Become a digital nomad and traveling the world is a dream for all! So let’s take a deeper look and understand what it takes to become a digital nomad.
About 4 years back, when I decided to quit my ‘9-to-5’ monotonous life and pursue my passion for traveling, little did I know that there are so many avenues & possibilities for a digital nomad.
To say the least, there’s something magical about the nomadic lifestyle, the pure joy of discovering new places and meeting people, and experiencing different cultures.
If you’ve always craved to travel the world and explore the unknown, then you can also consider being a digital nomad and embrace the adventures along the path.
Trust me when I say this, you’ll surely not regret it ever in life.
In this article, I’d try and help you understand what it takes to be a digital nomad – but before that, let’s understand what this concept is all about.
- What is a ‘Digital Nomad’?
- How to become a Digital Nomad?
- Essential Tips For Becoming A Digital Nomad
What is a ‘Digital Nomad’?
To quote what Wikipedia says, “Digital nomads are people who use telecommunications technologies to earn a living and conduct their life in a nomadic manner. Such workers often work remotely from foreign countries, coffee shops, public libraries, co-working spaces, or recreational vehicles.”
Precisely, a digital nomad is a person who opts to work remotely, from anywhere in the world, as long as he/she has access to a laptop (or any device) and internet facilities.
Social media has made the life of digital nomads look fancier, as they are seen to be working by the beaches or hillside cafes, but that’s not how it is in reality.
For beginners, being a ‘digital nomad’ would require passion and a lot of hard work, creative and communicative skills, etc.
Surely, the life of a digital nomad is full of excitement and explorations, but one needs to find adequate work online, in order to make passive income to sustain the fulfilling life of adventures.
It’s essential to know that being a digital nomad is a full-time job that requires dedication and commitment.
It’s true that your ‘office’ may be prettier than others, (and you can literally work from cafes & baches!) and you decide your own working hours, but you still need to chase deadlines, make submissions on time, grow your skills and look for work from time to time.
To be honest, your success or failure will completely rely on your own shoulders, as you become your own boss!
How to become a Digital Nomad?
No matter how fancy a life of a ‘digital nomad’ might seem, it has its own challenges. Thus, it’s important to understand what exactly is driving you & be completely truthful to yourself.
Ask yourself a few questions: Am I motivated enough to move from one place to another? Can I be creatively productive and develop my skills on the go?
Am I determined to embrace all the challenges that might crop up in a faraway land? Will I be able to sustain myself?
Once you have a clearer picture in your mind, and you feel confident to travel the world full-time, you can surely opt to become a ‘digital nomad’, and your journey will be much easier.
I know a lot of people who have been wondering if they can become digital nomads, but often struggle to figure out ‘how’?
While everyone seems to be excited about the idea of becoming an explorer, not many have the right frame of mind to make things work.
Here are a few things that you can consider before you kick-start your journey as a digital nomad.
1. The desperation to break free from the monotony.
I don’t know if it can be termed as ‘a calling’, but you’d exactly know that you can no longer continue what you’re doing and there’s an urge to leave everything behind and move on.
Many people hate their jobs yet struggle to quit them, contemplating the uncertainties of the future. But amidst all, they forget the fact that they are sacrificing their present.
Most of the digital nomads embraced the life of adventures when they felt stuck in their work-life and suffered from anxiety.
That’s when they knew they needed to take a leap, desperately looking for freedom, with an urge to rediscover themselves.
Needless to say, it’s your desperation to change your life and a passion for chasing adventures, that’ll take you a long way as a digital nomad.
If you know about your skills, you’ll never have a dearth of work. You should be confident about leaving your old life and believe that you have the power to change your destiny.
2. Getting prepared for a nomadic lifestyle.
Quitting the regular job and living out of a backpack might appear like a dream of sunshine and rainbows, but there’s much more to it.
As you’ll hit the roads all by yourself, you’ll eventually face loneliness as times and face burnouts on and off. With incredible moments of love and laughter, you’ll have unpleasant experiences too.
Also, if you’ve never gone on a solo trip before, it’ll be a little more challenging for you. Thus, it’s important to get prepared, prior to embracing the nomadic lifestyle.
To begin with, identify your best skills and create a space for earning. If you are good with editing, try your hands at making vlogs.
Those who love to write & can create stories with words can opt for blogging or content writing roles. In the current scenario, when ‘work from home’ has become a new normal, one can easily choose to work remotely or take up freelancing jobs that align with their skills.
Once you know how you’re going to manage your finances, the next step would be to see if you can manage to live alone, away from home.
