May 11, 2020

What is a Digital Nomad? How to Become a Digital Nomad?

Anshika Awasthi

Could a shaded beach be your workplace? Or a cottage in the hills, perhaps? Could you be sipping a cocktail as you figure your work schedule all while being inside a swimming pool?

You might probably dismiss this idea at first but as it turns out there is an entire community of people who are travelling the globe while still growing in their respective careers. Their working hours don’t start at 9 am and end till 6 pm. Their commute consist of no city traffic, no subways or buses when all they can do is sit by the balcony with a 180-degree ocean view. Ever dreamt of living such a lifestyle?

I bet you do! Here’s how you can be a part of it too.

What is a Digital Nomad?

A digital nomad is a remote worker without a permanent fixed location for work, solely relying on digital technology to generate an income.

With 50% of Americans wanting to start working remotely by the next five years, the digital nomad work-life could be an exciting possibility for you to break-free from 9-5 job and start working remotely.

Let’s find out if it’s the best fit for you or not?

5 benefits of being a Digital Nomad

More Productivity

Adventure adds to your motivation. The change of scenery impacts the brain in a way to act more productive. The beautiful travel locations, exploring new surroundings only add to your motivation to work harder for this work-life. Visiting places after you get off your work only adds to your motivation.

More breakthrough ideas

Working remotely in different places comes with multiple diverse experiences. This has a direct impact on your creativity. Creativity comes when two unrelated concepts mash to form one new idea. This concept is called the synaptic play by neuroscientists; the more the incongruent (out of place) the concepts are, the more synapses occur in your brain. And when your brain is full with such concepts the more inventive your ideas come out to be.

More adaptability

Living on suitcase comes with experiencing different culture, location, geographical circumstances. It makes you more adaptable and independent to engage with different sorts of people of diverse culture. Coming out of your comfort zones makes you prepared to new future.

Travelling increases your brain’s reaction to change. When you travel, the stress of navigating to a new place increases your attentiveness. It strengthens your desire to learn new skills fast.

More time to do the things you love

You work to live and not live to work. Even when your work/job is great, you should always make time for your passion. That might be learning to play a guitar or spending time with your loved ones. Being a digital nomad has its own perks.

Lifelong friendships

Memorable experiences and new adventures forge deep connections with the people. When you set off towards a new location, you find many digital nomads who become your friend. People met on a memorable experience are not easy to forget. You tend to increase your friends’ network all across the globe.

Common Jobs for Digital Nomads

50% American workforce shifting towards remote work till 2014 is some hard fact which cannot be ignored. But working remotely for a few days (like you might be right now) and being a digital nomad is two different work-form. Before quitting your job, try working remotely for it. This requires convincing your manager to test whether you can handle full-time remote work before a nomadic lifestyle.

If you’re looking for remote jobs, you can surf certain sites like Remote.co or We Work Remotely where you can find a job which leads to a nomadic lifestyle.

Freelancing is another common job role for digital nomads. Once you figure out you’ll be able to make money, you can enter gig economy by selling your service or freelancing service in the marketplace like Upwork or Fiverr.

Listed below are some common roles that leads you towards a fully remote lifestyle:

  • IT
  • Design
  • Editing
  • Virtual assistant
  • Marketing
  • Software development
  • Writing
  • Customer service
  • Quality analyst
  • Online tutor
  • Transcription

All you’ll need is a good internet connection while being organized, disciplined making your work a priority over travel plans.

How Do You Become a Digital Nomad? 5 Things to Consider Before Getting Started

Get rid of unnecessary expenses

Paying for things that don’t weigh much in your life is not ideal. Get rid of unnecessary expenses like gym membership, subscriptions etc. if you’re a freelancer, such things will pin you down because digital nomad might face an inconsistent income period. Getting rids of such will only free you to focus on work and travels.

Have income you can rely on for months in advance

Whatever work-life and lifestyle you choose, it’s smart to reserve some income backup. Emergencies can arise. Freelancing doesn’t assure consistent paychecks.

To back up your security, you might have to move essentials to a storage unit, get rid of unnecessary belongings and save money as much as possible.

Travel health insurance

Travel has its own perk but is not always blissful. There are times when you get sick, emergencies like an accident, regular check-up, immunization to enter certain countries. Health should be your priority, so make sure you are covered under a good travel health insurance.

Set yourself up for financial success

Funds are essential for travel. A domestic credit card charges fee abroad, so apply for an international credit card before. Sign up for credit monitoring services so you can get alerts if anyone tries to steal your identity.

If you travel internationally, unlock your phone

Different countries have different cell phone carrier. Unlock your phone by contacting your carrier service if you are planning to visit multiple countries. This will allow you to use different sim card in your phone when in an international land.

Make sure you spiral these things before setting free towards being a digital nomad. But remember actually living as a digital nomad is completely different than preparing for one.

Tips for Living as a Digital Nomad

Make a budget

 Budgeting is the single factor which affects your nomadic lifestyle plan in many ways. Calculate your living expenditure, the cost of travelling, renting spaces, activities you’ll do and how it affects your savings in case of emergencies.

Plan for the worst-scenario

When you live in foreign land, it’s crucial to have a back-up plan in case of worst case scenarios. In cases when you’re stuck at a place, robbery etc , it’s a must to have a plan B. prior planning is always important.

Join a digital nomad community

Communities like Nomadlist and Couchsurfing helps you learn the basics and real exposure of a nomad lifestyle. Fellow nomads can help you answer your doubts about an area you’re planning to visit etc. Their past experiences can be lessons for you.

Most importantly, these communities can act as a network of travelling professionals which can lead you to future business prospects, leads, partnerships and friendships.

Research your destinations

Finding the best possible affordable housing, researching about the weather forecast, geographical as well as the political situation is equally important. Making sure your lodging is near hospital, clinic and not completely aloof. It’s all a part of a tactful nomad lifestyle plan.

Bottom line

As appealing this nomadic lifestyle may sound, the adventure and experiences it comes with are most rewarding yet challenging in many ways. But if you headstrong yourself with discipline, prioritising work, learning new skills, you can pretty much create a luxury nomadic lifestyle of your own in mere future.  

About the author

Competitive, real; loves to keep working for what it wants. An extrovert who lives by her own ideas and methods.


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