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The COVID-19 impacted both the personal and occupational lifestyles of millions of people. In the UK, office workers suddenly become remote workers. As knowledge-workers around the globe attempted to turn spare rooms and sheds into home offices, many predicted that it would just be a temporary arrangement for several months.

As we head deep into the second half of 2021, while many have gone back to the office full-time, many others are still working remotely full time. If your company has adopted a “work from anywhere” policy, you could, in theory, sell your home, buy a campervan and set off – travelling the world. Unfortunately, there are many travel restrictions still in place, so if you don’t want to be quarantined inside a van for two weeks at a time if you live in the UK, you may temporarily be stuck touring and being nomadic within the UK. Not the most exotic of locations – but not without its own unique charm and culture!

Remote Work Questions Answered

While we may have heard about travel bloggers and digital nomads travelling the world, living out of a campervan and having the time of their lives, for those of us with the average UK working-life, the nomadic lifestyle seemed well out of reach.

However, now that many of us have had a taste of the realities of remote work, becoming a digital lifestyle seems conceivable. Large companies and corporations such as Shopify and Siemens have introduced “work from anywhere” policies; you can hold down a steady nine till five job, and as long as you have an internet connection – work from a campervan or from wherever best suits!

In 2020, the number of workers who identified as “digital nomads” increased by nearly 50% year on year in the US. In 2021, a Forbes article named the UK one of the most popular places to be a digital nomad.

Pros and Cons of Working Nomadically

Most ways of life are full of highs and lows, pros and cons and come with certain sacrifices. The digital nomad lifestyle is no different.

The main advantage, when there isn’t a pandemic going on – is that you can live and work virtually anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection.

While most places in the UK have a connection of some description, internet connections in the most rural parts of the UK and the Highlands, for example, are notoriously bad. To combat this issue, however, you could buy a router for your van.

As a digital nomad, you will get to connect with a lot of like-minded people. You can create a network of nomads that can provide an excellent network for business and friendship.

Lack of space is one major issue that doesn’t always seem to get a mention. If you have a £200k US-style Recreational-Vehicle, then perhaps space won’t be an issue, but if you have a van conversion or a retro VS camper, chances are, it will get a bit cramped. Add to that the fact that the British weather isn’t always the best, so you could be stuck inside relatively often, and you may start to feel a bit squished and fed up.

There are lots of dirty jobs that come with the nomadic lifestyle too. You will probably have some kind of black and grey tanks to maintain, which comes with the joys of disposing of poop and water waste, respectively. Things tend to break down a lot too, so if you’re not too handy with fixing mechanical problems, you could end up spending a lot with the AA and local mechanics.

The fact that your entire business and lifestyle resides inside a backpack, which in turn stays within a van, is both a pro and a con. Being able to pack up everything provides a lot of freedom, but if you lose your backpack, or if something goes terribly wrong with your van – your way of life could be in trouble. So it might be a good idea to have some kind of a backup plan!

Creating an Office in a Van

While you may spend a lot of time living and working in AirBNBs and hostels, chances are you’ll have to work from your campervan some of the time. In reality, unless you have a relatively beefy budget, you will be working from your van or coffee shops a lot of the time.

If you have a big enough van, or short enough legs, you might find a comfortable spot in the passenger seat area. If you need a temporary space to work from a laptop, you can use a car desk and a car organiser. In fact, car offices are now a thing, and as you’d expect, there are dedicated Pinterest boards to help you find a solution.

If you have a dining area or dinette, the table and chairs can be used to create a make-shift office with a little bit more comfort. If you have a relatively large camper or RV, you could also invest in a comfortable office chair and a monitor to make working more comfortable and less of a chore. There are lots of good examples of dinette-to-office conversions on YouTube, including this one which includes a clamping system to hold monitors in place and a bungee-cord solution for sliding office chairs whilst in transit.

In addition to car accessories, there are several apps that can make your mobile office feel a bit more legitimate. Signing up for an answering service can be a good idea if you are self-employed. If you want to give the impression of a traditional “bricks and mortar” business, for example, having a virtual receptionist and virtual office address can provide the impression that your company has a high street presence with full-time employees. With a phone answering service like Moneypenny, you also get an app that acts a lot like a switchboard and office phone system – plus, you can choose a freephone landline number for your mobile.

Places to Visit in the UK

The best places to visit in your campervan, van or RV will depend on whether you like to be in amongst nature or getting to know local people and cultures.

In the South, New Forest in Hampshire is a great place to visit if you go on your first campervan adventure. There are places to camp and stopover, within the forest, and there is plenty of wildlife to explore and take in. The site is popular with motorhome enthusiasts, so it is a great place to meet and network with other nomads. The most enduring feature of the New Forest, however, might be all the wild horses and ponies that wander around the campsites. They are pretty curious too. There are also plenty of walks to enjoy while you take in the calm and beauty of the woods.

Still down south, Devizes in Wiltshire is a popular spot for campervans. A market town with medieval history, the town itself is home to more than 500 listed buildings. There are campsites that welcome campervans and are situated right next to the Kennet and Avon Canal. Within a short drive are several Neolithic monuments, including Stonehenge. You can also check out the historic hillside White Horses. Dating back over 250 years in some instances, archaeologists believe that it originally existed to symbolise a tribe’s ownership over the area.

Heading up to Scotland, if you like beautiful views, then the North Coast 500. Full of stunning views and lochs, be aware that an internet connection will be hard to obtain in specific spots, and from late May through to August, you’re highly likely to experience the water-loving insects of Scotland – the “midges”. Some effective anti-midge repellents are said to include Smidge, Avon’s Skin so Soft and Citronella Candles.

Conclusion

The UK is often overlooked as a tourist destination by people who live in the country. With the proper hardware inside your campervan, you will be able to work and travel around some remote and beautiful places in Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland. The Peak District, the Lakes, the Welsh coast, Glenmore, Causeway Coast Holiday Park and the great wilderness of the Highlands are a few places to visit and enjoy as a digital nomad in the UK.

 


Can You Enjoy an Exciting Lifestyle as a Digital Nomad in the UK?
Digital Mag

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