Collaborative post | The COVID-19 pandemic has been widely recognised as ushering in a new era of flexible working. The fact that millions of people around the world were able to continue doing their jobs effectively from home at the height of lockdown measures was proof that working remotely really was viable for large numbers of people.
But at the same time, the pandemic also temporarily shut down another flexible working trend - working as you travel.
Prior to COVID-19 largely shutting down international travel, an impressive 7.3 million Americans identified as ‘digital nomads’ - people who lead a travel-oriented lifestyle, working on the move with little more than a laptop and an internet connection.
With ties to the traditional workplace loosened by the pandemic - not to mention mass redundancies as thousands of businesses failed to make it through the crisis - the number of people taking up the digital nomad lifestyle is expected to double.
To many, it is the ultimate expression of career and lifestyle flexibility afforded by digital technology. After all, in our modern connected world, we’ve just had overwhelming proof that you don’t need people tied to a shared physical location to work. So why not prioritise working from amazing places?
However, it’s not quite so easy as packing your laptop and waving goodbye to your colleagues (until your next Zoom meeting, anyway). For a start, it’s only the lucky few who find an employer that is happy to let them wander the world while still under contract.
Most digital nomads tend to be freelancers working in sectors like marketing, content creation, photography, web and software design.
Second, there are certain practicalities to consider. You can’t just waltz into most countries and start working legally, for example. There are considerations like being registered for tax. Most countries require foreign nationals to apply for a visa to give them permission to work. There are currently only 41 countries that offer visas specifically for itinerant digital workers.
And then there are things like insurance. Unless you are granted residency in a country, you are unlikely to be entitled to state-subsidised healthcare. That makes falling ill potentially very expensive. Medical cover is essential, along with things like personal liability insurance. Many countries make valid insurance a condition of granting a work visa to foreign nationals.
The question then is, what kind of insurance do you need? That ultimately comes down to how you want to approach mixing work with travel - whether you are happy to blend short trips away with a more conventional working life, or whether you want to go for the full digital nomad experience.
Workations and travel insurance
For some people, cutting all ties to travel the world long term is a step too far. Rather than go full digital nomad, they just want to break up their working life with a little more travel.
That can be difficult to do within the confines of the holiday allowances of most jobs (or, if you’re your own boss, losing income for regular holidays). The solution? Take a workation.
A workation is most simply described as a working holiday. If you feel the need for a change of scenery to recharge the batteries or give you renewed inspiration in your work, simply pack your laptop and go work from somewhere different for a change. People who take workations overwhelmingly report benefits to their mental health and productivity.
From a logistical point of view, the great thing about a workation is you don’t have to treat it any differently to an ordinary holiday. The idea is that it is a short break, two or three weeks. As such, you don’t have to worry about special visas to get into most countries. You are allowed in under ordinary tourism rules. The fact that you decide to carry on working during your visit is neither here nor there.
It also means that you can take out standard travel insurance. Travel insurance will provide you with cover for medical costs, personal accidents, personal liability, legal costs and more but for a limited period of time (usually between three and four months).
If you plan to take regular workations and opt for annual multi-trip insurance, the limit per trip is more likely to be between two and three months. And you should be aware that annual policies usually have a limit on the number of days you can be away for per 12 month period.
Insurance for digital nomads
If your ambition is to take up travel as a longer term lifestyle and work as you go, then standard travel insurance is not suitable for you. Some travel insurance providers offer long stay policies, typically between 18 and 24 months in duration. These may suit your purposes, but a lot depends on how much you intend to move around.
If you plan to live and work in a particular country, for example, then your access to free or subsidised healthcare services will depend on your residency status. For expats who have not yet been granted full time residency in a country where they are working, the only alternative to paying for healthcare privately is to take out health insurance (in many countries, like the US, health insurance is a full time requirement anyway).
Digital nomads are unlikely to gain residency in any country because they do not stay in one place for long enough. The attraction of the lifestyle is moving around at will, after all. But that also means they will struggle to find health insurance for a particular country. Or if they do, they will have to keep buying new policies when they move.
What digital nomads require is cross-border insurance for specifics like healthcare, personal liability, personal possessions etc. This is still a niche area. But as market demand grows, more and more insurers are sure to step forward to offer it.
Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post.
