Digital Nomad Quotes for aspiring digital nomads, travelers, and anyone who seeks inspiration for travel. Here are some quotes that will make your toes tingle and make you want to be on the road now. Know of any other quotes? Please add some in the comments or send us some!
1. I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way – Carl Sandburg
2. I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list – Susan Sontag
3. I was never going to go if I waited for someone to come with me – Laura
4. To travel is to take a journey into oneself – Danny Kaye
5. I would rather own little and see the world than own the world and see little of it – Alexander Sattler
6. Chris Michel – Everyone Has a Story … It’s your story, you write it.
7. A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving – Lao Tzu
8. Once a year go somewhere you’ve never been before – Dalai Lama
9. The road you travel has twists and turns. The life of an entrepreneur has ups and downs. Hang on and enjoy the ride – Libby Tucker
10. Every few hundred feet the world changes – Roberto Bolano
11. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – Lao Tzu
When you’re traveling around the world, living and working from anywhere, you’ll likely find yourself on a plane once or twice, if not hundreds of times. And while it’s great to be able to use this mode of transportation to get wherever it is you want to go, flying isn’t always the most comfortable way to move about – especially on long flights.
Fortunately, there are a few different things you can do to make your air-based travels less daunting and more enjoyable. This starts with learning how to pack, where to sit, and other valuable tips that will make it easier (and more fun) to get from where you are now to wherever it is you want to be.
Getting comfortable on a plane starts with packing first…
How to Pack
Your primary goal should be to not bring too much with you on the plane. The easier you can slip in and out of your seat without worrying about grabbing or tripping over all of your things, the more efficient and less stressful both your trip and your neighbor’s will be.
Focus on Necessities
So, what should you pack in your carry-on so you can travel comfortably without taking a bunch of things you don’t necessarily need?
For starters, you want to make sure you have your airline ticket, passport or visa (if applicable), driver’s license, money, medical card, and any other documentation you need on hand for your travels.
You also want to make sure you have any medications you’ll need with you, including anything you take over the counter.
Carry enough money to get you to and from the airport and to buy some food. Always make sure to have at least one credit/debit card (2 or more is better in case one is lost/stolen/not working).
Eye masks are great if you plan on sleeping during the flight, along with earplugs or noise-canceling headphones. A travel pillow can provide your neck some much needed support (Alaska Airlines and some other flights will have adjustable headrests, so you might want to check before taking your own pillow), and you might want to consider an inflatable footrest to enhance the comfort of your legs (or rest them on top of your carry on).
As far as clothing is concerned, take an extra pair of socks in case it gets cold on the plane.
You also want to have a sweatshirt or light jacket in case it gets cold. Plus, it doubles as an extra blanket and/or pillow that doesn’t take up any additional room.
Throw in an extra pair of underwear and a clean shirt as well in your carry on. If your luggage is somehow misplaced, it will at least make you feel a little better to put on some fresh clothes after a long day of travel.
You also want to have a few things with you to occupy your flight time. This could include work, some downloaded movies or podcasts on your smartphone or tablet, or even your favorite game apps. Some airlines do offer in-flight TV and Internet services, but not all of the planes are equipped with them, so you want to have your own activities available in case you find that you are traveling on one of them.
Food & Beverage
Some healthy snacks are great to throw in your carry-on in the event that you get hungry and your flight doesn’t include meals or you didn’t have time to grab something in between flights. A few to consider include trail mix, fruit, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or cheese and crackers.
You can’t bring beverages from home due to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations, but you can always pack an empty water bottle in your carry-on and just fill it at an airport drinking fountain after you get through security. This one simple move can save you some cash and is good for the environment.
A Few Bonus Items – Staying Fresh
Anti-bacterial hand gel is nice to have on hand as germs can spread quite easily in both airport and plane settings. You might also want to pack some lip balm and hand lotion as the air in planes can be very dry, especially on long flights.
Speaking of long flights, taking toothpaste and a toothbrush will allow you to freshen your mouth before you land… which allows you to feel fresh all around. Deodorant is a must and so are wet towelettes which can go a long way in lieu of a shower.
