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Working Remote & Traveling | Challenges of Being Digital Nomads


Well thank you guys so much for joining
us today. We’re going to talk about what it’s like to be a digital nomad and
the challenges of working from the road. I’m Kait, that’s Joe and We’re the
Russos. For those of you who don’t know us, we’ve been traveling the country for
about two and a half years now and we are currently traveling around in a Class B
camper van that is just over 20 feet long. So we live out of this thing full-time
and we absolutely love the lifestyle, but a lot of people have asked
what is a digital nomad? A digital nomad is someone who is location independent. A nomadic person is always traveling the digital portion of that is someone
who travels and works full-time like us. We can work remotely essentially
from anywhere with I would say decent to good internet connection yeah and even
without internet connection we can still work like I’m writing a book
so at during that time I can sit and write even if I don’t have an internet
connection so it always helps. Speaking of challenges is one of the
challenges of being digital nomads is people think that were on a constant
vacation all the time. especially because of the life we lead
so we’re always going to different places we try to see a lot of cool stuff
so people think that this life is just a vacation and we’re bringing our cameras
along for the experience and as much as I’d love to say that’s true it’s really
not and that presents some challenges to us sorry that presents some challenges
for us when we are traveling and we go let’s say to an event or some sort of
gathering as a bunch of people we just went to one in quartzite and it was just
social social social we really didn’t get time to work and actually had to
leave a little bit early because we needed time to get the video up by
Wednesday it’s also a bit difficult to when we have friends and family who want
to fly out and visit us because they’re usually taking time off of work or are
retired and when they come out to see us they think that there
spend all of their time with us it’s like vacation you just planned things
one after another and we have to kind of dial that back and say look we’re
working we’re happy to spend time with you but we need to put our hours in
while we’re here with you and we’ll usually try to take a day or two off so
we can spend that with them I would say whenever we meet fellow digital nomads
who lead a very similar lifestyle that’s something we always laugh and talk about
around the campfire is having friends and family visit us and how do we do it
occurring their expectations yeah and we made the mistake early on of not
explaining very well and so they would come out and like Joe said want to spend
all this time with us but now when we have friends visit we say look we have
time to grab a bite grab a drink hang out for a little bit but we can’t
explore all the time but like when Joe’s mom came to visit us in Sedona we’ve
worked really hard to get all of our content done so we can actually take a
day off and spend the whole day with her and speaking of which we’re actually
doing that now because she is driving out to visit us in Phoenix and bringing
her new dog Charlie so everyone will get to see Charlie romping around with Leo
should be a lot of fun yeah all right what’s next and by the way all of the
questions right now or not all of them but a good portion of them we curated
from our wtr family on patreon for those of you who are watching this and you
want to learn about cool meetups you want to see fun videos and things that
we don’t share on YouTube head on over to patreon and become part of the wtr
family all right so moving on to connectivity that is probably one of the
main challenges of working on the road yeah and the first question is how do
you stay connected and have you run into any issues with your current Center so
right now we use a Verizon unlimited plan when we first got the plan we
really liked it and what the plan allows is for a total of 22 gigabytes
line that you have with an additional 15 gigabytes of hotspot data might sound
like a lot to some people but when you’re using that as your primary
internet connection and you don’t have Wi-Fi at home it’s actually not very
much so a lot of times if the data is slow on Verizon or we don’t have enough
data left for the month we will find a cafe or some other type of business we
can go buy a coffee or something sit down and use their Wi-Fi but at that
cafe we were there for what four hours four hours to upload yeah and if we had
if we couldn’t find a cafe or a place to work we would have had to have used our
plan and that would have used up half of our data for one phone for one month so
it’s always something that we’re very trying to be very cognizant about and I
would say on our phones we’d probably use a grand total of about 60 gigs a
month yeah and we have considered going with a separate company to do another
hotspot or getting more data through Verizon and I think it’s something we’re
gonna be seriously considering in the next month or two yeah obviously the two
big things with leaving this lifestyle is data capacity and also data speed
yeah so things to really consider depending on how much internet you need
to leave this lifestyle because we know people who do some chat support right
and if they’re doing chat support all day for eight hours at a time they need
really good steady connectivity yeah although I will say we have a few
friends that work remotely for a couple different companies and those companies
pay for unlimited plans for them so I’m always very envious of their their data
but I have I have something funny to say Todd was saying I look very serious and
I think whenever I’m thinking and I’m thinking of an answer to a question I
get very like got to think of this and give you the right answer alright hey
buddy sorry Leo is you can’t see saying hello you can see Leo on our
Instagram story we got plenty of pictures over there we had a WT our
family member today send Leo a whole box of treats and we
were feeding them to him this morning so like Kate said head over to Instagram
