Wanderlust Wednesday: Trying Out The Digital Nomad Life

Digital Nomad
Digital Nomad

It has been a while since I’ve done a Wanderlust Wednesday! I waffled over getting rid of it all together, because let’s be real it’s more for my own benefit than anyone else’s. I want this blog to be a reflection of the kinds of things you want to read about (Just a shout into the void: What DO you want to read about? Leave me comments below!) However, I thought it could be interesting, now that I’m a digital nomad (i.e. I work and travel indefinitely with no home base), for me to document the process.

 
Digital Nomad
 

So every first Wednesday of the month I will be writing a round up post of where I’ve been, what I’ve loved, learned, and even occasionally how much I’ve spent (when I am disciplined enough to either keep receipts or write things down). If there is anything else you’d like me to include in these monthly features, once again, leave your ideas in the comments!

Where I’ve Been

London, England – 6 Nights
Helsinki, Finland – 19 Nights
Prague, Czech Republic – 6 Nights
Wroclaw, Poland – 2 Nights

 
Digital Nomad
 

If I learned anything from my time traveling in Central America, it was that I need to travel slowly. Now that I am truly a digital nomad, that’s more apt than ever. Hence why I spent most of the month in Helsinki. There was another, really good, reason for that. Which was that my best friend, Dave, lives in Helsinki! You may remember him from my Eurotrip posts, as he was my travel buddy for those amazing 2 months backpacking Europe. I hadn’t gotten to see the place my bff calls home yet, so I was super excited to get to spend over two weeks there! And I will be going back in the beginning of October, too!

 

Digital Nomad
Dave & I on the fortress island of Suomenlinna in Helsinki

What I’ve Loved

  • Spending my 27th birthday in London! I spent my 24th birthday there, so it was a very full circle happening. Dave met me in London and we spent 6 nights exploring a more local side to the city. I can’t wait to share more with you in an upcoming post!
  • ALL of my biggest 11 year old dreams came true when I went to see the new Harry Potter PLAY! I bought myself tickets for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child back in October when they went on pre-sale as a very early birthday gift to myself. While the play left a few things to be desired (I’m a huge HP nerd and nothing but perfection could fully satisfy me tbh) the production was STUNNING. If you can get tickets, DO IT.
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  • I had serious Harry Potter withdrawals after seeing the play, but Dave and I soothed ourselves by watching all 8 Harry Potter movies while I was in Helsinki. It’s nice when you’re a digital nomad to do normal things like have a movie marathon with your best friend!
  • Feeling at home in Dave’s house. He only has a tiny little apartment, but I couldn’t have felt more at home sleeping in the loft space. The more I travel the more I realize that the best places are where the people you love are.
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    Digital Nomad
    I also fell in love with this pink VW bus in Helsinki

  • Making a spur of the moment decision to travel to Prague! This is how it went down: I had been thinking I would take a ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn, since they are so close. Then I saw a friend’s Instagram post of a cafe in Prague that looked amazing. I bought a ticket to Prague. Leave it to me to buy a plane ticket based on a cute cafe.
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  • Staying in Airbnbs. I LOVE AIRBNB. I will scream it from the rooftops. My Central America trip thoroughly burnt me out on hostels, so it’s been really nice to have my own space. I have been staying in a private room in a shared home, which saves money. Also that way I get to make new friends without having to rough it in a hostel! My host in Prague was super sweet and took me out to eat traditional Czech food one night! It’s pretty cheap to stay in an Airbnb here in Eastern Europe, too.
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    Digital Nomad
    My amazing Airbnb room in Prague

    What I’ve Learned

  • My current work/life balance isn’t sustainable. I was working every minute of every day when I was at home for the summer in Syracuse, NY. Once I left to travel, I obviously couldn’t do that anymore. But now I’m not making nearly enough money to survive. Ugh. I still haven’t figured this one out, but luckily I built up enough savings working all summer and living at home that I have some time to get my shit together.
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  • Finland has some of the best health care that I’ve experienced. It was scary to get a call from my doctor in the US with results that needed follow up testing the minute I arrived in Finland. Thankfully I was in Finland, land of socialized health care. I had to go to a private hospital, because I’m not a citizen/resident, but it was easy to set up, and cheap to have a consultation. I will go into more detail on medical stuff abroad in a separate post, but for now let’s just say if you’re going to need health care abroad, make sure you’re in the Nordic countries!
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  • I prefer staying in to going out, most of the time. How many times do I have to learn this one? I always feel like I should want to go out, party, you know “normal 20 something activities.” However, I’d say 90% of the time I don’t want to do that. I would rather go out to dinner, or have a cup of coffee in a cafe with a close friend, or even just chill out at home by myself. Does that make me lame? No, really, I’m asking. Who else out there suffers from FOMO but actually hates doing anything?
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  • Airbnbs are not always sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes they’re not what you expected. I arrived in Wroclaw, and found that the private room I was promised was actually a futon in the living room. I obviously have no qualms staying in shared spaces, having slept in hostel dorm rooms around the world. But it’s frustrating to think you’re getting one thing and then receive another. On top of that, my first encounter with the host was of her yelling at me because I made a mistake and left the key in the door (they have a cat that got out when I opened the door, so in my haste to get him back inside and keep him there I forgot the key in the lock). Not exactly the most welcoming start, but I decided to give it another night and things did turn around.
  • Pirogies are beyond words amazing.
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    What I Spent