Now that you’ve got everything you need, let’s talk about where to sit…
Where to Sit
Most airlines allow you to pick your seats when you purchase your tickets. If you’re flying on one of them and you can, try to find a seat that has no passenger next to you so you have more room (although, this can change if the flight fills up).
However, if you’re on an airline that doesn’t allow you to preselect your seat, then at least check in online as early as you can (usually 24 hours before the flight is scheduled to depart) so you can choose your seat then.
The seat that is best for you depends on a number of different factors, such as where you’re going, how long of a flight, and also your body type. I almost always pick a window seat toward the front of the aircraft. That way, if the flight is crowded, especially on shorter-duration flights, I can get off quicker once we land.
But if the flight is 10 hours or more, then it really doesn’t matter how quickly you plan to exit the plane, so where you sit matters a little less. Ideally, you probably want to choose one closer to the bathroom, but you don’t want to be so close to it that people are constantly moving around you, opening and closing the lavatory door (with sometimes unpleasant odors).
The aisle seat is great for a short flight but, if you have any part of you sticking out into the aisle, you will get bumped. This is true whether it is by one of the restless passengers that is going for a mid-flight walk or the infamous drink and food cart that has been known to strike more than a few funny bones and knees.
If you plan to sleep on your flight, the window seat is your best option as, in addition to not getting bumped, you also have a place to lay your head (If you’re a sleeper who drools, your seatmate will appreciate this tremendously!).
Some people prefer exit row seats thanks to the extra leg room, which is nice, especially if you are tall. I find that flying standby on a buddy pass will sometimes land you in one of these seats at no extra cost.
And even with short legs, this row of seats can often make for a nicer flight. But be aware that the seats in these rows don’t recline, so if that feature is important to you, then you might want to stick with a regular seat option.
Wherever you are sitting, if the flight is not full and you want a different seat, just ask the flight attendant if you can move once everyone has boarded. Or, if you have a few extra dollars and want to upgrade, you can always go for economy comfort or first class and enjoy the perks that those particular sections of the plane have to offer.
What else should you know when traveling comfortably, whether you’re flying internationally or domestic?
Additional Flying Tips for Increased Comfort on Your Plane Ride
Some other tips to consider when flying on an airplane include:
Start your travels well-rested. Although it may sound like spending your in-air time sleeping is a great idea, it doesn’t always work that way. So, the more sleep you have beforehand, the easier it will be for you to handle the stresses related to both short and long-term travel.
Start hydrating before you go. Begin drinking extra fluids a couple of days before you go as travel can be very dehydrating. Water is the best choice (don’t forget to bring a bottle with you and fill up after passing through security)
Wear loose clothing. Remember: the longer the flight, the more comfortable you want your clothing to be.
To avoid the ugly arm rest fight, place your sweatshirt or jacket inside your seat and rest part of it on the armrest between you and the passenger next to you. That way you’re not spending your entire flight fighting for elbow space.
Get up and walk around a bit. Ideally, you want to do this every hour or so (particularly when on long flights) to keep your circulation flowing.
Finally, if you travel a lot, it may be worth it to stick to just one airline so you can earn their specific perks, such as free upgrades and early boarding.
If you have a lot of experience traveling on a plane, what are some tricks that you’ve learned to make your flights more comfortable? Please share in the comments below!
There are a few things I do each time before I leave on a trip to make sure that I have no hiccups and can continue to keep my schedule, life, and work – in continuous flow. Here is my travel checklist and some tips I’d like to share.
1. Check Schedule & Calendar
Staying productive from anywhere is the true goal of a remote worker, freelancer, or digital nomad. Your clients, schedule, and calendar matter.
Plan For Existing Meetings
First, take a look at your calendar to see what meetings you have coming up. Make sure that you plan your flight and all your time in transit around that meeting or call. Leave yourself enough of a buffer between flights, metro stations, taxis, ubers, etc so that you can get there in time to have your call and actually have the head space to make sure it’s effective.
Everyone is different but you never know if the taxi will be late or overcharge you and your head is in haggle mode when it should be in sales mode. Be mentally prepared and give yourself the time to focus on the call in a quiet space with good wi-fi.
