Aisling McCarthy takes you through the five steps that will help you become a digital nomad.
First things first: What on earth is a digital nomad?
Well, it’s a term used to describe someone who spends months on end abroad, changing their destination regularly (usually every few weeks) while still earning a living by working online.
This nomadic lifestyle has been driven by millennial entrepreneurs, designers, writers and developers who have realised that you don’t need to work in an office to send emails or even run a business.
advice from media update: Remember that a ‘digital nomad’ differs from someone who works remotely. A remote worker tends to work from one location that is not the company’s official address. A digital nomad, however, uses this freedom to work from numerous locations with the focus on exploring interesting new places.
Not convinced you could become a digital nomad? Well, if you know how to type and already do your work on a computer, you’re off to a good start. Ready to start your career as a digital nomad?Here are the steps you’ll need to follow:
Step 1: Reduce location ties and expenses
The first step to becoming a digital nomad is to take stock of the things in your life that are tying you to a single location. Long-term leases and vehicles are often the first things on the list.
Start eliminating the things that cannot travel with you, as well as other unnecessary expenditures. Kiss your gym membership goodbye, as well as any entertainment subscription to free up some cash for the things you’ll really need while you’re on the road.
Remember that when you’re on your nomadic journey, you’ll want to travel light. So start getting rid of junk and material things that don’t serve an important purpose in your life.
Work towards settling as much debt as you possibly can. Student loans and car and credit card repayments have got to be eliminated as soon as possible because of the high interest rates. Consider selling your car, because you won’t be using it if you’re travelling overseas. You’ll save money in the short term by not paying for fuel, maintenance and insurance on it.
Step 2: Join a digital nomad community
What better way to prepare yourself to become a digital nomad than by speaking to the people who have already taken the leap. Finding a forum or group on social media can make it easy to get advice and feedback from like-minded individuals.
Check out some of these communities:
By joining a community of digital nomads, you’ll have access to help from people who have been in the same situations as you. If you’ve just arrived in a new place, you might feel a bit lost. Profit from other people's knowledge and easily find the best Internet options, cafés and housing options.
If you’re travelling alone, being part of a digital nomad community will help fight the loneliness of being away from your friends and family for an extended period of time.
Step 3: Identify what you’ll need for work
If your job requires working online, then you’ll need access to a computer and a reliable Internet connection. You’ll also need to download Skype in order to be present in meetings
Also, consider whether or not you need specific programs or software to do your job. If you do, you’ll need a laptop that you can install all the necessary programs onto. You also might want to consider insuring your laptop – if it goes missing during your travels, it can be difficult to replace.
If your job requires a lot of equipment, you need to factor that into your trip. Make sure that everywhere you travel has the right setup for you to be able to perform your job.
Step 4: Do your research
Now that you’ve started downsizing and putting together the things that you really need, it’s time to figure out where you’re going to go. The possibilities are endless, but that can often make the decision-making process overwhelming.
You need to be honest with yourself about the things you need from a location in order to be happy. If you’re realistic about your needs, as well as your income, you’ll be able to find a great place to live, But remember, since you’re a digital nomad, you can always change your mind if you don’t like where you’ve landed (or even if you just need a change of scenery).
Always keep the cost of living in mind before travelling to a new place. Factor everything in – from rent to food – in each place you want to visit and narrow down your list of destinations.
media update top tip: Try to find a place with a low cost of living. You'll have more spending money, which means more activities and adventures after work hours. So you’ve chosen your destination (or destinations) and you know what you need to have in each location – think desk, Internet, good lighting, two-pin plugs, etc. But now you also need to consider the kind of lifestyle you want to have.
Does a quiet cottage in the mountains sound ideal to you, or are you looking for wild nightlife? Do you want to hike, surf or ski once you’re finished your work? Would you be happier staying in a remote area, or in a co-op where you can easily make new friends?
If you want the benefits of added services (think room service, laundry services or a maid) a hotel or an AirBnB might be your best option. Whatever you decide to do, remember that you have complete freedom, so you can mix it up and change your accommodation whenever you feel like it.
Step 5: Create a plan, and stick to it
Since you won’t be tied down to a traditional 9 to 5, it’s important that you set goals for yourself and put together plans on how to achieve them. To get the most out of a nomadic lifestyle, you need to be clear on what you want, where you want to visit, how long you want to stay and exactly what you need to do to make it a reality.
So get yourself organised and put together a to-do list. While the idea of a routine may repulse you (i.e. the reason you’re going nomadic…), it is essential for getting things done.
The bright side is that you
get to decide on your routine. Want to start the day off by surfing? Want to spend your lunch hour visiting a local market? Want to end the day off with a hike in the mountains? You can do it! Just make sure that you are still meeting all the requirements of your job and getting your work done.What kind of jobs do you think make it possible to work as a digital nomad? Let us know in the comments section below.
Becoming a digital nomad isn’t the only option if you want a work experience that is outside of the norm. Why not consider joining The gig economy - challenging the traditional 9 to 5.