A Net Nomad Lives by His Laptop

Oh crap....a flashing folder on bootup.  What could that possibly mean?  Oh nothing much - just the hard drive has failed.

I didn't realize just how important a laptop was to me until my hard drive failed on me yesterday, crippling my macbook and with it my source of income.

This isn't the first time I've had a hard drive fail on me - yet this is the first time, when I've been alone, in a foreign country.  It's funny, I never really get homesick, but after losing my Macbook I felt really far from home.

I can't even replace the Macbook in Thailand (without having to settle for a slightly different keyboard layout).

The Tool of the Trade

A laptop is an essential piece of gear for the digital nomad.  Without it, you lose control over your income.    Thats a scary thought - so what are some things you can do to help ease the pain of losing a much loved laptop:

Backup, Backup, Backup

Luckily, I'm fairly good at backup and had transferred most of my design work across to a flash drive (and the cloud).  But I still lost some files (my music collection) - if you're a designer, a hdd failure could easily cost you thousands of dollars if you lose your work.

Older May Not Be Better

I don't like constantly replacing tech - my Macbook was going on 5 years so it was probably nearing the end of its working life (The latest photoshop ran very slow).    If you rely on your laptop its probably smart to replace it every 4 years or so.  But then again - hdd can fail at any time.

Switch to the Cloud

Thank god I work in the cloud - all my docs, are safetly hosted (and backed up) in the Cloud.  I use Google Docs, and backupify.

For Digital Nomads, there is no reason why you shouldn't be using the cloud - it just make sense, no matter what minor objections you have.

Don't Panic

I did - and it got me nowhere.  If you're laptop (or other essential tool) fails, take a step back, go grab some food and sleep on it (not physically on the laptop, that won't do anything, just the problem ;) )

Figure out what the worst possible scenario is that involves not having your laptop - once you realize its not actually that bad (mine involved having to fly back to Canberra) you'll feel better.  Get out your notepad, and start getting your mind out on paper - trust me it helps (and makes for fun reading later)

So as it stands, i'm writing this on a cheap Samsung netbook (and I'm not so sure this can be legal copy of Windows,  put on by a friendly Thai for 500 baht $15).   When I get the chance, I'll switch to a Macbook Air.

What tools can't you live without - the ones you couldn't run a business without?

RIP Macbook.

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