Now you will need some SOFTWARE
Ok, you’ve got the bones of what you need with the best equipment, but now let’s make sure your hard work is backed up, accessible and transferable. You probably won’t need all of these, but information = knowledge, right?
Backblaze – In a perfect world, backing up on a hard drive is sufficient, well not as a digital nomad. You really need to have a second alternative that can be accessed from anywhere, just in case your bags are lost, stolen or damaged. I recently switched to Backblaze and it’s awesome. First, it’s super easy to use because it automatically backs up everything on my laptop and external drives. And second, It’s only $5/month (and a free 14 day trial) to back up unlimited data! backblaze is a no brainer and a ‘must have’ for anyone working on the go. PRO TIP: Do the initial backup while you’re still at home with reliable Wi-Fi. The initial backup could take up to a week depending on how much data you have. The good news though, is that subsequent backups are very quick.
Dropbox – Dropbox is another cloud backup server, but in my opinion, it’s not the absolute best solution for your entire computer library. I use dropbox to backup my iPhone and share files between other users. The downside of Dropbox is that you really can’t control if someone removes or changes files within it. If you give them access, they have just as much control as you do. So, if they delete something or move it to their local drive and it’s not backed up on your computer, it’s gone. The benefits are that Dropbox is fairly intuitive to use, it has a really great photo upload feature on their mobile app and it is wildly popular so nearly everyone you meet has an account. PRO TIP: A free account gives you 2 GB of data and if you sign up with this link you’ll get an extra 500 MB free!
PureVPN – This is a VPN bypass for your computer. It allows you to change your computer’s location so you can stream and view content from any country. PureVPN incredibly helpful in countries where censorship is prevalent, like China. It allows you to access Facebook and your blogging platform even when it’s otherwise restricted. Plus, it allows you to stream movies and TV shows that aren’t licensed in a particular country…now you can watch all the Netflix and American television you want from any country.
1Password – With online identities for every social media, banking, and consumer retail site, the number of passwords that we maintain are higher than ever. It’s a pain to generate a unique password for everything, but it’s imperative for cyber security, particularly if you’re working remotely. 1Password solves that problem by aggregating all of your passwords into a ‘Password Safe’. 1Password can be accessed on both your phone and computer with a single password or fingerprint ID. Now, you only need to remember one password or make sure that no one cuts off that finger. It’s well worth the $29.99 for Mac and Windows.
Skype – If you’re not familiar with Skype, you’ve been living under a rock, my friend. Whereas FaceTime is ideal between Mac users, Skype allows you to make free video calls between computers and phones and inexpensive voice calls to landlines. There is no monthly charge. In fact, it’s free for Mac & Windows users. When I went on my yearlong adventure, I put $10 into my Skype account just in case I needed to call a landline or someone internationally with out an iPhone. It absolutely came in handy. Plus, the funds are good for a year and I was glad I had it as an option.
Whatsapp – WhatsApp is by far the most valuable app on my phone. You can make calls between people in your contact list from anywhere for FREE, even without a voice or data plan. Just hop on Wi-Fi, find your contact and text, call or send as many pictures as you like without jeopardizing your data. PRO TIP: The photos are shared in low resolution and are instantly saved into your iPhone photos stream. It’s great for a funny snap, but not ideal if you actually want the hi-res copy.
Adobe Creative Cloud – In this new world where filters/photo editing is king, it’s useful to have a good creative suite. I got the monthly membership for Adobe Creative Cloud to have access to the latest Adobe software. Photoshop and Lightroom bring my blog photos to the next level and I use illustrator for design projects. Plus, I’ve been dabbling with audio and video segments recently and Audition, After Effects and Premiere have been really helpful. Plus, you can write it off as a business expense on your taxes! $50/month for Mac & Windows.
