The most common question people ask me is “how does it work being a Digital Nomad?” “Where do you do laundry?” and “Where do you live exactly?” are popular too.
On reason I haven’t fully answered this question so far in a post, is that I hadn’t answered it in my life! The way I live will continue to change and evolve, but up until recently there were still major problems I hadn’t solved. There was so much stuff in my van that I couldn’t use it as a room, I lacked places to record music, and the van bed wasn’t actually comfortable.
Van – a bit too full for comfort.
That mostly sorted now, so this is a practical post for those of you who like to geek out on alternative lifestyles, possibly with a mind to try it yourself.
Method: Creating a plan A & B for everything
When I started this incarnation of houselessness, 3 months ago, I’d worry if I didn’t have either a solution that would all the time, or a million backup plans. For example, when it came to internet access (VITAL) I thought I wouldn’t be happy unless I could get it in my van. As it is, I’ve never needed to use the internet from my van – there have been plenty of other spaces I can use.
It’s possible to get internet in the van, but it’s very slow.
So, nowadays I feel pretty secure with a simple plan A & B.
Plan A: Stick my few clothes in with a friends’ washing, in exchange for something or other
Plan B: Hand-wash / launderette
Spring brings new laundry drying methods.
Although I feel secure knowing plan B exists, in 3 months I’ve hardly had to hand-wash, and never laundrette.
Having a plan B frees me from worrying about my needs, so I can focus my attention on the people in my life and our relationships. I love the way in which this lifestyle brings me closer to my friends and wider community, through asking and exchange, but I prefer the vibe that comes from me asking out of choice/preference rather than need. That’s why Plan Bs are important.
Plan A usually involves a person, whilst plan B is usually an independent solution. As shown:
Plan A: Use a friend’s house as an office.
Plan B: Wifi cafe / wifi in the van (v. slow)
Plan A is more favourable, fun and social, but plan B is also workable and fine.
So, here are my plan As and Bs for most aspects, which hopefully quells your curiosity.
A: Eat with whoever I’m docking with, and contribute in some way.
B: Eat out / supermarket picnic / in the van
I’m not in my van enough to justify stocking it with food, but I carry a food-bag containing non-perishables such as tins, cheese and hardy vegetables if I’m between van and “docking”. When travelling van-less I carry snacks in my Life-Bag, and my next meal. I’m willing to eat cold or raw food quite a lot, but cooking in the van is also possible.
Food bag / Kitchen bag – recently re-decorated by my friend, a 14yr old textiles student, so you could say I’ve had my kitchen re-decorated
A: Docking / Housesitting / Van
My “Sleeping On The Floor” experiments have helped me to become much more flexible about where I sleep. In this case, I’ve put van under plan A and B, as sometimes it’s a pinch to sleep in it, and other times it really is my number 1 choice, especially now it’s spring. I’m very lucky because so many people have welcomed me that I’m regrettably even having to turn down house-sits sometimes.
Learning to sleep on the floor has many advantages.
A: At someone’s house
B: At a service station / swimming pool / gym
Amazingly I haven’t had to use plan B yet, and the longest I’ve gone without a shower is 2 days. Prioritising staying clean is very, very important when you’re nomadic, trust me…
I have a 10min routine I can do each morning no matter where I am, but beyond that I haven’t got a schedule together yet.
A: At someone’s house
B: Outdoors / In van.
Now it’s spring, outdoor spaces are a wonderful resource, however houses are still better. The van is a last resort: I hate playing sat down.
In session with Mo and Greg, at Mo’s place.
A: At someone’s (quiet) house / studio
This is the only thing I don’t have a plan B for, and that bothers me to an extent. On the other hand, despite feeling insecure, I’ve actually been able to record enough. Guess we all need to feel vulnerable in some areas of life.
So there you have it. The only thing I’d like to improve on at the moment is finding more spaces to record. This happens so infrequently that when I do get to a space, I have to work very quickly, and this is hampering me a bit. But all in all I’ve been amazed by how welcoming my friends and community have been to me and my current way of moving through the world.
Also check out the Symphony For Happines Vlog
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