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Work and Travel at the Same Time: How to Live like a Digital Nomad


Imagine this: making money while traveling the world by typing away at a computer for a few hours a day. Years ago, it might have seemed like an impossible pipe-dream, but now the digital nomad lifestyle is taking the workforce by storm. Just how does this wandering lifestyle work, and how do people pack it all up and start their lives as a digital nomad?

The Basics of Digital Nomad-ism


Digital nomads run the gamut of industries and living arrangements. But what they all have in common is that they have swapped traditional workspaces and living arrangements for a more freeing lifestyle. Digital nomads have leveraged technology to be able to work from practically anywhere in the world. Usually, all a digital nomad needs is a computer and an internet connection, and they’re ready to go.

The term “digital nomad” is often used interchangeably with the term “location independent.” While these two are linked to one another, everyone’s situation is different. Some people stay in one place for six months or more, while others move around every few weeks. But, generally, the goal for most digital nomads is to move around and see the world.

Keep in mind that it’s not all sandy beaches and tiki drinks, even though many digital nomads like to post glamorous pictures of those. There’s no WiFi on the beach and who would want all that sand getting in their keyboard anyway.

That said, the nomad lifestyle does afford a lot more freedom in where people can sit and do their work, as well as how they manage their time. So this lifestyle does provide plenty of opportunities to see those sunny beaches; if a person is willing to put in the work and make some sacrifices.

The Pros and Cons of Life as a Digital Nomad


Before embarking on this new adventure, it’s important to be aware of the good and bad sides of life as a digital nomad:

Pros:

- As mentioned, financial and physical freedom is the number one benefit of choosing this lifestyle.
- It allows people to explore new career paths and work with professionals from all over the world.
- Digital nomads can move to countries where the living cost is low and get a good quality of life for less.
- Being a digital nomad can lead to a more fulfilling life as people get to explore the world and see interesting places.

Cons:

- Many digital nomads are, in essence, freelancers. With that comes all of the drawbacks of being a freelancer too. The two most applicable ones are job security and loneliness.
- When someone’s running their own freelance business, they’ll have to carefully manage their income – especially during those times when there isn’t a lot of it rolling in.
- This lifestyle is generally not suited for people who are looking to start a family. Moving around a lot doesn’t create a feasible environment for having and taking care of kids.
- People who want to enter the nomadic lifestyle should be willing to part with their physical possessions. Digital nomads who move around a lot tend to perpetually live out of a suitcase.
- Traveling around comes with a modicum of danger. For instance, hackers like using public WiFi spots to steal people’s data and credentials. For that reason, a VPN is one of the best tools a digital nomad can have in their arsenal (besides their computer).

Living Nomadically: Here’s How to Get Started


Typically, the first step on the road to digital nomad-ism is deciding which digital skill to pursue. Some people might already be ahead of the curve here if they’ve already built a career with a marketable digital skill.

Figuring out which skill to choose can be tough because there are so many options out there. There’s no set recipe to follow here, but as Madeline Mann puts it, people should find something that they’re good at, that they like, and that pays well. It’s not always possible to find something that ticks all those boxes, but at the very least, look for jobs that are marketable right now.

Then the really hard work begins – finding clients or a remote job and building up that career. A big part of freelance is self-marketing, which isn’t for everyone. But those who are willing to follow a more rigid 9-5 schedule could opt for a remote job instead. Hopefully, the employer is willing to let them travel. Eventually, this should generate a steady income that funds this kind of lifestyle.

In Summary


Getting started as a digital nomad is often simpler than people think. Finding a remote job is probably the easiest method, but freelancing is a highly viable option as well. It may take a lot of hard work, but at the end of the day, freedom is worth it.

This is a contribution from one of our contributing writers.


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