Set Your Upcoming Schedule
Next, decide if you need to schedule any other meetings that week.
Make sure your flight and travel plans are scheduled around your meetings and that you will have strong wi-fi and quiet, low-noise for meetings.
Figure out how you will work around the upcoming meetings. If you’ve committed to being there, it’s important to show up, and you need to plan accordingly – or rearrange early.
Even more importantly for travel, confirm your clients or business partners will be there (it’s a pain to reschedule, especially on the road, beside the obvious fact that people need to honor and respect each others’ schedules).
I don’t always tell my clients that I’m traveling. Not because I’m hiding anything but to keep them from panicking.
This is a double edged sword. If I say I’m leaving, they tend to panic. It’s that knee-jerk reaction that we are still programmed to believe that traveling means shutting off. This is changing. Soon, clients will just say “okay, safe travels, talk to you at our next meeting.” Some clients already just know and say something like “… wherever you are in the world.”
Set Expectations & Be Accountable
The truth is – just show up. Be accountable to yourself and to others. In general, meetings are canceled or rescheduled all the time. If you’re not traveling, yet you are in the same city and had to reschedule, it’s viewed as normal. But, if you tell people that you’re traveling then people tend to think your’e on vacation and you rescheduled for that reason, which portrays irresponsibility and can backfire on you.
Traveling while working personally makes me even more accountable. I don’t like to waste my own time especially when on the road.
Practicing integrity and being a person of your word, and consistency, is what is important. Not the place. Meeting goals, deadlines, and being accountable are what matter most.
2. Bring Food & Water
You never know when you’ll have an extended layover, the drinking fountain breaks down, or the stores close early. Make sure you have enough supplies for a just-in-case situation. Plus, it’s nice to have snacks and not be parched.
First thing I do (after security if in an airport) when traveling is to fill my water bottle. Even though you have to empty it before security if you’re getting on the plane, you never know when you’ll be stuck without something to drink. So find a water station and fill up.
Ideally bring a water bottle that has a filter, like a Brita filter, so that you can safely drink most tap water, depending on where you go.
Buy snack food. Packing nuts, dried fruits and granola bars ensures you’ll never be stuck starving. They take a long time to go bad, plus you can avoid the $20 dollar sandwich at the airport.
3. Banking & Financial
Set Travel Alert
Important – set your travel alert with your bank. Have you ever tried using your card only to find out it’s not working? It always happens at the worst time – when you’re about to pay for your next meal (that you’ve already eaten!), about to buy that sweater you’ve had your eye on, or need money to pay for a taxi. Figuring out how to call or contact your bank when you’re out and about overseas can be an especially fun challenge.
Setting an alert ahead of time will avoid all of this!
Additionally, look online at which bank(s) offers reciprocity so you can save on ATM fees.
For example, I bank (partly) with Bank of America. You can google “set travel alert with <add your bank name here>” to find out if you are able to save on fees with your bank.
There are some credit cards, like the Delta Sky Miles card from American Express that allows you to save on international fees completely. For ATM cards, check with your bank. To the right is an example from Bank of America.
Bring enough cash to cover at least the way to the airport / train station and enough for the return trip when you land. I usually bring $20 USD or Euros each way for the airport and the subway or bus trip. If there’s some left over, I get to buy local snacks.
Another $20 USD in my bag for when I land. Enough for breakfast and a bus ticket.
If I have local currency ahead of time, I usually carry about the equivalent of $20 for when I land.
If you don’t have local currency, all you have to do is pull cash out of the ATM at the airport wherever you land. The rate of exchange may be a little high (unless it’s on the reciprocal bank list) but it’s generally cheaper than going to the currency exchange bureau. When I land, I suggest taking out around $100-$200 USD or the local equivalent. This is enough to get you started with transportation, food / coffee, and a little extra for the unexpected.
Try to pay with a card (now that your travel alert is set) and save the cash for incidentals and until you arrive at your destination and until you know the next ATM spot where you’ll do your next cash withdrawal.
