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DaedTech Digest: Grilled Pigeon and Eating Habits on the Road

During last week’s digest post, I talked about an existential issue of sorts.  Do I get home sick or road weary?  And the answer is generally no.

This week I’ll switch gears a bit and talk about something both tactical and mundane (unless you make it otherwise).  I’m talking about eating.  Specifically, how does eating work when you’re in a constant state of transit and shuffle?

So do you go out to eat all the time, or, like… what?

Before my wife and I ever started doing slow travel stints, I did a lot of business travel.  And, we’re talking 100% commuter business travel.  And when you travel like that, you eat out a lot.  All the time, in fact.  There was a year of my life where I don’t think I did anything but eat at restaurants and carry in food.  (Because when you fly out Sunday night and fly home Friday night, it’s not like you tend to spend Saturday night hitting the grocery store to do a bunch of cooking.)

Why am I mentioning this?  Well, to frame my answer to the question as a slow traveler.  Believe it or not, I got pretty tired of never making dinner like folks do.  For one thing, the “traveling consultant 15” is way more of a thing than the freshman 15.  You gain weight doing this.  And secondly, it just becomes sort of depressingly decadent after a while, like eating fettuccine Alfredo for every meal or something.

So when we adapted to the slow travel lifestyle, it was always with the idea that I really didn’t want to eat out all the time.  Oh, don’t get me wrong — I still like a good meal at a good restaurant.  But when we travel, we want to grocery shop, cook with local ingredients, and experience life as if we were locals.

What’s the balance, then?

Let’s get down to brass tacks.  How we eat depends almost entirely on length of stay.  Let me break it down.

  • 1 week or less.  Typically this means a hotel or maybe a short-stay AirBNB.  We almost certainly eat out or carry in every meal.
  • 1 to 2 weeks.  This is probably going to be an AirBNB.  We’ll do some minimal grocery shopping, looking for botique-y local places where we can buy things that don’t require wholesale assembly from raw ingredients.  This place in Ocean Beach, San Diego, for instance.
  • 2+ weeks.  Always an AirBNB, and our grocery shopping becomes more extensive.  It’s still not quite what you do at home — we’re not picking up 10 pound bags of flour and stocking a full spice pantry.  But, we supplement whatever the place’s owner leaves us with a decent amount of local groceries, kind of getting the full local experience.  Bonus points whenever we find farmers markets.

We like to mix it up, since you obviously want to try some of the more interesting local restaurants.  The easiest way to do this is grocery shop more in the beginning and go out more at the end as you start running out of groceries.  This is obviously better than throwing out a bunch of steaks or whatever the next time you move on.

But, whether we’re somewhere a day or 3 months, we’re always looking for interesting experiences.  For instance, check out this menu from a restaurant in Portland, Oregon.  Yes, you’re reading that right.  It’s pigeon.  And you’d better believe I ordered and ate the pigeon.

Why go everywhere, if you’re not going to experience everywhere?

Picks

  • I stumbled on this Youtube channel recently, called SciShow.  It’s sort of like the love-child of Buzzfeed and the Science channel, and it’s pretty binge-able.
  • Here’s something I use all the time and totally take for granted.  But it’s totally indispensable.  I’m talking about the Windows snipping tool.  If you use Windows machines at all and have never heard of this, get familiar immediately.

The Digest

And, as always, have a good weekend!

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Software Jobs for Social Anxiety Sufferers

It’s been a while since my last reader question post.  It’s hard to feel too bad, though.  I was combining a cross-country relocation with a two week vacation.  So I suppose the internet just had to do without my wisdom for a few weeks.

But I’m back in the saddle, so that changes today.

For this week’s reader question post, recall a post I wrote about how to find remote programming jobs (and why you should find them).  Anyone who follows my digest posts knows that I’m location independent and nomadic.  Naturally, this means that I work remotely.

I’ve actually worked either partially or completely remotely for years, since before I ever started to vagabond.  And the longer I do it, the more I advocate for it.

