Being a digital nomad
And so ends my second week of being a digital nomad and copywriter on the road. (Read about the first week here.) We survived our first major disaster: The Adventures of the Runaway Wallet on a Local Bus in Hanoi.
All I’m going to say is that I’m glad it wasn’t ME who gave their bag to Mr Alex to play with on a local bus while distracted looking for future accommodation on a mobile phone and then disembarking from said bus, minus one wallet that housed ALL of their credit cards and about $AU500 in cash. Lucky Mama San has her own stash of cards and cash. It could have been much worse. *Clings desperately to passports*
Taking the ‘nomad’ out of being a digital nomad
Last weekend we were in Hanoi and oh boy, it was so hot. And muggy. I really liked the city. It felt more relaxed and easier to navigate than Ho Chi Minh. Prettier, too. The footpaths weren’t always covered in scooters and motorbikes, forcing us onto the road and making me feel like I was attracting death by scooter.
After being on the road for about 10 days and moving from place to place every two or three days, I was starting to feel like I needed to settle somewhere so I could focus on my copywriting work, finding a favourite banh mi street vendor and not having to re-pack. Some nomad I’ve turned out to be! I suck at being a digital nomad. And if we were going to endure the heat and humidity of Vietnam, we’d rather be close to a nice beach.
Our original plans for travel after Hanoi were to go to the Sapa region in the mountains — but we ditched our bookings and got on a flight to Nha Trang. Oh my. I am so glad we did. It’s like Waikiki and Surfers Paradise had a love child and named her Nha Trang.
Finding an apartment to rent in Nha Trang
It happened really quickly. But somewhat painfully.
TJ contacted a few real estate agents and we were met at the airport by a driver to take us to the apartments. We thought, “Wow! This is great!” Even if we had to pay for the driver.
The driver didn’t know exactly where to take us and we had to wait for the real estate agent to show up on her scooter. We had to lug our bags around as there was nowhere safe to leave them and of course the apartments we were shown were very different from the ones in the emails we were sent. The landlord increased the rent $US50 for all apartments in the last five minutes. How about this one with no air con? And suddenly our real estate agent is struggling to understand or speak English. *Sigh*
Hot, tired, hungry and cranky. We weren’t in the best mood for negotiating. We wished we’d given ourselves at least a day or two to stay somewhere while we looked for our apartment. There’s a tip for the future.
We finally decided a one bedroom apartment once we figured out that three nights at an Airbnb apartment was about a quarter of what we’d pay here for the full month. The apartment we chose wasn’t described as a sea view apartment (saved $US50!) because it’s not directly overlooking the beach. But because we’re on the very side of the building, I have this magnificent view from my workspace. I don’t think I will ever tire of it.
We paid $AU680 for 30 days rent (with a plan to stay for at least another month) for a fully furnished one bedroom apartment and settled in straight away. It includes everything (except electricity and water, which shouldn’t be much more than $100 per month.)
We are directly opposite the beach. The water is warm like a tepid bath. It’s refreshing and after my salt water adventures, I feel the most relaxed I have for years.
I can take the ‘nomad’ out of being a digital nomad. For now, I’m staying put.
Finding work while on the road
I feel like the universe has rewarded me for this leap of faith. I’ve won one significant job this week and finished one that I won last week and started another that I also won last week. Since leaving Melbourne, I’ve won three new clients and have had recurring work from another five. I’ve also got two warm leads baking in the oven.
I mentioned to TJ that I was starting to think about getting work from outside Australia (and charging $US) and BOOM! The next day I got a lead from the US. The Universe is listening. Exciting times ahead in copywriting land.
So tell me, what godawful adventures have you had to deal with on the road?