find where the Russos and you’ll see all of those pictures of Leo getting his
treats this morning going back to connectivity is one
question we have is do you have multiple self-service to deal with problem areas
and how do you deal with low signal strength so right now we only have
Verizon but that is one of the reasons why we’re looking for a data plan
through hoops re-do is bumping the table we’re looking for a data plan through
another company so that we can find a way to have different access and places
we go because sometimes 18t is really good but Verizon is not and vice versa
and Leo keeps bumping the table you’re doing button but we are one thing that
we do use is a we boost and this is a cell booster that if we are in a place
with really bad cell reception we can put that up and it will greatly increase
the reception that we’re getting this has worked great for us in the past but
there are times where we just don’t have enough signal coming through for it to
work what that means for us at being digital Nomad is we have to drive
someplace to find Wi-Fi or we have to leave the area and go camp somewhere
else so we can actually get some work done
all right hours seen a lot of questions and we got a lot about you know working
hours so first question is do you set office hours since you’re always working
form up we try to it doesn’t always work because we are traveling or we have to
run errands and do different things during the day a lot of times you know
the time we take for shooting videos most of that is done during the day and
we have to come home at night and work on putting them together all the
different things on Facebook the different social networks and everything
else it takes us a lot of time and I think two weeks ago we were actually
pulling all-nighters just to try to get the Wednesday video up because so many
other things were going on so it can be challenging now someone said you
mentioned that you each work about 60 hours a week what exactly are you
spending time on this this is a good question because when we told people
initially that we each work 60 hours a week on this business there are a lot of
people that said that’s impossible there’s no way you could spend 60 hours
a week putting videos on YouTube I’m gonna let Kate kind of fill you in on
everything we spend our time on so I’m preparing for this question I actually
went through and just did a quick bullet point of everything that we spend time I
don’t think this is an exhaustive list no this is just a cursory glance so we
have video production so that means shooting editing videos and watching all
the content we’ve shot right which can be hours and hours if we shot 20 hours
of content we have to watch 20 hours of content to know how we’re going to edit
it and then also the time it takes to download 20 hours worth of video footage
onto a external drive sometimes that can take a couple hours and backing it up
yep but rendering the file getting the
finished video uploaded writing the description and actually pushing that
video out so everyone knows it’s available and that’s just the video
editing portion we also write articles for our website so doing research
getting a formatted properly proofreading triple checking to make
sure everything is correct and then pushing that out we send out a
newsletter once a month which is quite a long newsletter that Joe has to format
and write that takes time proofreading we now have our wtr family and really
dedicating a lot of time there so we’re producing additional video
content over there on patreon so that’s another big part of what we’re doing and
working on the book series that Joe’s working on you know book one is done but
we haven’t done the audiobook yet and he’s in the process of writing book two
that takes hours out of your day every day yes they work on the book and then
you know analytics figuring out what we’re doing is working not working
making tweaks and then all the administrative stuff like bookkeeping
that people don’t think about you know I’m axis I’m knee-deep in taxes right
now but we got sticker cents so of mailing those out mailing out paperback
copies of the book that are signed by Joe I mean it just the list goes on
forever and I actually think 60 hours a week might be an underestimate I yeah I
think it was very conservative yeah but you know not everyone has all of this on
their plate you know if you’re a digital nomad working for another company you
might have very set hours and it’s a lot you need a lot more of a traditional
maybe 40-hour week it supposed to 60 hour me for us yeah but that leads me to
a question which is how do you stay focused enough to get work done and how
long do you work in one sitting um that’s a good question for me to stay
focused and I’ve seen Kate do the same thing I have a big pair that over the
ear headphones actually hear these guys and I will put those on I’ll crank up
the music sit down write do whatever it is I have to do came in really handy
when I was doing taxes because it drowns out everything else and I can focus on
the work I don’t think we’ve on a regular basis we probably don’t sit down
and do let’s say an eight-hour stretch but we will sit down and work for quite
a bit at a time take a break go run errands do something else we have to do
and then come back and go back to it before I answer that question have to
say a big thank you to Scott for the super chat for the tax fund I think
we’re gonna need it this year thank you you Scott I’ll have to make sure to
report that for next year 2018 all right so I’m sorry what was the question while
we’re taking a break I want to give a quick shout out to one of our WT our
family members Riley Garrett if you are watching I just
want to say thank you so much for including my recipe in your school
project it puts such a huge smile on my face so
if you’re watching thank you and look forward to meeting you and your family
when we’re on the East Coast all right now well the question is how do you
handle getting mail and packages we have a mail service that all of our mail goes
to and whenever we know where we’re going to be ahead of time we can call
that mail service up and they will forward the mail out to us most of the