Plan for a month, and choose an offbeat place (maybe somewhere in the mountains or by the beaches). Find a homestay with proper internet facilities, so that you can work without any disturbances.
Go for short trips, meet new people and get to know the place. Soon, you’ll realize if this life suits you or not, and then you can plan for longer vacays where you not just explore but also work simultaneously and life live to the fullest.
3. Choosing your first destination wisely.
While you might be tempted to live in Paris and work remotely from there, or maybe in Miami – you need to be mindful and understand if you can afford it (or not!).
As I mentioned earlier, the initial phase would bring you a lot of hurdles as a digital nomad, and you’d need some time to understand the place, adjust to the local lifestyle, managing your finances, etc.
Choosing your first destination to explore as a digital nomad can be an overwhelming process.
The first step would be to narrow down your list of places where you’d wanna travel to, and figure out the cost of living – which includes your stay, food, internet & other expenses, along with the cost of traveling.
Over the last few years, Thailand, Vietnam, Bali, and a few other places in Southeast Asia have become a hub for millennials who moved to these destinations as digital nomads.
Hence, you can consider them too. Even countries like Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica, and Bolivia have also become homes for wanderlust souls enjoying a workcation there.
Essential Tips For Becoming A Digital Nomad
Once you have decided to become a digital nomad and figured out how to sustain yourself, you’d need these tips to go a long way.
1. Know how you wanna live!
When you choose to be a digital nomad, you’ll have to compromise with the luxuries that you otherwise enjoy at home!
Mostly digital nomads prefer staying at hostels or in penthouses that serve as co-working spaces as they are the most cost-effective accommodation options.
Also, if you’re traveling solo for the first time, it would be great to meet other people from other parts of the world.
In case you love your privacy and can afford to spend a few extra bucks, you can find a room for yourself in a homestay or rent an apartment through Airbnb (they have amazing properties across the globe!).
Once you decide on how you wanna live, you’ll also have to plan your meals – whether you wish to cook on a daily basis, or if you want to eat out regularly, or just have the best of both!
Pre-planning all of these would help you once you arrive at your destination, otherwise, you might find yourself amidst a lot of confusions, that’d spoil your mood and ruin your experiences.
2. Stay at one place for a considerable time (or at least a month).
Being a digital nomad, you are free to move around, but I would suggest you stay in one place for a month – ‘coz you’d need that much time to explore a place and soak in its vibes fully.
I had spent a month in Bhutan, back in 2016 and I completely fell in love with the place & the people.
Constant traveling will make you exhausted, and you wouldn’t be able to properly focus on your work. It’ll also give you some time to understand if you are really enjoying this life on the roads or not.
3. Get rid of unnecessary expenses.
Remember that this isn’t a vacation, and you need not buy souvenirs! Most of the time, we tend to spend unnecessarily while we are out for a holiday, but as a digital nomad, you need to get rid of all those expenses that aren’t greatly impacting your life.
Cut down on all the memberships & subscriptions that you were paying when you’re home. Getting rid of these expenses will allow you to fully focus on your work and travels.
As a freelancer exploring the world, you’d not have much time to ‘Netflix & Chill’ – rather, you can go out and meet the natives, join them for a local festival, sit at a cafe and observe people, learn a new language or develop a new skill in the meanwhile.
4. Get travel health insurance.
While traveling can endow you with some of the best experiences of your life, there would also be circumstances where you might fall sick, run into an accident, or get stuck in an emergency!
You’d also need to get vaccines for traveling to certain places.
Your health should essentially be your priority and thus, getting insurance is a must. In the current scenario, when the world is healing from a pandemic situation, it is all the more important to get travel health insurance done.
Initially, it might seem like an added cost, but eventually, you’d know that it’s for your own benefit in the long run as a digital nomad.
5. Join a digital nomad community.
In today’s date, social media helps us to connect with people all across the world. If you scroll through Facebook, you’d find many communities run by digital nomads, where they not only share their experiences but also create a platform for meeting fellow nomads.
You can also join online communities like Nomadlist where digital nomads would answer your queries and assist you in planning your own endeavor. You would also have a chance to find work opportunities and above all, create friendships with other travelers.
To put it in the world of Lewis Carroll said, “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.”
Hence, if an adventurous lifestyle is what you’re craving for & you know that you have got the courage to live like a digital nomad, then hit the roads.
Don’t be afraid of failures. Experience the goodness that the world has in store for you, and you’d end up having some interesting stories to share with all.
Go with the flow and enjoy life to the fullest, being a digital nomad.