Some people’s ideal lifestyle is to live in a place where people go on vacations. They take the sun as their clock and the stars as a map—endlessly traveling the world. And you may wonder how they do it.
Becoming a digital nomad is increasing in popularity amongst the younger generations. If you’re dreaming of chasing sunsets or escaping to a winter wonderland without compromising your job and savings, give freelancing some thought. You’ll never know what’s in store for you.
A nomad lifestyle allows you to stir your boat wherever you please with the consideration of a well-working internet and an efficient laptop.
Nomads use their skills to acquire jobs online or through the connections they make in the destination they’re residing. They make a living by sometimes combining odd jobs and freelancing while jumping from place to place.
If this isn’t convincing enough, here are a few reasons why you should become a digital nomad.
Reasons why you should become a digital nomad
The opportunities you achieve don’t stop at crossing off something from your bucket list and experiencing new cultures. But becoming a working nomad allows you to gain new relationships as you travel and obtain work possibilities altogether—because traveling while working is one of the best ways to network yourself internationally.
This nomad life gives birth to a new sense of self that you never knew existed. The idea that you can have the chance to be independently free from the chains of your 9-5 job is liberating.
Healthy work environment
Freedom from office politics and toxic coworkers drives people into the digital nomadic lifestyle. And for some, working in a cubicle idles them from productivity because it doesn’t foster their creativity.
Studies suggest that changing the work setting is beneficial to your mental health because it encourages innovative thinking. It boosts your inspiration which motivates you to take on projects without difficulty.
Traveling workers usually prefer to work at coffee shops, restaurants, bars, and coworking spaces as they travel.
A nomad lifestyle allows you to develop a quality of life that you may not find when you feel stuck in the place you grew up. You don’t have to wait years to save for the next vacation because you’re living in it.
You get to set your working hours given that you finish your milestones and submit quality work—granting you time to enjoy the culture and socialize with people you meet along the way.
You will slowly realize that the nomadic life will free you from the baggage of worldly possessions that may weigh you down from attaining a higher sense of self—because when you travel, everything you need to live fits in your backpack.
How to become a digital nomad in 7 easy steps
Most people want to know how to be a digital nomad. To be clear, it’s challenging, and many people fail because they realize it’s not for them. But if becoming a perpetual traveler is something that you fantasize about, push through the adjustment period and allow life to happen before your eyes.
To prepare yourself for this new journey, here are seven steps to becoming a digital nomad.
1. Pick a destination with a good internet connection
A stable internet connection is a lifeline for most working nomads who exclusively rely on remote jobs. Places like Bali, Costa Rica, and Thailand are the most popular destinations for digital nomads, so do some thorough research.
On the other hand, some nomads incorporate online jobs with traditional work where they trade in their skills for free lodging or food allowance, which allows them to save money while they travel.
Another thing to consider about the destination is that you have to think about the cost of living. How much would your monthly expenditure be, and will it fit or exceed your monthly income?
Here’s a tip. Follow digital nomad social media groups and forums so you can gather some feedback and advice regarding your concerns about the place where you want to go. They usually post about housing rentals and job vacancies.
2. Establish and strengthen your skills
Your knowledge and skills are your foundations for achieving the nomad life, so better to master the skillset before flying off. There are countless online courses that you can take to improve them. It’s better to go prepared than realize halfway that you can’t sustain this lifestyle.
If you have multiple talents, you can use that to your advantage, so you don’t have to rely solely on online work. For example, if you’re a yoga instructor, you may approach a studio if they’re willing to have you as their guest mentor for the length of your stay. Or, if you’re traveling to a non-English speaking country, you can monetize your English teaching skills.
3. Secure a freelance job
Planting your roots with a client is foremost essential to secure your plans. You can acquire freelancing jobs on various online platforms like UpWork, 99designs, and Flexjobs. You can also join social media hiring groups of the place you’re traveling to send out an application before leaving home.
4. Declutter and reduce your location ties
When you’re fully ready to embrace the nomad lifestyle, it’s apparent to let go of your possessions because you won’t need them when you’re traversing the globe.
You don’t have to get rid of everything you own. You want to declutter some belongings that don’t fill your life, and you may ask a close relative or a dear friend if you can leave your things with them. However, if you own an apartment or a house and a vehicle, rent it out on Airbnb for extra income, then hire someone to manage your properties.
The most significant revelation about the nomad life is that you become aware that the things you incur throughout your life don’t define you as a person and that living a minimalist lifestyle can bring you clarity and happiness despite having so little.
5. Gather all your travel requirements
Once you know where to go, schedule your visa appointments if you’re transiting to a destination that requires visa permits. It’s also imperative to know how long you can stay in a particular place; so you don’t exceed your welcome stay and prepare for visa extension fees if it’s applicable.
