Two people and a dog living in a small space (in our case a 36′ moterhome) makes remote work interesting. This is especially true when it comes to taking client meetings. We can’t exactly go to a different, quieter part of the house; there’s only so far we can go. And we don’t want appear unprofessional by having all sorts of non-office noises going on in the background. This is a common problem for other digital nomads as well, with many working from shared offices, coffee shops, or even AirBnbs.
And of course Murphy’s Law always comes into play. The dog will be quite all day until it comes time for your meeting, then it get hyper and wants to play with its squeakiest toy. The grounds keepers decide to start weed-eating outside of your windows right then. And you never know if your next destination will be the loud party spot, next to where freight trains are coupled, or even have military jets flying over – all things we have experienced while on the road.
Sarah and I used to take turns keeping the dog entertained during the other’s meetings. But we still can’t control him completely, and random yips and borks will slip out. Of course, we can’t control at all what sounds might be happening outside.
It was only when I got into podcasting – with Thinking Liberty – that I discovered noise gates. The idea is you can set a threshold for noise and nothing under that will be picked up by your microphone. This allows for the occasional squeak, a loud air-conditioner, and other random noises without it getting played over your important call. This has quickly become an important tool in my remote work setup.
Finding the right noise gate software took a bit of trial and error. Some were too technical and other just seemed to not work that well. I ended up settling on Voicemeeter. With Voicemeeter, you simply select your input microphone, adjust the volume and audibility setting (this is your noise gate), and set the Voicemeeter output as the microphone in your meeting.
More Hacks, Tips, and Tricks
This is just one of the travel hacks we’ve assembled during our time as digital nomads. Subscribe to the Thinking Liberty podcast for more tips and tricks like this to help you build a location independent lifestyle.