Life as a Digital Nomad in San Diego

You're here! Now what?
5 Steps to Get You Started.

Bobby Dyer
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As a digital nomad, your job is to get immersed quick. To report the facts of a place you just arrived in. There are no ports in the storm, just those useful devices that let you do your job; a laptop, phone, passport, some clothes, shoes, and a pen.

So what do you do to get yourself immersed in a new place?

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1.  Find a cozy coffee shop.

My requirements are that it needs to be nearby (depending on where I am, walkable), inexpensive, artisan quality and a quaint space that looks like I could sit there comfortably for several hours. The Ambiance, for me, is a huge deal in this lifestyle, as well as a luxury since I get to constantly choose new environments for myself. I keep exploring coffee spots for my entire journey because each one is different. There is no greater find as a nomad than a place with chill music, and vibes to relax your weary soul. The way others are with bars/pubs, I am about coffee shops.

Favorite coffee spot of the moment: OB Beans & Coffee Roasters, located in Ocean Beach

2. Stakeout all the quiet places to work yet still be immersed in the culture of the place

I have the rare benefit of living where I write about. I can sit with my laptop open in the center of the room of the ITH Adventure Hostel and watch a room full of travelers speaking four different languages plan out what they are going to do that evening. When I need some quiet time however, I go to a library or lookup a co-working space. It is important to get out of the action long enough to document it.

Favorite co-working space of the moment: Public Library, Union Co-work in North Park (they are open 24/7, have a beverage bar with local beers on tap and are dog-friendly)


The remainder of my time is incredibly open-ended, and yet this still fuels my work since nomads, in their spare time…explore! So I set off to the beaches, and then I write about them. And now I am not just putting words on a page, I know the place, I’ve watched the people. After a few hours, I feel ready to write about it. These adventures are incredible during the gestation period of working. You get to be in the experience, and it is important that you commit to whatever it is you are doing fully. Because as you do, it manifests into a story, and that story can be shared.

The biggest thing is to get out there are know where you are. Enjoy and discover what differentiates this place from any other place you might be.

Favorite tool to find new and fun things to do:

They literally have a category for every event or activity you would want to do. The hardest part is choosing between so many great options. Meeting people in the area you work is essential seeing as you do not have an office space with a desk that you walk in every day like a regular job. This job is about taking you to all kinds of places and finding the tools that will assist you along the way.

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4. Recharge in Nature

Living in spaces that are not your own can be a challenge. You are always trying to be considerate of others in each space you share. A great tactic when the modern world begins to weigh on you, to regain some sanity, is to find a spot in nature. In San Diego, there are too many of these places to choose or keep track of. Just drive up the coastline and find a cliffside beach like Black Beach or go more inland and find a desert to camp and feel the return to the wild. There are literally so many options to have an adventure in Southern Califonia’s natural wonders that there is always an escape to look forward to.

Each one is vastly different and bursting with its own culture.  You get a calm peace laying out on a beach with the sun beating down and the sound of the waves cleansing your mind.

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5. Find a Hostel Work Exchange or a Monthly Rental

Finally, as a digital nomad, you have to have a place to live and work virtually. That depends on how long you are trying to stay in the city of your choice. Hostels are a wonderful option for digital nomads because they are less expensive than more standard options for long periods of time. You also get the benefit of meeting new people constantly and stand the chance that it will never be boring. There is always something happening that you can easily tap into. What better way to learn a city!

Another option is ITH CoLive, which allows guests to stay for a monthly rate. This is an option for people that do not want to sign a lease and are live on a more temporary basis because it is less of a comitment. With this monthly option, you get to have all the benefits of home and time to decide how long you want to stay in the city you are in.

Favorite San Diego Hostels for a Work-exchange: ITH Hostels

There are locations at the beach, in the mountains and in downtown so you can decide where you want to spend the majority of your time, learn about the city’s culture and get immersed quickly with a work-exchange.

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Is San Diego the next place you want as your Digital Nomad Hub?

Check out the ITH CoLive, located right by Balboa Park. If you stay for 3 months you get half-off the 4th month of your stay!

Cofounder of ITH Hostels. I love traveling, hosting, gardening, golfing, fishing, and sailing.