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Do you want to travel around the world while still earning money? Are you tired of the 9-to-5 grind (and just want to live life on your own terms)? Then you’re probably ready to live the digital nomad lifestyle.
If you’re serious about it, get started in your digital nomad journey with the guide below.
Digital nomads are individuals who earn a living using the internet and have the freedom to travel around the world. Nomads can work all sorts of remote jobs — including writers, web developers, marketers, and language teachers.
As the name implies, nomads are constantly on the move. They work in places with a stable internet connection and get paid via payment processors like Paypal.
It’s difficult to determine how many nomads there are in the world. But by 2035, the digital nomad population could rise to a billion worldwide. The numbers show how many people are leaning towards a more flexible lifestyle as opposed to the traditional 9-to-5 office job.
A lot of aspiring nomads have a skewed vision of the work and travel lifestyle. Sure, you have the privilege to work from anywhere you want — as well as the freedom of doing it at your own hours — but the reality can sometimes be less glamorous than that.
Ask yourself: “Why do I want to become a digital nomad?”.
Keep in mind that productivity can become an issue, along with other hurdles like travel disruptions, lack of emotional support, and the inability to create a suitable work-life balance.
So, if you’ve made up your mind to deal with the challenges as they come – read on. This guide will help you build a solid foundation for a location independent lifestyle.
What are some obligations that tie you to a specific location? This could be a long-term lease, outstanding credit card bill, or even a gym membership. You wouldn’t want to start travelling the world with an unpaid debt in the back of your mind.
Aside from material belongings and debt, ask yourself the following questions:
You need a phone, a laptop, and enough clothes to cover the duration of your travel. What you DON’T need is a bed, a set of home appliances — and your dog for that matter.
Becoming a digital nomad means embracing a minimalistic lifestyle (and being okay with the lack of variety of devices and clothing). The last thing you should worry about is how to pack that coffee maker in your already heavy luggage.
So, consider leaving pets and your other belongings with a family member or trusted friend. Alternatively, rent a storage unit to move all your belongings in; make sure you pay for the first year (or six months) in advance so you won’t have to worry while travelling.
Tip: Opt for multifunctional clothing and devices to maximise your packing space.
Before getting to the list of reputable nomad groups, here’s why community-building is important among digital nomads:
There are a variety of digital nomad communities that you can sign up for. Below you’ll find the most active and friendly communities both online and offline.
Remember! Being a digital nomad isn’t a career choice — it’s a lifestyle. You’ll need a steady income to travel and cover your living expenses.
Digital nomads make good money as content creators, designers, or computer developers. But don’t be discouraged if you don’t have the skills or experience for any of those. The fact that you can type and use a computer is already a skill itself. You can use it to land freelance jobs like data entry, virtual assistants, translation, and more.
Use freelance websites like Upwork and Fiverr to start generating income. You can work offline jobs as well, including English tutors, dive instructors, fitness coaches and photographers.
If you’ve been a freelancer for quite some time, consider creating a website to market your business and build your reputation. This is also a great platform to showcase your online portfolio. Once you transform your skills into a full-service business, not only do you get referrals for new clients, but you also earn income through advertising revenue.
Alternatively, you can run a remote business by selling eBooks, creating online tutorials, or starting a dropship business.
A full-time remote job means that you’re still hired by a company or an organisation. A virtual presence, company contract, and fixed working hours are imposed. You’re also required to collaborate with fellow teammates and have your work evaluated from time to time.
It may seem like a lot, but remote work offers more stability over running a business or freelance gigs. Working remotely increases productivity as well.
So, build trust with your company by being awesome at your work. Then negotiate with your boss to work remotely.
Digital nomads need a specific tech skill to start generating income. Whether you plan on doing freelance, start your own business, or even work remotely for a company, you need to keep building your skills to remain competitive in your field.
Fortunately, we live in an age where everything is accessible. Check out the different ways you can build your skills below:
Now that you’ve set up a steady income stream, it’s time for the most exciting part: mapping out your destinations!
Deciding on a destination can be overwhelming. But before even booking a ticket, you need to consider a number of factors to suit your travel and working requirements first:
Narrow down your list of dream destinations and determine the estimated cost of living in each place. You may want to check out online communities like Nomad List or Quora to ensure that everything from accommodation to transport is within your budget.
Digital nomads are more than typical travellers. You need to get as much work done as you travel. Unfortunately, not every location you’ll visit has a reliable connection. Now unless you’re purposely taking time off work, its best to map out places you can actually work using the internet.
Do you prefer mountains or beaches? Or maybe you’re more of an urban adventurer? By understanding the type of travel experience you want, you make your getaway trip extra fulfilling.
Your weather preference can help narrow down when and where you intend to travel. Do expect higher prices and larger crowds during peak seasons, especially in popular destinations like Chiang Mai and Bali.
Tip: Don’t limit yourself to a country. Type in keywords like Bucket List or Wanderlust to generate a massive list of amazing places.
Alternatively, you can follow travel accounts and hashtags on Instagram. There is no shortage of photos that showcase amazing travel destinations and activities around the globe.
The digital nomad lifestyle opens the world to anyone. But it takes a lot of time and preparation to become a successful nomad. Some even take years to make it a reality! So don’t pressure yourself to start right away.
Instead, the most important thing is to do now is to set goals and start working towards them. If you take it one step at a time, you can finally create a successful location independent lifestyle.
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