Could I be a digital nomad in San Diego? The well-known state was on my bucket list for a while, and I’m sure it’s been on yours! California is the not-so-cheap land of endless roads and beaches. They are ready to welcome everybody – even you and your laptop! I agree that the US isn’t the easiest or greatest location for our lifestyle. However, I am here to point out that it is possible. I would like to reveal how I was able to work remotely from California, so here’s my guide to being a digital nomad in San Diego.
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The Quick Guide to Being a Digital Nomad in San Diego
The United States is notorious for some of the strictest border control regulations in the world. Before you go, you’ll need to make them aware of your intent to visit their country by applying for an ESTA online. Although that document is unnecessary if you are crossing the border on foot. This is possible from Canada, or in my case, from Tijuana with CBX Border Xpress. Visitors are eligible to stay for no longer than three months. I doubt this would be the case for everybody, but definitely for British citizens. Be sure to check out the legal information that is specific to your nation.
Choosing Your Location in San Diego
Between Downtown San Diego and the Pacific Ocean lies a unique, surfing town called Ocean Beach. If I were to put it simply as my friend did, this is how the area would be described:
She couldn’t have described it any more accurately. Even though the two are extremely close, they have very different vibes. That’s not to say that after you choose your town, you are not able to hop between them. If you situate yourself on the outskirts of north OB, then you could take in the best of both worlds.
I found that Ocean Beach was the perfect match for someone like myself, hoping to be a digital nomad in San Diego. It’s small enough that I can whizz around on my skateboard, friendly enough to make friends with the strangers next to you, cultured enough to keep you busy with local events and laidback enough that you can choose to just chill by the beach every single day.
Were you hoping to find out more about living in Los Angeles? If so, you should take a look at this article: 'Los Angeles As A Digital Nomad'
Workplaces Suitable for Digital Nomads
You’d think that America is well connected with top-notch amenities – you’d be wrong! You’d think that a Starbucks is always your backup… “They’ll have a good place to work,” they said – you’d be wrong! I’m not sure what it is in the US, but it does seem unnecessarily hard to find a good place to be productive (unless you pay for extremely over-priced coworking of course).
Since Ocean Beach is small enough, you’d only need one decent cafe to “Get Shit Done”. Meet Newbreak Coffee & Cafe. Nestled in the heart of Ocean Beach’s community between the beach and the centre, Newbreak welcomes a hustling local customer base from the beachfront every day from 6:30 am to 5 pm. For those of you looking to grab a taxi to the destination search: 1959 Abbott Street, San Diego. They’ll be sure to keep you well-fed with breakfast, snack and lunch options, some for the gluten-free diets and some for the vegans. If you’re like me and prefer to watch what you spend, then there are plenty of coffee and smoothie options that will keep you going long enough to work through your daily to-do list. Stepping inside Newbreak is truly a great way to grab an insight into the town’s charismatic but laidback charm.
Accommodation in San Diego
I can talk of experience having had three various places to stay in Ocean Beach.
During my first week, I was accommodated by two beautiful ladies in a condo one block away from the beachfront. It was during my first night here, that I realised how open and welcoming the community is to its residents and visitors alike. I found this through AirBnB.
Secondly, I was lucky enough to be invited to a friend’s house in University City. It was there that I experienced how difficult it is to see California without a car. I missed the comfortable size of Ocean Beach, with its local amenities on every corner.
I returned for another two weeks to stay in the USA’s 2019 number one hostel. It’s called Samesun Ocean Beach. They are clean, friendly, open, protective, entertaining, organised and vibrant. Not too big, but not too small. AND… The location couldn’t be any more central. The hostel is located close enough to the beach for guests to hop down barefoot in their bikinis making the way with their sandy surfboards. What more can you ask for with your experience in San Diego as a digital nomad?
As mentioned above, California is extremely difficult to experience unless you explore in a car. It is for this reason, that Ocean Beach is such a great option for those who aren’t driving. Every third person skateboards, every second opts for an Uber or Lyft, and everybody uses the street’s scooters that are always about.
All of the above contributed to my easy and convenient stay as a digital nomad in sunny San Diego, California. The prices may be higher than what we nomads are used to, but if you are keen to give this corner of the world a go, I reckon Ocean Beach is a place to be considered!
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You may be thinking you're more east coast than west? Check out my guide to 'Being a Digital Nomad in New York'.
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