It sounds like a dream: travelling different places, seeing different faces while working for clients thousands of miles away. If you are single and in your mid-twenties it actually is. You can make plans for yourself and concentrate on your clients. However pretty soon I had to realize that doing the same with a family is totally different.
Digital nomad’s life takes a lot of self discipline no matter what personal situation you are in – with or without a family. Normally I am hardly distracted by anything when I work. But now the situation changed and I am always surrounded by my family: at the moment my wife does not work and my daughter does not visit kindergarden. This is great for our relationship, but on the other side I have to find quiet timespots where for my work. In addition there is so much more information you have to catch up with and many things you have to decide. Luckily Daniela takes a lot away from me and also takes care of little Lee. However there are still enough barriers you have to deal with.
While traveling, surroundings change fast – so fast that sometimes the mind cannot even follow. One day you live in a spacious house in the dessert of Las Vegas, then it is a studio in green Portland, the other day it is a hotelroom surrounded by snow on the rocky mountains or even the car you work from. You have to be able to quickly adopt to the situation – personally, emotionally and of course technically. Clients should never notice any of these problems.
Physical and mental obsticals
If you think about it, probably you would not consider it as an obstical, but travelling and seeing new things is also exhausting. Sometimes we come home and we are so tired that we fell asleep on the couch. Driving days are even worse and it takes a whole day to pack all stuff together and move from one location to another. You literally life in two or three worlds at the same time, always keeping an eye on different time zones, finances, client needs, opportunities and things to do on site for us and little Lee.
Early working hours
There are two reasons why I like to get up and work very early in the morning: it is quiet and clients can reach me while it is afternoon in Europe. Combined with local european Voice-over-IP (VOIP) telephone numbers, they have the feeling that I am still very close. However little Lee decided lately to get up early, too. So I often work while she is awake – sometime she plays, sometimes she watches TV while I am working. This can be really tough, especially in cases where you share only one room as a family.
Our solutions so far
The best way is to get out, maybe look for a shared working space or café. While little Lee is doing things with her mother I can concentrate and work. Another good solution is an indoor playground, where you can work while your kids are playing.