Have you ever dreamed of traveling the world and not going broke in the process? I think it’s a fantasy that many of us share but most probably consider a bit of a pipe-dream. The truth is, however, that this day-and-age the burgeoning of technology and tech-based jobs has allowed for many career-paths that promote working remotely. The one-time far-fetched fantasy of working from exotic locations across the globe and financing your travel actively is now a reality for many. This phenomenon has become known as digital nomad-ing, and I’m gonna tell you all about it.
So, what does being a digital nomad entail and how does a person who’s interested in the adventure get started? Well, as is the case with most things in life, it’s not as simple as desiring the lifestyle. It will help you immensely to have a skill-set or education suitable to traveling. Maybe you can do programming or graphic artistry or perhaps you can write or do web design. It’s not an absolute prerequisite to have a job in one of these fields or even skills such as these, many have learned their skills along the way and with online courses you can easily become educated as you go, however it does give you an advantage from the start to have something readily capable of helping finance your travels.
That brings us to the second, very important, item on your list of pre-reqs for nomad-ing: Capital! You aren’t likely to get too far beyond your front door without some coins in your piggy bank. Flights, food, hotels or hostels; all of these things cost real currency, whether its rupels or baht, so being aware of how much you’re reasonably going to need to start living your dream and insuring you have that much in the bank before you start planning your itinerary is important. I would recommend having more than the minimum requirement for whatever your initial journey is going to be – to account for the unforeseeable – because if traveling has taught me anything, its that anything that can happen, will happen especially if its something that will eat up your currency.
The third thing you’ll want to do is one of the more exciting and fun parts of the preparation process: set your itinerary!! There are innumerable places to choose from – I mean, basically the world is your oyster, but you will want to keep in mind a few crucial elements that will increase or decrease the desirability of certain locations. Here are some of my top considerations when choosing a location:
- WIFI!! Wifi is a make-or-break item that must be considered carefully when choosing a location. Sure, we’d all love to choose random tropical islands and live our Gilligan-style best lives, but remote and random often equals low to nonexistent bandwidth. The number of megabytes you can get per second is equivalent to how productive you can be and thus, how much money you’ll be able to make. You need to have strong signal as often as possible, or at least a central HQ where you can be guaranteed decent internet.
- Cost of living. No matter what life you’re living, the cost of that life is probably something you think about. The importance of this is even greater when considering a digi-nomad existence. Paris, France is on a lot of people’s bucket list, but it isn’t the cheapest place to visit. It might be a better fit to find somewhere within train-distance that is cheaper to get lodging as your HQ and do Paris as a day trip. Makes sense, right?
- Access to points of interest. Going back to our aforementioned example of the remote island, its important to think about access to other areas and sights you may want to visit. If you’re happy spending all of your time in Phuket and have no desire to see anything but beautiful beaches, local restaurants and the odd temple or two, maybe this is for you, but consider that you could set up shop in nearby Bangkok and see a myriad of different wats (temples) and sights, including Phuket, without feeling as limited. This is even more important for nomads (such as myself and my travel companion) that are running travel blogs or travel-driven social media endeavors. There is only so much material you can run about the same beaches.
I hope that this article has helped enlighten you a little bit as to the meaning and nature of digital nomad-ing. There are plenty of other sources out there from other nomads (many that are far more detailed than my little article here) and I encourage you to imbibe as much of that sweet knowledge as possible. The more you know the better you can decide if this is the right choice for you and be maximally prepared for what lies ahead if so. It’s an exciting lifestyle, but as with anything worth having, it isn’t easily attained. My best advice for helping you decide would be to gauge your drive and passion. Work on a plan for a few months and if you can stay motivated, save money, and can think of nothing else than making the dream a reality for yourself, you probably have what it takes!
We will continue to post more articles about the digital nomad lifestyle, here on our blog under the “Digital Nomad” section. We will be adding tips, tricks and also updates on how our journey is shaking out – highs and lows. Stay tuned for more info 🙂