German orderliness and stateless life – Being a minimalist and still well prepared
In the term digital nomad, the “digital” hints at the IT-based “nomadic” working style from around the world. But why leaving digitalization at work only? Today one can digitalize nearly everything! You don’t even need to travel the world to enjoy the advantages of modern technology. Since Google Earth exists who is still owning a globe if not for decorative purposes? Who still needs a general encyclopedia in his bookshelves today when we have Wikipedia? And a cookbook – totally dispensable! I really favor my mom’s recipes that I have as word files on my hard drive.
Generally, I always threw a lot of stuff in the trash but some things are really practical if you keep them as a digital copy. So, I have scanned all my school and university reports and other certificates and stored the originals in a suitcase at a friend’s house. Also, some yearly income reports and other social security stuff from Germany as well as old family photos. All scanned. I surely won’t get any pension anyway but a digital backup of some documents won’t hurt. Because documents should be a documentation. Furthermore, I have scanned a few notices of cancellation. I threw the originals in the trash since you scarcely will need them anyway. And if you need them you still have the scans. Those should be fine to inform and convince some insurance per e-mail which for example still charges off money from your bank account.
Request everything digitally
Anyway, everything should work digitally today. The policies of my health insurance and international liability insurance I have also got digitally as PDF. Even other mail which one gets from certain organizations you might get also per e-mail if you ask them. Many even prefer to mail you electronically since this saves costs. If I still should get ancient paper mail – please send your love letter per e-mail as well 😉 – then I have a post box which scans all incoming mails and e-mails them to me.
Be prepared for everything
Since I have once lived in the USA and I had to do so much paperwork for the visa in which they asked me to reconstruct half of my life I have become a real freak. Since this experience, I chronologically write protocol about every switch of my apartment or job. I also scan my confirmation of deregistration for my residences. Especially my last and final deregistration together with the confirmation of the German tax authority is very important for
me. It attests that I am now officially expatriated from Germany. If now someone request all my addresses of the last 10 years again I will be ready 🙂
And since I have now a private international health insurance which requested information about my visits of doctors during the last 5 years for the application process I am now diligently scanning all medical reports and attests as well and order them by year. Who knows for what I might need all this one day. The originals get shredded of course. It is also smart to scan your vaccination card so that you can check what vaccinations you have got if this card gets lost one day. That information might be requested by you when entering some countries.
Everything in the cloud
How I already mentioned in a different article I store my entire data multiple redundantly in the cloud. This allows me to access all my documents from everywhere. I prefer the cloud solution Seafile but Dropbox, Evernote and others might also work to a certain degree. When I am outside for example and want to book a flight but my backpack is still safely in my hostel this is no problem. Because I just go into my cloud and read the passport number which was requested during online booking out of my scanned file of my passport. Or rather from a text file in which I centrally store frequently used important data. No matter what information is requested from me I only need a few clicks on my smartphone and I can answer everything that is relevant.
Everything will be remembered
I don’t need to worry to forget any necessary information when I carry it all with me every time. I push it even so far that I take pictures of all my belongings. Okay, I don’t have so many of them anymore. But if my backpack gets lost or stolen I at least know what I have to replace. Also for people which still have a fixed residence it might be worthwhile to take pictures of at least the valuable items. This doesn’t only help your memory after the worst case but also serves as proof for your household insurance which might make problems after a fire or theft.
How do you keep everything in order? Do you know any other strategies to manage the remaining red tape as nomad? Then you might wanna leave a comment below this article!