The Best Digital Nomad and Remote Work Reads

The stories that defined 2018 when the digital nomad went mainstream, and remote work became the future of workIllustration by Katerina Limpitsouni on unDraw

Last year on NODESK, I featured 448 articles on digital nomads and remote work, as well as the occasional offbeat piece. These were the favourites as measured by a combination of what the NODESK audience most enjoyed reading and sharing, and which stories I found most interesting.

Much of 2018 was about the digital nomad lifestyle going mainstream and the rise of remote work and fully distributed teams, a direct response to the modern workplace.

We’re squandering human health and potential on an epic scale by forcing the vast majority of people who dislike or hate the open office into that configuration. Their work deteriorates, their job satisfaction declines. And for what? Because a minority of people kinda like that configuration? Because it’ll look good in a few photos? Because it’ll impress strangers who visit the office? Get outta here.


There were personal stories written by digital nomads about their lifestyle and the benefits of remote work. Take, for example, Charles Patterson’s account on how working remote was the best decision they’ve made.

Designing remotely — The best decision I’ve made in my life

Another interesting read was Felix Krause decision to go nomad and reduce his belongings to one suitcase, one carry-on bag and a backpack. Felix followed up with a one year review, and concluded:

Today one year ago I decided to get rid of my belongings and live out of a suitcase. It started as an experiment I didn’t expect to be doing for long. However after 365 days without a permanent home, I have no intentions on changing my current setup.

With all these newly minted adventure-seeking digital nomads in foreign lands, came novel problems, such as how do you use a squat toilet.

OK we're all adults here, so really, how on earth should I use a squat toilet?

Beyond digital nomads, there were articles written on some of the most innovative and leading companies with distributed teams, such as GitLab and InVision.

GitLab and InVision are prime examples that remote work works at scale. But there are many pitfalls with working remotely, and too often the idea of remote work gets blamed when a company fails with its implementation. Fortunately, Andreas Klinger put together a crash course on how to manage remote teams.

Managing Remote Teams - A Crash Course

With the rise of remote work, the issue for job seekers has been on how to find a remote job — the NODESK remote job board was the most visited section this year — but also on how to land a remote job when you’re competing alongside hundreds, or even thousands of applicants from across the world.

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Andrew Gobran’s article sums up the biggest mistakes to avoid when applying for a remote job with advice from hiring experts at Doist, Buffer, InVision, Toggl and Timely.

The Biggest Mistakes to Avoid When Applying For a Remote Job

For job seekers, it has not only been about finding a remote job, but also on how to pick a career and make the right career decisions which Wait But Why writes about in this long-form article.

How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You) - Wait But Why

Stories about the positive aspects of being a digital nomad and working remotely were plentiful in 2018. But with the increase in attention on nomads, emerged personal accounts about the darker side of the lifestyle. These were the most powerful stories of 2018 and I hope aspiring nomads will learn from them.

Amir Salihefendic shared his personal story about isolation, anxiety, and depression in the remote workplace. A must read.

What Most Remote Companies Don’t Tell You About Remote Work

And Martin De Wulf writes that despite the benefits of working remotely, it was stressful and took a toll on their mental health as well as on relationships.

The Stress of Remote Working

There was also the question of whether working remotely or being a digital nomad can harm your career, and the impact digital nomads have on communities at home and abroad, as Paris Marx discusses in Digital Nomads Are Not the Future.

Digital Nomads Are Not the Future

Building on these themes, I have found there are two kinds of digital nomad. There are those who are coming to something, and those who are getting away from something. The former seek to satisfy their spirit of adventure, while the latter seek to create a better life for themselves. Both kinds of digital nomad may experience hardships with the lifestyle, but the latter group should take note, as More To That points out, travel is not a cure for discontentment of the mind.

Travel Is No Cure for the Mind

The point of all these stories is this: being a digital nomad or working remotely is not without its difficulties. As with everything in life, when you pray for rain, you gotta deal with the mud too. That’s a part of it.

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One of the favourite offbeat pieces featured on NODESK was Naval Ravikant’s Twitter thread on how to get rich (without getting lucky).

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And lastly, this piece, The Last Curious Man, on the enormous life of Anthony Bourdain was a must read.

The Enormous Life of Anthony Bourdain, According to Those Who Knew Him Best

I’m sure I’ve missed a few things, but if you’re curious to learn more about digital nomads and remote work, all 448 articles featured in 2018 including previous years can be viewed here.

You can also subscribe to the NODESK Newsletter and have the best of NODESK delivered straight to your inbox every two weeks.

If you’re looking for a new opportunity this year, I curate the best new remote jobs at leading companies and startups that offer you the freedom to work remotely from home or places around the world on the NODESK job board. You can also visit Cryptocurrency Jobs for remote jobs in the blockchain and crypto space.

Please let me know if you have any feature requests, suggestions or general feedback by reaching out via email or on Twitter. My DMs are always open. Let me know how I can assist you as a digital nomad, remote worker or in your search for a remote job.

Illustration by Katerina Limpitsouni on unDrawBest wishes for 2019. I hope you’re only a few days away from your next adventure!

The Best Digital Nomad and Remote Work Reads was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Publication date: 
01/04/2019 - 09:39

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