provides at least one power outlet for every two seats. Other parts of Europe, however, does not. What surprised me most was that not even the night trains had this service - when you spend your nights in trains instead of hostels, you have basically no other time of the day to charge your stuff. If you occasionally check into a hotel, make sure to leave with power bars at max (we tried to do this in Venice and it turned out that they didn’t have any power outlets in the room - so we used the small bathroom outlet for charging. It looked ridiculous).

Every now and then though, when you have electricity, WIFI and some place to sit down, it’s easy to realize how I could work from Budapest as well as from home. Your computer will be the same, independent of where you sit in front of it. Try it out, and you will sooner or later look up from the screen, just to be surprised to find Berlin or Tokyo around you instead of your regular apartment. It’s surely is an amazing feeling.