Lindsay McComb / Posted 4.10.2013
My month as a digital nomad
I took a working vacation. Throughout the month of March, I globetrotted from Seoul to Hong Kong to Frankfurt, Milan, Vienna and Dublin. Stopping off in Chicago and finally Denver. Along the way, I logged on, checked in, and stayed in touch. This is the story of my month as a digital nomad.
Realized I forgot to schedule social media for Tuesday. The day may be over in Hong Kong, but there's still a few working hours left in Denver. Phew. Scheduled all social for the rest of the week using our guesthouse's WiFi. Did I mention that they room we're staying in is 5x8 feet? I now understand why everyone in Hong Kong stays out late. It's depressing to stay in. Thankfully there is WiFi everywhere.
I'm writing this from the PuDong Airport in Shanghai. I forgot to get the Boingo app on my laptop, so I can't log in to the Internet. Luckily, it works on my iPod, so I can check emails. Facebook is blocked. Pray for me.
Arrived in Frankfurt at 5:10 am after 15 harrowing hours sans Internet. I think I've got the shakes.
I can't connect to Boingo at Frankfurt airport for whatever reason, so we opt to pay 5 Euros for 24 hours of T-mobile Internet access. It's highway robbery, but I use that time to edit an article shared with me over Google Drive.
After meeting David's uncle at Frankfurt's Hauptbahnhof, we drive to his home in Geißen where we spend at least 30 minutes trying to access his WiFi, but we can't find his password. We found many passwords, though. None of which work. We bite the bullet and use his computer. I do a quick check-in on email and Hootsuite, wrestling with the German keyboard the whole time. I get the extra letters and characters, but the "Y" and "Z" key positions are inexplicably switched.
We spent the weekend in Cologne eating delicious food and fighting jetlag. I take advantage of the fact that I keep waking up so damn early to do a little digital house cleaning, making sure everything is ready to go for the week ahead.
Spent the day sight-seeing, and arrived at David's cousin's house with just enough time to charge my iPod. Skype call with the office to check in for the week. It feels amazing to still be able to keep in touch, while not allowing work to take over my vacation.
Another aunt's house, another awesome WiFi connection. This time we're in Hamburg. Found out that most German WiFi passwords are extraordinarily long and can usually be found on the bottom of the WiFi router. Wish I had know that in Geißen.
We took a high-speed Deutsche Bahn train to Freiburg, Germany to visit my aunt and uncle. The best part of the trip was the free WiFi on the train- literally high speed Internet. I tweeted with glee.
My uncle's a bit of a technophobe, so I was shocked to learn that he did, in fact, have an Internet connection. It was a LAN line, but oh well, you take what you can get.
En route to Florence, Italy, we had an unexpected layover in Switzerland, due to a missed train connection. They announced platform seven in three languages, two of which I understand fluently. Yet somehow we wind up on the wrong train and must backtrack to Zurich. No Boingo or Skype WiFi was available, but for 5 Swiss Francs we're able to get on the Zurich WiFi system and email David's uncle to inform him we'll be three hours late.
We spend the day galavanting around Florence, trying out every gelato place in sight. Grab lunch at an outside bistro, that of course, has WiFi. Email the office from my iPod touch, updating them on my projects for the week, etc. Feeling like a boss despite the fact that I ate an entire loaf of focaccia bread by myself.
Took the night train to Vienna (an epically exhausting trip) and am overwhelmed to discover that our hotel offers free, open Internet, no strings attached. After wasting an hour on Tumblr, and posting tons of #latergrams, I get down to business, making sure I'll be set for the next few days.
Back in the US, staying in Chicago at David's parents' house. Enjoying being in (almost) the same time zone as the office, and finally being able to answer emails during daylight hours. It's good to be home.
Do stay online when you travel? Have you lived the life of a digital nomad? Share your stories below!
Writer and Content Specialist
Lindsay is Q Digital Studio’s writer and content specialist. She develops heady technical jargon into clear, coherent (and optimized) content. She has a knack for finding just the right words - but only after she’s had a nice cup of coffee (or two). She happily dives into the depths of the Internet on a daily basis. Lindsay has worked as a writer and editor the world over.