Exploring foreign countries, living near the beach, meeting new people, working when you want to—being a digital nomad could certainly be an attractive lifestyle! If you want to try it, your first challenges will include thinking about what to do with all your stuff and how to keep traveling light. That’s where self-storage can help out.

What Is a Digital Nomad?

The traveling lifestyle appeals to many, and now it’s possible even for those who need to work at a computer for a living. A digital nomad is generally a person who chooses to live in locations far away from their home and can carry out their business there, usually by using a laptop in places where there is an Internet connection. It could be a city famous for welcoming digital nomads or a more rustic location.

Being a digital nomad is not the same as going on holiday and generally involves a far longer time away from home. Therefore, not only will such a person need somewhere to store the stuff they’ve left behind, but they may also need a place for work-related items and things they accumulate while they’re elsewhere.

A digital nomad just arrived in a city.

Store Before You Go

You can leave everything in your home, but paying the mortgage or the rent while getting nothing in return won’t seem like a bargain and may not even be covered by what you earn while you’re away. Shoving all your possessions in your parents’ attic or a friend’s spare room could seem like a great idea, but they won’t thank you for it and they may need to move everything out some time!

You could sell your possessions, but the fact remains that after traveling a lot many people find they want to come home to familiar scenery, which may mean favorite armchairs, family heirlooms and well-thumbed books. Putting things in self-storage could be the perfect solution, so future nomads would do well to shop around for their ideal storage option before they take off.

The Nomad Approach to Self-Storage

Nomads travel light, and for anyone just beginning the lifestyle it could be the perfect time to declutter. The process of eliminating things you don’t need to carry around can also be applied to the things you choose to store, with items not making the cut sold or given away. Some people even say this is a very cleansing experience!

The digital nomad life also tends to make people more conscious of saving money, as they may not be looking forward to a regular salary coming in. The decluttering process will reduce the size of the unit needed, perhaps from 10×10 to 5×10, and it may be possible to use a cheaper facility out of town as visiting regularly won’t be an issue.

Self-Storage in Paradise

You’ve traveled around and found the perfect location with great weather and the activities you are passionate about. You don’t feel like leaving this place for some time, but you may find you build up quite a lot of stuff while you’re there, including work-related items and gifts for people back home. Like anybody else, digital nomads benefit from a clutter-free work environment, and so, if possible, they might benefit from moving some items out of their cramped living quarters and into a nearby storage unit.

The self-storage industry is well-developed now and you might be surprised to find a facility in the place where you have landed. Surfing resorts are destinations that are more likely than most to have storage options for the use of their transient population, who can then work when they want to and play when the surf’s up!

Self-Storage for Safety

The people you live with in your chosen paradise may have become good friends, but folk come and go and you might like to ponder whether your possessions—including your passport and your precious laptop—are really safe there. It could give you a lot more peace of mind if you put a few valuable items in a storage facility with good security.

And even if you love the oasis you’ve found, the travel bug doesn’t always go away so easily! Having a safe place to store items will also be an advantage for anybody who wants to do trips away from their base—you could even rent out your room there short-term and earn a useful bit of extra cash.

Work at a Self-Storage Facility

Some people may be surprised to learn that it might be possible to actually work at a self-storage facility. This is an especially attractive idea at places which provide business centers or multi-purpose rooms for their customers—though, of course, not everybody is lucky enough to find such a option in their chosen location.

There will be desks, an Internet connection, maybe even a coffee machine and deliveries can usually be accepted there, which can be a very useful service for people who are new in town. The place can be treated just like a regular office, except that the lease will be short-term and with plenty of flexibility regarding renewals.

Work Out of Your Unit

For most people, however, a self-storage facility just provides units. Regulations differ throughout the world and self-storage facilities also vary with regard to both their policies and the rigor with which they enforce them, but it might just be possible to set up a chair in a unit and get your laptop out.

Not all nomads’ businesses require them to be sitting at a screen all the time, however. If you fancy your chances of buying and exporting local handicrafts, for example, just use the unit for storing your stock while you do all the administration on your computer back where you’re living or at an Internet cafe. Big import/export businesses might well start from such small beginnings, and self-storage will have played its part in the process!

Digital nomad woman using laptop outdoors.
Image by Steven Zwerink via flickr

The self-storage industry provides many benefits for digital nomads and may greatly enhance their experience of working away from home. Firstly, travelers can ensure that all their favorite things will be waiting for them when they get back. Then, if they’re lucky or they choose a destination carefully, they might be able to use a storage facility to good advantage while they’re away. The self-storage industry is growing worldwide, so living the digital nomad life is probably going to look even more attractive than it does already!


Francis Chantree is a writer and editor for Yardi, focusing on real estate and lifestyle content. He is a former programmer and researcher who exchanged computer language for his greatest passion, human language! When not writing and proofreading text, he can be found gardening and reading.

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