Don’t Make My Mistakes: The Digital Nomad Journey

I’m willing to admit it. I made a mistake. I have no problem sharing that I’m dumb sometimes! It’s not all laptops by the pool for digital nomads. Especially ones who are new to the life.

Anyway, I didn’t do enough research on the place I was moving before I got there. Specifically, Raleigh, North Carolina. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a nice enough place. People probably enjoy themselves here. The weather is pretty amazing. They don’t seem to have many clouds. It’s constant blue skies.

My specific location just doesn’t work for my slow travel, digital nomad experience.

Let me explain a little bit.

First, I’m in a tiny subdivision completely out of the way of…well…everything! It’s almost a mile to walk to the nearest grocery store. What seemed like a plus is actually a minus. If there’s no way for me to shop for food without walking 2 miles, I’d get plenty of exercise, right? Theoretically, yes. That is true. The reality is that I can only carry enough food on my back (in a backpack) for a day or two. That’s a mile of walking while lugging groceries. It’s tough!

Part of problem #1 is the walking to get groceries, but the second part of the problem is that the store is expensive. Fresh grapes = around 9 dollars! Turkey burger that I’d normally spend $1.99 to purchase up north = 4.99! I have one shelf in the refrigerator here. How much could I possible be eating? It’s not that much, but yesterday, I ran the little calculator on my computer and skimmed my bank account. Over 250 dollars in food the last 18 days. Insanity! The solution is to not eat? I have plenty of coffee!

Okay. That’s the first problem. The second problem is the WiFi connection in a subdivision. WiFi is a radio connection. Basically with dozens of radio connections fighting in the air around this place, I can’t get a good signal. After being completely frustrated, I ended up purchasing data for my phone plan to turn my cell into a mobile hotspot. Two days ago, I used almost 1GB in data because I watched an hour or so of Hulu. That’s a serious issue!

Problem #3 is the fact that I’m so far away from everything. I know that’s problem number 1, but bear with me, it’s also problem number 3. There’s nothing to do. I’m incredibly bored. There are no buses out here. I knew that fact when I decided on this place, but I assumed there’d be Lyft or Uber as a solution. My Lyft driver from the Amtrak station to the house was cranky about the drive. It’s much further than I expected. Cost me over 20 bucks! It also took almost 40 minutes in traffic to get here. To get into Raleigh, I’d have to spend $40 both ways. That’s not realistic for a trip into the city.

Basically, I should have done more research. Lyft has a fare estimator. Do that research! Don’t make my mistakes.

Ensure that you have checked on other forms of transportation, too. Is there a bus route nearby? How far into the nearest city? Will you be able to walk to a library or coffeeshop to work if the connection is terrible? (Again. Mistakes, mistakes! No work place nearby.)

On the upside, I did meet some nice people in the house. Another Airbnb resident and the landlord’s cousin who is staying here, too. One of them offered to take me to the city because he was headed that way and would bring me back. Twice the cousin offered to take me to the store, which was pretty nice. They’ve been great. It’s not their fault I did crappy research.

I did get to the convention center and saw a bunch of talented North Carolina crafters. I’ll have a separate post about that soon because it was pretty cool.

I’m counting the days until I leave. I am getting more work done now that I have a connection. (The phone service is not the most reliable, either.) So, that’s a plus. I’m in saving mode because when I get back to Boston, I’m going to visit like a tourist. I’ve already got things planned! I’ll be sharing that, too.

I’d love to hear from other digital nomads who made mistakes when they first started their journey. Comment and let me know I’m not alone here!

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