Digital Nomad Interview with Nicole K. Orr

If you caught sight of Nicole K. Orr, you’d most likely see her curled up in a cozy corner. She’d have her headphones on as her fingers thundered away at the keys. She’d have a flat cap on her head, a scarf thrown over one shoulder and a pair of gloves peeking out of her pocket. This could be Nicole in her hometown of Portland Oregon. This could be Nicole on an airplane to a yet unnamed somewhere. This could be Nicole in some faraway country where she can’t pronounce the fancy name of her girly coffee, but she knows how to point at a photo of it. You can find her books on Amazon and find out for more about her non-profit.

1. What got you into the Digital Nomad lifestyle?
I actually have my father to thank for it. In June of last year, he had a stroke. I immediately quit my job in financing. I postponed or cancelled all of the travel I’d had planned for the year. Instead, I sought out an income I could make from home. While I ran around cooking meals for my parents, driving my father to his physical therapy and keeping the house wheelchair friendly, I was also taking on small telecommute jobs. It wasn’t until my father had mostly recovered and I found time to be more picky about the positions I took on that I realised what stress had blinded me to before: I was practically a digital nomad.

2. How do you earn as a Digital Nomad?
I’m a bit of a Jack of All Trades that way! Ever since I was a teen, I’ve worked multiple jobs at once to fund my travels. Even as a digital nomad, that hasn’t changed. I’ve been a freelance children’s author for the Purple Toad Publishing House for more than six years. I’m an online rep for a non-profit called the Center for Inquiry of Portland. Finally, I’ve just become a blogger for the HOTH. Do I still find the time to cook meals, drive my father to therapy and keep the house clean? Yes. 🙂

3. What has been your favorite destination as a Digital Nomad?
While I’ve been traveling since I was 18 years old, I’m actually pretty new to the digital nomad lifestyle. So far, I’ve only worked remotely from Eugene Oregon and the Oregon Coast. However, come this summer, I’ll be working remotely from the Oregon Country Fair, New York, Iceland and possibly Australia again sometime. I know Australia will be my favorite.

4. What is so special about it?
Brisbane Australia is a second home to me. I’ve traveled there twice. All of my best mates live there, including my sister-in-all-but-blood. I know the city as well as I do my hometown, if not better. There’s no other city in the world I know so many people who would house me, feed me, employ me and welcome me as there are in Brisbane.

5. What are some of the problems you’ve dealt with as a Digital Nomad?
I reckon this is a problem for a lot of people, but I’d say the biggest loss as a digital nomad are the opportunities for romance. Whether it’s while we’re on the road or when we’re at our home-base, we’re never in one place long enough to date. If we are, it isn’t ever a long-term romance or one with the chance of being long-term. Travel doesn’t have to be lonely, as the friendships we develop are part of the reason we do it. However, a happy intimate relationship tends to be an unfortunate casualty of that lifestyle.

6. How do you discover places to work and explore in a new city?
As far as finding places to work, I almost always do cafes. They’ve got the best wifi and tend to let you hangout the longest. To find the best of those, I’ve developed this trick. I type into Google, “the top 10 best coffee shops in BLANK.” The ones that come up tend to be blog entries, which tend to rate things like wifi, customer service, etc. I use the same rule when it comes to places to explore. “The top 10 things to see in BLANK.”
7. What do you see as the next thing for the Digital Nomad community?
I’ve recently seen this rise in the need for digital nomads to know each other. Whether this means through social media sites, forums or apps, I think remote worker/travellers want friendship with people who understand the lifestyle, the trials and the delights of it, the sometimes stress of it and the real relief of it when compared to a 9-5 job in a cubicle. I’m not currently friends with any digital nomads, but with the growing need for a community I’m seeing, I think it’s only a matter of time before I do.

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