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How to Get a Thai Tourist Visa as a U.S. Citizen

True story: I almost didn’t have my visa in time for my departure to Thailand. Thai visas are one of the more complicated to obtain and there are many rules and regulations, which is why I want to tell you all how to get a Thai Tourist Visa. It’s important that you alott yourself enough time before traveling to Thailand to ensure you receive your passport and visa back from the consulate in time for your trip.

thailand visa for us citizen

This is how to get a Thai Tourist Visa if you’re a United States citizen.

Note: You must have at least 1 blank page left on your passport and at least 6 months validity until passport expiration to apply for a Thai visa.

Step 1: Decide which type of Thai Visa you need.

The U.S. Embassy to Thailand will give you more in-depth information.

Tourist Visa

If you want to travel Thailand for more than 30 days, you will be required to get a Tourist Visa prior to arriving in Thailand.

  • Single Entry Visa:

    The tourist visa must generally be used within 90 days from the date of issue and allows an initial stay of 60 days. Once in Thailand, you can extend your visa for an additional 30 days, for a 90 day total. To extend your visa, it costs 1900 baht and you can do so at the immigration office in Chiang Mai or Bangkok.

  • Multiple Entry Visa: 

    For longterm Digital Nomads, this is the solution to your worries. If you want to stay in Thailand for longer than 90 days, you’ll have to get a Multiple Entry Visa. If you’ve ever heard of the term “border runs,” you’ll get further aquainted with them during your stay in Thailand. You also might need to show bank statements to prove you have a minimum of $7,000 USD in the bank when applying for your Thai tourist visa.

Work Visa

All foreigners interested in working in Thailand must obtain a Thai work permit and a Thai work visa.  In order to receive a work permit, a company, foreign government, or other organization in Thailand must file an application on the behalf of the work visa applicant. Once obtained, the work visa is valid for one year.  For more information, please consult the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Royal Thai Embassy in Washington, D.C. websites.

how to get thai visaStep 2. Say Cheese!

You’ll need 2 identical headshots of yourself. With all the requirements that go into a passport or visa photos, it’s easiest to meet the needs by going to a drug store like CVS, Duane Reade, or Boots and get your photo taken. You’ll need 2 photos sized 3.5×4.5 cm.

Step 3: Get the right envelope and paperwork

First thing’s first –> Print Visa Application from online.

The Thai Consulate is pretty specific when it comes to how they want to receive your application and passport to review. Pick up a USPS Express Mail envelope with the $22.95 stamp and include: visa application, passport (yes, your actual passport) recent photos, print out of arrival and return flights. If you don’t have onwards plans solidifed when you apply for your visa, it’s a safe bet to book a cheap throwaway flight if you have to or rent a ticket from FlyOnward.

I found a $70 flight to Kuala Lumpur through AirAsia that I purchased for the sole purpose of including in my visa application and show to immigration upon arrival.

Be sure you include in your envelope:

  • A copy of your bank statements to show at least the equivalent of appx. $700 per person.
  • A return envelope so they can mail your passport back to you
  • Arrival and return flight information
  • Your passport
  • Visa Processing Fee:   $40 USD
    Payable in money order only, made payable to “Royal Thai Embassy”.

Mailing address:
Consular Office
Royal Thai Embassy
2300 Kalorama Rd., N.W.
Washington,D.C 20008-1623

Please allot for about 2 weeks turnaround time once you mail in your application for it to be reviewed and sent back to you.

Do not overstay your Thai visa!

It is illegal to overstay your visa in Thailand. And I don’t mean illegal like crossing a street when the light is red, I mean illegal illegal. It is not fun to be detained or questioned in a foreign country, especially an Asian or Middle Eastern country where rules aren’t as lenient. The fine for overstaying a visa is 500 Baht per day, up to a maximum of 20,000 Baht.

And most importantly, have fun in Thailand!

 

Hi, I’m Chelse! I am a Digital Nomad obsessed with traveling the world and seeking adventure beyond the 9-5 office life. When I turned 25 I decided that I was going to stop making excuses and do what I’ve always dreamed. I went from having 0 stamps in my passport to 7 countries in 7 months. I encourage anyone who wants to live a Digital Nomad lifestyle to just buy the ticket first, and figure out the rest later!

Work Abroad with These 7 Remote Jobs

work abroad

Working and living abroad is a dream for many wanderlusters, especially for the millenial generation. I’m a great example of someone who took their own job abroad and am now a Digital Nomad traveling through Southeast Asia with my laptop, passport, and love of exploring new corners of the world.

If you’re ready to earn a living while living internationally, work abroad with these remote jobs!

TEFL/ESL

Teaching English as a Foreign Language or English as a Second Language is a popular option for travelers in their 20’s and 30’s who want to see the world, experience new cultures and enrich both the lives of themselves and their students. There are thousands of opportunities for TEFL, and the best part? You do not need an official degree in teaching to be eligible.

Of course, you will need to complete the necessary certification and be able to demonstrate that you will provide a high-quality educational experience, but if you meet those expectations, go for it!

Learn more about the TEFL program and get certified or view the top 10 TEFL job markets and salaries.

Interexchange

Interexchange’s motto is “Uniting People Through International Exchange.” The program features several different varieties of jobs and opportunities in many different fields including being an Au Pair, Volunteer, Teaching English, or working in travel and hospitality such as a restaurant, hotel, or tourist attraction.

Interexchange promises to guide you through the application process, match you with an employer, and answer any questions along the way.

FreelanceDigital Nomad Jobs

One of the most common avenues for travelers and Digital Nomads is being a professional freelancer. If you hustle and have the talent, you can make more than enough to survive by becoming a writer, social media manager, marketing consultant, coder, graphic designer, or any other computer-based profession that can be done remotely while you live and work abroad.

If you don’t have a steady client base just yet, check out Elance, Fiverr, UpWork, and Freelance.com for work.

Digital Nomad Coordinator

Remote Year is currently hiring  for a Videographer and Program Leader and with the Digital Nomad lifestyle exploding, it’s likely that several other travel + work programs will be expanding steadily. If you don’t see any open listings, contact Coliving and Coworking facilities and inquire about possible employment possibilities. Or, perhaps organize a trade exchange. Such as offering to work 15 hours per month in exchange for a free desk at the coworking office, likely saving you around $100 – $200 per month.

