Digital Nomad Girls Meetups: Saigon Social Edition

Digital Nomad Girls Meetups: Saigon Social Edition

What happens when you put twelve talented women together in a beautifully designed space with delicious food and common interests? Under the directive of The Digital Nomad Girls Community, I set out to find the answer to that question.  Thus, the first ever “Saigon Social” was born.

With only two days to organize the event, I quickly splashed an announcement on every related facebook group inviting female digital nomads living in the Ho Chi Minh City area to a local meetup. For fear of becoming too rowdy, I capped the attendees at 14 people max. I didn’t expect even half the number to show since it was so last minute, but within a few hours I already had eight girls confirm their appearance. It seemed that the women of Saigon were more than willing to get together!

Lusine copy

The venue of choice was none other than the L’Usine Cafeteria on Le Loi Street. L’Usine is a popular lifestyle brand in Saigon that touts itself as “the go-to café and restaurant for both hip locals and savvy global travellers.” With its whitewashed brick walls and rustic style interior design, I could not think of a more fitting environment to set the tone for a casual and fun get-together. They also have a great selection of Western breakfast items, like plates of pancakes with real maple syrup and inventive takes on potato hash and parfaits.

With the support of fellow Digital Nomad Girls Facebook Group member, Karina, we got to work setting up the space. Every girl was given an illustrated postcard of Saigon that acted as her name card and also became a keepsake of the event. Since it was also International Women’s Day this past Tuesday, I gave every girl a Korean face mask to take home and pamper themselves with. Almost all the girls turned up right on time at 11am and immediately began to talk among themselves. Everyone seemed to be chatting away like they had been friends for ages.

Digital Nomad Girls Meetup Saigon Social

While people were conversing and eating, I asked them to write down a brief message about themselves and to offer some advice to digital nomads around the world. Below, you’ll see a compilation of some of these messages. They will definitely put a smile on your face! We also did round-table style introductions and found out we had ladies from all walks of life among us – EFL teachers, storytellers, human trafficking fighters, wellness gurus, moms, and even wives-to-be!  There were also two Saigonese women present, which made me all the more excited about creating dialogue between expats, locals, and nomads alike. There were 8 countries represented in total at our table out of a group of 12. The diversity present was inspiring!

 Postcards copy

In the end, we unanimously decided to continue scheduling meetups in the future with more structure, such as inviting guest speakers to the events and having our events be hosted in different spaces. We will also open up the gathering to any female with an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to live by her own rules, hopefully gaining new attendees in the meetups to come. I have taken charge of organizing and am aiming to launch the next Saigon Social in May. Please keep a lookout for the next announcement on Digital Nomad Girls or on my blog!

Do you want to organise a social in your city too? Please leave a comment below or get in touch on our Meetup page!

Thank you Izzy for this great write up of the first Digital Nomad Girls meetup in Saigon! We love the photos and the post card idea!

You can read more about Izzy on her blog The Next Somewhere or connect with her on Facebook or Instagram.

The Only 5 Things You Need To Remote Work

The Only 5 Things You Need To Remote Work

Those who haven’t yet jumped into the world of location independence are often held back by a simple question – how? Don’t let that one little word stop you from living your digital nomad dream! Check out the list below to find out the only five things you need to remote work.

1. Laptop

This might seem like a no brainer, but hear me out. You don’t need the ten latest gadgets or a fancy set up to be a digital nomad. Pick a laptop that you like and can comfortably work on all day. Make sure that it is fast enough not to drive you crazy, small enough to transport comfortably, and doesn’t give you a headache or hurt your eyes after a few hours. That’s it! I use my handy Macbook Pro 13” 2015, but my screen requirements are higher than most as I work with a lot of visual content. A Chromebook is also a great lightweight solution if you don’t need the high end screen for remote work!

remote work istanbul2. Wifi

Now some of us who remote work are lucky enough to not need to internet all the time. Anyone who does writing, editing, design, photography, etc can live without connectivity for a few hours! For everyone else, however, we need to bediligent about finding spots with internet. The farther off the grid you go, the harder it is to find good wifi. Nomad List has a nice search function that allows you to filter top digital nomad cities for fast internet, giving you 290 different options! If you are in a pinch and really need to get on wifi now, check out Wifi Mapper. This handy app helps you find free hotspots, like city wifi and cafes, all over the world.

3. Notebook

Let’s get old school! Sometimes simple is best, and the simplest way to organize your ideas is on a piece of paper. Taking notes by hand actually uses different cognitive processes than typing and boosts your retention, this article in Scientific American goes into the details. You can use it for anything from making your daily to do lists or draft a difficult email. Digital nomads become location independent to get a new perspective, why wouldn’t we apply the same principle to our work?

IMG_72524. Pen

Now obviously you need your pen to use your notebook. But the importance of having a pen goes beyond your remote work hours. When you are taking a break somewhere in the middle of nowhere without any of your technology (or it’s dead), how do you exchange information with a new acquaintance? Part of being location independent is being prepared wherever you are. Keep a pen with you always and you might just get the email of your next client or collaborator the next time you decide to go hiking in the Himalayas or surfing in Australia!

5. A way to track your time

Many digital nomads start their remote work journey with the dream of balancing their work days and travel adventures. Sadly, I’ve seen so many budding digital nomads, including myself, hole up in their hotel room or at their coworking desk and barely get the chance to explore their new location. Finding balance is so important to maintaining a healthy digital nomad lifestyle. The one tool every location independent professional needs? A way to track their time. Now you can use a watch or a phone timer, but these days there are a variety of awesome tools to help you clock out on time and go explore! PrimaERP automatically inputs all your tracked time into invoices, making life infinitely easier for freelancers. Toggl is another good option if you are looking for something more straightforward.

