We've all seen the photographs. The Insta-lifestyle of those people working whilst travelling. Pictures that have been posted of them on laptops by the beach, at the side of a swimming pool or hanging out in a campervan. It seems like a wonderful life to live. Of course, we only see a snapshot of that life, there is a lot going on behind the scenes. If you are already enjoying the summer months and fancy continuing your travels for a little bit longer this year, becoming a digital nomad could help you live that dream. Let's have a look at what it is all about and see if you have what it takes to be a nomad of the digital age.
What is a digital nomad?
Firstly, we need to figure out exactly what a digital nomad is. There are so many people doing it, in different ways, so it is difficult to nail down an exact description. However, all those people who have started the journey to becoming a digital nomad have this in common. They spend a number of months abroad every year, changing where they are regularly, all whilst earning a living from working online. The amount of time they spend at each destination can be as little as a few days or as long as a few months. The work they do is all usually via the internet. When you have a job that can be done from a computer, logging onto Wi-Fi where you are will allow you to write, create and send emails from anywhere in the world.
Of course, the amount of money that each digital nomad makes will vary considerably. You also need to take into account the fact that you are paying to be where you are. That could be the hotel you are staying in, the flights it took to get you there and of course, food and drink. Whilst you might be living in a campervan, you still have bills to pay such as fuel and insurance. The reality of most digital nomads is vastly different from what you see on Instagram. Chasing invoices isn't fun, wherever you are in the world.
Working on the road
Working on the road gives you lots of opportunities. You can enjoy spending time by yourself or with a loved one, whilst exploring different parts of the world. What jobs allow you to log out at the end of the day and go climb a volcano or surf in the sea? What career can you do where you can switch off your computer and enjoy spectacular sunsets, different delicious cuisines and meet extraordinary people in their own culture?
Is it said that adventures are the best way to learn so enjoying your own explorations can provide motivation and inspiration. Another quote about travelling is to have stories to tell not stuff to show. Why are you working? Is it to collect things inside a home you are paying a mortgage on? Or in this chapter of your life do you want to see as much as possible? Discover incredible places, witness special sights and make some memories that will stay with you for a lifetime.
It isn't going to be easy. Staying productive can be tricky. You are also reliant on the connection you can find. You also need to realise that this lifestyle probably won't last forever. Some people do this for a few months, some maybe for a handful of years. However, there is usually a pull to return ‘home', wherever that may be. To the comforts and the people we love. Creating a business on the road allows you to return home and continue that journey, even if you eventually decide to have a full-time base.
Jobs you can do on your travels
There are a huge number of jobs that you can do remotely from a laptop. Why does it have to be remotely at home? If you have a laptop and an internet connection, it doesn't really matter whereabouts in the world you log on from as long as the job gets done.
Consider the types of jobs that can be done solely from a computer. Those roles that you see people tapping away on a laptop to do. These can include but are not limited to:
- Graphic Design
- Freelance Writing
- Social Media Management
- Website Testing
- Email Marketing
- Virtual Assistant Jobs
- Affiliate Marketing
These are just ten ideas that you can begin with. There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of potential jobs you can consider when you look at becoming a digital nomad.
Self-employed or employed by a business
If you are looking at becoming a digital nomad you also need to figure out if you want to be self-employed or employed. Both options have pros and cons.
If you choose the employed route, you will be sure of a monthly paycheque. Your taxes will be organised for you and you don't have to chase payments. You can simply log on, do the allocated hours or work required, then log off and enjoy your life. You may have specific hours to be online though, which could tie you down a little. Being employed might mean you need to dial in for meetings more often and you will likely have a boss or line manager to report into.
As a self-employed person, you can pick and choose your clients. You can take on the amount of work you want to which might be just enough hours to get by financially. This will open you up to spending more time doing the things you love. There isn't usually any expectation of when you need to work when you are self-employed either. As long as the work gets done for clients, it gets done. However, you'll have to send out your own invoice and chase these when they are not paid. You'll also need to organise your own tax returns, so putting money aside for this when you get paid is important.
Being employed, you step into a role and you are straight into the work. Self-employed people take time to build a business and there can be a lot of behind-the-scenes work.
Choose the option that works for you when you are looking at becoming a digital nomad.
The digital nomad life
You need to decide if the digital nomad life is for you.
There are some huge benefits that you might not have even considered. This includes being somewhere hot for the winter, paying off debt and saying goodbye to sitting in commute traffic. You can also be free to work where and when you want, design your own lifestyle and even save money for when you do decide to return home. You'll find inspiration from all over the globe and meet people you wouldn't have ordinarily come across.
Of course, there are disadvantages to becoming a digital nomad too. You'll probably be a long way from friends and family, in a completely different time zone. The amount you earn and the amount you spend can vary from month to month. When you are a digital nomad, life can often feel in limbo. Where are you going, how are you going to get there, where are you staying? You might not always know where you will spend the night and there can be tears along the way when you realise you are all alone. Do you want to spend Christmas without your loved ones?
Becoming a digital nomad isn't for everyone, but if you think it's for you, it can be the adventure of a lifetime!