Other Remote Work programs include:

YonderWork

Remote Experience

Hacker Paradise

We Roam

Peace Corps

The Peace Corps is an incredible U.S. program that sends volunteers across the world for making a difference hands-on through health and education initiatives, agriculture, community building and more. At the end of your 27 month journey, you will be given a stipend to help you re-acclimate and the Peace Corps can also help you pay off some student debt.

Is Peace Corps Right for Me?

I know a young woman who is currently serving in Swaziland and I am so moved by her dedication and thankful she posts photos to social media. This option truly allows you to make a difference while assimilating into local culture.

 

Photo Credit: Samantha Snodgrass, PC Swaziland
Photo Credit: Samantha Snodgrass, PC Swaziland
Photo Credit: Samantha Snodgrass, PC Swaziland
Photo Credit: Samantha Snodgrass, PC Swaziland

Startup Founder

business startup digital nomad

If you want to take your business idea to the next level, becoming a founder as a Digital Nomad is as popular as ever. Once you launch, I highly recommend 2 things: sign up for as many presentations and business development seminars as possible. This is what makes Chiang Mai so desirable for business owners to work abroad.

The second thing is to grow your online presence and social media. Check out this Social Media Academy. It’s a self-paced online “course” that teaches you everything you need to know about professional use of Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Linkedin and Pinterest for your new business. I see, time and time again, businesses who think they don’t need to invest time and money into their online presence, and they are so wrong.

Cruise Employee

International cruise companies like Norweigian and Carnival are always actively recruiting young adults to live and work at sea. Job openings include kitchen staff, maintenence, housekeeping, day care attendants, and so much more. You can find almost any type of job aboard these vessels – even performing! Audition to be an entertainer on board and it might be your first step to becoming a star.

Royal Caribbean Career Opportunities

Disney Cruise Line Careers

Princess Cruise Line Career Opportunities

Carnival Career Opportunities

SilverSea Career Opportunities

If you’re from the United States, check out the State Department’s website for a list of helpful programs and legitimate ways to work abroad.

Hi, I’m Chelse! I am a Digital Nomad obsessed with traveling the world and seeking adventure beyond the 9-5 office life. When I turned 25 I decided that I was going to stop making excuses and do what I’ve always dreamed. I went from having 0 stamps in my passport to 7 countries in 7 months. I encourage anyone who wants to live a Digital Nomad lifestyle to just buy the ticket first, and figure out the rest later!

The Most Important Lessons of Being a Female Digital Nomad

female digital nomad london

These are the Most Important Things I’ve Learned Being a Female Digital Nomad

There are many things I’ve learned about my myself and the world around me during my first few months of being a Female Digital Nomad. In my opinion, these experiences are priceless and have taught me more than any job, parent, friend, or classroom, ever could.

Most lessons come with experience, and as I travel to more places, I’ll be able to pick up more along knowledge the way. But there are a few core truths I’ve learned so far. And in my opinion, these are the most important things I’ve learned so far from being a Female Digital Nomad.

Listen To Your Gut

If being a Female Digital Nomad means you’re traveling solo, one of the most important things to keep you safe is to listen to your gut and pay attention to your surroundings. If you are walking down the street in the dark or a particular taxi driver is giving you bad vibes, don’t feel about about stopping in your tracks and getting yourself out of that situation as soon as possible.

I once lied about my songtaew stop in Chiang Mai for no other reason than I didn’t like the new passengers who hopped on board. I was supposed to get off about a mile away, but I hopped off the back of the red truck, paid the driver 20 baht, and waited for the next one. No biggie, because peace of mind is priceless.

I was supposed to visit Sydney, Australia recently and I didn’t get on a plane as I was boarding.  I wasted hundreds of dollars I had already spent on a non-refundable flight and hostel for the sole reason that I had a panic attack physically could not get on the plane. It just didn’t feel right. I followed my intuition, but I didn’t feel good about it. I knew I was wasting money, but I don’t have any regrets. I’ll get to Sydney another time. Your peace of mind being a female Digital Nomad is priceless, and that is one of the most significant things I’ve had to learn.

Buy Travel Insurance, Splurge on Flight Protection

flight protection

I have travel insurance through World Nomads and Travelex, but I just recently began adding flight protection when I book my tickets.

Hindsight is 20/20 because I reallyyyy wish I had bought insurance for that flight to Australia that I didn’t get on because $500 is a lot of money to lose on an unrefundable ticket. But I don’t purchase flight protection for all of my adventures – I usually abide by the $300 rule. Meaning, in my opinion, flight insurance is only really worth it if your flight is over $300. My standard travel insurance World Nomads didn’t cover the missed flight, nor did I splurge the extra $30 for flight insurance in case I needed to cancel for any reason. I learned my lesson.

Check out my favorite travel tools

Use Tripadvisor Reviews to Scout Fast Wifi

Do not book that lavish trip to Thailand based on it’s beautful pool alone. Yes, a lavish rooftop pool makes for a killer instagram photo, but remember that you’re there to get work done. Do a quick search on TripAdvisor or Expedia based on reviews from other travelers about what that apartment or hotel is actually like. Unfortunately, being a Digital Nomad isn’t all about the perfect instagram pic, you’re actually there to work – and you can’t work if the wifi is slow or intermittent. Sometimes you will have to choose the less pictureque hotel, homestay, or Airbnb if the wifi is more condusive to a successful work environment.

If you have a surprise conference call and can’t make it to the cafe or coworking office, you’ll be so thankful that your residence has strong internet service. It’s worth it to read the reviews before you book!

Do Not Risk Your Health

For the most part, I got really lucky in that I had no injuries while traveling, which many travelers cannot say the same. Just walk around Pai, Thailand and see all the backpackers bruised and bandaged from motorbike accidents. I did, however, get a pretty bad case of Dengue fever/food poisoning for two weeks while I was in Chiang Mai. It put me on my ass for several days where I was sending illegitimate emails to my coworkers (although thankfully not to my clients) and walking to 7-11 for water and Tylenol like a zombie.

It is so important to take care of your health when in a foreign country before it gets too serious. Go to the doctor as soon as possible if you think you need to be seen by a practitioner. Trust me, the local doctors and nurses are professional usually half the price of treatment that you’re used to if you’re an American.

I went to RAM Hospital in Chiang Mai and was pleasantly surprised at the modern facilities and compassionate care. My outpatient and medicine total bill was less than $100 USD.

