How I Travel as a Digital Nomad and Hold Down my 9-to-5
For a long time, I assumed the digital nomad lifestyle could never work for me. Most of the nomads I saw on social media were self-employed—usually bloggers—and lived out of a van. My partner and I both work corporate jobs, we have a dog, and quite frankly, we wouldn’t enjoy living in a van!
However, once the COVID-19 pandemic hit and I had spent over a year sheltering in place in my apartment, I was itching to embark on an adventure of some sort and started toying with the idea of a nomadic lifestyle again.
I work in the financial technology industry as a corporate communications manager, and I am fully remote. I am very fortunate to have a very flexible company that allows me to adjust my working hours to where I am in the country, as long as I’m getting my work done and making it to my meetings.
If you’re thinking about embarking on a similar journey, here’s how I am able to travel as a digital nomad while continuing to work my corporate job—and what I’ve learned along the way:
1. Prioritize your work
This is a difficult one, but also the most important. One of the hardest things I had to learn when first starting out as a digital nomad was how to balance my excitement about being in a new city with taking care of all of the things I needed to do. I had to remember that even though I was in a new place, I wasn’t on vacation, and I was still responsible for getting my work done. And, to be quite honest, I couldn’t afford to live this lifestyle without my job!
2. Make your work fun
In order to combat my FOMO and desire to explore my new city while working, I make it a priority to take my work with me. Whenever I have a large enough block of time without meetings (usually two or three hours), I’ll head out to a new coffee shop and treat myself to a pastry and chai while working.
This helps get me out of the apartment and into a new environment, and I’m actually more productive in a buzzing coffee shop without the allure of my bed nearby.
3. You can’t change your 9-to-5, so make the most of your 5-to-9!
I really try to compartmentalize, and once my workday ends, it’s time for me to prioritize myself and to explore. Of course, this doesn’t always work out in my favor, but I definitely head out of the apartment every evening for at least a few hours, even if I have to do a bit of extra work at night.
I live in a really walkable area in Charleston at the moment, so my partner and I will walk over to a restaurant or brewery to hang out, then we’ll play fetch with our dog on the way back. The fresh air helps us soak in the great weather after being cooped up all day, and walking allows us to explore the neighborhood and stumble into some fun activities just by strolling by, like concerts and trivia nights.
4. Take advantage of traveling to a different time zone
If you work on the East Coast and don’t mind waking up early, travel to a city on the West Coast. You can front-load your day with your work and have plenty of time in the afternoon and evening to explore. Or, if you’re on the West Coast and want to travel to the East Coast, you can check out coffee shops and explore your new city in the morning before you start work.
If your job isn’t flexible with the hours you work, checking out a city in a different time zone can help you prioritize the things that matter to you, depending on whether you’re more of a morning person or a night owl.
Kick-start your flexible living adventure with Landing
One of the biggest things I’ve learned so far is that working a corporate job and living the digital nomad lifestyle are not mutually exclusive. With a bit of planning and organization—and a remote corporate role—it’s certainly possible to explore new cities while prioritizing your career.
And, it definitely helps to have a great place to come home to at the end of the day! When we were setting off on our travels, our biggest roadblock was figuring out where we would stay.
Moving each month meant we couldn’t sign any leases, and finding clean, modern homes to rent on a monthly basis in the areas we wanted proved to be a logistical nightmare.
Then, I found Landing! It seemed too good to be true, with beautiful, dog-friendly apartments in all major U.S. cities with short-term leases that made it super easy to transfer within the network. We’ve been living with Landing for a few months, and it’s been great! Want to learn more? Check out Landing’s fully furnished apartments here!