6. Find a place to live
Next is to figure out your housing. Take into account your budget and personal preferences. Hostels and co-ops are perfect if you’re on a budget and you find enjoyment in social spaces. It’s costly to rent an Airbnb. But if you relish solitude and work better in a peaceful environment, it might be a good choice. Besides, booking with Airbnb gets cheaper the longer you stay.
7. Create a plan and a backup plan
Digital nomads who set forth their adventure without visualizing a concrete plan abandon their journey to go back home. Instances as such are common.
Having a realistically concrete plan is what makes or breaks a nomadic lifestyle because you can’t have an idealized concept of what your life should be as a digital nomad. You have to abide by the laws of the land you’re entering and be mindful of your necessities to support yourself. And even though you have a solid proof plan, it’s still essential to have a plan B and even a plan C—in case things don’t run as smoothly as you thought.
Stories of successful digital nomads
If you’re looking to transition into the nomad life, here are a couple of digital nomad success stories to give you an idea of what it’s like to be a wandering professional.
An entrepreneur and work from anywhere mom, Michelle Dale founded Virtual Miss Friday and 1nSourcing—a consultancy and recruitment business and virtual assistant training online facility.
She started her remote work journey in 2005 with a one-way ticket to Egypt and decided that she had to find a way to make money while discovering the world.
She thinks that having the freedom to create her schedule and work location are the main benefits of becoming a digital nomad. Plus, there’s no limit to the amount of commission she makes as an entrepreneur.
She doesn’t have many challenges when it comes to working remotely other than she finds it difficult to switch off from work because her job goes along wherever she travels.
Davide left his corporate life back in September 2019. He always dreamt of living life on his terms, but it wasn’t when he attended Burning Man that he decided to push through it.
He started a creative marketing agency, Mkondo, where he helps companies strategize their brands and establish their websites. Aside from his business, he is also a certified yoga instructor and photographer.
He found love on the road. Now they’re working on launching a home decor and jewelry brand. He is also planning on building a coworking space in India for digital nomads where he can offer accommodations, yoga retreats, and organic food.
He believes that having discipline in keeping a productive routine is necessary for pursuing a working nomad life because having no boss means that you can get easily distracted.
Examples of digital nomad jobs
Here is a list of five examples of digital nomad jobs.
There are many ways to use your writing skills to earn income as a working nomad. Some blog owners are willing to pay good money for skilled writers and ghostwriters. On the other hand, publishers, media companies, brands, and magazines need editors to structure their writing content—ensuring proper grammar and spelling, aligning writing styles to the brand’s persona, and confirming facts—before publishing.
Currently, copywriting is one of the highest-paying writing jobs, and businesses are constantly hiring copywriters who can produce quality content. They usually research and write about a company’s products and services to persuade the readers to make a sale.
Many multinational companies hire ESL tutors to train their employees to learn English because they need it to communicate with their foreign coworkers and business partners. If you’re a native speaker or knowledgeable about the English language, all you need to do is take some courses to know how to teach English effectively and make a curriculum for your students.
You can earn an average of $12-25 an hour as an English tutor. But if you have a TEFL certification, your salary can bump up to $30-40 per hour. In order to get a TEFL certification you’ll need to complete a TEFL course.
More and more businesses are using the internet to promote their products and services. There are tons of opportunities in the digital marketing industry. Companies are looking for someone who can keep up with the constantly evolving field.
It’s possible to earn up to $75,000 annually in digital marketing—depending on your experience.
Travel and photography go hand in hand. There are numerous opportunities to collaborate with local businesses in places you travel—product photography.
Globetrotting gives you the chance to take scenic photos in exotic locations. Some digital nomad photographers sell their pictures online to stock photography websites, and others organize photo exhibits while they travel—earning an average income of $57,000.
Being a digital nomad doesn’t only mean working on a computer all the time because there’s a traveling yoga teacher is also a thing. Most yogi nomads conduct their classes online and in physical studios as they trot the world. You get to record and train in stunning locations and gain new students online because some students find it calming to engage in classes with a peaceful view.
A yoga instructor typically earns $25 per student per hour, but you may adjust your rates depending on the destination.
Established digital nomads make their lifestyle seem like a piece of cake based on social media. But in all honesty, it takes a lot of planning and trial and error. And like any lifestyle, there will always be its pros and cons—it can be uncomfortable and expensive, while some might find it hard to adjust to cultural barriers. So, it’s imperative to do your research to prepare for what lies ahead.
The most pivotal move is to secure a freelancing job online first. Then, calculate your cost of living depending on the destination and monthly wage. Some working nomads often travel to Southeast Asia or South America because it’s cheaper to live there.
There will be times that you will doubt if this is a logical decision considering the unpredictability of freelance work. As long as you set practical and achievable goals and be consistent with your work, you can fulfill your dreams of becoming a digital nomad.