5. Necessities Checklist
This can vary but for me the necessities are:
ticket booked with confirmation (and make sure I check in online beforehand to avoid long lines)
credit cards (1 main, 1 for backup)
laptop and power cord
international power adaptor that covers the country(ies) I’ll be going to
money ($20 usd each way)
map (or picture of map) of transportation, i.e. subway maps for New York City
contact information while abroad dispersed to family, friends, and clients
bathroom kit i.e. toothbrush (though I can buy this when I land if I forget it)
I always have my necessities with me. I can leave from anywhere and go anywhere at pretty much any time with just a backpack. What I don’t have I pick up when I arrive, like toiletries. It’s always fun to buy shampoo in which I recognize the brand but cannot understand the label.
6. Accommodations Check
I am pretty adventurous but I like to know where I’ll sleep when I land, especially if I am jet lagged from a long international flight. Usually arranging the first day or first week in a place will give you time to get oriented – and you can go from there!
One day versus one week is very different. I tend to book only one day if my destination is not so far away and there’s not a huge time or cultural change. I will book up to one week if it’s farther away, there’s a big time change, and if there is a language or huge cultural change.
I landed in South Africa today, for example, and I’ve booked an AirBnB apartment for 8 days to not only see the city but to get myself situated and talk to locals about where to go next.
So, fellow traveler, what’s on your pre-travel checklist? Do you have an item on your necessities list that you don’t see listed? What’s your priority when landing in a new place?
Hostels in the US are not very common. There’s a perception as well about hostels for many in the US. They aren’t clean, your stuff will get stolen, etc. But, I’ve stayed in hundreds of hostels all over the world and I dig hostels. Here’s why:
meet people from all over the world
never feel like you’re traveling alone
always located in a great part of town
always have guides, maps, etc to help you know where to go
not expensive for a place to lay your head for the night (since you’re probably traveling to see the sights, after all)
much more character than a hotel
almost always have wifi and power as well as a common space
common kitchen which allows you to do your own cooking
The downsides and how to overcome them:
always carry an eye mask and ear plugs (hostels can be noisy at times and depends on the hostel)
bring shower shoes as a general practice though you may not need them
bring your own shampoo and soap, and have a towel just in case
bring a lock. most hostels have storage lockers but you generally provide your own lock.
I have never had anything stolen from a hostel. I’ve never had a bad experience… except for a random incident in El Salvador. But, now I have a story to tell. And, I was safe.
Hostels, particularly for solo travelers, are great places to stay. You will always meet people and you’ll usually be in a part of town that’s easy to get around. Staff generally are multilingual and very helpful. If you’re up for an adventure, try a hostel.
Some of my favorites include:
El Patagonico, Puerto Natales, Punta Arenas, Chile
While it is certainly nice to get away, it’s also nice to stay in touch with family and friends along the way. Whether you want to share your stories and pictures of your travels, or simply say “I’m okay,” it’s necessary to maintain contact with those you love. And even though it sounds like something that should be rather easy, it can actually be a daunting task when you’re counties or countries away.
You can’t necessarily just pick up your phone and call (especially if you are travelling overseas) and some of your “normal” communication methods aren’t available when you’re out of your service area. So, what are you to do to stay in touch?
Thankfully cell phone plans now often have an international plan, like T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint allow you to seamlessly turn on your phone the minute you hit the ground and be able to communicate. No need for those old Internet cafes!
Downloading a good travel or communication app is a great first step. And, since I’ve been shopping for the best applications for keeping in contact with my loved ones, I’d like to share with you the top communication apps that I’ve found to help you communicate while overseas.
If you’re looking for business communication, then your mileage may vary with some of these apps as most were designed with personal communication in mind. However, depending on your job, you may still get some use out of these.
Now, if you’re eager to make sure you don’t lose touch with friends and family while you’re out of the country, here are 7 apps for you to choose from.
Let’s start with the big one. A few years ago, Zoom was something you might have used for work. Fast forward to life post-2020, and it’s a household name. You might have even heard grandma say something like “Do you want to Zoom this weekend?” (Who would have thought that would happen!)
