When you travel long term, you hear the same advice over and over. These "rules" of long term travel get bandied around, taken as gospel and even seem to define who is a real traveller and how isn't.
I say screw the rules. If I wanted to live by someone else's rules, I'd have stayed in my office job. Well, unless they are actually the law's rules, or common courtesy rules, but you know what I mean. I do what makes sense for me, not what's cool or what everyone else is doing.
So, how does this work:
The smaller your luggage, the bigger the kudos. I'm not actually sure who gives out the kudos, unless it's some random person on the internet though.
I'm all for carry-on only. I hate lugging shit around. Packing 20 pairs of shoes is not so funny when you have to get your case up five flights of very steep stairs. And it's kind of good to limit your options.
I live in Australia. I fly budget airlines. That means I usually have a total of 7 kilograms (I have no idea what that is in American but it's not much) total. Even with the most lightweight bag, that doesn't give you much to play with. Add in work essentials like my laptop and that leaves me with not much to play with for clothes.
By the way, after standing in the number of check in lines that I have, I now think anyone who tries to cheat the weight limit is a total jerk. Making people wait even longer because you have to repack your bag is not cool. Also, you might get away with it sometimes but, if you get caught, you are going to be charged a fortune.
So I'd much rather pay for checked bags up front even if my bags aren't that much over the limit. Hell, I still have to carry those things once I leave the airport so even if I pay for 20kgs, I'm not packing that much.
Mac products seem to be the default for digital nomads. Why? I have no idea. Maybe because they are hipsters. There seems to be this idea that you are being alternative and anti-big corporations by buying Macs. Because Apple isn't a big corporation?
Anyway, when you're a bit off the beaten track and your computer needs a new power cord, do you want to waste time hunting down the official Apple store because you can't buy a replacement elsewhere or do you want to want to go into any generic computer shop?
At the moment I use a Lenovo ideapad. It cost me $250 and it's super lightweight. If it gets stolen or broken, I'll go out and buy another one without too much damage. I have my stuff on the cloud and/or on an external drive.
I sometimes use co-working spaces, mostly when I need to have a better ergonomic working space (ie. I've screwed my back by sitting in bed using my laptop) but the concept seems kind of strange to me. It's like people quit their office job to travel then the first thing they do is go back into an office space!
Chasing the Sun
Vampires actually enjoy spending time in the sun more than I do. The sun is evil. It's hot and shiny and wrecks your skin. It's so not for me. Beaches are kind of okay, if you sit inside somewhere looking at them, but all that sand and shit gets irritating. When I see pics of someone lazing in a hammock on the beach with their laptop, my first thought is how do you work with all that sun glare? Then I think about how wrecked their back is going to get and the dangers of getting sand into your laptop!
Hanging out with other "digital nomads"
Because I travel around the world to hang out with people doing the same thing? No thanks. I have no issue with meeting people* but I don't go out of my way to do it.
* That's a total lie actually. But if I think I'll click with someone or that they are cool, I'll meet them. I just feel no need to meet people for the sake of meeting people.
Tech Clothing and Other Travel Wardrobe Favourites
No. Just no.
I don't do tech clothing, even when I used to run I hated wearing it. It feels hideous and looks not so great.
Tie dyed fisherman's pants, zip off pants, convertible dress/skirt combos - forget it.
I dress the same when I travel as I do at home. I might have less options but to me that just means making sure they are clothes that I love and am happy to wear often.
Buy As You Go
This goes along with the carry on luggage thing - one of the ways to save on luggage space is to buy all the toiletries you need when you get to your destination. I used to do this but decided this year to only buy products that aren't tested on animals. That can be near impossible in some places, Asia especially. Even if you buy products that are cruelty-free, if they are sold in China, at some point they will be animal tested.
It's much easier to just get what I need in Australia where I can be sure that the products are ethical (I use Sukin toiletries, they are brilliant) than waste time tracking down what I need when travelling.
I figure the whole point of giving up a conventional lifestyle is that you can do things your own way. It's good to listen to standard advice but you don't have to take it as gospel. Test what works for you and discard what you don't need.
What travel rules do you ignore? What works for you?