Want to Become a Digital Nomad? Ask Yourself These Questions First
The dreaded alarm goes off at an ungodly hour. You face the usual crowd of angry commuters and arrive at work late, again.
Just thinking about this monotonous routine gives you a headache.
You need a vacation... freedom... a change of scene.
Enter digital nomads – a new breed of workers that are challenging the 9-to-5 norm. These individuals leverage technology to work from anywhere in the world, or at least anywhere an internet connection is available that is.
The good news is that becoming a digital nomad is getting more accessible. The bad news? It’s not for everyone. So before you quit your job in exchange for the nomadic lifestyle, ask yourself these essential questions first.
Ready for the Nomadic Lifestyle? Ask These 5 Questions First
What am I leaving behind?
Becoming a digital nomad means that you’ll be away for months—sometimes even years—at a time. This might not be possible when you’re responsible for dependents at home. Elderly parents, disabled, and special needs loved ones may restrict you from moving to another country.
Another factor to consider is debt. You wouldn’t want to go travelling the world with an outstanding mortgage debt. If you really want a fresh start in life (sans the financial pressure!), then make sure your debts are paid before booking that first ticket.
2. Can I adapt to different environments?
Remember this: no two countries are exactly alike. So you have to be ready for a handful of challenges such as language barriers, cultural differences, and varying time zones.
If you have trouble adapting to new environments, then don’t worry, this shouldn’t put an end to your digital nomad dreams. You can always sharpen your adapting skills by staying longer in one place before moving to the next destination.
3. How am I going to make money?
Where are you going to get the money to book an Airbnb? Your next meal? That bus ticket to Phnom Penh? A digital nomad isn’t exactly a job title, it’s a lifestyle. And in order to fund this lifestyle, you must focus on generating income.
Producing passive income is one thing. But in the long run, you’ll have to start diversifying your income streams for backup funds.
Here are some income-generating ideas for digital nomads:
Corporate remote jobs and freelancing
Have a professional skill? If you have experience as a graphic designer, lawyer, or other professional fields, then you can apply at companies that have remote positions. Otherwise, freelance. Platforms like Freelancer, Upwork, and Guru are just some of the most trusted websites to find remote work.
The thing is, anyone can start a blog. But it takes actual skill to start earning money from it. If you’re hoping to create a profitable blog that will support your travels, you’ll have to have a strategy.
For example, you can target a niche audience with a blog for solo female travellers, for travelling families, or any topic that appeals to a niche market.
Start a business
Starting a business is ideal for digital nomads since it gives them financial independence and flexibility at the same time. There is a wide range of businesses that you can earn a steady flow of profit from, including:
- Affiliate Marketing
- Writing and selling eBooks
- Online advertising
4. Are you willing to make sacrifices?
Don’t let the Instagram filters fool you, the digital nomad lifestyle is not always about the sun, sand, and beaches. There are sacrifices to be made and things you need to leave behind. This means having to let go of the comforts of home, including materialistic objects like furniture, clothes, and big electronics.
The first few months as a digital nomad will be rough for other reasons too. You may take a few months to get used to moving from one place to another.
If you’re travelling alone, you’ll find the lack of emotional support draining. Although you meet several people along the way, you may never get to form deep friendships or relationships since you’re travelling all the time.
Speaking of relationships, you have to be willing to miss out on important life events. It could be the birth of your first nephew or your grandfather’s 90th birthday. For most digital nomads, not seeing their families for months is the most difficult sacrifice to make.
5. Where do you want to go?
Travel is at the centre of the digital nomad lifestyle. But don’t start packing your bags yet. Remember that countries have strict visa policies that you will need to look into. Others require vaccinations— such as malaria or yellow fever— before entering.
Additional points to consider are internet availability, conversion rates, and climate. You definitely wouldn’t want to travel when typhoons hit! Make a list of the places you want to go and do your research. Be open to making changes because plans are bound to change along the way.
Ready to become a nomad?
There are no right or wrong answers to the questions above. Instead, you can think of this post as a starting point before you begin your new life as a digital nomad.
A lifestyle change is never an overnight decision. But with careful planning, you’ll be able to steer your life towards the direction you’ve always wanted.
Once you’ve made up your mind, go forth and start booking that trip!