Some time ago, traveling around the world while working online and earning money only seemed like a dream. In today’s world, that dream isn’t so unlikely anymore. In fact, remote work opportunities increased over the years, and becoming a digital nomad is easier than you think.
This is why the question of how do I become a digital nomad is at the top of many people’s lists. If the idea of becoming a digital nomad and changing your lifestyle keeps roaming your mind, we are here to answer your questions.
Becoming a Digital nomad
How to become a digital nomad is probably one of the most common questions asked. Often people assume it’s only about making quick money online and traveling. We can guarantee you that the digital nomad lifestyle is so much more than that. For starters, we like to call it a global lifestyle lived by people from all walks of life.
Within this lifestyle, two things are a given; you typically earn money via remote work or online. Secondly, you enjoy living outside your own home country and are into exploring different ways on how to shape your own life. Instead of following a set of rules, it’s about exploring how you want to live your life according to your desires – not only in the near future but also in the long term.
Ask yourself some important questions:
What are your desires?
What areas of my current life aren’t making me happy?
What people in my environment are holding me back?
What beliefs do I disagree with?
Can I do my job online?
If not, how can I make money online?
What are my skills?
Three types of Digital Nomads
Although all jobs of Digital nomads are done online, these jobs can diversify a lot. So let’s divide it into the three existing types that a Digital Nomad can be:
The entrepreneurs with their own online business
The remote workers
The location-independent freelancers
Think outside the box! We see in the digital nomad community that talents are used across several projects. Many nomads combine for example having a remote job and turning in a side hustle into a successful business.
A Digital Nomad Entrepreneur can be described as someone who has created their own (digital) business. You provide diverse types of products and services to companies or clients employing digital communication tools. The process of becoming financially free with your own business at first can be challenging. It takes a lot of hard work and you might end up working more hours than on a regular job. To experience less financial stress lot of entrepreneurs find other ways to earn some extra income to be able to support themselves until they reach their goals.
Some examples of entrepreneurs can be: Marketing Agency, Selling information and knowledge like courses, E-Commerce Owner
As home offices become more common in 2020 and 2021, so does remote work. A Remote Worker is someone that is hired by a company but can either work from home or can choose their own workplace. This place can be a co-working space, a coffee shop, or just at home. However, you probably still have online meetings and a fixed amount of hours a week to cover. You can indeed be the Nomads with the least flexible schedule, but at the same time, you are provided with a steady and fixed salary in most cases.
A freelancer is referred to as the nomads that work online for one, or multiple clients. As a nomad freelancer, you conduct work for other businesses but since you’re not employed it comes with a lot of freedom. Typically, you can work from any part of the world, as long as you meet your deadlines and have a steady WiFi connection.
The salary of freelancers varies. This is why it can be very unpredictable and a strong reason not to choose this path.
While it brings a lot of freedom, it can be super stressful at times as well. Finding clients and making sure that you have your preferred income each month isn’t always easy to maintain. This can be a huge downside and the reason why many freelancers choose a remote job or focus on finding long-term clients instead.
Freelancer jobs are mostly in fields like social media, creative content, or web design. Some examples: content writer, graphic designer, web designer, copywriter, etc.
What type of Digital Nomad do you want to be?
Believe it or not, the global pandemic has increased remote job opportunities. Many companies have realized, that working from home can be an awesome alternative, and as efficient as working from the office. Therefore numerous positions that were office jobs have transformed into the remote. Also, as businesses downsize and hire remote workers, companies can reduce costs like office spaces. The possibility to earn a living, while traveling and visiting new places is more plausible than you think!
But, before you quit your job and become the next Digital Nomad, let’s figure out which jobs you can do according to your skills to earn money. Download our free guide below to find out more.
04: How to Combine Entrepreneurship and Travel With Kristina
The truth about entrepreneurship while being a Digital Nomad isn’t always as sexy. Our guest Kristina slowly became a digital nomad while living abroad. It all started with an internship in China 6 years ago. She shares what it takes to build a successful business while traveling the world. Learn how to prioritize and find a balance between work and travel – and stay true to your personal values.
“It took 2 years of overworking. It took 2 years to get out there traveling again. So, it’s not like I’m sitting at the beach, drinking coconuts and money is raining over me..”
