“Digital nomad story” is weekly story series sharing experiences and tips from nomadic entrepreneurs all over the world. Join the journey!
Hey there! My name is Casey Carr-Jones
and I am a digital nomad currently traveling with a community called Remote Year. We’re a group of 50 nomads who are circumnavigating the globe, one country every month for 12 months. In order to do this, I quit my job as head of HR for a financial services company and began consulting as a remote support for companies who have no in-house HR.
Because of my extensive experience with recruiting, I launched my own entrepreneurial business called Jump Start Resume, a resume review service, and perform resume creation, review, and consultations for recent grads, execs, and everyone in between.
What’s your favorite part about of being a digital nomad? & What’s the opposite?
My absolute favorite part of being a digital nomad is the ability to explore culture by way of FOOD! I’ve eaten my way through Spain (paella) and Vietnam (pho, bahn mi) and I’ve learned that food is really a great way to acclimate to a new place. Take a cooking class, go to an authentic restaurant and talk to the owners, or take a local food tour.
My least favorite thing about being a DN is finding clothes in Asia that will fit. I’m 5’9’’ —- it’s just not gonna happen.
What’s the first adventure that comes on your mind from your digital nomad career?
Launching my resume business while living in Morocco, and almost immediately heading out on a camel trek into the Sahara. The freedom to start an entrepreneurial project before exploring Marrakesh and sleeping outside in a bedouin tent was surreal.
What are the hardest things to keep up with while being a digital nomad?
It’s been challenging keeping up with friends and family at home. Especially because I am a frequent poster on my blog, on Facebook and Instagram, they already have a decent idea of what’s going on in my life. But I don’t hear about theirs!
You need to find the best means of communication for them – because it’s not always the same as how you’d like to communicate. For example, my family likes to text and use Facetime, versus my friends who are better communicators via email and Snapchat.
For a while there I had to wait 24-48 hours for a response, and I was like “Hey, I’m halfway across the world in a temple in Cambodia and you can’t even text me back.”
Are there any online resources you find really useful and essential for your DN career?
I use Chase Online banking (their debit card has no international ATM withdrawal fees), Harvest for invoicing, and Google Hangouts and Google Drive. My new favorite app is called Self Control, and it increases my productivity by blocking certain websites for a set amount of time. Great for when you need a solid 2 hours to complete something and want zero distractions.
What were your beliefs about “being a digital nomad” before you became one, that turned out to be a complete nonsense?
At first, I thought that being a digital nomad was the same as being a backpacker. And that’s just not the case! I would define a backpacker as someone who travels around in search of adventure, as opposed to a digital nomad who travels around in search of adventure and free wifi.
Being a digital nomad may include a lot of traveling. What are your tips & tricks for better travels?
I travel with one checked back and one hiking backpack. The checked bag houses my heavy items like cords, cables, and toiletries (which takes up majority of the weight somehow. Darn contact solution!). My backpack is great for weekend and side trips – I can pack that to last more than 2 weeks. Plus, when I travel solo, using a backpack is way more convenient than bringing a wheeled bag into a bathroom stall. Gross.
Many people are afraid of never being able to settle down after being nomads. What are your thoughts on this?
I’m experiencing this fear right now! I plan on finishing my travels (for the time being) in June and am mildly terrified of signing a year lease.
I think that this answer depends on you! If you don’t want to live long in one place, then don’t. And if your relationship is based on shared values, hopefully, travel is one of them. Otherwise, find a good travel sidekick and leave the significant other at home 😉
What’s your favorite way of meeting new people as a nomad? What would you suggest for introvert digital nomads to get out there more?
I love to meet new people at social events – preferably one that serves drinks so I’m not as nervous approaching new people and I have something to do with my hands. Look for an open mic night, a local speaker, or a networking event.
If you’re an introverted digital nomad, I definitely recommend setting yourself up to meet people organically in ways that don’t require much effort. For example, if you select a bustling coworking space that you work from during the week, you’re bound to have small interactions throughout the day. These small interactions could eventually lead to a happy hour drink or even a collaborative professional partnership.
Top 3 places to visit as a digital nomad
Hanoi, Vietnam: bustling expat community, amazing food and culture. Make sure your accommodations have wifi.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: convenience of an urban city with awesome cultural blend of Malay, Chinese, and Indian. Great outlet to explore other parts of SEA.
Budapest, Hungary: great cost of living, very walkable, social scene is on point.
Gathering all your current experience – what would you now say to your old self, back when you just started?
Don’t stress so much – everything will work out. Not because the cards just fall that way, but because you’re scrappy and you make things happen for yourself.
You’ll experience broken toilets when you have food poisoning, you might feel lonely in a sea of people, and you’ll be scared to check your bank account balance. But you will also work every day to improve and grow your business and yourself. Now go have another fucking adventure!