I’ve Been a Digital Nomad for 8 Years. 8 Unusual Gadgets I Always Pack


I vividly remember the first time I traveled. I was 10 years old when my mother sent my brother and I to Mombasa, Kenya. She’s Kenyan and wanted us to experience our culture and meet family. She couldn’t travel with us because of work, so my brother and I traveled from Milwaukee as unaccompanied minors. I was just old enough to be amazed by the experience of flying, walking through airports and landing in a country where English wasn’t the primary language.

Decades later, in 2013, I had my first big work trip as an adult. I’m a consultant who owns a software company, and a corporation in Sydney hired me to come to its offices and train its team.

Flying to Sydney was a surreal experience. The client paid for Premium Economy seats on Virgin Atlantic, and the plane had a full bar. My hotel overlooked Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Opera House. It was on this trip that I realized how much I loved working abroad, and the nomadic lifestyle began to call me.

kimanzi-sydney-opera-house

The author in Sydney in 2013.

Kimanzi Constable

But I couldn’t be a digital nomad yet; three young children waited for me stateside, where I had a home, cars and everything else that comes with a “normal” life. I continued to travel for my business, but they were shorter trips, which piqued my interest in what it would be like to live in Tokyo, South Korea, London, Dublin, Cairo and other places I visited. From 2013 to 2016, I traveled to 38 countries for corporate consulting training contracts. 

Later, when my children were older and living with their mom, I got serious about being a digital nomad. As the possibility of nomadic life became increasingly real, though, moments of excitement were quickly overtaken with the sinking feeling that I was abandoning my children and family. 

Therapy helped me understand that two things can be true: I can live a nomadic lifestyle, and I can still be there for my children. My kids were supportive of my lifestyle as a digital nomad. So, in 2016, I sold all my material possessions, sold my home and relocated to Medellin, Colombia, to embrace full-time digital nomadism. 

Since then, I’ve lived and worked in Mexico City, the UK, Paris, Madrid, Nairobi, Bangkok, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Cape Town, Rome, Lisbon, Nice and Barcelona.

kimanzi-egypt

Digital nomadism has allowed the author to visit nearly 90 countries.

Kimanzi Constable

What I like and don’t like about being a digital nomad

What I like most about being a digital nomad is how freeing the lifestyle is. I like having fewer material possessions and the ability to travel anywhere, anytime. I enjoy experiencing new cultures, history and the foods of other countries. Consulting and digital nomadism have allowed me to travel to 88 countries and live in over a dozen. I’ve been able to build my business and be touristy; I work Monday through Friday, then explore whatever country I’m in on the weekends.

What’s hard about being a digital nomad is being far away from my family. Technologies like FaceTime, Zoom and social media make connecting more accessible, but it’s not the same as hugging my kids and hanging out with them in person. Luckily, my nomadic lifestyle means I can travel to them whenever I want. 

8 unusual gadgets I always pack

As a digital nomad, tech is essential for both work and life. I need to be able to do everything I would do if I had an office, but in an Airbnb, hotel or apartment rental instead. Some of my gear is obvious, like my laptop (M3 MacBook Pro), smartphone (iPhone 15 Pro Max) and tracking tags (AirTags). 

kimanzi-gear-kit

The author’s work hardware for nomadic travel.

Kimanzi Constable

Below are a few of my more nomad-specific gear picks.

Apple

I spend a lot of time on airplanes, and a laptop is not always convenient to use, especially on local carriers in Europe. I travel with an iPad Air because I use it to work on planes, watch movies and streaming series and take video calls. Apple’s Magic Keyboard sleeve is an iPad cover, but I also use it for the keyboard functionality in tight spaces.

Audio Technica/CNET

Since I own a business, I do a lot of media interviews. Good sound is essential, so I travel with an Audio Technica ATR2100x-USB Cardioid Dynamic Microphone. The microphone is portable and has multiple ports so that I can connect it to my laptop or iPad.

Anker/CNET

Early in my digital nomad life, I learned that I can’t depend on airports, hotels or other places for power. I travel with an Anker MagGo Power Bank to power my gadgets when wall outlets are unavailable. I like this power bank (versus the others I’ve tried) because it has a usage indicator and 15x fast charging. 

Twelve South

This Bluetooth wireless audio transmitter receiver works with AirPods or wireless headphones. You plug the gadget into an airplane or train’s entertainment center, allowing you to pair your wireless device. It creates a Bluetooth connection anywhere there’s a regular headphone jack.

Bose/CNET

Battery Life Rated up to 20 hoursNoise Canceling Yes (ANC)Multipoint YesHeadphone Type Over-ear wireless headphonesWater-Resistant No IP rating

I’ve been a fan of Bose headphones and bought a pair of the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 a few years ago. I use these headphones to watch entertainment on flights and at the places I’m staying. The Bose Headphones fit more comfortably than AirPods.

Read our Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review.

Apple/CNET

I like to also pack a set of wired headphones just in case something happens with my regular AirPods or I can’t get my Bluetooth devices to work. If you scoop these up, make sure you have the necessary dongles for both your phone and computer.

Anker/CNET

I have all the international adaptors, but there can sometimes be a shortage of outlets where I’m staying, so I always travel with an extension cord — it’s an underestimated item in my opinion. This Anker power strip lets me use one international adapter with the extension cord and then plug in all my other cables. Surge protection is also important because every country regulates power differently.

Kings Loot/CNET

I travel mainly with credit cards, but also some cash, which is always helpful in other countries. A good RFID wallet brings me peace of mind. The Kings Loot wallet has RFID protection, but is also slim and comfortable, and there’s also a slot on the front to slide in an AirTag.

Make your travel tech work for you

Whether you’re embarking on a long remote work trip or exploring digital nomadism, the right gear makes the journey easier and more enjoyable along the way. Experiment with your setup on your next work trip to find what works best for you.





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