Digital Nomad Life During Coronavirus

Girl in flower blossoms in Austrian countryside
[Hanging out with blossoms isn’t so bad]
This is a weird and scary time for everyone. In reality, I know I’m pretty lucky in my current situation.

But I thought it might be interesting to share what being nomadic and not really having a ‘home’ is like when a pandemic hits.

So, let’s back up and I’ll start from the beginning. Back when everyone had a normal amount of toilet paper in their closet and hand sanitizer wasn’t being upsold for $484993.

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A Week in the Life of a Digital Nomad in Bansko, Bulgaria

A week in the life of digital nomad in Bansko, Bulgaria, including cost of living.
[The view of the woods from the gondola up to the slopes]
Wondering what life is like for digital nomads in Bansko, Bulgaria? Or what the cost of living is like? What is there to do? What exactly is Bulgaria like??? If you have these questions, well, I’ve got answers!

I spent 3 months at Coworking Bansko, from December to March. I really loved spending the colder months in a real “winter” destination (it is a ski resort, after all!), although it was an unseasonably warm year. In my head, snow would fall continuously as I looked out my balcony window. Inside, I would be cuddled up with a chunky knit blanket and a cup of tea while fairy lights twinkled and a fire roared in the fireplace.

House in the woods in Bansko, Bulgaria
[Saw this house on our hike to the monastery in Bansko]
But as you can imagine, that was not the case. My winter wonderland fantasy was unfortunately trumped (pun intended?) by unseasonably warm weather. Think temperatures in the 40’s F (like 4-8 C, finally starting to understand Celsius after being in Europe for over a year LOL) and sunny (an abomination) most of the time. Nor did my apartment have a fireplace.

Ah well, I still really enjoyed my time in Bansko! So much that I’m already planning to head back, possibly as early as summer!

I thought it might be fun to show what an average week might look like. And since Bansko is a little bit more affordable than other destinations in Western Europe, I decided to track my spending, too (I should probably be doing this anyway…).

To be honest, I probably I could have saved more but I was too busy having lots of fun with new friends…Ooops. But gotta live, ya know?

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How to Become a Digital Nomad: What I Wish I Knew

How to get started as a digital nomad, remote worker, or location independent! Tips for living the digital nomad lifestyle and for becoming a digital nomad are in this blog post.

So you want to become a digital nomad but just aren’t sure, like, how? How does one go from owning an apartment with a 9-5 job to essentially being homeless in a foreign country?

I feel ya – becoming location independent was something I knew I wanted to do for at least a full year before actually taking the leap! I KNEW I wanted to travel and have more freedom, but felt totally overwhelmed even starting to think about all the logistics.

For me, I had an extremely (un)healthy obsession with Europe. I’d wanted to visit ever since I was a kid, and knew I wanted to see more of it after putting my first foot (well, and then the second) on English soil during a study abroad program in university.

I was working at an environmental nonprofit in California. I loved my job, but was tired of Bay Area life and wanted something new. (Here’s more about how & why I left, in addition to how I navigated my first year of digital nomad life!)

I really wanted to travel and experience different places for longer than the standard 2 weeks of vacation time in America (although I was one of the ‘lucky’ ones because my job gave me 3, lol).

I desperately wanted to feel what it was like to live in various places on my favorite continent (the aforementioned Europe).

Digital nomad life in Plovdiv, Bulgaria - Here's how to live a location independent lifestyle!
[Exploring Plovdiv, Bulgaria on an overnight trip from Bansko]
I wanted to spend the summer in Greece, swimming and eating Spanikopita from bakeries.

I wanted to hunker down and live out a winter fantasy in the Arctic, watching the Northern lights from my porch.

I wanted to bike through rural Ireland while volunteering on a farm.

And I wanted to meet all the European men – what IS IT about accents???

That said, keep in mind that working while you travel is VERY different from just traveling.

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My 9 Favorite European Destinations of 2019 (& To Consider for 2020)

My favorite destinations of 2019 and some places to travel in 2020.

I traveled quite a bit in 2019 – I quit my job to become a digital nomad right at the beginning of the year, and thus was able to see a lot more than I did in 2018. Hence why I don’t really have a “favorite destinations of 2018” because I didn’t travel nearly as much!

If you’re curious about 2017, though, I gotchu – here’s a list of my favorite destinations from 2017.

And so, here are my favorite destinations from 2019 and ones you might want to think about for 2020!

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My First Year as a Digital Nomad: Reflections from 2019

My first year as a digital nomad! Here's what it was like becoming a digital nomad, and how I navigate digital nomad life.
[Walking along some cool dunes in Death Valley]
A year ago I was living at home in California, prepping to start a new life as a #digital #nomad (lol trying to be the ultimate millennial here) at the end of January.