time with packages we have them delivered directly to wherever we are
and there are times where we’re out in the middle of nowhere there’s no place
to get a package so we’ll wait or we’ll have it sent forward to a location we
know we’re gonna be out now this presents a challenge to us the Steep
excuse me the sticker is that Cate mentioned were actually shipped out
early so we had to call them and they had ups hold the package for us and
again those are the stickers and situations like that we have to deal
with on a case-by-case basis we also had a few instances where our package was
grossly grossly delayed and we had to wait in that area until the package
showed up so you know it’s it’s a real challenge for us but we get it done and
I would say the longer we’ve been on the road the more custom more accustomed to
you know having packages sent knowing where we’ll be and about how long it’ll
take so we plan that out pretty well now and really quickly Scott is asking where
we where we domicile we domicile in Texas we looked at South Dakota in
Florida but with the different benefits with Texas and everything else that’s
what we went with how do you handle voting and we just
request an absentee ballot it’s as simple as that
so we vote in the county and this date where we’re domicile yep a few people
have been asking about the super chat so for those of you who want to use it if
you look at the bottom of the chat box you’ll see a smiley face with a weird
dollar symbol next to it if you click that weird dollar symbol that is how you
send us a super chat moving on to location the fun part
which part I love the most about being digital nomads is we can basically go
anywhere with the exception of China well other countries where YouTube is
forbidden and we wouldn’t be able to upload videos which is a big part of our
business yeah and for those of you who don’t know
there are countries like China that will block sites like YouTube so if we were
to travel to China we would not be able to upload any of our videos so this
presents a challenge to us because Kate is from China we’d like to go back and
see the homeland her home plan and you know shoot videos there if we did that
we’d have to take all of that time off and then upload everything once we got
back to the States or another country that allowed us to use YouTube that just
sounds like too much work but going back to location which is someone wants to
know if we can basically work from anywhere with internet access yes with
those caveats of there are countries or places where you’re not going to be you
to be able to get onto the sites that you want to look at and in terms of you
know a lot of people ask how do you decide where to travel how often to stay
and where to go and this year our travel has been very much dictated by the
events that we’ve scheduled seminars we’re going to and things like that and
the only reason we are in Phoenix Mesa Arizona area is because on Monday Monday
February basis we are going to be on Good Morning Arizona
Channel three in the nine o’clock hour so for those of you who are in the area
if you’re able to tune in please do so and we would love to get a copy of our
parents because they said that they wouldn’t be able to give us a copy so we
won’t be able to watch it but we’re really excited about the pairings yes it
would be very helpful if someone could record that for us and send it to us I’m
really excited it’s gonna be our first time on live news TV and I think I’m
more nervous than anything else yeah I mean this is live but at the same time
it’s not on news but going back to my point which was you know we we travel
based on work schedules to and where we need to be we’re gonna be in a summit in
Texas we’ll have to go to that but one of the challenges that we’ve run into is
and it comes in handy if you’re flexible with your travel is I had to get my
laptop fixed and we took it to the Apple store it
took them four or five days to get it back to me
yep so we have to stay in that area for an additional four to five days that we
didn’t plan to so that I could get my laptop bag before we can move on so
something to think about if you’re considering this lifestyle
exactly which thinking of equipment this is a good follow-up question which is do
you use any kind of search protection when you’re hooked up to electricity we
do so we have a progressive industries EMS if you head over to our website
where the Russos comm click on the store you’ll find it there along with a lot of
other things we use but we use it because we don’t want to fry any of our
computers or electronics while we’re plugged in to shore power we also don’t
want to fry anything in a van so when you’re talking about work this is our
office and if our office is down it’s gonna be
really difficult for us to get our work done and deal with that situation on top
of getting everything else taken care of that we need to that also leads to do
you feel like you have solar to charge two laptops when your
goons are oh absolutely I think we have we have more than enough solar to cover
all the lights the laptops everything else for those who don’t know we have
320 watts of solar on the roof and a 400 amp hour lithium-ion battery bank so
this will keep us going almost indefinitely as long as we have good Sun
now when we’re using things like the instant pot or my electric kettle we
have the AC running then we’re gonna have to turn the engine on to charge up
those batteries because the solar just can’t keep up with all of that but for
just some laptops and lights we have more than enough I’m going back to the
EMS to know how often we run into low voltage situations at a campground we
haven’t run into it recently but we have definitely been to some RV shows and
that where they do camping on site and the camping on site is kind of a
makeshift campground and what they end up doing is they’ll truck in a bunch of
those big cat generators and then run lines from those to all of the RVs well
in the middle of the day when heat kicks up everyone turns on their a/c and low
voltage so in those situations a nice thing about the progressive EMS is it’ll
shut you off from that situation and protect the RV because low voltage is
