You've most likely heard the term "digital nomad." You may even know someone who is living the lifestyle. These are people who've made the choice to work remotely while spending the majority of the year traveling abroad.
My partner, Damon, and I have been living this lifestyle for years now. When we first set out, we set ourselves a budget of $1,800 a month. We sold everything and didn't look back.
If you're receiving your Social Security, then transitioning to this nomadic lifestyle is easy—as you'll already have some income available to support your travel. However, if you're still too young to do so, there are many ways you can plug that financial gap with an income you can earn while on the go. Technology today is making it easier and easier to match people looking for income opportunities they can do while traveling to clients and employers searching for particular sets of skills. Once you know where your income is coming from, the rest is fairly straightforward.
Here are the main things you'll need to consider:
1. Find a job that is location independent
As a digital nomad, your primary objective is to fulfil your passion for traveling the world. Therefore, your priority isn't to make as much money as possible, it's to make enough to allow you as much freedom and flexibility as possible.
With a little research, you can find an income that's right for you, based on your skills and talents. You're in control here, so you get to decide on exactly what you want to offer.
Whether you have worked in the service industry, as a researcher, as a copywriter, or anything else, you have marketable skills that people are looking for. Popular roles that allow you to work remotely are: copywriting and writing, social media managing, affiliate marketing, translation, illustrating and graphic design, programming, virtual assistant, blogging, tour guide, transcribing, and the list goes on.
Once you've decided on the field you want to work in, then choose the path that best fits your lifestyle choice:
- Become a Freelancer: This allows you to choose the projects you'd like, while providing you the flexibility to travel. There are several websites available to you where you can flex your freelance muscle, such as Upwork, Fiverr, and Flexjobs.
- Find a full-time remote job: This path provides a more consistent income stream. However, it can be more restrictive, as you might not be able to create your own work schedule.
- Start your own business: If you have the right drive and ambition, then starting your own online business could be the best option of the three. You'll have complete control over your schedule, income, and even the decisions you make.
2. Market your skills and services via your own website
If you decide to freelance or create your own business, it's important to know how to market yourself from the get-go. Running a website can be fun and exciting, and also a great way to generate useful traffic, to whom you can sell your service. You can also create extra income through affiliated marketing (getting commission on sales of Amazon products you link to). There are great platforms that will help you design a slick website, such as Wix, Wordpress, and GoDaddy.
3. Meet other digital nomads to see what they're doing
You'll quickly find many others who are also living the nomadic lifestyle, and they will be an endless source of reliable information, not only regarding travel tips and suggestions, but also ideas for creating income too.
Join Facebook groups that are open to expats of certain countries you visit. You can also discover local groups through Meetup.com, where people meet up in groups based on their interests.
4. Create (and live within) a realistic budget
To help keep your finances on track while you travel, it's imperative to create and stick to a budget of income and expenses.
Once you know what you have to work with each month, plan your travel accordingly by knowing the exchange rate in each country you choose to visit. For example, a yearly salary of $10,000 will go much further in Thailand than it will in France.
5. Stay on top of the important things
There are a number of practical concerns you'll need to consider before you begin your digital nomad adventure, such as the different visa requirements for the countries you're planning to visit, traveler's insurance, and any necessary shots and/or physicals you'll need. As you will be making money while traveling, you will need to learn timeframes for money transfers and making direct deposits, so you will always have access to your cash when needed.
6. Knowing what you need for your home and work environment
This will change with every location. Yet, while you stay in each place you'll need to find good housing, a work location for both focus and internet connection, and anything else you'll need to be comfortable. You'll need to establish a schedule, what hours and days you'll commit to working, and the timeframe to stay in each location.
7. Decide on your first destination
Once you've concocted your plan, there is no reason to postpone it any longer. It's time to book that first ticket abroad. Take into consideration your mandatory requirements (budget, internet access, etc), and then pick a location you're most interested in exploring. You've done the work and the planning, so all that's left is the enjoyment. The possibilities are up to you. Enjoy the journey.