At this point, it’s been just over five weeks since we left Utah. So now that we have over a month of digital nomad experience, I thought I’d talk about some of the small and not-so-small life adjustments we’ve been going through.
Chloe Can’t Let Herself Out
I remember the yard and how easy it was to just open the back door for Chloe. She would do her thing, sniff around a little, come back, knock on the door, and I would let her back in. It was nice for Chloe to have a private bathroom, but I don’t think she minds doing her business on the sidewalk since it means going on walks every few hours. I certainly don’t mind it! It’s nice to get out and see the neighborhood.
Lack of Community
A fellow digital nomad recently talked about this and I would agree that it’s been challenging not having a regular community of people around. For example: family, co-workers, and friends.
As a side note, I noticed that I don’t think about Utah very often, so I don’t feel homesick. I talk to my family through text messages as much as I did before we left. I don’t get to see them in person, but I offered to have video conference calls with them any time they want (once they figure out how to get on Google Hangouts, that is). Besides, I frequently went more than a month without seeing them, anyway. It hasn’t been long enough yet, but when I miss them they can come visit me or – maybe, just maybe – I will go back and visit them 😉
Cold Air is a Commodity
It’s actually nice now since fall just began, but the first month away from home was a bit miserable. In the last days of summer, what I missed most…what I thought about several times a day…was central air conditioning. Within three weeks, we stayed at five different houses (Airbnbs) and two campsites, and none of them had A/C. (The houses did have swamp coolers, though).
See, for the first two months in Florida we had a broken A/C system at home, but it was bearable because I was either at work, or in the car driving to the ocean or to explore. (Whitney: Yeah, but I was at home working all day in the heat and I was miserable!) It wasn’t a problem for me except when trying to sleep on really hot nights. Since I’m working from home during the day now, though, I would notice how hot it was. I was hot during the day, I was hot at night, and because I was afraid to drive and lose my sweet parking spot right in front of the house, that meant I never got that sweet, sweet air conditioning. Cold air is a commodity, apparently.
I realize there are people out there who have it much worse, and I’m living with people who don’t know any different. The problem is that until five weeks ago, my house was always kept at 70 degrees, and I would sleep with a blanket every night. That’s what I’m accustomed to. Before this week, I hadn’t slept with a blanket in weeks and my homemade toothpaste hadn’t been solid in weeks, either. (It has a melting point of roughly 76 degrees.) We’re finally getting down to bearable temps, though.
Having an Extra 7,500 Minutes to Myself
This one’s obvious, but talk about AWESOME! Think about this: five days a week, for fifty weeks a year, you wake up, spend an hour getting ready for work, drive to work through the commute, stay in the office for 8 hours, and then commute back. When you consider how much time is spent preparing and eating dinner and getting ready for bed/the next day, there’s not a lot of time to do anything of personal interest or for enjoyment. My life wasn’t created for the sole purpose of working for 80,000+ hours and another 20,000+ hours just getting ready for work.
In that same 40-year period of working you spend about 116,000 hours sleeping. Before working remote, I prided myself on how well I had stripped down my routine to maximize the amount of time I had to do things that were fun. I would put my shoes and socks on during the drive or eat breakfast while clearing out emails. This saved me a few minutes a day, hours a year, and days over that 40-year period of time. These are paltry results in comparison to working from home.
My commute was only 15 minutes one-way and there was rarely any traffic, but I don’t have to commute anymore. I now have an extra 150 minutes a week that I don’t have to commute, two hours that I can spend relaxing, taking Chloe for a walk, showing Whitney a nice night on the town, or working on a personal project. In other words, I now have an extra 7500 minutes (125 hours or 5 days) every year, that I would have spent in a car by myself, to do anything I want with.
Sure, sometimes it was relaxing to just sit in the car with the windows rolled down and listen to music or the sound of silence. However, there were days full of traffic and accidents and people driving like maniacs. I’d rather have my half-hour a day to relax and walk down the street with no stress. When I think about the savings I made by putting my shoes on in the car vs. not needing to get in the car at all, there is no comparison.
If you had an extra 7,500 minutes per year, what would you do with that time?
What kinds of life adjustments would you dislike?
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