Scrivener – Is writing your bread and butter? If you’re a digital nomad writing a book or travel blog, the absolute best tool for big writing projects is Scrivener. It allows you to organize and store notes, outlines, research, and the actual draft in one place. I was blown away by all of the features. I would actually recommend doing the tutorial before you start using it, you’ll be amazed. It doesn’t hurt to give it a whirl since there is a free 30-day free trial. If you love it like I do, it’s only $45 to buy for Mac or Windows. When I get stuck, I refer to my Scrivener For Dummies
nvALT – Another great editor for blog posts is nvALT. The cool thing about nvALT is that it supports Markdown, so I can assign various styles (like headings or body copy) with a simple text code and then export it as HTML. It makes pasting it into WordPress much less cumbersome since all the formats are already in place. Plus, nvALT auto saves continuously, so if the Wi-Fi craps out in your $17/night Peruvian hostel, you don’t lose 3-hours of work (Unfortunately, that’s a true story littered with tears and profanity.) Aside from the auto save feature, the second best feature is that all of the files are stored together, which makes it easy to search. Just kidding, the best feature is that it’s FREE for Macs.
Pages & Numbers – I switched from Microsoft Office to using the Mac’s word processing and spreadsheet software – and it’s so much better. I use Pages for creating invoices and for documents that require more formatting than nvALT offers. And Numbers is a great option for generating spreadsheets to keep track of business income and expenses. I find that particularly for Mac users, it crashes way less often than Excel when I have multiple windows open. Plus, It makes organization for tax returns super easy. Boom! It’s also free for Macs.
Google Calendar and Calendar for Mac – I mean, are all calendars created equal? I don’t know, sometimes I’m torn between the best calendars to use. I like Google Calendar because it allows me to color code each entry to quickly identify different categories of tasks (to do, travel, advertising renewals, birthdays, deadlines). It syncs to my Mac Calendar and to the iOS app so it’s really convenient. Plus, the price is right, free. Although to access a range of their amazing products in a bundle, you can get it for only $5 per month, here… Well worth its weight in gold!
ImageOptim – If you’re like me, you’re going to take tons of photographs while abroad. Whether it’s to make everyone jealous, document your adventure or become an Instagram icon, it’s likely that you’re going to clog up your feeds with foodporn and beautiful landscapes. ImageOptim offers an easy way to compress photos without losing quality. Just drag and drop them into the dock icon. It’s free for Mac users and trust me, you’ll thank me later.
Typinator – This text expander saves me tons of time. I’ve set up abbreviations for things that I type (or mistype) often like email addresses, website URL’s and standard email responses. €24.99 for Mac. Maybe its time to Take Control of Automating Your Mac
MAMP – MAMP allows me to work on websites offline. It installs a local server on your laptop so you can work on your WordPress sites as if it were online. Perfect for testing new designs, updates, and plugins before setting them live. I would have killed for this when I was freelancing in South Africa. The Internet was so slow and super expensive. I wish I had discovered this to create all of my blog posts prior to arriving at the coffee shops for free Internet access. Free for Mac and Windows. But if you need the step by step guide, click MAMP IT UP: A Guide to Installing WordPress On Your Mac
Xcode – This is the software I use for making iOS apps. It’s easy and reliable. I like it because it works and it’s free. How many more reasons do you need to download it? But if you need a little help, click Beginning Xcode
SourceTree – Are you a control freak? For optimal source control when developing websites and apps SourceTree is a great option. Free for Mac and Windows.
Sublime Text 3 – Code…code…code. Here’s a sweet text editor specifically for writing code. Give it a try, there’s a free trial for Mac and Windows. If you like it, then it’s only $70. And if you need help Mastering Sublime Text, click the text.
Pupil – If you’re like me, you’re going to spend a lot of time in front of your computer. Pupil allows you to manage resolutions on the Retina MacBook Pro. By altering your retina experience, you can free up some space on your desktop. $5 for Mac.
HandBrake – Are you bringing an iPad on your trip? HandBrake transcodes the videos to formats that you can watch on your iPad. It’s free for Mac and Windows.