Remote working doesn’t have to be as complicated as you might think. Now it’s time for you to get out there and go for it!

Digital Foodie Girls: The Best Restaurants In Rome You’ve Never Heard Of

Digital Foodie Girls: The Best Restaurants In Rome You’ve Never Heard Of

Google “best restaurants in Rome” and you get 78,400,000 results. That is a whole lot of pasta to try to eat in one lifetime, not to mention one trip! And what about trying to find a place while walking on the street? Local favorites sit right next door to tourist traps everywhere in the historic center, making it difficult for the xxx eye to figure out which is which. Of course there are numerous fabulous restaurants just outside the center, but these host a mostly local crowd because travelers don’t know about them! So if you want to treat yourself to some of the best restaurants in Rome, check out our list below (each one personally visited by me, Kenzie)!

Via Giuseppe Lunati, 25, 00149 Rome, Italy

best restaurants in Rome
There is only one way to describe the food at Fucina: nothing like you have ever tasted. They elevate Italian pizza to a whole different level, combining feather light crust with the highest quality toppings you could think of. Fucina serves their pizzas to your table one at a time, so you get to taste every single one!
Imagine a fluffy white pizza topped with organic soft goat cheese, buffalo mozzarella and 24 month aged Parma ham. Or organic apple and pear spread with artisanal smoked pork belly and buffalo ricotta and mozzarella. The combinations of flavors vary from classic to highly inventive, always resulting in something delicious and exciting. The prices are slightly higher than traditional pizzerias in Rome, ranging from 14-26 euros, but it is more than worth it!
How to get there: With the Roman public transport being what it is, we recommend taking a taxi from Trastevere Train Station (if you are right in the center you can get there with the 8 tram). It should cost less than 10 euro each way.

Taverna Lucifero
Via del Pellegrino 51, 00186 Rome, Italy

best restaurants in Rome
This place is so small it’s website doesn’t even work. Right off of Campo de’ Fiori on a quiet side street, Taverna Lucifero is easily missed. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go there! It’s one of the best restaurants in Rome because the restaurant does fondue (get it, Lucifer?) like nobody’s business. With top dipping ingredients and mouthwatering cheese and chocolate fondue menus, it’s the perfect place to impress your Roman lover for a romantic evening or for a fun ‘family style’ meal before going out with friends. Trying to eat in Rome on a budget? Sharing is caring. I’ve found that the more people you split the meal with, the more affordable it gets.
When to go: It traditionally doesn’t take reservations and fills up fast, so it’s one of the few restaurants in Rome where it’s fashionable to show up at opening time (7:00pm).

L’Osteria di Monteverde
Pietro Cartoni, 163, 00152 Rome, Italy

best restaurants in Rome
A newer addition to the restaurant scene in Rome, this little place is an absolute gem. With a staff that will treat you like family and a cosy atmosphere, it’s a great location to spend a traditional Italian evening with a meal that lasts for hours. No, really, plan to spend minimum 2.5 hours there. But the best thing about this restaurant? Their 7 course tasting menu, 9 if you count the two desserts. Make sure you eat light during the day, I have never been able to finish all of my courses no matter how hard I try.
And just because you will be getting the freshest ingredients in the most delicious combinations doesn’t mean you need to empty your pockets. Amazingly, their tasting menu only costs 40 euro. So there is no excuse not to live like the Romans do!
How to get there: It’s a 10 minute walk from the Ponte Bianco stop on Tram 8. Easy as a 7 course tasting menu!

Via di S. Francesco a Ripa, 158, 00153 Rome, Italy

best restaurants in Rome
Ivo might not be off the beaten path, but don’t discount it as a tourist trap just because it’s in the heart of Trastevere. When I lived in Trastevere during college, this place became my favorite neighborhood hangout. But it’s highest accolade? When I finally brought my Italian husband there after years of dating, he couldn’t believe how good it was! Ivo serves the traditional Italian pizza meal: fritti (a variety of fried foods, ranging from artichoke to mozzarella balls), large round personal pizzas, and beer.
Their fried appetizers are the best I’ve tried in Rome, rich but not greasy. And their pizzas are the best food to eat before a night out, tasty and filling. But the best thing about Ivo might just be it’s prices! No matter how many things I order I never seem to pay more than 25 euro, including drinks.
Pro tip: Leave room for the tiramisu. It is an enormous, flavorful concoction served in a glass cornucopia. Enough to split with a few of your closest friends, so bring them along too!

Mimi E Coco
Via del Governo Vecchio, 72, 00186 Rome, Italy

best restaurants in Rome
I felt the need to include Mimi e Coco on this list of the best restaurants in Rome because it’s listed on a lot of sites as a wine bar, not a place to eat. Oh how wrong those travel sites are! With a variety of delectable pasta dishes at competitive prices, Mimi e Coco is worth a stop. Particularly noteworthy are their risottos, which my friends and I have returned for again and again! 
This place is near Piazza Navona, easy to reach when your feet are tired from a long day walking the Forum.
When to go: Summertime is when Mimi e Coco is in it’s prime. It has a large outdoor seating area out front that’s delightful on a warm night. So take a seat, savor the Italian flavor, and people watch to your heart’s content!

Do you have a favorite restaurant in Rome? We want to hear your recommendations in the comments!

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