An update from our temporary home in Vietnam

Nha Trang Beach by night from our apartment
Nha Trang by night. Bling!

It’s been almost a month since we left Melbourne and we’ve been in Nha Trang for just over two weeks. We’re getting into the groove of our daily life here with morning walks, morning and afternoon beach frolics, and lots of client work in between while the boys try not to distract me too much.  So far there has only been one desperate “Honey, I need the toilet NOW HURRY UP IN THERE!” jig. #winningatstreetfood

I had a beautiful schedule in my mind of how my luxurious days would pan out. An early morning stroll by the beach, delicious food at every meal (um ramyen anoyone?) my day filled with a mix of creative writing (I haven’t written a word for my novel since getting here) and client copywriting work (lots of that) and oodles of digital product creation in the evenings (ah nope).

I need a lot more experience at this digital nomad thing because right now, I’m digital nomadding like a complete hack. (Hey! Did I just do that terribly irritating word thing where you turn a noun into a verb like those annoying Olympic commentators who reckon athletes ‘medal’? Look out, a neologism on the rise.)

I need more experience at this #digitalnomad thing because right now, I'm digital nomadding like a complete hack. Click To Tweet

You know you’re a hack digital nomad* when…

One of the first sign of my hackness (another neologism?) came when I had my first solo dinner excursion on Wednesday night. The boys weren’t hungry – they had been out shopping for the afternoon and ate a very late and very large lunch.

I now know exactly what a 10,000 dong and 100,000 dong note look like and I’ll be sure on future solo dinner excursions to make sure the value of the dishes I select from the menu do not exceed the notes in my pocket.

Today I got ripped off by a cranky bahn mi lady (fried egg and other goodies in a Vietnamese bread roll) who charged me double the going rate. I should have negotiated up front instead of assuming it’d be the same as every other street vendor. I’m such a hack.

You know those shots of digital entrepreneurs swinging in a hammock with a laptop in their lap, sipping on a cocktail next to the beach? Well, I’m not proud to say I have not worked outdoors even once since we arrived. I do not have a single photo of me sipping a cocktail by the pool. I haven’t even seen a hammock, let alone swung in one and taken a selfie. I even refuse to pay the small fee to hire a deck chair and sun umbrella on the beach.

But, by the time I write my next blog post on digital nomadding, I promise to have taken a heavily stylised selfie of me working outdoors with my laptop on my lap, not looking uncomfortable in the slightest while I try to find the best angle to avoid screen glare, leg cramps and try not to let sand encroach under my keyboard’s keys.

Not another dreaded digital nomadding selfie
Not another digital nomad selfie

In the meantime, you’ll have to enjoy this realistic selfie of me working at my laptop on the kitchen table in our tiny apartment, beach hair and all.

My sister Allison arrives tomorrow and is bringing us a few treasures from home, like sunscreen in tube (those roll on things are crap!) bug spray (those roll on things are crap!) more short-sleeved shirts and shorts and will be taking home with her amongst other things our long pants, long-sleeved jackets, make-up (what was I thinking?!?) and my little swimming shorts that I wear over my bathers so I don’t have to worry about… er… ‘maintenance’. No one looks twice at you here. Plus a tan makes you look thinner, right?

I wish I’d thought to ask her to bring a bottle of wine and my favourite oaty cluster breakfast cereal. I miss wine. There’s plenty available here but I refuse to pay more than $20 for Jacob’s Creek. Yeah, I know, it’s just like being ripped off by a cranky banh mi lady.

*Disclaimer: I know, I know, these aren’t only the domain of a digital nomad – they fit any bumbling travelling git like me.

Hobbies I never knew a digital nomad could have

This week is a major week-long public holiday in China and it seems as though a large percentage of the Chinese population has descended upon Nha Trang, making the footpaths increasingly difficult to negotiate with a pram and finding a space in the sea in the late afternoon that allows for elbow room is somewhat challenging.

However, my new hobby is watching the Chinese tourists get knocked over like skittles when the beach throws up a few classic shore dumpers for my amusement. Tee hee. Does that make me a bad person?

My other hobby is predicting the exact moment a big dump of rain will hit us by watching the workmen on a building site opposite my apartment. They scurry like worker ants before a storm. One minute there’s a sea of orange helmets and green overalls, the next they’ve disappeared and I know it’s time to bring in the washing from the balcony. Better than a weather forecaster.

Insights from the 39th floor

Drowning in my own red tape
Drowning in my own red tape

Since we’ve been here, from my window I’ve already seen a whole hotel floor built, a soccer stadium on the foreshore spring up literally overnight and a temporary stage set up to entertain the previously mentioned influx of Chinese tourists. Phew! And literally overnight it was all dismantled again. I bet you couldn’t do that in Australia. How much red tape would be involved? How many inspections and safety checks and regulations would people have to adhere to? Red. Tape. Nightmare.

After reading Dan Norris’ latest book ‘Create or Hate‘ it got me thinking about the red tape I impose unnecessarily on myself – ridiculous deadlines, unattainable goals, negative self-talk (letting Hate in to drive MY bus while I sulk like a dour teenager in the back seat) restrictions on when and where I can work etc. etc. etc. It’s time to ease up and stop drowning in my own red tape.

I’ve also come to realise that three months is nowhere near enough time to achieve what I came here to do. And that’s OK. It’s time to put the realistic into those SMART goals.

How about you? Are you drowning in your own red tape?

    8 replies to "Digital nomadding like a hack"

    • Nat

      Im looking forward to that selfie down by the beach- don’t forget the cocktail in one hand!

      • admin

        I don’t know about a cocktail but I could probably rustle up a cider 🙂

    • Allison

      I am nearly there ☺

      • admin


    • Jeanette Sanderson

      I’d happily go on a hammock finding quest with you – a cool, refreshing cocktail our version of Indianna Jones’ Holy Grail at the very end of our successful quest. After all, what business does a laptop have, wasting time frivolously in a hammock?!… where shall we meet ?!

      • admin

        Bunnings? I’m sure they’ve got hammocks for sale… I don’t know if they’d let us bring our cocktails, though.

    • Ingrid

      Loving ur blog San 🙂 good to hear you can fit in jobs for clients and I’ll
      Have some more work soon (we had a near catastrophe last week)!

      • admin

        You’ll have to tell me all about, Ingrid. I’ve still got you on my job board waiting for details on those epic new walks 🙂

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