It may sound like an impossible dream, but travelling and working can go hand in hand. Many of us have met or read about someone travelling the world and living free, yet somehow making money. How, we all ask ourselves, is this even possible? For many of us, the day-in, day-out workings of a regular job are the only way we can see to make money, save it and then travel for a few weeks here and there. But are we missing out on something greater? The answer is a resounding yes!
What is Digital Nomadism?
With the age of technology upon us, we are able to utilise it to great effect, if we know how. To this end, Digital Nomadism has sprung up as a way of life. Digital Nomads use telecommunication technology to supplement their income and tend to live abroad, moving from place to place as they work. For many of these workers, their office is wherever it takes them and they can be found camped out in a library, coffee shop or even a bar, just to get their work done.
To actually do their work, digital nomads will often be seen using wireless devices such as data using mobile devices or making use of hotspots, hence the public spaces as their offices. Many people from all walks of life have become digital nomads and though refugees and younger people are often seen in this light, this doesn’t mean that the more affluent among us can’t join in. In fact, many Digital Nomads turn to this lifestyle for positive reasons rather than because they have no other choices in life.
This way of living surprisingly offers an excellent way of life complete with regular payments and independence both financially and in location. Who doesn’t want to be able to choose when and where to work?
I would rather own little and see the world than own the world and see little of it.
– Alexander Sattler
How to become a Digital Nomad?
The idea sounds glamourous, but of course, requires some hard work. However, with a little bit of skill, time and patience, this much freer lifestyle could become yours. The first step is having computer skills and a laptop of some kind. It’s best if you know how to write, create or design, as these are the areas that can easily be utilised from abroad and online. At this point comes the important part – finding some jobs.
These days there are plenty of freelance sites that offer thousands of small jobs per day from designing a logo through to content writing. Your best bet here is to look at a number of different aspects such as how much clients are paying and whether your skills will mesh well when choosing a job.
Main jobs digital nomads do
There are a number of very specific travel jobs that Digital Nomads tend to gravitate towards and these are often writing and/or language based.
- Freelance writer/translator: Taking assignments and meeting deadlines from different platforms, you can earn money writing. If you know more than one language, translating can also be a good addition to your writing tasks.
- Travel blogger: Many of the most successful Digital Nomads become travel bloggers, detailing where they have been in various enticing ways, usually wrapped up in a unique format and with different partnerships.
- Online teacher: Teaching online can be done using apps such as Skype, which doesn’t even need you to have a laptop with which to earn.
- Affiliate marketing: Promoting products or websites through affiliate links can either go hand in hand with blogging, or be a business on its own.
- Entrepreneur: As a self-employed business owner/entrepreneur, you can manage your days and work from a home office anywhere around the world.
Why Digital Nomadism is the evolution of freelancing
Digital Nomadism is a form of freelancing. Taking freelancing to the next level has been possible only because of the impressive leaps forward in technology. In addition, the Millennial mindset, leaning towards removing constraints and getting to travel, has pushed this new work form forward. We all want to travel the world, and now you can do it while earning money.
Digital Nomads Vs Remote Workers
These two terms are often used interchangeably but whilst a Digital Nomad is a remote worker, the opposite isn’t necessarily true. To put it simply, a Digital Nomad will travel. There is no one specific address that they rely on to get work from, there is no one single place they call home. Remote workers, on the other hand, tend to be professionals who do not travel but rather work from home. These differences should be highlighted as it can help employers to target certain workers with strategic marketing and offerings – helping everyone in the long run.
5 Cases of successful Digital Nomads
As with anything, when there are notable successes, a job seems even easier and more desirable. After all, we all inherently want to do something that looks easy. In this world, there have been a few people that have achieved in greater successes than most. Chris Guillebeau is the first of these that springs to mind. An American blogger known for his book The Art of Non-Conformity, he has written a series of unconventional guides on travel and even on starting small businesses. Since then, his site has now become one of the most visited in the United States.
“What if you save for 40 years, putting off all kinds of opportunities, then get hit by a bus the day before retirement? Better to plan for the future while also living in the present.”
― Chris Guillebeau
Another book and blog author from the States is Rolf Potts. Using travel writing as his main medium, he has written work for the likes of National Geographic to the New York Times. In later years, after his self-named Vagabonding experiences came to an end, Potts now teaches non-fiction writing at Yale and operates a creative writing course in other schools during the summer.
Chris Brogan is a blogger and has been since 1998. Always aware of what is going on around the world, Brogan keeps his finger firmly on the centre of everything, ensuring his blogs are up-to-date and keeping him high profile. He travels constantly making it hard to even pinpoint where he is at any one time.
The first woman on the list, Christine Gilbert not only took herself into this lifestyle but her husband and dogs too. After deciding her job wasn’t for her, the family moved abroad where she writes about this experience in the hopes of inspiring others to do the same. Lastly, we have one of the youngest Nomads, Matt Kepnes. On the road the last few years, he constantly updates a hugely popular travel blog encouraging everyone to follow suit.