Collaborative post | As your friend starts to approach their 50th birthday, you may be wondering what to get them. Due to this being a milestone birthday, you might want to think of something that could really make their day extra special. While they may simply be content to have you present to celebrate alongside them, it can be nice to see your friend open a heartfelt gift. Rather than buying age-themed presents, you may instead want to look for something more worthwhile.
It is likely that, over your years of friendship, you have taken a number of pictures together. This could be the basis for your gift purchase. You may want to consider having one, or several, of these images used for the present. By scanning them onto your computer, and then uploading them onto a website, you could order your canvas print directly to your door. These prints come in an array of sizes, meaning you are able to order a smaller or larger one depending on the space your friend has available within their home. Many of these prints can also come with the brackets or nails required to hang them as well, meaning your friend simply needs to decide where to put your gift.
Some people manage to achieve their goals and dreams at a young age, while others may find they have gone years without making much progress. For some people, learning to drive can be one of those goals. If your friend’s 50th birthday is approaching, and he or she has yet to obtain their full driver’s licence, you might want to consider purchasing lessons or a test for them. While you do need to be at least 17 years old to start driving in the first place, there isn’t any upper limit that you need to pass by. Considering the expense associated with learning to drive, this could be an especially welcome gift and save them from needing to rely on others, or public transport, in the future.
Instead of purchasing a physical present, you may want to consider ways that you could make additional memories with your friend. Booking yourselves a weekend away can be a really fun way to celebrate a birthday. Holidays with friends aren’t something just reserved for young adults.
Even in your 50s, it is possible to still have a great time in a new destination. You might want to opt for one that is more suitable for your age or hobbies. To do this, it could be a good idea to look into quieter areas that are seldom visited by families or youths and then pick your excursions accordingly. If you are uncertain of your friend’s prior commitments, you may instead want to opt for choosing a destination, and then book flights and accommodation once your friend has booked that time off.
Buying gifts for a 50th can seem easy. However, this could also result in you buying something that doesn’t properly convey how much their friendship means to you. By putting in that bit more effort, you could find something rather unique that they will cherish.
Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post.
Ad | Featured | Being a busy mom is challenging enough on its own, but it can get even more complicated when you have multiple kids or are juggling other responsibilities at the same time. Often, personal care and growth may fall on the wayside. However, being a busy mom should not get in the way of your personal development — especially if you have dreams that have been put on hold.
But as a busy mom precariously balancing multiple responsibilities, how exactly can you add another one without going off the deep end?
If you’ve been toying with the idea of going to grad school but keep talking yourself out of it for one reason or another, this article may help you make up your mind.
Consider what grad school can do for you
Grad school isn’t a cakewalk — it is challenging for students no matter their life situation, and it can also be difficult for parents regardless of their sex or role.
One of the first things that may come to your mind when you’re playing with the idea is how much work it will take to do everything all at once. As a busy mom, it may feel almost impossible! However, it might benefit you to consider what a graduate degree can do to help change your life for the better.
Grad school can bring along various great benefits, such as:
Tips for choosing a grad school
Having a child or children means that your resources are most likely going to them over anything else. With that being the case, how can you afford grad school if you aren’t financially comfortable or capable?
Another concern you may have is the fact that graduate school involves a lot of time commitments. Add to that the fact that it might be too challenging to move to a college or university’s area to attend in-person classes, and you may find yourself ready to scrap the idea of grad school altogether.
However, there are things you can do to make things easier or more possible for you. For example, you can look into online colleges that accept FAFSA.
Why an Online College?
Before the pandemic even hit, online colleges were already on the rise. There’s just something unbeatable about being able to acquire your education from the comfort of your own home and mostly on your own time (unless scheduled lectures are required). You also don’t even need to look for an online college — you can also simply look for an online program for the particular degree you want.
It’s worth noting that not all degrees and programs have online versions since many fields (such as medicine) may require you to be physically present. There are also some online programs that will require you to visit campus for a certain number of days per term, but most of the time, these required campus visits are manageable even for a busy mom.
Tips for a busy mom going to grad school
If you do decide to take the leap and go to graduate school, these tips might be helpful:
Another thing that can help as you go through grad school is a solid support system that can help you along the way. Having help available, even if it’s just someone to vent to, can really make things a little more manageable.
Final thoughts: don't forget to look after yourself
It’s easy to forget yourself when there are so many things to do all at once. However, taking care of yourself is vital to keeping your mental (and physical) health in check during this time. Find some time to do something you enjoy or do something for yourself, even if it’s just half an hour each day!
Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post.
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