How she started her digital nomad journey
Not all Digital Nomads start this lifestyle straight from an Instagram ad. Kristina and her boyfriend left Austria in 2015 to do an internship in China. She studied Business and her boyfriend studies German Literature. After just a couple of years working abroad, they discovered that there was a huge market for German writers. In 2017 they started a ghostwriting agency, 100% remote. Creating a business while traveling works for some people. However, their travel speed changed while they were in nomad capital Bali. Being surrounded by nomadic entrepreneurs, joining talks and events they decided to stop traveling for some time and work on their business. Like Kristina calls it on our podcast, it was time to professionalize their company. This included 60+ hours of long weeks and hard work! Since then they have managed to grow their company 10 times and continued traveling the world.
Slow Travel vs Fast Travel
As a Digital Nomad, there are periods where you travel non-stop hopping from one country to another. This is also known as ‘fast travel’ while others prefer to stay a couple of weeks or months before switching destination which we call ‘slow travel’. Kristina finds herself now in what she interprets as ‘medium travel’, changing place every 1-3 months.
Interesting is that this is very different from other periods of her life. As her Digital Nomad life began so did her fast traveling. This was a lot of fun but she also mentions that it can cost money, time to organize the trip and significantly less focus on her business. So when she started her business, in order to make it work, the fast traveling wasn’t gonna grow her company. Listen to the the podcast episode to find out more about the stages that she found herself during the years of becoming an entrepreneur.
Finding the right balance by prioritizing
Every location and travel situation has it’s own special experience. Kristina’s advice to nomadic entrepreneurs who’re just starting out is the importance of accepting the moment that you are in. In other words, you can’t have everything all the time and this is where that state of accepting is so important.
She shares that you have to learn how to prioritize and find the balance between your travels and your professional goals. Another great tip is to keep looking at the bigger picture when making decisions or changes. Ask yourself, is this way sustainable?
Stay close to your own values
Kristina is a successful entrepreneur and Digital Nomad and her best advice is stay true to your personal values. As she mentioned, she studied Business and she loves traveling. That doesn’t mean though that she is wants to open a hostel in Thailand. That is simply not something close to her values. Exploring new areas of business is important for her as well. Kristina shares how she tried the path of coaching others into becoming a digital nomad. It wasn’t for her and accepted that situation. Finally, she emphasises to work on on finding your strengths, keep working on them and staying true to your values.
Quick take aways of this episode
You don’t have to change who you are to find your path, do something you like, and try to make it into a business.
Traveling is great but if you want to do this for the long run you have to make it work and sustainable.
Find out what your strengths are and keep developing them.
Find the balance between your travels and professional goals.
In this episode, digital nomad Kristina from Austria is talking about what she learned building a business while traveling the world. She is a successful entrepreneur that runs multiple companies. She has been traveling for over 6 years with her fiancé and they founded their business together. Her journey abroad all started with an internship in China. Since then they have been traveling non-stop.
Deciding to become a Digital Nomad is the first step of your new life, but if this is a long-term lifestyle, you need to create a financial plan
Before starting your digital nomad journey, many questions about money and how to manage your finances probably cross your mind. For example, how much money do I need at the start and how long will it last? You also might wonder what expenses you need to keep an eye out for. Having questions is normal because this lifestyle can be pretty overwhelming at the start. It’s a common topic in the digital nomad community. In this article, we give you helpful tips about how to manage finances for digital nomads.
Create a financial plan to become a Digital Nomad
Start saving money ahead of time
Once you jumpstart your digital nomad journey you will find out there is a lot to pay for. So you must have enough cash to sustain yourself during the first stage. We advise you to start this journey with some savings, especially if you don’t have a stable income stream yet. How much you will need depends on your travel itinerary. So best practice is to include the estimated local cost of living in your budget. Do your research, look for more economical-friendly places to kickstart your journey if you are on a tight budget.
Track your money?
Tracking your expenses sounds easy but in reality, this might be more challenging. Why? Because you easily forget about it when it’s a completely new habit for you. Before you know it, days or weeks have passed without tracking. The only way to successfully track your money is to commit to it and make it part of your daily habit. After a week you can see how you spend your money and where you want to make adjustments. Perhaps you are spending 3$ on coffee 5 days a week? You end up consuming 780$ on coffee a year!
You can use a spreadsheet or another easy way is to use an app. Your bank might even have an option to just scan your receipt, categorize it and create a monthly report. Here are some apps we hear other nomads used to track their expenses.
You Need a Budget (YNAB)
Cut back on your unnecessary expenses
5 coffees a week equals an international flight. You see, cutting down on those small expenses during the week can save you a lot of money. You still need to enjoy the little things in life but you can try what you really need and what is less important to you.
If a coffee a day nurtures your happiness or productivity you can perhaps switch to making your coffee at home and only treat yourself once a week. Our golden tip is this: When you consume things just because you are used to it but you are conscious about it, try cutting it out for 30 days to see if you really need it. Take this advice as an exercise to challenge yourself.