Companies love to mass the troops inside of four walls for the kind of camaraderie and collaboration you just can’t achieve remotely.  And, while I understand the draw from a management perspective, from a quality of life perspective, I find life too short for commutes, khakis and birthday cake in the break room.

Remote Work for When the Office is Actually Torture

But what about a different situation?  I’ve gradually evolved to remote work because I prefer it.  In contrast, today’s reader question concerns someone for whom going into the office is actual, acute torture rather than the vague, existential angst embodied by Peter Gibbons.

Here’s the question:

I was reading your article about finding a remote programming job, and I was wondering if you have any advice for someone who has very bad social anxiety, to the point where they have not been able to get any type of programming job, outside of an internship for school. I’m asking for my brother, who has a degree in computer science and is incredibly smart and gifted.

He just has an extremely hard time forcing himself to interact with people. He’s really interested in finding a remote programming job, but doesn’t know where to start. If you have any suggestions for him I would really appreciate it!

The One-Two Punch of Social Torture and the Entry Level

Looking at this question, the social anxiety element certainly pops out at you.  I mean, after all, it’s the meat of the question. But it’s not the only challenge here.

We’re also talking about someone without significant previous work experience to draw on.

I’ve spoken to challenges at the entry level before, in a post about finding an entry level job without a degree.  The person in question has a degree here, which is certainly a help.  But the desire for a specifically remote position mitigates that.  The corporate world doesn’t trust entry level people to work “unsupervised.”

Now, one quick note here.  As someone who is an introvert and has embraced that, what I’m not going to do is offer any advice about dealing with or “conquering” the social anxiety.  That’s really not my forte and, even if it were, I see nothing wrong with a quiet, introspective life.

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DaedTech Digest: Home is Where the Wine Is

Hello everyone.  It’s been a good bit of time since I announced my vacation and subsequent return to the woods and my lake for the summer.  I’d meant to post earlier, but it turns out that relocating and returning from a vacation cause time to get away from you.  So DaedTech has been tumbleweeds dust for the last week.

But no longer!  Let’s pick things back up with another digest post and another little blurb about the nomadic life.

Do You Miss Having a Home Base?

I’ll ease my way back in with something of a softball, and one that people as me a lot.  If you’re used to a pretty transient life, do you come to miss home base?

This might seem like a no-brainer.  I mean, if I got homesick, I’d probably just go home, right?  So clearly I don’t, right?

Well, it’s not quite that simple.

My wife and I have spent a lot of time doing what’s known as slow travel (weeks or months at a time in places).  And before that, I traveled 100% as a management consultant for a long time.  So the last time I was routinely situated in a normal, single-dwelling life was roughly 2013.  I’m used to travel and accustomed to transience.

As such, I don’t miss having a home base, really.  I like variety.  And I’ve gotten used to a pretty spartan existence without all that much stuff.  I don’t really need more clothes than fit in a decent sized duffel bag, and we moved around for six months with only what would fit in a Jeep.

The one way, however, in which the lack of a home base wears on me is a purely logistical one.  Things like mail, having stuff shipped from Amazon, storing supplies, etc. that most people take for granted get pretty weird pretty fast when you slow travel.  Ditto things like finding someone to look after your pets or clean your place.  You’re in a constant state of just having moved, which can get somewhat burdensome.

But beyond that, I love the life.  Toward that end, here’s a photo that I would have posted if I’d done a digest two weeks ago on schedule when we were in Napa California.

Picks

  • For any of you hustlers, entrepreneurs, or people aspiring to the same, you’ve probably at least considered the idea of a virtual assistant.  If not, you should at least put it on your radar.  Once it’s on your radar, check on this service for helping you find a VA.  It took very little time to fill out the form and I’ve already got a number of frankly very impressive folks reaching out to me.
  • In that vein, I’ll pick the Four Hour Work Week.  This books is a fascinating read on the whole, and it’s also where I first heard of the concept of a virtual assistant.

The Digest

Have a good weekend!