The best part is you only need 4mb of download speed to access Zoom! Maintaining a good connection on a video app is so much easier than it was in years past.
You can see other important speed requirements for your remote work lifestyle here.
Zoom has a chat function, both within and outside of actual calls, but it’s primarily a video conferencing platform. Of all the options on this list, this is the one with the most crossover between personal life and work. For example – ever had a virtual Zoom happy hour? Cheers!
You can host multiple people on the same call, much like Skype. Beware that a free account will limit your call length to 45 minutes if you have more than two people on at once (but there’s nothing stopping you from ending the call and immediately redialing to reset your time limit). Zoom is a great way to stay in touch with multiple family / friends / colleagues all at once. It’s a good way to keep in touch and reconnect with your community as traveling overseas can sometimes be lonely. Plans start at just $15/month if you want unlimited time and people on the call.
2. Facebook Messenger (and Facebook)
You can use Facebook Messenger app to have instant access to conversations with family and friends. You can send messages instantly over data and also make calls to loved ones overseas.
Of course you can use the Facebook app to get an update on everyone’s lives or give your own update, and feel as connected as you would if you were right there next to your people. You can even share your travel photos on your Facebook page as you take them, which helps you keep track of what you did and when.
3. WhatsApp (now owned by Facebook)
WhatsApp is a popular messaging app for travelers, the only hitch being that your friends have to also have the app to communicate with you. So, if you do plan on using this option when travelling overseas, you’re better off asking the people you intend to contact to download it before you go. WhatsApp is connected by using your phone number, except you won’t get charged cell phone rates when using Whatsapp. Now part of Facebook’s family of apps, it functions similar to Facebook Messenger and a great way to stay connected, particularly with those who don’t have a Facebook account.
WhatsApp gained a lot of popularity by travelers and anyone without the same cell phone plan. As data increased and cell phone SMS messaging was too expensive, WhatsApp gained a lot of traction and is still widely used today worldwide. It also is known for being somewhat of a replacement for GroupMe and other group messaging chats, as you can quickly and easily form groups. Like Messenger, you can also do calls and video calls.
4. Instagram (now owned by Facebook)
Another in the Facebook family, Instagram is primarily a social media platform for sharing photos, but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming one of the go-to ways to communicate with people across the world both for work and for pleasure.
Like the other apps, you have access to data or Wi-Fi, then your Instagram is good to go. You can go live on Instagram to communicate with a lot of people at once, or you can stick to the app’s private messaging function. It’s a lot like Facebook’s messenger app, except that it is not a separate app; it’s baked into the app proper. Facebook has made it even easier to communicate between apps as they now allow you to cross-post and cross-message on the two platforms, Instagram (IG) and Facebook Messenger. Instagram users can send messages to contacts on Facebook Messenger without the leaving app and vice versa.
Instagram doesn’t work very well on a desktop, it’s meant to be used on your phone. And like WhatsApp and Facebook, you can only reliably communicate with people who also have the app. So download it before your next travel date and make sure your important contacts are in your friends list.
5. iMessage and FaceTime
My friends and family have long been giving me a hard time about having limited contact when travelling. Typically, I was on my computer using Skype or Google Voice, but now, with unlimited data, 5G, and nearly ubiquitous Wi-Fi on my phone, I typically communicate in real-time via text by using iMessage.
FaceTime is also a must-have. It rings on the receiver’s phone as though it’s a normal call, making it ‘seamless’ on the caller’s end. That’s what it’s all about anyway, right? Never missing a beat and being able to travel full time and still earn a living?
No travel app list wouldn’t be complete without including Skype. It’s the one communication app that has been around the longest and it likely still has the highest adoption rate worldwide when compared to any of the other apps available for overseas communications.
If you don’t have Skype installed or if you want to be able to call your computer, you can get a Skype To Go number. This includes an answering service for when you’re away and you can even send texts from your purchased number in a manner similar to Google Voice.
People who choose to use Skype regularly can easily instant message (IM), voice call, or video call. Skype is like the older sibling to Zoom. It’s now owned by Microsoft but still widely used worldwide and often a household term for those who use it to say “Skype me”.
