The logistics for one Digital Nomad

The preparations for a Digital Nomad lifestyle.

As you can imagine, preparing for a 2 year trip can be a bit stressful. I’m a pretty laid back person, and generally that’s a good thing but when it comes to being proactive, being laid back isn’t always very helpful. Luckily, I had a few months to prepare and this time around, I actually managed to work efficiently. That being said, certain things were definitely neglected and I’m not proud to say that the last few weeks I was pretty selfish. I didn’t mean to be, but I just couldn’t focus on anything but what still needed to be done. I had a few moments of anxiety, times when I’d wake up in the middle of the night worried about one thing or another. But all in all, things went pretty well. I sold all my earthly possessions, got rid of my apartment, and put a few sentimental items and my tax papers in a box and left it at a friends. With that, all that was left was the packing and leaving my place. I must say, I lucked out. I had access to a car when I least expected it but most needed it, had some great friends who have always been super helpful, I threw a little “help me get rid of stuff I don’t need” gathering, and a couple days later, I was gone.
But what do you take on a journey that might last up to 2 years? I guess that depends on who you are. For me, this was the list.

Travel list

10 underwear (started with 10, but you’ll need more)
16 socks
18 t-shirts
1 nurse scrubs (bottom only)
2 swim shorts
7 thin long sleeve shirts
2 jeans
1 linen pants
1 lunghi
1 sweater
Winter coat
Snowboarding pants (for the unexpected cold nights, mountaintops, etc)
1 pair of long johns (you never know, came in handy on Acatenango, Guatemala)
1 pair of Gloves
1 Toque/winter hat
1 pair running shoes
1 pair Salomon walking/hiking shoes (awesome shoes, highly recommend them. Comfortable, rugged.)

2 toothbrushes

1 toothpaste
1 mosquito repellent
1 aspirin bottle
1 immodium
1 soap
1 dental floss
1 iodine 
1 pack of bandaids
Bunch of q-tips
1 nail clipper
1 tweezer
1 buzzer (hair)
2 deodorants
1 chapstick
1 large shamy (main towel)
1 small shamy (ocean/pool towel)
1 bottle of body lotion 
1 small bottle of cologne (never used, 5 months in)

1 Luffa glove (ya, i said it but it comes in handy with all the sun and sea and changes in climates)
1 flashlight
1 sleeping bag
1 pair of sunglasses
1 wallet
1 ID&CC card holder
2 strapped compression bags (an ABSOLUTE MUST. Whether you get this brand or another, a compression bag is probably the best investment you can make for space)
2 ziploc style sharper image compression bags (seal broke early but is still useful with the broken seal, saves me a good amount of space)
1 smartphone arm band for jogging
2 physical books
1 platypus plastic water bag (useful but not as useful as I expected, I’d recommend a regular reusable water bottle that you can strap to the outside of your bags)
1 compass
1 set of plastic cutlery (1 fork, spoon and knife)
5 large ziplocs and special travel ziplocs (thicker iplocs for receipts, documents, electronics, etc)
1 laundry bag (very useful and takes no space)
Some work papers

Tech & related
1 power bar
1 Lenovo y40 laptop (I don’t recommend this laptop. It’s noisy, get hot, and doesn’t perform to spec.)
2 smartphones (HTC One m7 (awesome) & Sony Xperia Ion (terrible but is my backup))
3 WD hard drives (2x2TB, 1x1TB)
1 128GB SD card
1 portable USB monitor (great hardware but flaky software – still it’s the best you can find and for me absolutely necessary for design work)
1 razer mouse (well worth it, robust and accurate)
1 razer mouse pad (bit pricey but folds up so it takes no space and works well with my mouse)
1 Microsoft ergonomic keyboard (really bulky, I won’t lie, but I just can’t type extensively on a laptop keyboard, so it’s a necessary evil)
1 rj45
3 earbud headphones 
1 HDMI cable
2 phone chargers (1 extra charging cable)
1 universal plug adapter covering 80% of countries
1 car charger for multiple devices
1 kobo mini e-reader (died within 3 months, i should have taken better care of it, but I recommend an e-reader for articles and books. Way better option than a book. Get one with a backlight.)
1 portable extra phone battery/charger 1650mah
1 16GB Duracell usb key (great option for on the go storage, grabbing files from people or bringing to print shops)

IDs & other cards
2 credit cards (1 visa, 1 Mastercard)
1 savings account bank card
1 personal account bank card
2 business bank cards
driver’s license
international driver’s license
Immunization record pad
Medical Insurance card
1 Aeroplan card
1 USD account bank card

For transport 
1 Deuter Futura Vario 55+10 Backpack (purchased at MEC in Canada, which is a great option because they have great guarantees and service, I recommend checking it out if you can)
1 swiss gear backpack (carry-on and day pack, very happy with this bag, sturdy, holds a ton while still portable on airplanes and is comfortable)


Seems like a crapload of stuff. It is. But everything was chosen for a reason, and while you can argue that much of the tech stuff was unnecessary, for me, the security of having redundancy is important given the unknown situations I might find myself in, the potential for breakage, theft, loss. Additionally, I’ll see if there’s stuff I don’t use at all and will give it away along my travels to others, lightening my load a bit and maybe providing others with something useful.

I also had some miracle items that helped me squeeze all of that into a manageable package. These are some of the best things a nomad can have: compression bags, compression bags, compression bags. I hadn’t even heard of these until V (my girlfriend, for those of you who don’t know yet) showed one to me a few months prior. But wow! You have to see it to believe it. In fact, take a look.

This is everything I brought with me, though you can't tell that the pile of clothes is over a foot high.
This is everything I brought with me, though you can’t tell that the pile of clothes is almost a foot high.

In addition to compression bags though, a couple other things are helpful. Instead of towels, use shammies. I’m serious. Professional swimmers and divers have been using them for decades because they are awesome. Super absorbent, super light, and small. They dry super quick, and can fit in anything. No need to worry about putting a wet, heavy towel in your backpack. This is science at its best. Another easy item, ziplocs. Of all different sizes. Great tools for papers, wires and other electronics, even for your passport. Good against moisture, easy access. And you can squeeze the air out so you don’t have any wasted space. Air, my friends is the enemy of packing (but you know this already). The less air you carry with you from place to place, the better. I try to carry as little air as I can.

I really want you to understand how much stuff I managed to get into my 2 backpacks, and more specifically how much stuff you can get into compression bags. So, please, take a look at these.


My mobile office. All of it fits into my day pack.
Toiletries and related items, yes, including an electric buzzer which saves me having to pay for haircuts.
Socks and underwear.
In this compression bag, is… a winter coat, snowboard pants, a pair of flanel pants, gloves, a tuque. This is the power of a good compression bag..
And here you can see all my cold weather close from the previous image and all my underwear and socks and a couple shorts in the small one to the right.
All these shirts and a sweater which I bought later fit into the yellow sac to the left and which can be seen in the main image of this post.

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