05 May 2012

Have Laptop, Will Travel

Photo of my old home / office in Nicaragua (by Kelly Graham)

Being a digital nomad is the holy grail of work-travel gigs, though you have to be quite creative and flexible to get online in developing countries, it can be done and its so worth it! It’s a long-term gig. You dont have to do any grotty work for board and lodging.

In my experience developing countries are the most interesting of all and are guaranteed to fill you with culture shock and awe, but nothing is reliable in that environment especially not technology. However I even managed to get online while living in the jungle on the side of a volcano during the rainy season via solar power and horribly unreliable satellite. My laptop got fried by the dodgy electrics out there and major humidity from the lack of having a space to live and work in that had actual walls (at the time I lived out of a hammock).

Usually the moment I set foot on new land I start asking around where the internet cafe’s are, which hostels have wifi, if I’m in an area without internet, how I can get my hands on a usb stick. The connection does go up and down in these sorts of countries (along with the electricity) so you need to allow a day or two padding for projects and go off to have a swim instead. Those are the drawbacks, but what makes it really worth it is its relatively easy to earn more online than you will spend to live and travel in these countries. Also, depending on your standard of living (mine is very low) you can even get away with working one or two days a week (if that, I work a couple of hours about twice a week when I’m in a developing country).

I work while I travel, both work and perpetual travel are ongoing for years now, and I highly recommend this way of doing it. You could also work inbetween travel to save up in advance but that requires more financial planning and less spontaneity. I really couldnt be worse at financial planning since its so boring and tends to make me less spontaneous and a bit panicky about moving on if I havent reached my goal amount. I love to have an idea of where I’d like to travel in the next month but since I work on the fly as I need the cash, I have the luxury of changing my mind and going somewhere else at the last minute which has happened a few times.

Btw, I invoice clients through PayPal and Google Checkout, then transfer the money into my VISA or Mastercards (I always have a stash that I keep in separate places and countries in case one gets lost or stolen) and just draw the cash from ATMs (when they are available in the area… sometimes you will need to travel far) which works out so conveniently and better than travellers cheques or carrying all my cash for the entire trip around with me.

If youre a full-time traveller or want to be and are looking for ideas of the things you and your laptop could do together while you travel, here’s a GREAT list to chew over:

50 Jobs you can do over the internet while travelling


  • } bird {
    May 10, 2012 Reply

    thats really sweet bronnie. I will have a think about it. who knows… I might get a bee in my bonnet over the idea some day.

    (youre probably thinking of me loads because Ive been eating an awful lot of cooksisters lately, and that makes me think of you!)

  • bronnie
    May 10, 2012 Reply

    But I think thats the very strength of it your ‘blunderings’ – its real and not as intimidating as an expert and you can always qualify it with the above comment anyway : ) and stress that this is your experience and by no means cast in stone ‘truth’ or if it is a truth its the only truth it can be your own : )
    Love you friend been thinking about you loads lately love Bronnie

  • } bird {
    May 10, 2012 Reply

    Thats a really good idea as it would be a nice bit of income potentially, but I think it might be a bit ungenuine or misleading to pose as some kind of expert. I dont really know what I’m doing…just blundering around the planet really and learning from my mistakes.

  • bronnie
    May 10, 2012 Reply

    Have you ever thought of publishing a proper how to manual on travel/work guide? Just an idea I got while reading this article.

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