Make a list of what you can spend and how you want to spend it
Having a budget is one thing and the next level is to cut up your budget like a pie. Not knowing how much you can spend can be tricky, especially if you never manage your money. It’s easy to overspend on unnecessary things or run out of savings. So, to make sure this doesn’t occur come up with a budget and stick to it.
First, you need to figure out how much you earn, what amount you want to save, and then set your budget so you can start budgeting.
We also recommend thinking about future and unexpected expenses. We made a list of the most common costs while traveling.
Eating and accommodation
Mobile phone, sim card
Transport (including daily transportation and flights)
Funds for your technology equipment (phone, laptop, camera, charger…)
Figuring out the exact number of all costs is highly unlikely, but this is a good start. Your living costs will always vary depending on your location and your standard of living. You just need to know what you need, start tracking habits and manage your money.
Tips to save money as a Digital Nomad
Learning how to manage your money and create a budget plan is crucial. In fact, this is part of being an adult. We listen down a couple of extra digital nomad hacks that help you save up money while traveling.
Eat like a local – Touristy restaurants are great for Instagram content but will make you spend more. Eating where locals go will not only save you money but you will also experience the authentic taste of the traditional dishes.
When you have access to a kitchen make your own food – Cooking can take a lot of willpower and imagination, but it’s much cheaper than eating out. Take advantage and save some extra money there.
Don’t explore like a tourist – Tourist attractions, guided tours, and all those tourist activities tend to be expensive. Do some research, walk around and explore, take advantage of free tours, free museum schedules, and open attractions.
Money apps that will make your life easier as a Digital Nomad
XE App: real-time currency exchange
Trabee Pocket: it helps you control the money that is coming in and out.
Splittr: When traveling with a group of people it allows you to split costs easily.
Start traveling smart and save money!
When you create a financial plan to manage your money it can be exhausting and sometimes nerve-wracking at the beginning. Start with the steps we just shared. The most important thing is that you stick to it.
Find the balance of what you want and the plan around how to achieve it financially, prioritize and make an effort. Starting a new life and adventure is never easy but take it step-by-step!
For more tips on the Digital Nomad lifestyle follow us on Instagram to read more behind-the-scenes nomad stories.
03: How to Date as a Digital Nomad with Jordan Caroll
Dating while being a Digital Nomad includes breaking hearts, confused emotions, a lot of communication, honesty, and obviously Google Translator; at least for our guest Jordan. He has been nomadding since 2018 and has joined us on our podcast to share some of his most challenging dating stories since becoming a Digital Nomad. From tough breakups to slicing his hand on the first date and to not being able to speak the same language.
“When you are going to be dating and traveling around, just be as clear as you possibly can about your intentions. Sometimes, those things change over time, and that’s OK as long as you communicate it.”
What is this podcast about
Jordan started working remotely in 2013, but it wasn’t until 2018 that he decided to start traveling. In the last couple of years, he has dated internationally, and he is sharing some of his experiences on this week’s podcast episode. Going through ups and downs has taught him as he mentions to accept it, laugh at it, take the lessons and move on. This episode really covers unfiltered and funny stories that many digital nomads can relate to, including our host Nienke Nina.
Dating in different languages
Taking the decision to start a serious relationship
Trying local cuisine gone wrong!
Dating in different languages
Jordan has found a better way to learn a new language rather than using Duolingo. While traveling in Columbia, he went on Tinder to find women to date while learning Spanish. For Jordan, this was a great way to improve his Spanish skills but getting to know someone like this can be challenging too. This is how Google Translate became essential in all his dates.
Starting a serious relationship
Jordan had many dates and his Spanish definitely improved. During one of his travels, he met someone and ended up spending 9 out of 10 days with her. His next trip was to Europe followed by a cruise ship with Nomad Cruise from Europe to Brazil. Jordan shares that they stayed in touch but it came with some real challenges like being in different time zones and bad internet connections during his cruise. He really liked her and decided to fly her to his home so they could spend some time together. This included meeting the parents right away.
Traveling to rural Mexico can be fun as we all know, but you got to be careful with the local cuisine! Jordan shares his experience where he tried some local foods. He got sick but the real consequences only came up one year later! From what he thought was just stomach pain, into thinking he had an “STD”, to finally realizing he ended up with a bacteria from that food he tried a year before.
Quick take aways of this episode
Quick take aways of this episode
Shitty situations can always happen – you just have to be able to accept it, learn from it and move on.
Know that dating while you travel is very challenging. Conflicting emotions can always happen
You should always be transparent and honest with the people you meet along the way. Be clear about the length of your stay and your intentions.
