8 lifehacks from the life of a nomad – What experience taught me
This is just a short article, in which I give you a few tips from my experience on the road. These can be useful to you as a future nomad, some also in general life.
Lifehack # 1: Find toilets
Let’s start with a very important tip that can help you out in Asia under certain circumstances. When I flew to the Far East for the first time and landed at Kuala Lumpur airport. I urgently had to go to the bathroom. But I didn’t know that there are mostly squatting toilets. These are holes in the ground. How you do your business is up to your creativity as a foreigner. But why did no one warn me? -.-
You do not want to accidentally wet your pants. For the usage techniques maybe, a separate real talk article would be appropriate. The following tip would have been even more valuable if I had gotten it from someone already back then. So, listen carefully! This information can literally someday help you out of the “shit”. Quite often some of the toilets are in western style and only the majority are squatting toilets. Sometimes salvation comes when you just open the next doors. Often there is a western option at the very back behind the last door. In an emergency, just try all the doors.
In some countries – and here nothing can help – toilets are more like Advent calendars. Behind every door is a brown surprise. Then you can only shout out: “Help, I want to get back in the plane!”
Lifehack #2: Get away with overweight
Carry your backpack in a relaxed way at the check-in! Just do not let it appear that you are dragging a little overweight around. Then your hand luggage is more likely not to be weighed. In contrast, if you use a trolley, it gets usually weighed because it suggests that it is heavier than a loose-fitting backpack. Also, you will not be allowed in buses with the trolley, while you can often take a loose-fitting backpack with you in the passenger area. As a nomad, you are reluctant to be separated from your luggage as this is the only but therefore more important stuff you possess. I can recommend you a convertible backpack.
At the airport, at the bus station and in muddy streets I use it as a backpack. Otherwise, always as a trolley, because this is more pleasant. Especially if you have a 12-hour stopover in an interesting but climatically hot metropolis like Singapore. Nobody wants to carry around a heavy backpack for 12 hours in the tropical heat. A trolley makes your life easier here.
So, take everything easy and be confident!
Lifehacks #3-6: Get what you want
As a nomad without a permanent residence, it is sometimes not easy. For many people, this concept is still completely unknown, which is why they do not know how to classify it. This applies in particular to officials and employees of large companies. They have their standards and then you come up and completely overthrow their system. The more automated and standardized a system, the more problematic for us vagabonding homeless people. This manifests itself regularly when I shop online with my credit card (for example, plane tickets). My card will then be subjected to a security check. Yesterday Thailand, today Germany, tomorrow Sri Lanka, of course this triggers all the alarm systems that were ever installed against cybercrime.
The following behaviors have been helpful here, but can also be applied to the entire life:
3. Be complaisant
Be complaisant. Send all data that may be needed in advance. Do not wait until documents are requested, but willingly send documents that could increase trust and help the clerk. Emphasize also with a few comments why these documents actually help. Many officials and employees just do not know how to handle your concept of life. Depending on the case, they may only know different types of documents. The more choices you give them, the more likely they are to recognize your documents as equally valid. Have pity on the office slaves. Your case makes their lives difficult. At the same time, create a possible remedy and you can get to your destination more quickly.
4. Think like your counterpart
Registration address and residence address are two different things. In Germany, everything runs very strictly. You have to sign up and comply with all sorts of official protocols and standards. However, when private companies talk about a residence address, it usually just means a postal address. Do not interpret in the word residence always the German concept of a strict reporting and registration system. In the fewest cases companies care if you really live there, as long as their mail is received by you. Very often these are just standardized KYC guidelines that just happen to exist.
And in principle it is also true that private companies cannot harm you except maybe cancel your contract with them. But that is also against their interest and is mostly motivated by government regulations if it even happens at all. Because what does a profit-oriented company care where you live, as long as you pay diligently your bills? However, everything that concerns official government agencies such as financial or visa authorities, I would treat more carefully. Because they could be serious about it and mistakes in forms (even if made accidentally) often lead to legal consequences.
5. Be persistent
If everything fails, then change your strategy. Do not let loose. For example, many replies from support e-mails are either completely computer-generated or follow a standard defense scheme. Do not take it seriously. Insist on your right as a customer. Tell the support staff in detail why their service is bad and how much you, the customer, suffer from it. You are the customer and they have to serve you! For that, these people get their salary. You were complaisant and gave every assistance. Now it’s up to the supporter to go the extra mile (or rather 5 meters) to the supervisor’s office and ask how they can help in your particular case.
Believe me, an additional e-mail can sometimes have huge effects. Remember the Pareto principle: 20% of customers account for 80% of the problems and 80% of customers only for the remaining 20%. You want to be one of the 20% who kick people’s ass and not one of the 80% who is palmed off with a standard excuse e-mail!
Persistence in case of failure can also mean that you try again with another employee. Just because you could not penetrate through a supporter or civil servant does not mean it’s not possible for another employee. Do not get discouraged! Persistence is worth it.
6. Go to the extremes
However, if nothing helps, then the last escalation step must be entered. You turn to the superiors themselves or at least threaten with it first. If there is anything that the support staff fear more than lifting their butts and seek guidance, is the time when they have to lift their butts because the supervisor calls them in since there has been a customer’s complaint about their poor service. I once went so far as to write to the CEO of a company privately on Facebook. You do not believe how fast my “complex” problem was solved.
Another tip: Use Dropscan as the “residence” and get invoices from your mobile phone provider or web host sent to this address as consumption bills!
Lifehack #7: Spicy food
In many countries people eat much more spicy food than in Germany. Sometimes too spicy for our standards. But what to do if the unknown vegetables have already touched our gums and the spiciness is noticeable only after some time and is now developing into a wild fire? The only thing that really helps well and fast against spicy food is pure sugar. Just ask the waitress for a handful of sugar and eat it directly and distribute it in your mouth. You’ll see, it works wonders!
Lifehack #8: Mosquito protection
Once I learned a banality in India. But it is a very useful one and you have to come up with it first! If you sleep in a bed that has no mosquito net, but has a fan hanging over it on the ceiling, it’s only half as bad. Simply set the fan to the highest speed level and the wind acts like an invisible protective shield around your bed. The mosquitos are simply blown away and cannot approach you at night. Good side effect: it is cooler. This will optimize your sleep in several areas.
Disclaimer: Please do not understand these lifehacks as exact instructions how it always has to work. Especially my tips on dealing with corporate bureaucracies! Of course, you should not defraud or lie and sometimes even in private institutions wrong information can have far-reaching legal or even penal consequences. Never turn off your brain when you fill out forms.
What I want to convey in this article is a mindset on how to tackle problems and that you learn to understand how the other side is thinking. So, you might solve problems better to the satisfaction of all parties as when you would apply German pedantry. I want to transfer you a certain cultural empathy here and do not animate you to immoral acts.
Lies are immoral. You have to take responsibility for everything you do. In fact, this is also the basic requirement for personal and entrepreneurial freedom. So always utilize your critical thinking!
You are also a nomad? What are your tips and tricks for everyday life? Feel free to share them with us in the comments!