I was still working as the Education Programs Coordinator at an environmental nonprofit. For the most part, I loved it. I’ll go into why I ended up leaving that job below.

I was also in a relationship that was about to end because I was leaving. That was tough, as we both still cared about each other, but neither of us wanted to do long distance.

And now, I’m writing this from Bansko, Bulgaria, a place I hadn’t even heard about back then.

So, I thought it might be fun to do a little recap of each month in the past year. This is honestly mostly for my purposes as I’m nostalgic AF and love reviewing the past (probably a little too much?).

But ya know, I’m also posting in the hopes that by sharing about my journey it might help others as well.

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12 Blogging Mistakes to Avoid (& What to do Instead)

12 huge mistakes I made as a beginning blogger and how to avoid them.

I celebrated my 2 year blogiversary a few months ago (!!!!!) which was exciting but also like WHOA.

I’ve learned a lot and made a ton (like, a TON) of blogging mistakes along the way – most of them involve some sort of inaction or waiting too long. That’s a common theme I see in my life in general – I have something in my brain for way too long and just never end up doing it. So, I’m trying to take action quicker rather than mulling it over for ages, and just generally trying to work faster!!

I am also a notoriously slow worker because I just want to get everything RIGHT, and I honestly enjoy working slowly and HATE rushing haha, but it’s definitely something I’m trying to improve upon. But that’s a convo for another day…

I try to live with #noragrets (anyone?) but I do have some blogging tips and things I would advise someone else to do differently. Or tell myself if I was starting all over again.

And so, here are 12 blogging mistakes to avoid:

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What I Learned From Spending 2 Months Traveling Alone in Europe

What I Learned After Spending 2 Months Alone in a Foreign Country

There’s something so romantic about going off to a foreign country or place by yourself. Or at least I always thought so???

Cue movies/books like Under the Tuscan Sun, Eat Pray Love, Wild, and the like.

I am such a sucker for that shit. As a hopeless romantic, nostalgic-obsessed introvert/INFP, I eat. It. Up.

I took my first solo travel trip to Europe three years ago, when I was 23. I went to Greece, Ireland, and Belgium over the course of 1.5 months and ate my weight in crepes. I met a ton of other travelers by staying in hostels, which was perfect at the time, but these days I’m not as keen to share a room with 10 other travelers and pray that none of them snore.

I also purposely wanted solitude and reflection time during this trip (and hostels aren’t necessarily the BEST place for that LOL). My goal wasn’t to make a ton of friends and see ALL THE THINGS like it was before – I really just wanted to meet other digital nomads (in real life/online), work on myself, reinforce healthy habits like meditation and journaling, establish myself as an online English teacher, and get my shit together with this blog.

And so, I traded in people for pets and was house sitting in various locations around England from mid-June to mid-August. I spent 2 weeks in Welling (near London), 1 month in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, 1 week in Chichester, and 2 days in London.

My time alone was and wasn’t exactly what I thought. Here are my main takeaways:

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9 Things I Miss About Living in One Place (Musings From a Digital Nomad)

9 Things I Miss About Living in One Place - Musings from a Digital Nomad
[The view of Whitby, England from the 199 steps – which sounds like a lot but really isn’t that many haha, it took me about 10 minutes]
Ok, so just a precursor – this is probably going to be the most ‘first world problems’ post EVER. But I felt like writing it anyway.

I know that I eventually want to settle down and have somewhat of a ‘home base’.

But right now, I’m still traveling my little heart out. But while I love being a ‘digital nomad’, there are definitely some things I’m missing from my stationary life. Here’s what I miss the most:

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A Day in the Life of a Digital Nomad

An Honest Day in the Life of a Digital Nomad
[Staithes is such a pretty English beach town]
So I never ever thought I’d make it to this point? Like being a ‘digital nomad’ has always been a kind of crazy dream of mine, but here we are (#living and #thriving, bby) and only having about one mental breakdown per day!!!!

Lol just kidding, although not gonna lie, anytime you go against the grain I think mental breakdowns are inevitable. Actually, I also had them when I was working a normal 9-5…so maybe that’s just #life?

Robin Hood's Bay in England
[Robin Hood’s Bay – a cool day trip from my current town] 
But ANYWAYS. Curious about what being a traveling house sitter/online english teacher/rainbow unicorn is all about? Here’s what I do to keep busy every day (and FYI, it’s not sitting at the beach drinking margaritas all day and pretending to work! And while I am actually near the beach right now, it’s in England so it’s far from the tropical destination you’re probably picturing…)

Every day is different obviously (that’s kinda why I chose this life? I get bored real quick) but here’s a kind of typical hodgepodge type day:

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