Emotions are tough and you cannot control feeling emotion. You can control what you do after you feel the emotion.
Jordan has been working remotely for 9 years, but in 2018 decided that he wanted to travel and become a full Digital Nomad. Since then he has lived in over 15 countries and 5 continents. During this time he has been a member of the Forbes Coaches Council and he is now best known for The Remote Job Coach. He creates content, courses and coaching programs to help people land remote jobs.
Currently, he is working on his book “Remote for life”, a guide on how to find a flexible job. It will be released around mid 2022.
02: From a Stolen Passport to Almost Being Deported. Horror Nomad Stories with Saurav
Being a Digital Nomad has many perks and we can see a lot of them on the internet. The truth is that there is a lot of not so sexy stuff about nomading. Saurav joined us on the podcast to share some of his nightmare nomad stories from 11 years of traveling the world. From being almost deported, to having his passport & belongings stolen, to going off the radar for more than 24 hrs in Singapore!
“No matter how much you plan, traveling is so unpredictable. 6 out of the 7 days, it will go as planned, but the 7th day will be a nightmare. Things just go off the tracks.”
An episode about Digital Nomads Nightmares
Saurav “ The Indian Digital Nomad” started his Digital Nomad lifestyle 11 years ago. During his trips he has mostly travelled alone but sometimes his wife, father or brother tag along. As we go in life, we live and learn, and that’s exactly what Saurav shares with us in this episode. He has experienced many travelers’ nightmares and he says that it’s just the reality of being a Digital Nomad. There are incredible advantages of being a nomad, but there are also some truths that are not commonly shared under the hashtag “Digital Nomad lifestyle”. In this episode we cover some of Saurav nightmare stories:
Passport & belongings stolen on his first destination of his Digital Nomad life
Being almost deported & spending 24 hrs off the radar
Visa problems while traveling
Booking flights with the wrong dates
Passport & belongings stolen on his first destination
Being robbed by itself it’s a torment, but being robbed on your first destination of your Digital Nomad lifestyle (or any trip) is a whole other ball game. Saurav tells us his experience with his belongings and passport being stolen, some useful ideas on what you can do when this happens to you, and how to get a new passport the next day.
Being deported and spending 24 hours of the radar
Each country has their laws laid out for foreigners and travelers. If you don’t follow these rules, you can end up being deported. Asian countries can be very strict, especially a place like Singapore. Saurav’s brother lives in Singapore and while he was staying with him, he would go on trips to the Philippines or Bali. One day he found himself in a triangle of travel where he was not playing by the rules, and he wasn’t even aware of it!! When he tried to re-enter Singapore he got flagged and was detained for 24 hours at the airport.
Visa problems for digital nomads
Everyone knows, getting the right visa can be a true nightmare, especially when you want to stay longer than the tourist visas allow. This can vary a lot depending on your nationality, the country that you are travelling from and heading to. Saurav learned the hard way that you always need to double check how you need to apply and what the rules are before you plan your entire itinerary. Saurav had to learn the hard way.
Booking wrong flights
Nienke Nina asked for one more quick last digital nomad nightmare and tips for digital nomads between the laughs he said “never book a flight sleepy”. Going to the airport at 5 am and for the flight and having someone tell you that your flight is not for another year… must be surreal. Something similar happened to Nienke Nina too, she booked the flight the other way around and as digital nomads you learn the hard way. Now it’s just a funny story!
Quick take aways of this episode
Even if you have everything planned out, sometimes things WILL go wrong. There is nothing you can do about it… so just get ready for the ride!
Try to always have some ground support. This could be a family member, a friend or a friend of a friend. This person can help you sorting things out for you in stressful times.
If your passport is ever stolen 2 tips:
Look in the nervy garbage bins (they tend to throw it away as soon as possible)
Contact your Embassy. They can issue you a new passport in 24 hrs
Wherever you travel to, always be aware and conscious of the local laws. This might sound boring but it really sucks if you are getting into trouble without even knowing it! And keep in mind – local punishments are different from those in your home country.
Don’t book your flights when you’re sleepy!
In our second episode, we interviewed Saurav Arya aka “The Indian Digital Nomad”. He has been nomading for more than 11 years and plans to continue for many more years. He started his nomad journey by working remotely while doing trips. Now Saurav is a digital nomad entrepreneur and he has several internet businesses. He also runs a digital nomad community called “workstays”, he and his team help people to shift from their 9 to 5 life to a Digital Nomad Lifestyle. His mission is to visit every country in the world, so far 91 and 106 more to go!