Your Best Digital Nomad Life, Brought to you by Utz Threads

Vanessa, digital nomad and blogger from Wander Onwards took our Ixkanul messenger bag with her as she worked as a digital nomad from some pretty amazing corners of the world. Then she wrote about how her Utz Threads bag helped her live her best digital nomad life. Here's why:

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I suffer from constant itchy feet… no it’s not a weird skin disease, but I always seem to need to be going somewhere. Eat. Sleep. Pack. Repeat.

But in order to maintain these opportunities, I need to hustle. Whilst most young women are sipping Champers along the Thames, I’m trying to Google Translate my Polish Bus Ticket into English. Instead of partying until 4am at Coachella, I’m up at 4am driving through Wales to catch a ferry to Dublin.

In order to juggle a full-time job, a part-time hustle, and a family (husband + fur baby and both are hella demanding), I need to have a proven system in place to run my business properly.

"When I’m running in-between cafes, villas, or even rocks on a beach, I take my Utz Threads Ixkanul Messenger Bag along with me. It holds all of my daily gadgets and honors my heritage as a Latinx small business owner."

To some degree, I have everything I could possibly need to run my business safely packed away in a single bag. A ‘Business in a Bag’ – if you will. Today, I’ll be unpacking my life (i.e. my messenger bag from Utz Threads) to show you exactly what I lug back and forth across the world to run a travel blog. When you only have so much space – and you need to leave your trusty manservant at home – it’s important that every item serves a purpose. Think of it as minimalism for a creative.

"Similar to how Utz Threads gives their artisans the business training and platform to be successful abroad, I just want to give you the opportunity to do what you do well – better."

THE DREAM

First and foremost, I’d like to be upfront and say that you don’t NEED to buy/do/focus on anything in particular in this piece. Anyone can be a successful digital nomad with budget tech and his/her own current skill-set. Similar to how Utz Threads gives their artisans the business training and platform to be successful abroad, I just want to give you the opportunity to do what you do well – better. You don’t need me. You have everything you could possibly need to make it on your own in that wonderful noggin of yours. Facts are facts.

My motivation behind this piece is simple: if you are a woman, you can be successful on your own, wherever you are in the world. You don’t need anyone, you don’t need to be anything. All you need is fast internet and the willingness to create. I’m just here to show you how.

THE BAG:

Buying an equipment bag is an extremely personal decision. It’s a reflection of what’s important to you and your personal style. When I’m running in-between cafes, villas, or even rocks on a beach, I take my Utz Threads Ixkanul Messenger Bag along with me. It holds all of my daily gadgets and honors my heritage as a Latinx small business owner. Knowing that there are other Latinx entrepreneurs chasing their dreams alongside my own journey makes me feel less alone in the world. Because we’re all in this together.

"Knowing that there are other Latinx entrepreneurs chasing their dreams alongside my own journey makes me feel less alone in the world." 

INSIDE THE BAG:

1) Camera & Accessories  

A travel blog would be dead in the water without original content so I consciously choose a mirror-less camera over a DSLR because I just couldn’t spare the additional weight. Currently, I use a Panasonic Lumix that I bought in 2013 and it’s still going STRONG! I’ve dropped it down mountains, into puddles, and it has withstood all of my jumping, running, and general abuse. My Panasonic Lumix was a parting gift from my wonderful Mom – hey girl hey – before I moved to China on my own in 2013. She couldn’t come with me at the time so this camera was very much a resource from me to show her the world from afar.

1a. Bluetooth Camera Remote

Newer cameras will often have this function built in so check if this is a capability that’s already set up. It has a 100m radius so I’m sure to take advantage of that range for amazing scenic photography.When I’m not traveling with a friend or my hubs, my Bluetooth remote helps me capture my signature wander onwards walk away moment that’s just sooooo natural ;)… it is WELL worth the money since a time camera requires you to walk back and forth, wasting precious time. It’s SUPER easy to set up. Just plug in the pieces and CLICK! 