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Brief DaedTech Hiatus Because I’m Attempting a Vacation

Hello DaedTech readers.  I’m typing this on a Monday night, which is usually when I’d be prepping a reader question post draft.  I don’t have one of those.  I do have a half-done developer to consultant post, but I’m not going to be prepping that either.

Instead, I’m just going on vacation.

If you read my digest posts, particularly the recent ones, you might think that my life is sort of one giant vacation.  In a sense this is true.  Being location independent gives us the freedom to go pretty much anywhere.  And we capitalize on that.

However, owning businesses, especially young, bootstrapped ones, has an implication of its own.  It means that, no matter where you go, you’re always at least kind of working.  So, while my workload has varied considerably and we have schedule flexibility, it’s been probably 14 months since I’ve taken more than 3 or so days off in a row.

Our goal is to break that streak over the next couple of weeks.  We’ll see if that actually happens, but we’re going to do our best.

As a result, look for DaedTech to be pretty quiet over the next couple of weeks — probably just digest posts, if that.  But, if you really find yourself craving DaedTech posts, you can always give me a follow on Twitter, because I’ll queue up a couple of from the archives tweets per day.

So have a good couple of weeks, and look for me to fire it back up after Memorial Day weekend.

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DaedTech Digest: Business Cats on the Road

Welcome to yet another Friday edition of the DaedTech Digest.  This thing where I write about the digital nomad life is gaining some traction, both in positive feedback and in post views.  So let’s keep at it.  I’m building a backlog of questions to answer, so fire away with those via email/social media/whatever.

Today’s question: how does this all work with your pets?

The short answer is “not ideally, but we manage.”  Amanda and I have two cats, and we haul them around with us on our adventures.  We travel pretty lightly, so about 2/3rds of the cargo space in the Jeep is dedicated to cats as we travel. Our luggage (including my computers) takes up the rest and then also occupies the roof rack cargo carrier.

From there, it’s really just a matter of filtering AirBNBs/VRBOs that allow cats and then confirming with the owner ahead of time.  (Protip: write them to make sure they specifically allow cats or dogs.  These sites, for whatever reason, just have a single “pets” filter. Some owners might allow cats but not dogs or vice-versa, and you wouldn’t know without asking.  We’ve been burned by this here and there, including last week for a place in Napa where they canceled on us for having cats, rather than dogs.)

Is this a great arrangement for the cats?

I honestly don’t know, but they seem content.  They’ve gotten pretty used to long haul travel. Both of them are fine in the car, as well as everywhere we stop.

It sometimes takes them a day or two to settle into a routine.  But I think, on the flip side, that they appreciate the extreme variety in birds just outside of the window.  This supplies them with plenty to get really worked up about.  Here in San Diego, there are wild parrots everywhere, including often right outside of our bedroom window, and the cats get really excited about them, batting and making clicking noises at the screen.

This is a picture of one of our cats, Butters, calling a meeting to order just as we arrived in San Diego from Phoenix.  We were tired from 5 hours on the road, but Butters, a consummate business cat, was ready to settle in that very night and start conducting one-on-ones.

A business cat

Come on in and have a seat, please.

 

What about vagabonding with the cats when you fly?

Amanda and I have wandered pretty extensively around the US by car.  But we haven’t yet done an overseas stint where we brought the cats.  At the top of our list for next winter, though, are Hawaii, Costa Rica, and Thailand, so stay tuned.  We may well have a follow-up post in 6 months where I describe sneaking a cat past TSA in the back pocket of my jeans.

Picks

  • A couple of weeks ago, a contributor to a Taiwanese tech blog translated my post about getting a programming job without a degree into Chinese.  You can check that out here.
  • I’m also going to pick the Freelancers Show on DevChat.TV.  I was the guest in the latest show and I have since started as a panelist (regular) on the podcast.  So throw us a subscribe!
  • If I’ve never mentioned them before, you should give Toggl a look for any and all time tracking needs that you have.  It’s freemium and cheap when it’s not free.

The Digest

Have a good weekend!