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A Digital Nomad’s Peaceful & Productive Morning Routine

Here's how I glow on the road.

A Digital Nomad’s Peaceful & Productive Morning Routine
Photo by Caleb George on Unsplash

Vanlife, co-living houses, group retreats and solo travel––over the past four years as a digital nomad, I’ve tried it all. Search the #digitalnomad hashtag on Instagram, and your feed will be flooded with sunset cocktails and beachfront lounging. But the truth is this: being location independent is a lifestyle, not a vacation.

The reality of full-time travel is much more grounded than you might think. For me, exploring is mostly reserved for evenings and weekends, and from Monday to Friday, you’ll most often find me in cafes or coworking offices.

From Buenos Aires to Auckland, I find myself following a slightly different routine in each city, allowing the local rhythm to shape my schedule. And while I consider myself rather free-spirited (growth hacking and strict health regimens just aren’t for me), a flexible routine keeps me happy, healthy and grounded while living life on the road.

"Digital nomads are people who are location-independent and use technology to perform their job. Digital nomads work remotely, telecommuting rather than being physically present at a company's headquarters or office." –Investopedia, 2020

A Digital Nomad’s Peaceful & Productive Morning Routine

7:00 AM – The first alarm trills in my ear. I like to wake up incrementally––which usually requires a steady stream of iPhone alarms. For now, I hit snooze and keep dreaming.

7:45 AM – Finally shaking the sleep off, I toss the blankets aside with one thing on my mind: the perfect cup the coffee. I shuffle to the kitchen and, working on autopilot, prepare a deeply rich French press. While I love to explore new cafes and coffee shops, my first cup of coffee in the morning is always savored at “home”––wherever that may be.

~ An interesting podcast stimulates my brain while I wait for the first caffeine hit. I've always favored storytelling series over news programs; some of my favorites are This American Life, Ear Hustle, and The Moth.

8:00 AM – While the coffee brews, I begin the rest of my morning routine. I always carry a pocket-sized notebook to jot down notes and daily checklists. Creating a simple morning checklist requires only five minute, yet creates an invaluable roadmap for the day, allowing me to visualize the hours ahead.

~ I have a weakness for aesthetic office supplies. Right now I’m savoring a set of butter yellow Moleskin 'Cahier' notebooks, purchased from Readings independent bookshop on a recent weekender in Melbourne.

8:15 AM – I do my best writing in the morning. Sipping the fresh black coffee, I sit at the kitchen table and begin to tap away at my laptop, tackling the simple tasks first. As I shoot off emails and complete drafts, I return to my notebook, ticking off tasks with a satisfying checkmark.

~ Because I spend so much time online, I like to make the most of my analog tools. Good pens are an everyday indulgence. I collect pens from cool hotels and restaurants; my current favorite is a canary yellow pen from Hotel Peter and Paul, New Orleans’ most beautiful boutique hotel.

9:00 AM – I prepare a simple breakfast of soul warming oats. The more work I need to accomplish, the less breakfast I tend to eat in the morning hours. I find that fasting until lunch keeps my brain clear and focused, but I don’t follow any strict rules––I simply listen to my body and eat accordingly.

~ 5-Minute PB&J Oats Recipe: Boil a kettle of water and pour over 3/4 cups instant oats. Stir gently and allow the oats to soak for about 2 minutes. Top with a generous dollop of peanut butter and jam. I like to sample local options, like New Zealand’s artisanal Fix & Fogg peanut butter. This savory and sweet combination fills my stomach and soul!

10:15 – My checklist is quickly shrinking. Satisfied with my morning progress, I hop up from my perch and find a soft spot on the couch (or floor, or bed, depending what’s available). I like to reboot my brain with a mid-morning meditation. Usually between 10-15 minutes, this daily ritual keeps me feeling grounded and grateful, which is more than essential for long-term travelers.

~ I prefer meditation podcasts like Meditation Minis with Chel Hamilton, a licensed hypnotherapist. On YouTube, the Rituals Cosmetics channel also offers a beautiful selection of guided meditations to make your brain tingle. (They also post amazing yoga classes, but that’s part of my evening ritual.)

10:30 AM – Scalding hot showers are another simple daily indulgence. Once the bathroom is thick with steam, I complete a 5-minute skincare routine. I love to experiment with local products, while mostly sticking to all-natural solutions for my sensitive skin. My suitcase is full of goodies gathered from across the globe––shampoo from France, eucalyptus soap from Morocco, and a skin-buffing dry brush from Japan.

~ I love to experiment with international beauty and skincare brands. Klorane's aromatic desert date shampoo will forever be my favorite haircare products, and I've recently been loving the all-natural skincare range from Sukin Australia.

11:00 AM – Fully moisturized and ready for a change of scenery, I tuck my laptop and writing tools into my cognac leather backpack (stubbornly haggled for in Marrakech). My only plan: roam the streets until I find a buzzing coffee shop. And with that, I’m headed out the door and ready to GLOW.

~ Great walking shoes are essential for wandering. Massimo Dutti leather motorcycle boots are fantastic for colder climates, while black-and-white checkerboard Vans are my standard summer footwear. Both are modern classics and match everything in my travel-ready capsule wardrobe.

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Rebecca Dangler
Rebecca Dangler
Read next: Camping > Hotels
Rebecca Dangler

Rebecca writes about furniture design and luxury interiors. A veteran digital nomad, she currently resides between Portugal and New Zealand. Find her on Instagram at @rebecca_dangler.

See all posts by Rebecca Dangler