Don’t Neglect the Tourist Hotspots!

female digital nomad malaysia

Yes, I know you are in your particular desinaton to work and not play, but remember why you became a Digital Nomad in the first place – to experience life outside your comfort zone. So go ahead, take an afternoon off to explore caves, tour temples, hike that mountain. Because, if you hole yourself up in your apartment or coworking space, what’s the point anyways?

I read a lot of travel blogs and a continuous peice of advice is to skip the popular tourist landmarks and instead go where the locals go. Well, yes, ok sure, but I am still a major advocate for fighting the crowds to see those hotposts. They’re popular for a reason! You can tell friends incredible anecdotes from places they’ll recognize like “Oh wow, when I was at the Eiffel Tower, I saw the most romantic marriage proposal!” A win/win!

The Importance of Saying Thank You

Say “Thank You” to your boss, the universe, god, whoever you have to that you feel you should show appreciation to for giving you the opportunity to be a Digital Nomad. It’s not always a glamorous lifestyle, but man is it worthwhile. We are privileged to have such an incredible lifestyle so it’s important not to take it for granted.

If you are a writer or keep a journal, jot down a few awesome, out of the ordinary experieces you’ve had in the past week so that you can look back and remember. Gratitude is key 🙂

Work 8 Hours, Sleep 8 Hours, Play 8 Hours

Update: the nighttime view is even better. I have a lot to be thankful for today. 🌃✨

A post shared by Digital Nomad 🌀Solo Travel (@hashtagtourist) on

“How do you have so much time to knock around and do so many fun things during the day? Don’t you have a job?”

Yeah, but while you choose to go to another dinner with your fiance, or stuck in commuter traffic, or sitting on your couch watching television after work, I’m trying new cuisine or enjoing a cocktail in a skyhigh hotel overlooking the city. I gaurantee most people wake up, work 9 hours, go home and sit on their couch until bed, and wake up and do it all over again.

It’s all about how you are spending your free time. Sure, because I instagram all the exciting things I do when I’m not working, doesn’t mean I’m never working. You just don’t instagram your bingewatching session of Netflix.

Sign Up for a Travel Rewards Credit Card

I’m not made of money, and most Digital Nomads aren’t either. I previously laid out my income and how I was able to save $5,000 for traveling and a major part of being able to afford this lifestyle is from redeeming every travel or airmile reward possible. I’ve personally used and recommend Barclaycard Arrival, Chase Sapphire, and Capital One Venture cards, although I don’t love the changes to the Capital One Venture interface lately -it’s not as user-friendly as it used to be.

The Barclaycard Arrival also lets you earn bonus miles by sharing travel stories, tips, and photos. How cool is that?

It also pays be loyal to an online reservation company when you book travel. I’ve been using Expedia for several years and now have Gold+ status. This means I have access to free VIP features, room upgrades, free cocktails at the hotel bar, and other perks.

I Am in Control

female digital nomad bali

I am still learning and teaching myself that I am in control of what I want to do each day. Whether it’s as small as where to eat for breakfast or which country to go to next. I have total control and can do absolutely whatever I want. This has been a weird thing for me to adjust to. I am fiercely independent anyway, but I find myself second guessing things like “Ugh, Chelse, don’t go to that same cafe again today for breakfast – try something new.” But then I’m like: SISTER, IF YOU WANT THAT SAME EGGS BENEDICT AGAIN YOU TREAT YO’SELF! Or, if I feel like lying in bed all day even though I’m in Bali, the epitome of paradise, I’m not going to make myself feel guilty about it because it’s what I want to do.

Hi, I’m Chelse! I am a Digital Nomad obsessed with traveling the world and seeking adventure beyond the 9-5 office life. When I turned 25 I decided that I was going to stop making excuses and do what I’ve always dreamed. I went from having 0 stamps in my passport to 7 countries in 7 months. I encourage anyone who wants to live a Digital Nomad lifestyle to just buy the ticket first, and figure out the rest later!

How to Survive a Long Haul Flight

digital nomad blog

This is assuming you (like most of us) cannot afford to treat yo’self to a first class ticket on a long haul flight. For the rest of us, there’s a few tricks you can use to survive a long haul flight.

First thing’s first, if you booked an international flight on AirAsia, do not pass go, do not collect $200, rebook your flight right now if possible.

One day I will write a blog about how saving money is not worth flying AirAsia, but until then, just trust me.

Hydrate

Learn from me when I tell you not to be tempted by free booze served on international flights. Yes, a calming glass of wine or gin and soda to take the edge off is 5 points for Gryffindor, but try not to go overboard. Alcohol will dehydrate you fast when you’re 30,000 feet in the air and the last thing you want to be in that metal tube is dealing with dry skin, motion sickness from the turbulence and booze combo and then feeling hungover after you wake up… still have 4 hours left until wheels down.

Pro tip: Chug a gatorade or sports drink in the terminal before boarding. You’ll be thankful for those extra electrolytes before boarding a 15 hour flight.

Use SeatGuru

seat guru long flight

SeatGuru is an amazing tool to survive a long haul flight. You have the ability to choose the best seats on a plane, even if you’re flying economy. You can read other passenger reviews, view real photos from real travelers, and doublecheck the configuration to make sure you’re not stuck next to the bathroom for 12 hours.

Upgrade Your Ticket

survive international flight

If possible. I had a 16.5 hour flight from NYC to China en route to Thailand and I was dreading this long haul flight. I had never flown China Southern Airlines and didn’t know what to expect. I couldn’t find any upgrade information online and their website is very difficult to navigate if you’re not in China. So I asked the ticket agent how much an upgrade cost for Premium Economy and to my surprise, it was only $250 USD! It was the best money I had ever spent traveling. Premium Economy gives you access to slippers, hot towels, custom meals, wider seats, quieter, cabin – I mean, I felt like I was flying in luxury(-ish) all for $250!

If you’re not backpacking, or super strict on budget, do yourself a favor and ask the gate attendant how much an upgrade is. You’re more likely to get a better deal right before the flight because the airline would rather sell those tickets at a discount than have the seats go unused.

Charge Your Devices, and Then Charge Again

Most airlines nowadays have USB ports built into their seats, but don’t risk it. See above rant about AirAsia. I recommend a portable cell phone or tablet USB charger like TYLT. If your airplane has onboard wifi, that’s also a battery drainer so be strategic if your seat doesn’t have a USB charger.

