Living the life of a digital nomad is not easy. You may think these people hop around from one exotic local to the next making loads of cash, without a care in the world. To this I say you are seriously mistaken. Nomading takes a lot of work. Everything from getting a new paid gig, determining what city or country to travel to, health insurance, lodging and more are items you need to get in order. There’s no time to be lazy, you need to be proactive!
If you are really thinking about shaking things up or just finding a way to escape President Trump, here are few things to ponder before making the move to become a digital nomad.
Do You Have a Job?
Have you figured out what you will do to make money once you travel? If the answer isn’t rich parents, you need to seriously sit down and have an honest chat with yourself about how you can profit while on the road. Crystal Veness spent 6 months prepping for her first leg of her trip to Bali. She needed to build up her client roster to get things moving in the right direction. Cory Varga of You Could Travel also spent about 6 months developing her digital agency with her husband before she felt they had enough income to start traveling.
If you’re thinking “Wait, I don’t work in communications. How do I get paid?” There are other options. Chris Backe of One Weird Globe started his nomading life as an expat teaching english for cash and developed a side business through his travel blogging hobby.
Whatever is your way making of money, make sure you follow through and do what you need for the cash (if you’re freelancing, I recommend using AndCo to simplify the invoice process because nomading is hard enough).
Where Are You Going To Travel?
Have you thought about where you want to travel and the laws for those places. If you are staying in Europe on a tourist visa from the US, you are likely to have only 90 days within the country and then there’s also the funny clause about the Schengen Zone (worth clicking this).
If you know you’re only going to start with a low cash flow, it may be beneficial to start in a place where the conversion rate is in your favor or where you have lodging connections. Bianca Rappaport of HousesitHustle, said she made sure to stay in places where her dollar or euro could go a long way. She also let her housesitting gigs somewhat dictate where she would head next. Housesitting let her keep costs low and gave her more than enough to explore and thrive while traveling with her husband.
If you want to be surprised and have your locations choose you, you can sign up for GlobeKick, a platform that organizes where you go, accommodations, workspace, networking trips and more for a small fee. There, you have a taste of the nomad life and none of the initial nomad worries.
Thought About Your Community?
There will be times when you feel alone. How do you combat this? Social media of course. Lola Mendez of Miss Filatelista says community is important. You can often find people to relate to or who can support if you are going through a rough patch while traveling. Amanda Walkins also says that these people know what to say and can keep you motivated when you may find yourself questioning what the heck you’re doing (because it happens).
Olga Maria of Dreams in Heels started Latinas Who Travel as one way women of color can find a community that supports their passion for travel. It also provides great access to people to meetup with on your journey.
Has Anyone Told You You’re Great At Organization?
Matt Prior of TheLonelyTravellerMatt says that you need to be able to plan things yourself and look into the future without being prompted. When you are a nomad, you control your schedule, breaks, holidays, naps, workflow, EVREYTHING! Ashley Nelson of TenthonHudson also says you need to fight for what you want and push yourself. No one will tell you to turn in a report to a client, it’s up to you to figure out when and how to do it. If you don’t, the consequences will fall on you.
Are You Flexible?
I spoke with at least a dozen nomads and all of them unanimously agreed, you need to be flexible to make this life transition. Can anyone try to be a nomad? Yes. But if you aren’t open to going with the flow or things not following “your plan” to the letter, you may spiral into a panic. Part of being a digital nomad means instability. And as Nick Romano of GetMeToEurope puts it, “you have to remember that your lifestyle at home might be different from when you’re traveling.” So just embrace it!
Can You Handle Unusual Workplaces?
Now I’m not talking the beach because all nomads I spoke with thought bringing your laptop to the beach was a horrible idea (just think, sand in your keyboard, horrible glare, and no one wants to actually work on a beach). Kristy Elena of Rogue Foxx says that working in an office is not standard when nomading. She often worked in various spaces including a bar (as a bartender) and from coffee shops pursuing her freelance work.
Working from anywhere is a perk of this lifestyle so if you can’t handle it or make do with a co-working space, I rethink the nomad way of life.