If you’ve dreamed about leaving your traditional 9-5 job and having the opportunity to travel while you work, you’re the perfect candidate to become a digital nomad. We know, it sounds a little too good to be true…but trust us, it’s definitely worth a try and it’s 100% possible (granted that you have internet and a working laptop).
What exactly or who exactly is a digital nomad?
A digital nomad is someone who works remotely while traveling the world (hence the nomad part). Digital nomads tend to move around from town to town, city to city, country to country, continent to continent.
And though many people often picture the perfect digital nomad lifestyle as working from the beach, that’s not truly accurate. Have you ever tried using your phone, tablet, or laptop outside on a really sunny day? It’s not really conducive to productivity.
This, however, doesn’t mean that digital nomads don’t get to enjoy the perks of being near beaches, hiking trails, ski trails, or lakes. Most digital nomads work for companies that allow them to work fully flexibly: no schedules, minimum calls and meetings, etc. Most digital nomads work for a part of the day and then they take some time to get to know the city or town they are in; because they have to work, digital nomads often choose to stay a minimum of one month in each location.
Did your wanderlust just go from 6 to 10? Are you desperate to become a digital nomad?
Secrets to Becoming a Digital Nomad
- Get a remote, flexible job
The first thing you need to do to become a digital nomad is to get a job that allows you to work from anywhere, anytime. This means it can’t be a job with a set schedule or that requires you to be in a specific timezone at all times. Alternatively, you can also become a freelancer, however this comes with its own set of challenges, like no fixed income every month; luckily there are ways to avoid this risk, many freelancers choose the 80/20 method. 80% of their income comes from one client and the other 20% varies from month to month or quarter to quarter.
Here’s a list of some of the jobs that best suit a digital nomad lifestyle:
- SEO and marketing
- Blogging, writing, editing
- Graphic design
- Social media management
- Data entry and data analysis
- Save up
Becoming a digital nomad requires that you have enough cash flow to buy your first ticket. It’s important that you have enough saved up to buy a ticket, book a hotel, hostel, or co-living space, and for you to have enough money to spend in your destination of choice.
- Get insurance
This is a key to a successful digital nomad lifestyle, just because you’re travelling doesn’t mean you won’t get sick or get involved in accidents of any sort. It’s important that you have a health insurance that covers you internationally, regardless of location. There are special insurances that cover travellers specifically, so make sure you study all of your options.
- Get your finances and taxes in order
If you’re switching jobs to become a digital nomad, it’s important that you understand your tax regime and that you make sure you’re paying your taxes all the time while you’re travelling. You also need to check if your destination of choice will tax you for working from there. Keep in mind that some countries (like the ones that offer working holiday visas) have agreements so that individuals only pay taxes in one country.
- Embrace minimalism
As a digital nomad, you’ll need to embrace the travel light mindset. You’ll be living out of a suitcase or whatever you can take with you. To reduce overall costs, many digital nomads opt to give up their homes or apartments and they find a close one (or hire a storage unit) where they can store some of their stuff.
- Get a virtual office
Since you will be travelling around the globe, it will be hard for people to reach you (both for personal and professional reasons). Virtual offices are a great solution for digital nomads because they provide mail handling and forwarding and you can update your existing address to ensure you receive important mail wherever you are.
Pro tip: get a virtual office with a company that offers the service in different cities and countries, that way if you need to meet with a client or need access to business resources like printing or scanning, you have a professional, secure place to go.
- Be social
The digital nomad lifestyle can be quite lonely, leading people to feel isolated. To prevent this, you should stay in places with a social event or calendar, you should work out of coworking spaces, and join other social clubs (sports, books, cooking, etc.). Also, join online groups on social media platforms, this will make it easier for you to meet people once you reach a new destination.
- Check your visa requirements
Depending on where you are from, you will need a visa to visit some places and to stay for an extended period of time. Before you book any flights to a new destination, check their visa requirements and make sure you can obtain that visa outside of your home country.
- Be flexible
You are likely to find obstacles along the way: delayed flights, you’ll forget your power adapter, you’ll miss a train, you’ll find it hard to communicate with people, you won’t understand signs and symbols in other countries, you might get sick, etc. Make sure you are flexible with your plans and that you are able to adapt to different situations. It’s also important for you to have a budget but to be flexible with it, unplanned things tend to come along.
The digital nomad lifestyle isn’t for everyone. Before you give up your lease or sell your home, give yourself three months to try out working and travelling. Though many people make it out to be the ideal work situation, many find it hard to travel alone, to move around from one place to another, and to balance work with tourism.