7. Google Hangout
Calling all Google fans! Now that Skype is part of Microsoft (and many of us would not survive without our Google Apps suite), we’ll probably all use Google Hangout at some point.
You have to have a Google+ account to use Hangouts, so that is something to keep in mind. Also, I find that the bandwidth needed is more than that of Skype, so it’s already a little more clunky to get started.
Another consideration for this particular travel app is that you have to have it in another Google window versus open in another app. This is an advantage for some, but I personally love having the ability to switch to another app quickly.
Despite any shortcomings that Google Hangout has, your family and friends will love the animated faces and hats you can wear while talking face-to-face!
Here are a few extra apps that didn’t quite make the list, but which are also worth a look.
1. Google Voice
Google Voice allows you to forward your calls and also lets you answer them from your computer. I used to forward my local number to my computer and it was completely seamless, nobody knew if I was in the office or on the beach. Google voice routes your call to any number you set up.
While I’m still a fan of Google Voice, you don’t really need it anymore if you have a comprehensive phone plan. With companies like T-Mobile are offering cell phone plans with coverage in as many as 152 countries, you may not have a need for Google Voice.
If you work remotely you and your team most likely have used Slack at some point. Slack modernized communication for teams, particularly remote teams. So though we’ve talked mostly about family and friends, it’s no secret that remote work is growing in a post-Covid world, and Slack is one of those apps you’ll be referencing often from your app library to communicate with work or with online communities.
I honestly haven’t used this particular travel app much, but an Australian venture capitalist that I met at aWomen 2.0 conference was telling me about it and I’ve heard nothing but good things since. It’s also quickly growing in popularity, so if you’re looking for something that you’ll be able to use with many friends, Viber is becoming a communication app option that you’ll want to consider as you might be very satisfied with it.
Really there’s no way NOT to communicate anymore while being remote. Social media apps like Snapchat and TikTok or gaming apps like Roblox, Discord allow you to be connected anywhere to your community.
There you have it. These are the top seven apps available for people who travel overseas or even those who venture out domestically.
What apps do you use to keep in touch while traveling?
I spent the past 10 years wanting to travel. I spent the last 10 years accumulating stuff. Finally, I drew a line in the sand. I was going no matter what. Not an easy decision and something in need of planning but well worth the effort.
I decided to reduce my life down to FOUR BOXES. I had two houses, a car, a cat, a relationship, tenants, a business, a job, a car, a social life, photos, cd’s, DVDs, furniture, paperwork – you name it!
What I decided to do was make a list of the things that were most important to me and what I couldn’t do without. Then, I decided to get rid of everything else. It’s unbelievable how much ‘stuff’ we can build up! After simplifying my life and liberating myself and reflecting, I really don’t know how or why we do it. Of course there’s the old “keeping up with the Jones’s” or simply adding more things for the space we have available. Either way, it’s not fulfilling and somewhat narrow minded. To release yourself of the ‘ties’ we have, whether real or imagined, is quite the freeing experience.
Picture albums (with a backup digital copy)
Legal paperwork for house / business / etc
Precious items that were gifts or could not be replaced
Really that was about it. I had two houses at the time and I made a plan to sell the first one. It took 3 and 1/2 months but finally after cleaning, prepping, and marketing it sold. Huge check off the list!
My job. My car was easy, I got in a small bumper crash and it decided no longer to run. So, I invested in the city bus. I had a heart to heart with myself. In another post I talk about the loathe I have for the corporate world, and although a great opportunity for me (there are many if you are a glass-half-full person), I released the chains and gave my notice.
Everything else was easy. Several trips to Goodwill, many posts on Craigslist, happy and willing friends to offload stuff onto, digitizing all music and movies, and online storage for everything that was important to me (with backup).
I’ll go through little by little what I use for tools to help me be mobile and work virtually.
I wasn’t able to sell my other house since, as we all know, the market went South. But it still feels good to have a place to call home and go back to. For several months I tried to find the right tenant to occupy my home. Giving them a few deposit slips and contacts in case something goes wrong or needs fixing and voila! Off to Central America to prove that living and working abroad can not only cost you less in stress and also in the dollars you spend.
