digital nomad working outdoors

How to Become a Digital Nomad and Travel the World

Trying to figure out how to become a digital nomad and travel the world? Sick of the plain white office walls and want a nice fresh view instead? Like maybe sunny shores or lush green hills?

These days, millions of Americans opt to work remotely, and it is estimated that statistics on digital nomads will shoot up in the next decade. It’s no surprise at all since working from anywhere entails several benefits that traditional work arrangements just can’t beat.

Perks of being a digital nomad:

  • Save on time and money. Say goodbye to long hours of commute and skyrocketing gas expenses. A short walk to your laptop is all you need to invest in telecommuting.
  • Work-life balance. Doctors’ appointments, PTA meetings, grocery trips–finally, you can stop scrambling to tick all of these off at the end of the day or letting it eat up your weekend.
  • Better health. You get less exposure to pollution and diseases when you stop squeezing yourself in crowded public transport just to get to your office. You also get to have more time to exercise, cook, and eat healthier home-cooked meals.
  • Increased productivity. According to a study from Stanford University, digital nomads are more productive than office workers. This difference in productivity is due to less harmful distractions such as office politics and poor working relationship with a colleague.
  • Lesser carbon footprint. Fewer commuters mean fewer cars on the road. This equals to less overall greenhouse gas emission, so successful home-based jobs are helping the environment.
  • Control your work environment. You have full control over your work situation–from office furniture and equipment to background music and wall paint.  
  • Ability to work anytime and anywhere. You don’t need to be confined in your stuffy little cubicle. You can function perfectly well in the comforts of your bedroom, or while vacationing in Bali.
digital nomad meditating

Steps on how to become a digital nomad and travel the world:

Step 1: Leave your day job

Parting from your nine-to-five is the obvious first step towards a nomadic digital work lifestyle. While that first step may seem too abrupt and daunting, many digital nomads leave and cleave from their day jobs more gradually. They start by first moonlighting for a remote-based job and then steadily increasing remote work until they finally decide to make the ultimate switch.

Try to find out if you are suited to the digital nomad life by listing down the pros and cons of remote work for you. Chances are, the odds will tilt less towards your regular office job. Just make sure to set realistic expectations and do your research on remote jobs first before making a list so that any biases and wrong impressions towards working online won’t cloud your final judgment.

Step 2: Find profitable online work

Just like in ordinary office-based jobs, digital workplaces also go through applications and hiring processes to get the workers they think are fit for the job. Here are some of the best sites where you might just land your dream job:

Step 3: Set up your office

If you aren’t planning on jet-setting 365 days a year for your whole working life, you might still want to set up a workspace in your home. It will depend on the type of work you’ll do. A content creator will have different hardware needs as a freelance logo designer, but the basics are a desk and a chair. Whether you want a separate room, sound and light systems, air conditioning–it’s all up to you.

The importance of a designated workspace in remote or home-based work is that is helps put you in the zone. It can also possibly ward off distractions that may be present in the home, such as pets, noise, or family members. Having your own “office” puts you on work-mode and can help you focus on the tasks at hand.

Step 4: Establish a workflow

Your workflow should include a set of general repeatable tasks that gives coherence and structure to your work responsibilities. In the absence of a supervisor whipping everyone into action, digital nomads are often responsible for how they manage their goals and achievements.

The importance of having a workflow is that it keeps you on track despite the feeling of being only accountable to yourself daily. It also ensures that your tasks do not compound and bottleneck as you near the deadline of your goals. Having a workflow ensures that you observe a sense of professionalism and proper time management in terms of work delivery. 

Step 5: Market and network your business

Many digital nomads are business owners–dropshippers, freelance photographers, service providers, and the likes. What sets them apart is that they are not usually permanently employed in a group or by an individual, and they typically sell products or services.

To be able to succeed in this type of digital nomadism, you should have the ability to sell. This means that you have to market your business yourself. You have to put yourself out there and make network connections with institutions, people, or other digital nomads who may help boost your freelance business

Step 6: Manage your finances

In the US, your citizenship determines your taxes rather than your residence. That means that as an American, digital nomadism can’t save you from taxes wherever in the world you may run. There are, however, a few tricks you can try to minimize the impact of taxes on your digitally-derived income.

Step 7: Travel the world!

Once you have fully transitioned to a remote workstyle, that means that you are free to go anywhere you please (anywhere with internet service, that is). If you plan on being abroad for an extended period, make sure all of your communications are open. You need to have portable internet, and all of your postage can easily be forwarded to you wherever in the world you are. 

When you already know how to become a digital nomad and travel the world–with a remote job or digital business, the right workflow, and the right financial strategies–then you may start thinking of workcationing in the Bahamas. 

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About The Author

Vanessa R.

Vanessa R.

Vanessa has been a freelance writer for eight years, providing content independently and through various online platforms. Having worn many hats—a former student journalist, a registered nurse, an aspiring mom-blogger, plus six years of pharmaceutical sales experience under her belt, she adopts a broad range of approaches to tackling different subjects in personal and professional development. In her spare time, she enjoys chasing her two rowdy boys around the house.