A digital nomad is someone who is able to work remotely and therefore spend a considerable amount of their time abroad or traveling. This could include all sorts of jobs such as IT work, language teaching, web design, or digital marketing. The vast majority of digital nomads can earn their money online which allows for them to work from anywhere in the world as long as there is a stable internet connection.
The idea of working remotely has become more and more popular over the years, as the younger generation seem to want to trade-in the idea of a traditional career for a life of travel and freedom. While becoming a digital nomad yourself won't happen overnight the need for remote jobs is growing due to COVID’s safety requirements and protocols. So your beachside office isn’t out of reach!
What you need to know if you're considering becoming a digital nomad
Before you make the decision to become a digital nomad you need to be aware of what the life entails. Working remotely is not always sitting by the pool with your laptop. It actually requires a lot of hard work and preparation in order to be sustainable. One thing that many do not consider is time zones. Depending on who you are working for and where you are in the world you have to work late into the night or in the early mornings depending to ensure you can collaborate with your employer or colleagues. Many digital nomads are actually freelancers so many have also mastered the ability to focus within a distracted space, prioritize their time and meet deadlines. While the digital nomad life seems enticing it is not all fun and games as many think!
As a digital nomad, you need to be prepared to deal as you would in an office but abroad. At any moment you may need to apply for a visa for the country you are visiting, sign a new contract for a job or have to mail original copies to your employer. So you should do some research into the country you wish to visit and work from, before leaving the stable internet connection and printer.
The reality is you won’t be able to work in all countries around the world so digital nomads tend to find themselves in the same locations over time. Some of the biggest digital nomad hubs in the world include Bali, the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, Lisbon or the Algarve in Portugal, and Chiang Mai in Thailand. For more information on these hubs check out The Top Ten Countries To Be A Digital Nomad by Forbes.
How much money do you need to earn to become a digital nomad?
Many people choose to work and travel at the same time because living costs in some countries are a lot lower than what you might be used to. There is no set amount of money you need to earn to be able to become a digital nomad, but it should be more than what will spend and this will depend a lot on the country you choose to live in. Many remote workers like to choose affordable places to keep their living costs low initially. While large cities are attractive, they are usually also very expensive. For low-cost options, South East Asia is a good choice as well as some of South America or even Eastern Europe. You could live off of less than 1,000$ per month in some of these places if you are smart about how you spend your money.
Steps to becoming a digital nomad
To become a digital nomad, you need to detach yourself from the place you are currently living in. This means selling any major possessions like a car or furniture. Putting things in storage or leaving them with friends is also a good option if you feel like you aren’t ready to sell everything just yet. You will also need to end any contracts like rental agreements or jobs and reduce your living costs as much as possible.
Of course, you will also need to have a source of income. If your job allows remote work, you could ask your employer to let you work online. Alternatively, you could find a new profession in a digital nomad friendly field or start your own company.
Examples of digital nomad jobs
As a digital nomad you can have any job that allows you to work online. Some examples include:
- Digital marketer
- Web designer
- Language teacher
- Virtual assistant
- Graphic designer
- Writer or blogger
- Business owner
- Social Media Manager