From my home wifi, to airport seatac wifi, to SFO airport wifi, to Gogo InFlight, Boingo as backup, to rail Wifi on the BART…
Convince me that I need AT&T.
I’ve been without my phone for several weeks. Other than people asking me why I’m not using my other number, and me not being the best atreturning voicemails (same as always), nobody has noticed. I have an iPhone and use iMessage with friends. I use Google Voice with others. I’m covered.
I’m actually better now at returning calls than I was before. Google Voice lets you READ your voicemails. I know how to prioritize them. They may have spelling errors or some incorrect words, but you get the gist and at the very least a quick laugh.
I never answer my incoming calls anyway. Not usually. Everything I do work-wise is batched and scheduled. Plus, now you can carry around Wifi devices like Roku, Clearwire, and those from AT&T and Verizon. There are also a bunch of other options if you look hard enough.
“What about an emergency?” I hear you say. What did we do 10 or 20 years ago? We found a way to contact the people we needed. Texting with a cell phone can actually create an emergency! Learning to be patient and flexible goes a long way.
Not having a phone can actually help you manage your schedule more intentionally. And it can even help you calm your nerves!
Talk about seamless travel. Let me tell you a story.
I missed my flight due to a 3 hour commute with my taped-up duffle bag. Trying to save $100 may end up causing me more later in back problems, but I was determined to give up some cash.
I missed the baggage check-in by 10 minutes. So I had to sleep at the airport yetagain. Normally, I’m prepared for this, and I love getting wifi and quiet time. Not the case this time.
It was the coldest night in 3 years in NYC, and with revolving doors, pre-security gate, the draft was continuous. I ended up giving my metro card and travel hand lotion to William, a schizophrenic homeless man who I ended up chatting with for half of the night. We met in a 24 hour Subway, where we’d both meandered into to find a warm spot in the airport. It helped out a fellow person and it lightened my load.
Boingo came to the rescue. I had never purchased it before, but now that I’m without a phone and can’t tether, I decided to try it out. Plus, they had a pretty sweet promotion going on: Full service for $4.98 USD per month. (Note: Can’t wait to update more later about my experience with Boingo while on the go and just how seamless it is. Definitely keeping an eye on them.)
When I’m prepared with WiFi, extra clothes, packed lunch, and toiletries, and feel safe, then not much else matters. I’m covered. However, I didn’t think I would be forced to lug around 100 lbs of duct-taped gigantic body bag all night, taking it with me to the bathroom and everywhere else I went per Port Authority (on the bright side, I do feel pretty buff! Move over, p90x).
But, even with that, I knew to prepare. I wasn’t the only one who JUST missed the baggage window. Another girl on the flight had the same luck, and was crying and hysterically berating the attendant. All I could think about was that I was glad that wasn’t me. Don’t get me wrong, I was miserable and disappointed. But thanks to being able to just pop up my laptop anywhere, I knew I wasn’t stuck.
The only thing I was worried about was my 11:30 am PST meeting along with the time change. I’d get in with 2 hours to spare.
The morning flight rolls around and I get to board, finally ditching my bags – woohoo! But due to strong winds, the flight was delayed. And rerouted, tacking on an extra nearly 2 hours.
I’ll just email them in-flight, I thought. But, no Boingo, so I couldn’t. The plane landed and, with minutes to spare, I was able to grab a coffee and plug in at Starbucks (#thingsiloveaboutseattle). I actually had a spot to sit down with Wifi and power.
Connecting with Google Voice from the same number as my phone, with noise canceling headphones, and in the meeting on time. I could be doing this anywhere! And that’s just the point!
New York City is truly a melting pot where so many cultures come together from so many different places, with different histories and backgrounds.
They – all of these cultures – are all forced to be together, to take the subways, to interact and pass each other on the streets. There’s a language of ‘respect’ in New York that I’ve rarely witnessed in any other city in the US and in many cities in the world. NYC is its own unique culture.
If you want a taste of traveling to foreign countries but not having to worry about the exchange rate, come to New York!