Other than that, bring a few old school books or magazines to read! Flights are the perfect time to take a break from the digital age and catch up on a New York Times Best Seller. 

Request a Special Meal or Bring Your Own

The key to make sure you survive a long haul flight is to treat yourself as best as possible… even if you’re sitting in coach. If you can, pack a healthy, tasty meal that you can eat on the plane (no liquids) or at the very least visit your airline’s website to manage the booking and request a special meal. Different airlines provide different requests, but most offer vegetarian, vegan, diabetes, low fat, low sodium etc. meals for international destinations.

Pick a Seat in the Back

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 6.01.57 PM

Sitting in the back of the plane ensures a few things. One, that there are less people who will be lining up to use the bathroom at the back of the plane. There’s also less foot traffic in general which means if you’re in an aisle seat, you don’t have to move your legs or head every 5 minutes to get out of the way for passersby.

I love the aisle seat for long haul flights, but I can never sleep because everytime someone passes, I feel like I have to move my leg or arm or head out of the way to make room. Sitting in the back away cuts down on the amount of people in the aisle, which I love.

Pack Slippers in Your Carry-On

I knowwwww that space in your carry on bag is a luxury. But hear me out…

If your flight is 12+ hours, you’re gonna be so grateful to have a comfortable pair of slippers to put on your swollen feet, for a couple of reasons. Hopefully, if you’re drinking enough water on your flight (which you should be doing), you’ll be getting up to use the bathroom a few times and please for the sake of humanity do not walk to the lavatory barefoot or in your socks.

Alternatively, on a long flight, you’ve probably already slipped your shoes off and tucked them under the seat in front of you. Instead of taking them off and putting them back on, you’ll be so thankful to have a pair of soft slippers with you. Plus, my philosophy is that you should always bring whatever makes you feel at home or treat yourself to feel special during a miserable long flight.

Get a Massage Before Your Flight

how to survive international flight
Feeling GOOD after a massage in Thailand before a flight.

I recently got a Massage Envy account after a recent experience involving a delayed flight.

I was stranded in an airport after my flight was delayed after having just landed from an 8 hour flight. That long haul flight was miserable – tense muscles, uncomfortable back pain, you name it.

During the layover, I decided to grit my teeth and purchase an hourlong massage at one of those relax parlours in the airport terminals. It was expensive-as-hell but so, incredibly worth it. My next 12 hour flight was comfortable, pain-free, and relaxing. I also just got a massage before a cross-country roadtrip, driving across the United States for 6 days and I promise you, I would not have enjoyed it as much had I not gotten a massage the day before I left. It made a HUGE difference!

Items You Do NOT Want to Forget to survive a long haul flight:

An Eye Mask

A sweater if it gets cold

Personal headphones or earbuds

Phone charging device

Chapstick

SLIPPERS (See above paragraph)

Baby Wipes to keep fresh

Q-tips or gum for your ears

Hand Sanitizer

 

Hi, I’m Chelse! I am a Digital Nomad obsessed with traveling the world and seeking adventure beyond the 9-5 office life. When I turned 25 I decided that I was going to stop making excuses and do what I’ve always dreamed. I went from having 0 stamps in my passport to 7 countries in 7 months. I encourage anyone who wants to live a Digital Nomad lifestyle to just buy the ticket first, and figure out the rest later!

How to Become a Female Digital Nomad

how to become a female digital nomad

“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It’s lethal.” – Paulo Coelho

I became a Female Digital Nomad out of necessity. Necessity to explore and out of fear that 20 years from now I would be filled with regret. And as luck would have it, the planets aligned and I became a location independent worker after years and years of wishing I had the opportunity to travel.

As I’ve said before, I think working remotely is the key to a happy and successful work/life balance and I could scream from the rooftops how much I believe in its mystical *powers*. So let me give you a brief outline how to become a Female Digital Nomad. Because, let me tell you, the hardest part is 100% buying the ticket. Everything else, you figure out as it comes!

Hi, I’m Chelse! I am a Digital Nomad obsessed with traveling the world and seeking adventure beyond the 9-5 office life. When I turned 25 I decided that I was going to stop making excuses and do what I’ve always dreamed. I went from having 0 stamps in my passport to 7 countries in 7 months. I encourage anyone who wants to live a Digital Nomad lifestyle to just buy the ticket first, and figure out the rest later!

Work Flow Goals: The Benefits of Batchworking

BENEFITS OF BATCHWORKINGAs a Female Digital Nomad, I’ve learned a lot on the road: How to live 3 months abroad with only one carry-on suitcase, how to sleep well on a 16 hour flight, and how to get a full day’s worth of work completed in half the time.

Yep, I am 100% more productive as a Digital Nomad than I was working in an office thanks to the benefits of batchworking. And it doesn’t all stem from being inspired by new scenery or creative coworking offices, but because I have embraced batchworking as a way of life on the road balancing travel and my full-time job.

In fact, most of what I do in Digital Marketing can be “batched” one way or another. Often saving time, effort, and clutter within my work flow.

What is Batch Working?

Batchworking is a type of routine that focuses on completing a single task in the moment before moving on to the next. Essentially, it keeps both your mind organized as well as your to-do list. For example, I work in Digital Marketing so my batchworking might look similar to this:

  • Monday – Write 5 blogs
  • Tuesday – Schedule all client social media posts
  • Wednesday – Create all social media advertisements for the month
  • Thursday – Design graphics for the week to use for social media
  • Friday – Weekly reports

Of course, I do other things than listed above, but the point is that I have a specific focus for how my time is allocated. And therefore, my frame of mind is already prepared to kick ass on that goal for the day.

The Pomodoro Technique is an excellent tool for newbies to get used to batchworking and re-focus their routine.

Why is Batchworking Beneficial for Digital Nomads?

No matter how organized you are, being a Digital Nomad means your life is a little messier than others. Them’s the breaks. Living out of a suitcase, not having a “homebase,” working from different cafés each day: This is the dream (holla!) but it’s an easy transition into a life of mental messiness which affects your productivity.

Especially for someone who is naturally “all over the place” in general. I am the type of person if I don’t have lists or a clean room, I can’t focus. These are physical aspects of “messiness” that batchworking can help remedy – the clutter of your mind within the workday.

