Table of Contents
When we hit the road in 2016, we thought we would travel for one year. However, that year quickly turned into three years of digital nomad life without a permanent home, mailing address or landline.
Not only did we give up working in offices and restaurants, but we also rented our Philadelphia house for 2.5 years before taking a deep plunge by selling it in 2018. For six months we were technically homeless before we signed an apartment lease in Lisbon, our new home base.
Digital Nomad Life
As full-time digital nomads, we’ve traveled in four continents, thirty countries and too many cities to count. We’ve also turned our culinary travel blog into a successful digital publishing business. The entire experience has been both wonderful and exhausting.
The benefits of this lifestyle have been extraordinary. As we’ve traversed the world, we’ve seen amazing sites like the Grand Canyon and the Cliffs of Moher. We’ve also eaten amazing food like pizza in Naples, ramen in Osaka and Pho in Hanoi. Sometimes we pinch ourselves at this crazy dream that we’ve turned into a reality.
But our modern lifestyle also has its challenges. We left our friends and families behind back in Philadelphia and New York. Plus, we conduct all of our business on laptops and smartphones. Our phones are especially important since we use them both to stay in touch and to document our meals.
Staying Connected on the Road
Our phones are indispensable. If we didn’t know it before, we certainly knew it when pickpockets stole Daryl’s prized possession on a crowded metro in Athens, Greece. Talk about a bad time and place for a phone to be stolen! Don’t worry – he bought a new phone a couple months later when we were back in the states for a visit.
How We Use Our Phones in Our Business
Although some people think we live the life of Riley, we’re actually working all the time. We travel with unlocked phones and purchase SIM cards from quality phone providers like Three when we arrive in a new city so that we can connect to the grid immediately.
Here are some of the ways we use our phones to get work done:
Since our website focuses on food and travel, we need to photograph almost every meal that we eat. We typically use a DSLR camera for our shoots, but we also use our phones to take supporting photos at times when it’s inappropriate to pull out a big camera.
We primarily use our phone photos on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. However, as the quality of phone photographs has increased, some of our phone photos have made the site and look pretty darn good.
We are constantly learning new information about food, chefs and culture as we eat our way around the world. As smart as we like to think we are, we can’t remember it all. Talk about information overload!
Accordingly, we take copious notes directly into our phones that we can access later when writing articles. These notes allow us to document our experiences and create more robust content.
We have a volatile relationship with social media – we love it and we hate at the same time. Right now, Instagram Stories is the social media platform that works best for us.
People often think we’re being frivolous when we produce Instagram Stories during our meals. However, we’re actually acting as ‘influencers’ to an audience of avid food and travel enthusiasts and professionals who follow our stories feed every day.
Some of these followers have even shown up at cafes to meet us in cities like Da Nang and Hoi An after seeing our stories. Yes, we’re self-professed D List celebrities in Vietnam where most of our stalkers are located.
How We Use our Phones to Stay in Touch
Although we love each other’s company, sometimes we miss talking to friends and family especially at dramatic times in our lives. Here are the ways we use our mobile phones to stay in touch regardless of our current location:
As much as we use our phones for a myriad of functions, we sometimes use our phones to make phone calls. Let’s face it – our mothers like to hear our voices once in a while. Between SIM cards, Skype and Google Hangouts, we can use our phones to call virtually anywhere in the world.
You better believe we called home when the Philadelphia Eagles won their first Superbowl in 2018. After waking up at 5 am to watch the big game with a ragtag group of expats in Vietnam, Daryl had just as much fun rehashing the highlights with his brother, mother and father on the phone.
These days, we conduct much of our communication via email. Though we prefer to draft work email on our laptops, we often send personal emails on our phones.
For immediate communications, we often use messaging applications on our phones instead of making phone calls or sending emails. Apps like Facebook Messaging and WhatsApp allow us to have live conversations with loved ones and friends regardless of time differences and locations.
As an added bonus, we can have group conversations that enable us to make plans and communicate efficiently. There’s never enough time in the life of a digital nomad, so we take every opportunity to save time where we can.
About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.