Go eat a cannoli in little Italy
Have a sizzling bowl of bi bim bap in KoreaTown (K-Town)
Sushi in JapanTown (J-Town)
Dumplings in one of the Chinatowns (that’s right – Queens and Brooklyn have them too!)
Head to Brooklyn with your Cyrillic dictionary and have a perogi washed down with pure Russian vodka in Brighton beach.
On your way, visit the heart of South Brooklyn in Sunset Park where you can get the most amazing tacos and Mexican pastries, and then wash them down with a beer and conversation with an old Irish police officer. Slainte!
Head to Bay Ridge and I hope you like halal and Lebanese sandwiches.
Want more culture? A free ferry runs to Governors Island where you’ll find a large population of Hasidic Jews and cheap eats. Le Chaim!?
Did we neglect the upper west side? Mofongo! Fried mashed plantains speak to my heart, and the Dominicans do a mean (and very affordable) breakfast.
And of course, a good ole fashioned slice of pizza pie in the heart of manhattan or just across the Brooklyn bridge – if you don’t need a pile of napkins it’s not greasy enough.
And all of these cultures blend. Take the East Village. If you aren’t a postwar era Ukrainian, or even if you are, you’ve had Rays pizza, a shwarma, momofuku, pho, a pork bun, belgian fries, falafel, and boba tea – all on your street.
Every day people with unique stories of passion, of persistence, dreams, different backgrounds, languages, and cultures – all take the same subways, pass by each other on the streets, and interact in the office, in coffee shops, or in commerce.
New York City is truly a city of the world – with its history and diversity. From Ellis island and the Statue of Liberty standing by, arms open, creating and paving this greatness of the world in one city.
Its own unique culture
You may have heard some say that people in NYC are rude. Instead of saying they are rude, ask yourself “why are New Yorkers this way?”
Always seek the differences wherever you travel. Cultural differences are never ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ they are just different.
Rude is just a perception. We all have a view of the world we live in, based on our experiences from our environment.
This is an important lesson, for us all, wherever we travel.
Why do people in NYC rush past you? Why do they not stop to hold the door for you? Or why, in the grocery store line, do you have to fend for your position?
People are people everywhere. There are good people, there are bad people. Instead of labeling a culture as one or the other, recognize that it’s simply that – culture – and not a good or bad characteristic. Learn why people act that way and you can gain a better understanding. Expand your world, and I challenge you to make a list of differences every place you travel.
People are genuine
Even though people will rush past you or fight for their position on the train, people are incredibly helpful and they want to help you out. When faced with a problem, New Yorkers have a real ‘stick together’ attitude.
The other day I was on the LIRR (Long Island Railroad). I wasn’t sure I was on the right train. I asked 1 person if I was going the right way. Then the magic started to happen. Everyone in my car on the train got involved in helping me out. One guy even shouted “where you goin’?” after he put his friend on hold while speaking on the phone.
People are real, generally speaking, and they are always willing to lend a helping hand.
NYC forces you to be yourself
Not only is it the world in one city, but NYC brings out the ‘you’ in yourself.
In most cities, you still stand out. You will probably run into someone you know. There are more unspoken ‘laws’ with respect to how to act, how to dress, and so on. You don’t want to disrupt the underlying societal mores.
But in NYC, all rules have changed. There is a mix of everything. Walking up the stairs on the subway I am surrounded by a sporty guy Brooklyn-raised to my left, a hispanic non-native New Yorker to my right, an old Jewish man in front of me, an Italian tourist just behind me. There are so many different blends of cultures that there just simply are no rules. There is a basic human condition we default to, which is an underlying form of communication that embodies respect and non-judgmental equality.
You could wear the same outfit every day for a year and nobody in the city would even notice. You can dye your hair a different color every day. You can hold hands with your best friend without any second looks.
What would your world look like if you could unveil the pressures of conformity and allow yourself to be your real you?
Disclaimer – one time I did see a man dressed up in a Tinky Winky outfit and there were some giggles. But that’s what this city is all about. You can be a giant purple teletubby and that is the only way you’ll stand out.
Tell me about a time when you noticed that a culture had very big differences from what you were used to and how you handled it.
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