When I first began my career as a Digital Nomad, my work routine mimicked the traffic laws of Southeast Asia. Which, if you’ve been, you get the joke. HA HA – jokes on us because there are no traffic laws in Southeast Asia!

Multitasking is Not a Badge of Honor

When you boast about how many tasks you’re juggling, you’re not saying “I’m 100% owning these assignments to the best of my creative ability!” You’re actually saying, “I’m completing these assignments with moderate potential and it’s taking me longer to do so!”

Multi-tasking is the first way we work ourselves to mental fatigue, and ultimately burn out, which affects our sharpness and ability to create and solve problems in the most proficient way possible.

In an article for the the Harvard Business Review, Peter Bregman states that our productivity decreases by 40% when we focus on multiple tasks at once. And you can’t argue with Harvard… so there.

How to Get Started

So you’re ready to embrace the elite (just kidding) and begin batchworking? These were some of the things I did to get started. Trust me, I used to be a Juggler Extraordinaire and am now confident that I was wasting so many hours multitasking vs. working on one problem at a time.

  • Turn your phone off for 1 hour at a time and compeletely allow yourself to immerse your actions into the job you need to finish.
  • Take breaks. Choose a system what works best for you, but essentially work for a designated amount of time, and then take a mandatory break. I typically work on the 30/5 rule. I focus hard for 30 minutes and take a 5 minute break to stretch and take my eyes off the computer screen. I’ll repeat this pattern 4 or 5 times before allowing myself a longer break to lay down or eat a meal away from my desk.
  • Give yourself deadlines. This will begin to train your brain to estimate how long it will typically take to finish the task so you can maximize your schedule moving forward.
  • Don’t work in pajamas. Okay, this tip is 100% a personal opinion. I started doing this in college when I would dress up on exam days and I swear it helps! As a Digital Nomad, if you have a full work day or conference call, dress up! I’m sure there is a science behind it, but when you feel put-together, your brain agrees and elevates your performance. Placebo effect at its finest.

The Benefits of Batchworking You’ll Notice Immediately

Less stress trying to accomplish mutiple tasks by working inefficiently. When I could totally and wholeheartedly mark off an assignment, I felt in control and powerful. Yeah! Take THAT, to-do list!

Working less hours is one of the most noticeable benefits of batchworking – especially for Digital Nomads who don’t have the distraction of a bustling office to get you sidetracked. Immediately you will accomplish more in your typical 8 hour work day than ever before. And as a result, you will have more free time to explore the new city you’re in and play tourist for a day.

You’ll begin to know the value of your time. You know the phrase “Time is money?” Of course you do. You now see minutes as valuable time to be distincly focused and every wasted email or meeting as an opportunity to get something done.

Once you begin to value your time, you’ll position yourself so that others will respect your valuable time as well.

You’ll enjoy disconnecting. If you’re anything like me (or most millenials with office jobs) you do not find happiness when you walk away from your phone or tablet or laptop or desktop – you find unnerving anxiety if you’re missing something, like if a client or supervisor has an urgent message for you after hours. Committing to your designated work hours and then walking away from the computer once you’ve completed your assignments is probably the most freeing feeling as a remote worker.

I hope you’ll consider adopting this work routine to save time and effort! Do you have any additional tips you’ve learned while working remotely or more benefits of batchworking that I missed? Share them with me in the comments!

Hi, I’m Chelse! I am a Digital Nomad obsessed with traveling the world and seeking adventure beyond the 9-5 office life. When I turned 25 I decided that I was going to stop making excuses and do what I’ve always dreamed. I went from having 0 stamps in my passport to 7 countries in 7 months. I encourage anyone who wants to live a Digital Nomad lifestyle to just buy the ticket first, and figure out the rest later!

Goodbye Thailand: What I’ll Miss the Most about Chiang Mai

what i miss most about thailand

I have little butterflies in my stomach right now as I’m writing this. I can’t decide if it’s from the Grande “Brewed Coffee” from Starbucks, the excitement for my next adventure, or the anxiety of leaving Chiang Mai after living here for 2 months. I’m gonna go with all 3.

It’s funny, I had this exact feeling while on the plane to Thailand (well, to China then Thailand) but those butterflies felt differently. They were a mix of oh god what the heck did I just do??? and similar variations of that. And now… I’m sad to be leaving! That trepidation of my heading to my first long-term solo trip as a Digital Nomad is gone and replaced with feelings of gratitude for landing in such an amazing town and meeting so many incredible strangers and getting to experience once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

And with that, there are so many things I’ll miss about Thailand and Chiang Mai. These are just a few, although I could probably go on forever.

200 Baht Massages

This, I think I will miss the most. Ah, the ‘ol 200 baht (appx. $6 USD) hour long massages in Thailand. I’ve never known a world so pure, so generous. I’m now officially spoiled in that I’ve been averaging a massage a week. I’ve had 2 already this week and will probably get another before flying out to Kuala Lumpur. Don’t hate the player.

I’ve found a new love for the Traditional Thai Massage, which is a little different than what I am used to in the U.S. The Thai massage manually manipulates your muscles and there’s various stretching elements involved and usually ends with a fabulous back crack. Damn, if I’ve never felt so zen than here in Thailand.

The Smiling Thais

lanna-thai-woman

I’ve met friendly locals from many places, but I’m 100% serious when I say the Thai people are the friendliest and most welcoming group of people I’ve ever interacted with. I know it varies from person to person based on their experience, but for my 2 months here, I’ve never seen more smiling faces who go out of their way to accomodate someone, even with the language barrier.

I love it when a Songthaew driver or cafe barista wants to practice their English so they strike up a conversation. My favorite was a driver who wanted me to sit in his front seat so he could practice his English skills. It was the most adorable thing in my life. We talked in basic english about the weather (Hot, Cold, Rainy), where I am from (Oh, America! New York!?), and navigational phrases that would help him as a driver (street, highway, traffic light). I had such a great time that I gave him the last 100 baht in my wallet just ’cause. Worth it.

Meeting Rad People

chiang-mai-nomad-ladies

I am confident when I say I wouldn’t have had such an incredible time in Thailand if I didn’t fall into such a strong nomad community in Chiang Mai. My first week, I joined about 7 women for a Nomad Ladies lunch and by the next week it doubled, and the next week after that, we had 2 full tables of nomad women who were sharing stories and delicious Shan Burmese food at Free Bird Cafe.

