How to Become a Digital Nomad and Travel the Globe

digital nomad

Digital nomads have the best Instagram feeds. That’s because they travel the world while working online, often posting from remote corners of the globe.

Being a digital nomad doesn’t mean you’re on a lifelong vacation, though. People with this lifestyle work as bloggers, consultants, business owners, and any other profession they can do online.

This growing trend allows people to ditch the office and work from anywhere with an internet connection. Sound appealing? Read on to learn more about how to become a digital nomad.

What is a digital nomad?

As the term implies, digital nomads rely on technology to work as they globe-trot from country to country. They’ve given up office life and found a way to conduct business entirely online.

According to a survey by online marketplace Upwork, 92 percent of respondents who worked offsite said they were happier doing so. More than half of people who became digital nomads increased their income. Of that group, 79 percent said they planned to continue this lifestyle for the rest of their lives.

Most digital nomads are committed to world travel and to having the freedom to work on their own schedule. It’s common for these workers to congregate in cities with a low cost of living. Chiang Mai, Ubud, Berlin, and Medellin all have a large presence of remote workers.

What are some common digital nomad jobs?

Some may look at this lifestyle and assume it’s a perpetual holiday. However, digital nomads are often as career-oriented as those who work from a fixed location.

Thanks to the technology at our fingertips, lots of jobs can be conducted entirely online. Common industries with remote work are information technology, sales, customer service, marketing, healthcare, education, training, and administrative work.

Andy Josuweit, Student Loan Hero CEO, started his first company, a website design service, while living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He remains committed to relying on a distributed team with remote employees all over the world.

Those without full-time remote work are often freelancers. They offer specific services like marketing, writing, editing, programming, or consulting. According to the Upwork survey, 67 percent of remote workers were freelancers and 34 percent started a virtual business.

How to become a digital nomad

There are lots of ways to adopt the digital nomad lifestyle. First and foremost, figure out how to make an income with remote work.

If you work primarily on the computer, you may be able to convince your boss to let you work outside the office. You’ll never know if you don’t ask!

If your job is not well-suited to location independence, take some time to assess your skills and the services you could offer. Browse freelance job websites to get a sense of your options. Building a portfolio and gathering testimonials is a great first step.

To brush up on skills, consider attending a training program such as a coding boot camp. After a few months, you’ll be equipped with the marketable skills you need to work remotely.

Finally, you could browse remote jobs on websites like We Work Remotely, Remote OK, FlexJobs, and Jobspresso. These sites exclusively post work opportunities that are 100 percent remote.

Once you’ve figured out your income source, it’s time to hit the road! Since the world is your oyster, you shouldn’t overthink your next destination. Go with what piques your interest — you can’t really go wrong.

Perks and challenges of working from the road

There are lots of amazing benefits to working as a digital nomad. For one, you have total freedom to work from wherever you want. You can explore new places and get inspired by the variety in your surroundings.

What’s more, you can meet intriguing new people and have adventures while advancing your career. To help you find a community, there are websites with digital nomad meet-ups. There are also programs such as Remote Year and We Roam that bring groups of people together to travel for several months.

Even with these resources, you may have trouble finding a support network. By moving from place to place, you leave behind the stability of friends and family. This lifestyle can get lonely, so consider that factor before making any big life changes.

Making travel plans is another challenge. You’ll need to handle logistics like housing and visas, while still getting your work done. You may have to work odd hours to facilitate time zone differences.

Plus, there’s always the danger of a poor wifi connection. You might not realize a location has unreliable internet until you arrive, and may need to scramble to meet a deadline.

It’s easy to get excited about the digital nomad lifestyle, but you should also keep your eyes open to its challenges and drawbacks. By going into it with realistic expectations, you can prepare yourself for the pros and cons of a digitally nomadic existence.

With this awareness, you can succeed as a digital nomad working your way around the globe. Just don’t be surprised when your friends get jealous of your exotic Instagram feed.

Want more resources for remote work? Check out these 13 websites for online jobs.

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