    Food: $833.29
    Accommodation: $386
    Transportation: $87.35 I also bought a plane ticket to The Philippines for $492.90
    Shopping (Clothing, Souvenirs, Etc): $135.51
    Business: $20.99
    Medical: $285.01
    Monthly Expenses: $73
    Total Spent: $2,314.05

     

    Digital Nomad
    Something I did not buy as a souvenir? Any magnets. Because I have no fridge to put them on.

    As you can see I spent a ridiculous amount on food. It’s fairly typical for me to spend more on food than anything else in a month, but this is crazy even for me. I think I’m going to blame this one on it being my Birthday and also going to London, which is an expensive city with amazing food that I couldn’t seem to resist.

    I got by in the accommodation category because I was able to stay with my friend Dave in Helsinki for most of the month!

    The other big items this month were a plane ticket to Asia (necessary, but I think I got a pretty good price on it), a new suitcase, and travel insurance until January. Luckily, these are things that won’t need purchasing again next month!

     

    Digital Nomad
    A souvenir I did purchase? These adorable postcards to send back home!

    I’m not going to share how much I made in income this month, mostly because it’s abysmally low. As I said earlier, this month has not been sustainable in the travel/work balance. And unfortunately, for the moment, when I’m not at my computer working, I’m not making money. I am reading up on location independence and different ways I can earn money passively. Hopefully I can majorly increase my income next month! As it stands now, I was only able to break even this month because of all the money I saved by living at home for the summer and working 24/7.

     

    Digital Nomad
    Views like this? Priceless 🙂

    Where I’m Going Next

    September is going to be all about the Baltic region of Europe. Currently I’m in Poland, and will be making my way north back to Helsinki via Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

    Happy Exploring, Wherever You Are!

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    9 comments

      1. Thanks, Cherene! I definitely won’t tell anyone else how to live their life, and it remains to be seen how much I’ll enjoy being nomadic. But for right now it’s working well and I’m loving it! 😀 I was also super interested before I set off in other people’s journeys so I thought I would throw my own experience out there!

    1. I sometimes want to stay in and just catch up on sleep. I love taking naps in the middle of the afternoon and feel super bad on doing that, but it also means, I have a little bit energy to continue exploring in the night (I have a chronic illness which leaves me with 100% fatigue all the time) that is why I love airbnb’s and own space too. If you eat in one night, no loss, you can still cook up a storm!

      1. I should try napping during the day! Especially because the company I work for is about 10 hours behind me, so I often stay up pretty late! Wow, that must be super difficult being fatigued all the time. I get tired enough just doing regular travel stuff, so I can’t even imagine. Airbnb is seriously the best for those reasons. I am going to my first hostel dorm room tomorrow as a working wanderer and I’m a little nervous I won’t be able to get things done! haha

    2. Thanks for opening up and sharing the inside scoop. It’s great to see what works and doesn’t work for others. I’m a “teacher” but do private tutoring so I have more flexibility. This year I plan to explore that flexibility and travel a bit, see how it goes, how much money I can make. I’m eager to see if I work 21 days straight if I can then afford to take off for a week or even five days each month. Best of luck to both of us. I’m thinking i might post about my summer earning. It is kind of interesting to see what happens behind the scenes.

      1. I think it’s super interesting to read about other peoples’ behind the scenes! Even if I have no desire to do what they’re doing, I’m nosy and want to know 😛 hahah! Yes, any more freedom you can find is amazing, right? You always want what you can’t have though. When I had a stable job all I wanted was the freedom to travel and now that I have that I just want some stability! Ah, well..I really can’t complain because I am truly living my dream!

    3. Next time you should try renting a private/studio on Airbnb. I found some really affordable ones on my trip to Prague. I actually messaged the host because the one I wanted was a little out of my budget, and offered him less (I was staying 7 nights) and he accepted!! I wouldn’t do that on a 1-2 night place but if you’re staying for longer than typical, I think it’s def worth a shot! 🙂
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      1. I almost did that in Prague! Most of the Airbnbs I’ve found in my price range are private rooms or are a little farther from the city center than I’d like. But I actually don’t mind private rooms in Airbnbs! They’re a little more social, and sometimes I get to hang out with the host and get their take on where they live. So it’s like couchsurfing but I get my own guaranteed space! That’s a really good tip about asking for a weekly discount! I am definitely going to try that.

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