Digital nomad life isn’t just for solo travelers. Some couples are taking both their jobs and relationships on the road to live a non traditional life (at least for a while). Digital nomadism–especially as part of a couple–comes with its own unique set of challenges and obstacles, as well as, of course, triumphs and joys.
We spoke to 5 digital nomad couples who are fortunate enough to work remotely to learn their tips for other couples who are looking into taking the plunge into traveling the world and working together. Read on to get inspired!
Elani & Geoff Wales
Elani is a certified translator and Geoff is an engineer. Together, they run Athena Quotes, a project that amplifies women's voices by pairing brilliant quotes by women with gorgeous images.
“Since being digital nomads means spending almost every hour of every day together, I often think of a great Kahlil Gibran quote: ‘Let there be spaces in your togetherness.’ I think it's really important to create some mental space and be able to do your own thing sometimes.The biggest things when traveling as a couple are the same as just being part of a couple at all: enjoy each other's company, be able to rely on each other, and disagree productively, not destructively.
One major tip is to choose slow travel. We find that it's much less expensive and that you get to know places much more deeply. One place we like that we can't believe isn't more of a DN hotspot: Penang, Malaysia. Super cheap, amazing food, really cool history and culture.”
Katia Dimova & Emmanuel de La Houssaye
Katia works on marketing strategy & business development while Emmanuel is a packaging designer at their design agency, Lekub.
“One important point is to make difference between spending 24/7 together and spending quality time. Because working for 10 hours on a project and sitting next to each other, for me, doesn't count as time spent together, or time for the couple. It's important to have your little rituals and things you do especially for the couple, like a date night or Sunday brunch or something else, whatever you like, where talk about work is forbidden.
Most importantly my tip would be, if you try it out and you can't live 24/7 together maybe you shouldn't be together at all. I know a lot of couples that live together and have completely separate lives, hobbies, friends. While it's important to give space to each other, it is also very important to not be able to get enough of each other, that's a good sign especially for long term relationships.
When travelling and moving from place to place you need to make sure you have a similar vision about the places you want to go to and the way of life you enjoy. It is needless to say that if one is into luxury and the other one into wild camping, chances are you will find it difficult to find an agreement and sooner or later one of the two will be tired of making compromises.”
Ken & Adri Pedersen
Ken and Adri are the co-owners of Gringo Furniture.
“Don’t sweat the small stuff. Countries, peoples, customs will be different. That’s what you wanted, right? Appreciate it and take it in. Stay flexible. Travel–and especially digital nomadism–may test your boundaries. Have a sense of humor and remember that even in the worst case scenario you’ll have a great story.
Keep your eye on prize. What’s the silver lining? You’re not buried in snow or in a cubicle in a high-rise. If something goes wrong, remember how lucky you are.
Establish a schedule that’s both fun and productive, so that right away you can get work done but also explore and feel like you’re enjoying the local flavor. We come up with the “must do’s and sees” for each of us in that location. The rest is gravy.
Respect each other’s boundaries and need for space.
Bring some of your nourishing rituals on the road. They can often provide a grounding, healthy anchor: favorite music, yoga mat, your special morning brew.”
Tristan & Danyelle Pollack
“Pay attention! Observe the subtle nuances of your relationship while on the road. Danyelle and I have been traveling on our sabbatimoon for a little over a year, we've been to 43 countries, and we always seem to find a way to fill our days. In all this movement, we aim to have morning check-ins and monthly 'full moon' ceremonies to listen to each other. We cover what has been challenging, then what's been joyful, and finally, what do we want to accomplish or focus on in the coming month. This helps us understand each other on a deeper level, improve our emotional communication, and set new healthy habits while outside of the default 9-5 world, so when we return to it (if we return to it) we will be stronger together.”
Becky Miller & Fred Junqueira
Becky a digital marketing strategist/account manager and Fred is an animator/motion designer.
“Take your time and slow down - you don't need to rush to see everything. Stay at least two weeks in a place and if you love it, extend your time! If not then you have the flexibility to change your location (even if it's a different Airbnb or hostel in the same city).
Scope out some cafes/coworking spaces over the weekend while exploring your new location (testing wifi speeds, seeing if there are enough outlets around the space, is the noise level OK) so when it comes time to work you won't be scrambling to find a decent place!
Do searches in nomad/expat Facebook groups to get a feel for what countries and specific cities are good hubs for working remotely, and to get a sense of what type of experience you want; vibrant, a walkable city with easy access to public transportation and other destinations close by for weekend trips? An off the beaten path, relaxed vibe on the coast where you can focus on health/wellness/surfing/yoga?”
There you have it! We hope these tips from couples who are living the life inspire you and your partner to take the plunge to become a digital nomad couple, too. Oh, and if you need a place to stay, couples are welcome at Outsite!
Words: Ashley Laderer for Outsite