If you’re traveling to Chiang Mai and want to meet new peeps, definitely join these Facebook groups and try to go to as many meet-ups as you can:

Chiang Mai Nomad Girls

Chiang Mai Digital Nomads

Street Sounds and Smells

chiangmai-street

If you’ve been to Thailand, you know there is absolutely no way to describe the smells of Thailand. It’s not bad at all, just unique. I would say it’s a mix of: spices, meat, motorbike exhaust fumes, and a hint of lemongrass. It’s distinct.

Walking down Nimman Street or the Old City, the sounds are also roaring with life. Close your eyes and you’ll hear unmistakably a few thing every time. Cars honking, motorbike engines, street food stands, tourists negotiating with vendors over souveniers, and for some reason, bells. Seriously, where are all these bells coming from? Am I the only one who hears them?

Ancient Temples

chiangmai-temples-wats

How crazy is it that you’re just a Songthaew away from ancient temples and structures that are hundreds of years old? You don’t need to travel more than a few miles or meters to stumble upon a beautiful, intricately designed wat. The thing that’s most incredible to me is that many of these wats are still active and in use for housing and teaching monks.

I still want to have a Monk Chat before I leave – this is a session at many temples where you donate money and can sit down with a monk and ask them questions and they can practice their English language. Having a conversation with a Monk is definitely something I never thought I’d be able to say I’ve done. If you’re a woman, just do your research beforehand. There are different rules for different areas of Thailand and temples, women usually cannot interact in public with Monks so doublecheck the rules of the particular temple you want to visit.

The Hilarious Translations

thailand-signs

Man, I am going to miss the quirky English translations and methods of communcation. For example, my friend was talking to a maintanence man for her apartment when the plumbing wasn’t working. She was exasperated trying to explain what was wrong over the phone, she resorted to “Toilet! Ping ping! No work!” and he understood perfectly. I laughed for a solid 10 minutes after hearing that one.

I think after a certain amount of time being in Thailand you learn speak how you think a Thai person would most understand. This leads to a lot of conversations like this: “Hello, coffee, big, YES!” or other broken versions of regular sentences.

7-11

7-11-thailand

Okay, I know we have 7-11 in the United States but it’s just. not. the. same. Convenience culture is at a premium in Thailand and I swear it’s a social gathering everytime you step inside. The density of 7/11 is insane here. Think of it like Starbucks being on every corner in New York City, then maybe add a bunch of additional 7/11’s and there you go.

Once you’ve had the cream filled bread or toastie sandwiches, you’ll never be the same. The Ham & Cheese toasties are a staple and I’m embarrassed to admit how many I ate here.

7/11, more like 7th heaven amirite?

Goodbye Thailand

With that, goodbye Thailand. I will miss you, but I will not miss the ants and geckos who want to live in my apartment with me, the street food squid, or the fact there is no damn cheese in this country, but other than that, you were awesome. Thanks for making my first big solo trip unforgettable <3

Hi, I’m Chelse! I am a Digital Nomad obsessed with traveling the world and seeking adventure beyond the 9-5 office life. When I turned 25 I decided that I was going to stop making excuses and do what I’ve always dreamed. I went from having 0 stamps in my passport to 7 countries in 7 months. I encourage anyone who wants to live a Digital Nomad lifestyle to just buy the ticket first, and figure out the rest later!

Why More Companies Are Embracing the Digital Nomad Work Culture

Attracting better talent has never been more lucrative for businesses and why the Digital Nomad work culture has never been more within reach.

We’ve never been more accessible than we are now. Coworkers, clients, employees, and potential business relationships have never had more access to each other, thanks to incredible advances in technology. Technology grants us the ability to be in constant communication, and with that, many companies and employees are inquiring if an employee must spend 40+ hours a week in the office in order to be successful.

Those seeking the Digital Nomad lifestyle aim to challenge those antiquated requirements by spending part-time of full-time working remotely, often from exotic corners of the world.

Traveling new landscapes and seeking adventure beyond the cubicle of course has an appeal to employees, but what makes this arrangement attractive to companies and employers?

Attracting High Quality Talent

If your company doesn’t have an unlimited hiring budget, most hiring managers have to get creative with incentives to motivate top candidates to work at their respective businesses. Many young adults view perks like having a healthy work/life balance to be non-negotiable when it comes to choosing new opportunities.

Kristin Messina, the Founder of Yonderwork, an international traveling experience for professionals says work flexibility is essential in 2016:

“Flexible hours is now the #1 desired job benefit in the United States and 92% of millennials polled desire the ability to work remotely (oDesk) so I think more companies acknowledge that they need to consider remote working to attract and retain top talent. I think we will see this trend continue to grow over time as employers continue to realize the benefits of remote working.”

Hiring the most qualified and inspiring employees often leads to an energized staff brimming with new ideas, which greatly contributes to the success of the business as a whole.

Not being in a physical office full-time means you have the ability to hire anyone in the world. If your operation is based in a rural area, you may still have a shot at hiring the candidate you’ve had your eye on, but who is unwilling to relocate from their current fast-paced city.

Higher Productivity and Less Turnover

When your employees are happy, they are your best ambassadors, and are 12% more productive and often go above and beyond what’s expected of them. And, of course, happy employees keep turnover rates low.

One of the most common frustrations of today’s work culture is the time it takes to commute to and from the office. Just think, instead of spending up to 2 hours a day commuting, your employees could be spending that time devoted toactually working by working from home.

Other benefits for employers include saving money on office space and office supplies.

From The Telework Coalition‘s Wired Working As A Lifestyle Report:

  • Businesses saved an average of $20,000 a year for each full-time employee who worked remotely.
  • Employee productivity increased by an average of 22% when remote working was allowed.
  • Remote working reduced employee turnover by 50%.

Why More Innovative Companies Are Letting Their Employees Become Location Independent

Increased Network of Experts All Over the Country and Beyond

By having employees cultivating their lives beyond one permanent city, working remotely offers advantages of reaching potential markets and customers. Having a “man on the ground” promoting your brand from all corners of the globe is especially fruitful for salespeople or affiliates.

You now have the capability to obtain knowledgeable insights from competing or potential markets, making your niche that much more competitive worldwide.