Newer cameras will often have this function built in so check if this is a capability that’s already set up. It has a 100m radius so I’m sure to take advantage of that range for amazing scenic photography.

1b. Tripod

To get incredible shots with slower shutter speeds, you’re going to need a stable and sturdy tripod. Sure you can take photos by just pointing and shooting, but if you want to capture running water or slow down your shutter speed significantly to play with light and motion, you’re going to need a tripod. I have two – one for longer trips and one for shorter trips that I can absolutely recommend.

 

1c. Gimbal

Meet the newest member of my Wander Onwards toolkit – the Movi Freefly Gimbal. Whilst this is NOT cheap, it was definitely the smartest move for me as someone who packs light and feels nervous carrying a DLSR camera around the world.

2) MacBook Air

As a creative, I tend to gravitate towards Apple products. Easy to use and resistant against viruses, I found that Apple has put together a series of product that fits for my lifestyle. My Macbook has an SD card reader – which allows me to edit photos immediately – and everything in my life is perfect synced between my 3 products.

3) iPad Mini

Despite aging like a fine wine, my eyes aren’t getting any younger. I find it more and more difficult to limit myself to just an iPhone when it comes to reading directions, recommendations or books. For that reason, I always carry my iPad along for the ride so I can easily read books, edit photos on Adobe Lightroom, or watch television to connect with my American brothern from afar. This is also where I store about 50 books that I can leisurely read without the additional weight in my backpack or bag.

Whilst incredibly helpful, I would mention that this is not a MUST to manage a business on the go. I just think it’s more helpful to have it than not because it allows me to get away from the constant pinging of my busy iPhone 

4) iPhone X

Can you hear me now? My iPhone is my lifeline, my main driver of income, and overall – my best friend. Much like Black Mirror, I depend on my phone to connect me to the outside world, to summoned help when I need it most, and it’s every millennial’s swiss army knife.

*** BE SURE IT’S UNLOCKED… or you’ll run into serious issues abroad when you start switching sim cards!! ***

 

THE PLATFORMS

You’re not going to be an international blogger of magic and mystery overnight. So there are certain platforms and monetization hacks you can use to start making cash with your website and skill-set TODAY. These are tips for what you can do alongside your blog and social media strategies.

Affiliate Platforms

Whenever you see bloggers or vloggers linking back to products or platforms that they’re reviewing or writing about, it’s likely that they earn a commission on that conversion or click. It takes HARD WORK to maintain a blog, social media, and your normal day-to-day life so affiliate networks like AWIN help publishers (like you) make a little bit of money on the side. AWIN connects you directly to thousands of brands (ASOS, Expedia, Etc) so you only have apply to the program once and then link back to the products that you use normally every single day.

Click on the banner below to join for free!! 

Become a Virtual Assistant

For a long-time, I was working as a virtual assistant and marketing manager on UpWork. This LITERALLY saved my bacon loads of times because it gave me cash quickly for the work I performed. On this platform, you can literally be hired for anything!

Some of the offers included:

  • Podcast assistant
  • Personal assistant
  • Blog writer
  • Content creator
  • Etc

Here’s how to you get started:

  1. Sign up and create a profile, add a photo (this is important), and then write a short intro about what you do, your experience, and why they should hire you. If you have anything that demonstrates the quality of your work, upload it onto your profile so people can see exactly how amazing you are!!
  2. Have a search on jobs platform and narrow down what you’re good at with the experience level you possess. Getting hired for your first job is always a little bit frustrating because you don’t have any positive reviews to vouch for how awesome you are, but don’t give up! Instead, take a few lower paying jobs so you can gain some experience and credibility on the platform.
  3. Organize your preferred payment schedule and enter in your tax details. UpWork actually keeps all of you W9s in one play so it’s SUPER easy to file your taxes when the time comes.
  4. Kick ass wherever you are in the world!

 


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