I’m a Digital Nomad Traveling the U.S.: A Day in My Life

Hi, I’m Julie. I’m one of the rare people who worked remotely prior to the pandemic. I had an already-online-and-digitized job, a well-appointed home office, and a solid remote-work routine.

I would joke to people that working remotely meant you spent way less money on slacks and makeup, and way more money on toilet paper. 😂

Although I was remote, I traveled often on business to places like San Francisco and Las Vegas… but in March 2020, all business-related travel came to a standstill. My company went full-on Zoom, and I became free to work from anywhere. The next few months I tested out “workcationing” during a few road trips, and it worked.

So in summer 2020, I listed my house, sold it and most of my things, and hit the road. Since then, I’ve hit my 50th state AND spent a few weeks in Canada. Now, I’m on my 14th month of nomad life, and I’ve no plans of stopping. (Thanks for following the journey!)

A day in my life as a nomad…

(… currently being lived in Fridley, Minnesota!)

8 a.m.: I wake up around 8 a.m. when my internal body clock starts ringing. Even with all the time zones, somehow, I always adjust to the 8 a.m. hour. I’m greeted by my adorable miniature Australian shepherd Penny, and the first thing I do is feed her (or she will gaze despondently at me). 

8:10 a.m.: My morning “face” routine consists of face wash, toner, undereye oil, vitamin C serum, and face oil. (All of this costs less than $40, by the way.) I’ve found that, over multiple climates and temperatures, this regimen is what keeps my face the clearest and the best moisturized! I’m still wearing comfy clothes, though. No need to get “dressed” when you work from a desk in the same room you slept in!

8:15 a.m.: I “commute” to the desk and check my work email and personal social media. Since most of my team is on Pacific time, there are likely some emails from the evening before that I have to get to first thing. 

8:45 a.m.: By now, Penny needs to go out to do her business, and I need my coffee! Sometimes I combine the two — the pandemic has made walk-up order-at-the-window coffee shops a thing — or I go for coffee at the hotel. Not ALL hotel coffee is created equal, for sure, but you can’t beat the convenience of free hot coffee and breakfast. I don’t waste my time with makeup unless I have a Zoom meeting later.

9:15 a.m.: The stock market has opened by now, so I check my holdings and net worth and check to see if any of the stocks I’ve been watching have taken a dip (and if so, I buy more!).  I’m not an expert, but I have a good handle on the basics — it’s a goal of mine to retire early. Compounding gets me excited!

9:30 a.m.: Back to remote work! Generally, I enjoy the first few hours of the day — my colleagues are still sleeping and I can get some work done un-interrupted. I specialize in social media, so I spend my time doing things like reporting on metrics, running social listening queries, producing training documents, optimizing our social environment, and having meetings with vendors and strategic partners. I also speak at conferences and on podcasts. I really like what I do, especially since my personal social media use (and this blog!) helps inform my professional expertise, and vice versa.

1 p.m.: Time for a quick lunch break! I make something quick in the room from the groceries I’ve bought, like a turkey and guacamole tortilla wrap. To save money, I try not to eat out more than once in a day on nomad life, so I have my standard “staple” meals. I’m thankful that convenience foods have gotten way better over the years!

3 p.m.: It’s that time for my afternoon slump, so if I don’t have a meeting I’ll take Penny out for a walk and potty break — the quick change of scenery gets my brain juices flowing again.

5:30 p.m.: I try to sign off around this time, but once or twice a week I’ll have late meetings on my calendar due to the time difference. It all evens out in the end.

6:00 p.m.: If I’m solo, I try to find a dog-friendly place to eat so I can bring Penny, and sometimes I bring my laptop to do a little writing. Oftentimes, I will strike up a conversation with the server about places to check out, or other patrons. Other nights, I’ll order on DoorDash and do some writing for the blog or an Instagram Live for my followers. 

8:45 p.m.: Nomad life is not an endless vacation! I need my chill nights as well as my outings and adventures. Mondays or Tuesdays I typically stay in and wind down with a show or a book, but I tend to go out a few nights during the week to a museum, to find a karaoke bar, or perhaps go on a date! I also check my email one last time to see if anything urgent is going on that I have to address — usually, all is well, but once in a while there is a social media “crisis.”

11 p.m.: Bedtime! I’m catching up on my socials, sending off personal emails or texts, or going down a TikTok rabbit hole if I’m not that tired (I know, I know!). 

That’s my Monday through Friday, and it’s not that exciting. Like I said, since I’m working, it’s not a vacation. My attention is on my job — even if I’m in a beautiful place. I transfer my day-to-day routine to a new destination, and then I do it again, and again!

Now, how do I spend my weekends? Getting out for some exercise, going to see places a little farther out, and sometimes an evening on the town. (Don’t forget about some time on the internet planning my next adventure.) The sky is the limit when you are location independent!

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