Ever seen those pictures of a laptop on a beach or a person working at a table on a balcony overlooking a Grecian alley, and wondered to yourself if you could work as untethered as the subjects in those pictures do?
Being a nomad in a capitalism-driven world may seem like an oxymoron, but that isn’t the case anymore.
Due to Covid, the world has shifted towards remote and hybrid working models, with people preferring to work from the comfort of their own home or any part of the world.
The untethered lifestyle that you see those attractive pictures romanticising belongs to the digital nomads—globetrotters who combine work with travel, and are usually only armed with a laptop and an internet connection.
Before we provide tips on how to become one, let’s see what a digital nomad actually is.
What is a digital nomad?
Digital nomads travel the world while exclusively working online. Due to the nature of their work, they have complete freedom of movement and are constantly on the move from one location to another.
There are many different types of digital nomads – some fly from country-to-country couch surfing or living out of hotels or Airbnb apartments, while others prefer to move around in their own country.
One thing that all digital nomads have in common is that they are completely location-independent workers earning through the online means.
Here are some of the key tips to keep in mind if you plan to become a digital nomad.
Identify your skills
People usually assume that all they need for a successful digital nomadic lifestyle is a laptop and a good Wi-Fi connection, but it is not that easy in real life.
For example, if you are a project manager, you should look into the latest trends in project management, and evaluate whether that line of work allows you the flexibility to pursue the nomadic lifestyle before you go and pack your bags and hit the road.
Before you take any step towards a location-independent work life, you should make a comprehensive list of your skills and qualifications, and then figure out which one of them will help you earn the most online income.
Conduct a thorough research concerning your current profession. If you are at the start of your career, then try to learn freelance skills that can ensure you a streamlined income when you will be on the move.
After all, you don’t want to find yourself strapped for cash in a foreign land figuring out ways to earn.
Identify your reasons
Before you take a nosedive into the world of digital nomadism, take some time out and evaluate your reasons for doing so.
Is it because of the clickbait pictures on social media, is it because you love to travel, or is it simply because someone you know is a digital nomad?
No matter what your reasons are, you need to list them down and figure out how objective and sustainable they are.
People on social media often lie and post only the most perfect aspects of their lives. You must remember that all that glam and glitz of the social media shouldn’t be taken at face value.
If you want to go full nomad, you need to weigh the decision against every aspect of your life. It’s a huge decision, and needs equally thorough planning and research.
Choose a digital-nomad friendly location
Even if you plan to work online from several locations over the course of your journey, you cannot just pick any location randomly or solely based on how it appears. For a location to be digital-nomad friendly, it needs to have all or most of the following attributes:
- A Community of Fellow Location-Independent Workers
- A Good Wi-Fi Situation
- A Safe and Secure Environment (Especially for Foreigners)
- Easy Visa Application Process
Purchase a credible travel insurance package
Travelling is all about facing the unexpected. While that means meeting new people and exploring new places, it also means coming across unpleasant or even threatening circumstances.
Since you cannot plan for everything that may go wrong, the best solution is to purchase a credible travel insurance package. Most travel insurance packages cover hospital visits, injuries, theft, and other such emergencies.
Traveling constantly may be exciting but it can also get hectic. With travel insurance in place, you will not have to worry about any unexpected situations.
Take your time at a location
Digital nomadism is not about visiting a large number of countries in a short period, but rather experiencing the joy of taking control of your work environment.
Once you land at a destination for your work, try to spend some time there before moving on to the next destination on your itinerary.
Explore the area, talk to the natives, participate in community events, and learn their history. Don’t just cross out a country on the map and move to the next one.
Realistically, you will be working most of the week and the only time you will get to properly explore the area will be on the weekends or late evenings.
Don’t try to rush it – take everything slowly and enjoy your journey. After all, experiencing the freedom of working from anywhere in the world is the main purpose behind the nomad lifestyle.
The digital nomad lifestyle is not for everyone. And it’s not all beaches and sunshine. Constant travel will exhaust you, your productivity may suffer, and the incessant changes in environment will soon overwhelm you.
That said, on the other hand, the nomad lifestyle is extremely freeing, as it allows you to spend your day the way you want to and where you want to. It is a great option for people who love to travel and can continue working remotely.