Clearly, working remotely is the way of the future. Just ask these companies who are thriving from embracing this new culture:

Amazon

American Express

Adobe Systems

Apple

Kaplan

Buffer

Upworthy

SXSW

Alternatives to Working Remotely Full-Time

remote travel digital nomad

Yonderwork Founder, Kristin Messina, also advises that for some companies, it’s simply not feasible to allow employees to become full-time nomads. But there are alternatives that are just as exciting! She goes on to say,

“The transition to a remote working culture doesn’t happen overnight. I would advise companies who are considering remote working to do a test run. Set expectations up front (starting with how, how often, and when you will communicate) and then allow remote working a few days a week or for a specific project. Monitor your results so that you can build on what is working and you can tweak what isn’t. Remote work and travel programs like YonderWork offer a great trial platform. For two-months, employees work alongside other remote workers and learn about best practices and the communication and collaboration tools that are available to support success in remote working.”

 

What I’ve Learned from the Digital Nomad Work Culture

After two months of living the Digital Nomad work culture and almost two years of working with The Modern Connection, I can confidently agree to all of these benefits. As a millennial, our generation is job-hopping more than ever and having the flexibility to work and grow beyond the office walls has inspired me to thrive as an employee and I am happy to call The Modern Connection home.

I think work perks such as working remotely has incredible potential and is the ~*way of the future*~ that modern businesses will have to adapt to – or fear being surpassed by employees or clients in favor of companies who are trailblazing in unique ways.

Hi, I’m Chelse! I am a Digital Nomad obsessed with traveling the world and seeking adventure beyond the 9-5 office life. When I turned 25 I decided that I was going to stop making excuses and do what I’ve always dreamed. I went from having 0 stamps in my passport to 7 countries in 7 months. I encourage anyone who wants to live a Digital Nomad lifestyle to just buy the ticket first, and figure out the rest later!

Top Digital Nomad Concerns and Fears – and How to Handle Them

most-popular-fears-digital-nomad

Congratulations! You’ve decided you’re ready begin a Digital Nomad lifestyle and are about to embark on your first long-term trip. It’s daunting, I know. Especially if you’re not self-employed and work for a company in a 9-5 setting. Not knowing what to expect or potential situations that could arise are major stressors and Digital Nomad concerns.

Questions that kept me up at night before my first trek included “How will I make calls and be in touch with my co-workers and clients overseas?” and “What if my boss resents me for being an inconvenience?”

These doubts and questions are totally normal, although many of these problems are easily solvable and MUCH less stressful than you think they will be.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

How DO I stay in touch with clients and co-workers?

top-digital-nomad-concerns

This one’s easy. There are endless programs and apps dedicated to providing seamless communication between parties, whether it’s internationally, or just in different timezones. Prior to leaving the United States, my company used a program called GoTo Meeting to communicate with clients, but since then, I’ve discovered UberConference, which has changed my life. Such clear quality (and free!) conference calls across the globe. Highly recommended.

Did you know you can make audio and video calls through Facebook for free? Well now you do. Again, Facebook Messenger calls are extremely clear, in fact, they’re clearer than when I use my regular data calls to my mom when I’m in the U.S. The easiest part is, most people already have the Facebook Messenger App already downloaded so there’s no confusing sign-up process involved.

The Time difference

First thing’s first: Manually change the time on your phone to your destination’s time zone as soon as you board the plane. This will exponentially help ease jet lag and get you in the right frame of mind once you touchdown.

As a personal preference, I have found that it’s also easier to keep my laptop clock set to EST, the timezone of the agency I work for. I have found it’s sooo much easier to open up my computer when I’m working and automatically know what time it is in the States – especially since all of my meetings are still scheduled in EST time.

Also, add the World Clock Google Calendar widget to your desktop. I spent far too many hours looking up time changes and counting forward and backward on my fingers before I learned about this secret.

Feeling Isolated

digital-nomad-chiang-mai
Meeting new people at a Chiang Mai Nomad Ladies lunch!

I am generally a pretty social gal, so you can imagine my trepidation when I realized I’d be traveling 8,000 miles away where I didn’t know a single person. The best and easiest recomendation I can give to someone in that situation is to join as many Facebook groups for expats and nomads as possible. If you’re a solo female traveler and haven’t joined the Digital Nomad Girls Facebook group yet, what are you waiting for?!

Not only will you meet and connect with fellow Nomad Ladies, but you’ll gain useful insight on things like health insurance for travelers, where to find tampons (Yep, in some countries, they aren’t plentiful), how to vote abroad, and other expert advice.

If you plan on making Chiang Mai your first trip as a Digital Nomad, join these Facebook groups first:

The Break Room

Chiang Mai Nomad Girls

Chiang Mai Digital Nomads

Nomad Coffee Club – Chiang Mai

Your Clients Hate You for Leaving

digital-nomad-concerns

Let me tell you, the Digital Nomad guilt is REAL.

Even if you complete all your necessary tasks on your to-do list, you’re going to feel guilt about not being in the office and accessible at all moments of the day by coworkers and clients.

But you know what? It’s a blessing in disguise.

I think the American work culture makes you feel like you have to be “on” at all times and always available when a client needs something and it’s simply not true. Whether you’re sitting in an office, or working from a rooftop overlooking the mountains of Thailand (like I am now) you are not required to be at the beck and call of others 24/7. And you shouldn’t feel bad about it if you decide to take a stand against it.

Now that I’m not so available, those who work with me have adapted and now respect my time more. No longer are the texts at all hours of the day interrupting me, expecting me to drop what I’m doing, but now I get consise emails outlining what specifically they need from me in a professional format.

I’ve never been so efficient as I have been while working 8,000 miles away! How crazy is that?

Company #FOMO

FOMO = Fear of Missing Out.

If you’re lucky, you get to have co-workers you become incredible friends with, like I do. FOR REAL. Come work at The Modern Connection in Charleston, SC and you’ll find a rare team of individuals who genuinely like each other and work together to create awesome projects.

But with having a bomb work culture, comes with terrible FOMO when you leave.

The most popular worries when it comes to not putting in daily face time include: not getting a promotion, your peers will respect you less, or feeling forgotten. When I decided to be a Digital Nomad full-time, the hardest part has been preparing to ask my supervisor and boss. I put some feelers out to a co-worker on Gchat about what she thinks and if there has been any animosity or noticeable difference in my work and she said:

Well other than the fact that we miss you, I don’t think there’s any difference. In fact, I feel like you being away has seriously improved your work ethic. Like you can just tell that you’re super happy in everything you do now.”

