Gear Geek Update
I’m very hesitant to add any gear to my setup. I dislike carrying around too much crap and I really don’t need much to be happy, so all things considered, I’d almost always rather keep my money to be used in more freedom-enhancing ways.
However, I made a few key additions over the holidays, and so far I’m very happy with all of them. Some of them might even be of use to some of you beautiful globe-trotting souls.
One commonality I’ve noticed is, we digital nomads tend to be a combination of minimalist and gear-geeky. It makes sense. When we don’t own many physical possessions, and we carry around and interact with those we do own on a regular, visceral basis, they really need to justify their existence. They should serve their intended purpose with elegance and simplicity, be as lightweight and portable as possible, and generally be a pleasure to use. Is that so much to ask?
Not everything I own fits that description, but the below three items definitely do. They also happen to support my health and money-saving goals as well, so yay.
The best (only) portable standing desk in existence?
I’ll start off with the one I’m most excited about. This is one of those products that I’ve needed for years, and finally someone was kind enough to design it. I’m so glad I found out about it, I’m shocked that it’s not more widely used in our community, and I’m very happy to share it with you now.
It’s the Levit8 flat-folding, portable standing desk, and I’ve been using it every single day for over a month. I love it so much. Here’s why:
Lightweight & Portable
The Levit8 folds up to around the size of my MacBook Air 13″. That means that it’s been ridiculously easy to take it with me wherever I take my computer. Which is everywhere.
I had it delivered to my sister’s place in Vancouver, used it there for a few weeks, then brought it back to Ireland and have been using it here ever since! I haven’t brought it to a coffee shop yet, and I can imagine that not every coffee shop would have a place where you could set it up and stand unobtrusively. But I would bet that nearly every Airbnb or coworking space would be conducive to setting up your own little standing workstation.
Then when you’re done, you neatly fold it up and scamper along your merry way, leaving awestruck converts to the standing-desk revolution in your wake. Maybe. Either way it will fit in whatever you already use to transport your laptop.
I really like how it folds in such a clever way. It visually looks good. Much better than the printer paper boxes or whatever other junk I’d been scrounging up to put my laptop on.
One note about the design: while it’s easy to use once you’ve gotten the hang of it, it might take you a bit of practice to open it. If you’re me, you might make your boyfriend and your sister demonstrate multiple times before you finally get it.
Here’s a quick demo so you see what I mean:
Standing while Working makes me feel good and increases my productivity
I’ve been a standing desk devotee for a long time. I was one of the first weirdos to stand up in my former office in Seattle, and then I just used a cabinet that was the right height that happened to be near my cube. I’ve tried a few other solutions since then, but nothing that was this convenient and portable.
But the fact remains that sitting for many hours in a row just makes me feel gross. It’s been shown that it’s bad for our bodies, and I think that once most people get used to standing for all or part of their workday, they won’t want to go back to sitting.
I like standing almost 100% of the time, but I do take breaks to walk around or stretch. I also find I just naturally shift around on my feet so I’m in less of a static position than I would be if I were sitting. I’m also more aware of my posture and body positioning.
Best of all, I find I get into a flow state much more readily when I’m standing (and when I have good deep house music on). Aside: these are two things that some traditional offices discourage, because reasons. Fine. Quit that crappy job that’s bad for your body and mind, and use your improved productivity to go work for yourself. Win-win.
Designed by a team of rad Women
Scroll down on their Kickstarter page to see the design team. They’re based in Singapore. Rock it out, ladies.
I’m actually kind of astonished at how affordable this product is. I got mine on Amazon, and while they were out of stock for a little while around the holidays, they appear to be in stock now.
If you like to stand and work, or even if you think you’d like to give it a go sometimes, this is well worth adding to your setup.
Portable Yoga Mat
One of the things that I do is, I do yoga. Maybe you do yoga too.
I don’t love renting mats wherever I go, because that adds up really quickly. But I also didn’t love carrying a rolled mat around with me all day. I’m usually carrying around enough as it is, and I really prefer to have only one bag to keep track of. So when my old travel mat wore out, I was excited to replace it with this one:
It fits in the bag I carry my laptop in, even with the Levit8 included. So I can just run around the city, work in a coffee shop, hop on and off transit with ease, and then go to a yoga class. Beautiful.
It’s a full-size mat, so if those work for you, so will this. It’s on the thinner side so if you’re sensitive on hard surfaces, be aware of that. And it’s not the stickiest material in the world either, but I use it with a towel on top of it for hot yoga, and it works great.
I’ll also be taking it with me on any trips longer than a week or so. It provides a space to get a workout in, stretch, or meditate, no matter where you are. Here’s to sane, healthy nomading.
Travel French Press
The other two products were the exact ones I bought and love, but this one I picked up in a supermarket in Vancouver. It’s not very different from this, and it is a handy way to have good coffee no matter where you are.
You know how when you’re staying in an Airbnb and they don’t have a coffee maker of any sort, and you’re just like: ughhhhhhh? Me too! I like this because it only requires hot water and ground coffee, and you can take it with you and rinse it out anywhere.
It’s also less waste and less expensive than buying so many coffees to-go.
So there you have it. I added three whole things to my worldly possessions, and they’re all in regular use.
Do you have any can’t-live-without-it gear that the world needs to know about? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!