actually a very dangerous situation sometimes more so than a spike does the
passenger in the van actually work online while the van is moving between
locations yeah Kate does I don’t I actually will get if I’m looking down at
a book or laptop and we’re driving down the road I’ll get motion sick so when we
left quartzite early in order to get our Wednesday video up I was in the
passenger seat editing the video the entire time and I probably worked I did
pull two all-nighters but yeah every time where we have a long travel day I’m
working and it’s almost non-stop and if I’m not working
laptop we’re having business meetings yeah it just yeah it’s always hot going
on it’s a good time to get work done I do want to say a big thank you to
Clifford just sent us a super chat and said that our book was a huge
inspiration in the YouTube videos and congratulations on getting into the
airstream sooner whenever people ask us if there is anything we regret about
this lifestyle my response is always that we didn’t do it sooner so good on
you for getting in your Airstream and hitting the road sooner than you
expected and I’m happy we were able to inspire you to do that Thank You
Clifford okay more questions from the chat how do you structure your day and
do you work the same hours every day or do you mix it up I would say every
single day is different and it really depends on what we have going on that
day I would say a Monday is usually spent editing and getting the video
ready for Wednesday when Kate is doing that I’m usually busy writing the book
or getting something else done and a lot of it has to do with the location so are
we at in a summit or doing something like that or we someplace where we can
kind of close the door and really focus on getting things done Jennifer just a
super chat Kate we need more instant pot recipe videos
well there might be an instant pot video going up on patreon Saturday yes no
promises but we may have shot something kate is working on getting some instant
pot videos done on patreon so if you’re not already aware we do share a lot of
other content on patreon that doesn’t happen on YouTube or our website and you
can become part of the wtr family for as little as five dollars a month all of
that loop chats that we do just with our WT are family members meetups
and all kinds of random special things we do over there so alright so going
back to when we were talking about how much we work someone asked although the
work is time-consuming does it pay off versus the demanding jobs you both had
prior to becoming digital nomads we definitely get paid a lot less you did
you know nomads no but we are we are much happier living this lifestyle
we’re able to cover our expenses and that’s really what we are hoping to do I
would say this lifestyle even though we’re putting in more time and there is
a lot of stress to get the work done get it up and all the different things we
have going on in regards to this company that we’ve essentially started it is
much more rewarding and like Kate and I were actually talking about this last
night there are times where if we don’t want to if we’re not able to get a
article or something up we can look at each other and say you know what let’s
not do it or let’s put up some extra content and we have the power to make
those decisions whereas we’re in a company before we’re just another cog in
the machine so no longer time so for those of you who are wondering about
what we used to do in our previous corporate lives and actually how we went
through the whole process of hitting the road I wrote a book it’s called take
risks one couples journey to quit their jobs and hit the open road and it’s all
about that year it took us from when we came up with the crazy idea to finally
hit the road and really live this lifestyle and for those who haven’t been
following us for too long the Class B was not our first RV we’ve been doing
this for two and a half years now and we used to have a much bigger RV prior to
this ok right bud I’ll try to sift through this and maybe take another
question ok this is funny do you make appointments to stop and say hi to each
other arm’s length away yeah we don’t it’s one
of those things where if we can take time off from each other by putting our
headphones on or that we do but we’re around each other 24/7 in a van that’s
about 90 square feet so we don’t really have to make appointments to talkers you
know hang out with each other one thing we try to do every morning is over
morning coffee and tea we’ll either sit outside or in here with Leo just kind of
chat about what’s going on what we have planned for that day have a little
morning meeting enjoy our drinks and then we get to work or whatever else we
have planned for the rest of the day but I think going back to one of the
challenges of being a digital nomad we are limited by data this is we’re over
30 minutes now and we’re sucking down quite a bit of data on our phones and we
still need some for the rest of the month until our plan resets on the fifth
right yep yeah the fifth so I think it’s time to get going yeah but I would say
you know for those of you who are tuning in because you’re interested in becoming
a digital Nomad I would say yes there are challenges of working on the road
but we’ve found a way to make it work and really enjoy it and I think you know
if you end up doing it you’ll figure out what works slow for you exactly now at
the beginning of this broadcast I promised everyone a special announcement
for all of you who are in Texas or planning to be in Texas in February we
are going to be announcing our Texas meet up tomorrow on patreon so all of
our wtr family members will get access to that head on over there tomorrow and
you will know what the he really is bump in this table head over there tomorrow
and check for the announcement because I think it’s going to be kind of cool in
Texas should be a lot of fun. Thank you guys so much for joining if you
enjoyed this please give it a thumbs up subscribe if you haven’t already
and for those of you who want to become part of the WTRFamily head on over to
Patreon and we will see you next Wednesday. Bye guys!

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