And that’s when you know you’ve made the right decision, folks.

Tuning out Distraction

digital-nomad-blog

This is a biggie. I was convinced, as were my parents, that I was going to be too distracted trying new restaurants, walking the night markets, checking out temples during the day, that I would forget my actual purpose: to work and keep earning a paycheck to afford this nomad lifestyle.

But I’ve found that it’s the complete opposite! Because I am so thankful and appreciative of this opportunity, I make sure to go above and beyond so that I can keep doing my thang around the world. Actually, I have a secret (don’t tell my boss, shhhh) I usually get the same amount of work done in about 75% of the time. Meaning, because I’m not distracted by gossiping with coworkers, taking coffee breaks, unessesary meetings that could be emails – I get an 8 hour work day finished in about 6 hours and sometimes it’s even less than that.

It turns out I had a right to be fearful of distraction as one of my Digital Nomad concerns, but it certainly wasn’t while I was traveling…

How to Turn “Off ” Work

There’s obvious benefits to leaving the 9-5 office culture, but one of the biggest drawbacks is how to draw a line between when the work day starts and when it stops. This is especially true if you work with a team in another time zone. You have to decide with your team if you will be working on your destination’s time zone, office time zone, or a mix of both. I chose the latter.

At a 12 hour time difference in Thailand, I begin my work day around 4:00pm and work until around 12:00am midnight. This gives us an overlap of 4 hours where we can communicate with each other in real time with no difficulties.

It’s important to outline your avaibility time and let everyone know when they can reach you. This will maximize efficiency, and for lack of better words, force others to write everything they need from you and your tasks in one complete email. Instead of a text here, a Gchat there, an email here, and a post-it note left on my computer there…. which was an average day when working in the office 😉

Not Having Office Materials

Meh, I’ve rarely found that this is a problem so far in my journey. That’s the best part of technology, right? Everything is digital! If you do need access to traditional office materials or machines, your best bet is to join a coworking space. For a relatively small fee, you can pay monthly or daily to work and have access to a printer, desk, private Skype rooms or conference rooms to hold meetings remotely.

I hope this eases a few of your Digital Nomad concerns and if you’re considering becoming a Digital Nomad just BUY THE TICKET ALREADY!

 

Hi, I’m Chelse! I am a Digital Nomad obsessed with traveling the world and seeking adventure beyond the 9-5 office life. When I turned 25 I decided that I was going to stop making excuses and do what I’ve always dreamed. I went from having 0 stamps in my passport to 7 countries in 7 months. I encourage anyone who wants to live a Digital Nomad lifestyle to just buy the ticket first, and figure out the rest later!

Why You Shouldn’t Waste Your Money on the AT&T Passport Package

att passport package- review

I thought I was prepared

When I landed at the Chiang Mai Airport, I thought I was prepared. I spent hours reading the best options for cell phone plans and recommendations for communication between Thailand and the United States. It was very important for me to be accessible at all times, as I have clients and coworkers who need to reach me throughout the day.

Lesson: Unlock your phone before you arrivedigital-nomad-travel

Update: AT&T won’t let me unlock my phone anyways because it’s on a payment plan

I had packed two phones with me in my carry-on so that I wouldn’t have to wait at baggage claim and promply headed to the AIS Sim Card kiosk at the arrivals area of the Chiang Mai Airport. I had the iPhone 6s which is my everyday phone from the U.S. and an old iPhone 4 I brought, specifically for the purpose of having a backup in case a tuk-tuk runs over my phone and to insert a local SIM card to have data no matter where I was in the city.

At the AIS kiosk at the airport, I was told my iPhone 6 was locked by my carrier (rookie mistake) so I took out the iPhone 4 which was unlocked, but little did I know, the iOS was too old to be compatible. *Major sigh of frustration here*

WELP. OK. So now I am stuck relying on WiFi at cafes and my apartment only. After a few days of just connecting to wifi when it was available I start to think “do I really need a SIM card, anyway? I seem to be getting on fine.”

Wrong.

Getting stranded with no wifi or data

Everything is great until I make plans to meet friends for Wine Night near the Old City (I live in Nimman). When I hop in the Songthaew, I notice language barrier with this particular driver is REAL and the Songtaew driver drops me off at night in an unfamiliar part of town. While trying to find the restaurant, stray dogs are following me angrily barking and since there’s no city-wide WiFi I cannot communicate with my friends or look at Google Maps to route my destination.

Needless to say this situation put a fire in my belly that I needed to find a solution immediately so in the mean time before I can figure out the sim card situation, I hastily decide to download the AT&T Passport package to hold me over.

Bad idea.

Pay attention to 1-star reviews

att-passport-review

I should have known better when I downloaded the app from iTunes, which is required when you buy the add-on package (which, is most certainly an add-on on to your current package) because the app only had a 1 star rating. *WARNING BELLS RINGING*

I rationalized the bad reviews by saying that nobody is ever satisfied with anything, but I, too, have joined the masses of unsatisfied customers.

The AT&T Passport package is not like data where you can use internet or texting anywhere, but it is a network of hotspots in any given area. So please look on the website and confirm that the country you’re visiting offers the program. And honestly, even if the country does host hotspots where you’ll be, you still might not be able to find solace.

This is a hotspot map of Chiang Mai, Thailand. Look at all the green pins! So many hotspots! This is great!

at&t passport app review

Well friends, I’ve not been able to connect to ANY hotspot except when I am sitting in the bottom floor of one particular Starbucks. 99% of the time I get this notification:

att-passport-app

Do me a favor, skip this expensive, inconvenient package and spend a fraction of the price on new sim cards in each of your destinations if your phone is unlocked.

There is an alternative, though. Throughout my travels there has always been one constant recommendation: Use T-Mobile. For $60 a month you can get unlimited texting and data in over 140 countries.

I plan on switching as soon as I land back in the United States.

If you’re still interested in the AT&T Passport Package, here are their packages that are listed on the website.

screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-11-06-44-am

Hi, I’m Chelse! I am a Digital Nomad obsessed with traveling the world and seeking adventure beyond the 9-5 office life. When I turned 25 I decided that I was going to stop making excuses and do what I’ve always dreamed. I went from having 0 stamps in my passport to 7 countries in 7 months. I encourage anyone who wants to live a Digital Nomad lifestyle to just buy the ticket first, and figure out the rest later!