digital nomad lifestyleDigital nomadism, a dream many have, few experience.

What draws some people into the lure of the big wide world while others are happily working for a boss for the rest of their working lives? The answer of course lies in your own beliefs. What might be someone’s idea of Just Over Broke (J.O.B.) is someone else’s belief of living a secure life.

Go figure…

The reality of a digital revolution can be seen all around us. Have you harbored a late guess at what percentage of the population walks around with a smartphone these days?

I dare you to look closer. On a recent leisure/business trip to tropical Cairns I couldn’t help notice how many people were actually in the possession of an iPhone. These iPhone warriors were EVERYWHERE! I kid you not; they were at the airport, at the taxi rank, at the hotel, in the local coffee shop and in the park. Heck, they even were in the rainforest.

Thanks to the ever increasing connectivty of 3G (or is it 4G now) we can stay in touch with our zealous Facebook and Twitter followers while snorkeling on the Barrier Reef, or sipping a cafe latte, surrounded by nature’s beauty.

Digital Nomads Use Apps to Stay Connected

Digital nomads who hold themselves in high esteem (thanks to their technical savvyness – just kidding) use apps to stay in touch with their business while traveling the world. I happen to own an iPhone and it is by far the best digital tool I have ever laid my hands on – and I do happen to LOVE my MBP! The iPhone truly allows me to enjoy my life as a digital nomad without feeling guilty. I no longer have to worry about missed opportunities, or deadlines because I couldn’t get to a PC/Mac in time. My iPhone keeps me connected while I laze in the sunshine with a good book, while I sit in the coffee shop with a friend, and while I simply enjoy the advantages of being self-employed with my own agenda.

I can tweet, upload photos to Facebook, reply to a client inquiry, collaborate with my team, and send invoices – thanks to apps that help me stay organized.

What’s on My iPhone?

To be honest, right now a whole lot of clutter besides some REALLY cool apps that have helped to make a huge difference in my schedule.

Productivity apps:

  • Dropbox: To help me keep files organized while my Mac stays relative clutter-free
  • WriteRoom: For writing blog posts on the go. Admitedly it’s not that easy as trying to thumb blocks of text into a small device is rather time consuming. I’d like to keep it as a last resort for emergencies.
  • Office2Plus: To create documents and spreadsheets on the go. I can also share these via iTunes, email, WiFi, cloud servers, or local sharing. It’s a great way to put the finishing touches on an important document while being out and about from the office.
  • Evernote: Great app. No further explanation needed.
  • WiFiGet: Good app to scan surrounding area for WiFi networks – both free and paid.
  • iDisk: Keeps me synched with my MBP. Having said this I also use Dropbox for same. Can’t have enough cloud-based storage.
  • Roboform: Can’t live without my safe and secure password manager on the fly, especially if I’m tempted to use free WiFi hotspots. Got to mind those nasty scam artists who prowl these spots in the hopes of robbing you of your last paycheck.

Mind apps:

I happen to be a sucker for personal development so the following mind apps come in handy on a regular basis:

  • White Noise: Allows me to work distraction free and really get into the zone. LOVE it! I can also use it to gently lull me to sleep after a hard days work.
  • OM Mediation: Being a yoga practitioner and believer in ancient Eastern ways of life this app keeps me grounded during meditation or practice.
  • iMindMap: While technically a productivity app, this app helps me zone out from my usual mind clutter and focus on the task ahead.
  • Sleep Cycle: This is a REALLY cool app. I’m relatively new to it and only just discovered its power. With this app you can monitor your sleep cycle. It promises to wake you up during the lightest sleep phase, providing you with a better sense of wellbeing and more energy at the start of your day.
  • SimplyBeing: Has some lovely guided meditation. I love the 5 minute meditation options with music. A great way to renew your mind and spirit on the fly.

Travel apps:

  • iTranslate: Does exactly that – translate sentences from one language to the next. Perfect to get acquainted with your newest best friends in a foreign country.
  • Weather: The weather app comes as a standard with the iPhone, but what I like about it is the fact that I can set it for different cities worlwide, allowing me to see the weather forecast for my travel destination before I leave home. I never have to guess what to pack.
  • AroundMe: Has some good localized information about coffee shops, banks, shops, retail, hotels, gas stations and more. On a trip to Brisbane a couple of months back I was able to find a great coffee shop with this app – considering I was a long way from the city made this even better.
  • Maps: This out-of-the-box app is one of my favorites. It acts as a GPS  and is great for new destinations. While it does chew your download data plan I can’t imagine not using this cool app. Great for finding your way to the hotel with a hired car.

Entertainment apps:

  • SHOUTcast Radio: This app is pretty good for finding radio stations. I use it a lot for its classical music selection since I don’t have a lot of classical music at home.
  • App store: How could you NOT use this for entertainment purposes. I bet you find new goodies on each new visit. It’s kind of contagious.
  • Borders: Since the iBook app really does SUCK (especially at the moment) I have searched further afield and found Borders. This Australian bookshop app is way cooler than iBook hopes to be and features an impressive list of affordable e(i)Books.

Social Networking apps:

How could I forget the most important apps to stay connected with the world?

  • Facebook app: Words are not needed.
  • Twitter app: Tweet your life away.
  • Skype: This is my kind of app. Especially now I’ve upgraded my software. I can get push notifications while running this app in the background. Not bad for a little piece of software.
  • Fring: I think this app is better than I currently think it is. I just haven’t worked it out. I downloaded it because I was under the impression I can use it for Skype too, but haven’t figured out how, lol.

App I truly miss:

Just after discovering Grooveshark and learning that Apple had released the free Grooveshark app I had to let go when they pulled it a few days later. I really wish this app will eventually return to the app store, but I have a sneaky feeling that it won’t, because of potential copyright issues. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, have fun while digging around the app store for yourself, and if you’re a digital nomad I hope to meet you in the great outdoors one day.


Monika Mundell is a busy copywriter, digital nomad and lover of the great outdoors. If she isn’t found hammering away at her keyboard she is probably enjoying some downtime with her hubby, babies (pet birds), or stuck on some tropical island while cruising the world.

You can connect with Monika on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn where she has been extremely un-busy over the last year. An influx of new followers might just animate her to get her act together.