The Digital Nomad Lifestyle
What is a digital nomad? It’s someone who is location-independent, and can work from anywhere with a reliable internet connection. Many digital nomads travel internationally, staying weeks or months in each place. Some others take their work with them on shorter trips, or domestic trips. Chart your own path and choose the itinerary and schedule that best suit you!
Is this lifestyle right for you?
To determine whether this lifestyle is right for you, take an inventory on yourself. If you do, not only will you be determining if this way of life is right for you, you will be able to determine what TYPE of digital nomad is right for you. There are many different ways to embark on this journey!
It may be right for you if:
- You have a good work ethic
- You’re open minded
- You’re open to risk
- You’re adaptable
- You have a tolerance for being alone
- You can succeed without structure
It may not be right for you if:
- You have an aversion to hard work
- You’re not open minded
- You have an aversion to risk
- You’re rigid or don’t like change
- You crave a strong connection to family and friends
- You need a structured environment to succeed
Digital nomad planning pre-trip
Plan for success! To succeed as a digital nomad, there are several considerations you need to address before taking the leap. Sure – you could just “wing it,” and some do. But to maximize the chance that you will be a happy, successful, well-adjusted digital nomad, you should consider the checklist I have outlined below!
- You need access to a remote, sustainable income. That income could take many forms, which I will cover later in this post. And multiple income streams will give you even more financial security.
- And 3-6 months’ cost of living in savings, OR a pre-paid return ticket, pre-paid accommodations, AND a place to return to. Things happen. It’s a fact of life. So be prepared. Three months’ worth of living expenses can help you ride things out if work is slow or clients are slow paying you. And if your return ticket and accommodations are pre-paid, the panic won’t set in if, for whatever reason, you run out of money. A “home base” to return to could be a home you own or rent, or family you can rely on. This will offer you a secure way out if you need to bail on your trip, or if you decide the lifestyle is not for you.
- If you’re in a relationship your partner should be on-board with your plan. Ideally that would mean accompanying you. But it could also mean they are willing to maintain a long-distance relationship. If you opt to enter into a long-distance relationship, be prepared to face major challenges. While apps like Skype can keep people connected, with physical contact limited you lose a lot of the intimacy that relationships thrive on. Of course, if you’re single, you’re good to go!
- Do you have kids? It may not be impossible to do this with kids in tow, but I wouldn’t advise it. Children have more difficulty adjusting to unfamiliar surroundings, and pulling them out of schools and away from their friends and family can be extremely hard on them. Absolutely the best case scenario here is: no kids, or your kids are over eighteen.
- You also need a plan for any pets you may have. Whether or not it’s impossible to bring your pet with you depends on where you’re going and that country’s rules. Make sure you do your research if you want to do this. Another option is to hire a pet-sitter, or leave them with willing friends or family. There’s also some businesses popping up where people exchange use of their home to travelers in exchange for watching their pet. Of course, if you have no pets, there’s no problem!
- Personality is important. Take an inventory of your feelings about adapting to foreign cultures. For example, it’s a lot cheaper to get your food at locals’ establishments abroad than foreign or “Western” (assuming you’re not in the West) restaurants. And getting around and conducting your daily routine is definitely easier if you’re willing to pick up some of the language. There’s also manners and routines in the culture to consider. Your success depends on being adaptable!
- Consider your health needs. Your first consideration will be whether you need any vaccines before traveling, depending on where in the world you’re going. The second consideration will be your health insurance strategy. This may mean checking to see what any plan you currently have covers abroad. Or thinking about whether you want to obtain health insurance for travel if you don’t currently have a plan. And if you decide to purchase coverage, you’ll want to shop around for the combination of coverage and price that best meet your needs. Don’t forget to read the fine print!
Pros of being a digital nomad
There are many amazing experiences to be had as a digital nomad that will be cherished for a lifetime. And who wouldn’t want to make friends world-wide? Check out some of my pros:
- Location freedom
- Lower cost of living (depending on where you go)
- Cultural worldliness
- Sense of adventure
- Scheduling freedom (to an extent – consider your clients/employer and the time zone!)
Cons of being a digital nomad
There’s also some pitfalls and myths about being a digital nomad that should not be overlooked. Consider the cons:
- Away from familiar social circle for long periods of time
- Border and immigration hassles
- Hard work and hustle
- Possible infrastructure issues (such as potentially slow internet)
- Unfamiliar culture and language (although, may be a plus!)
- Financial risk (unless you’re living on some kind of guaranteed income or savings)
You’ll need to do your research on immigration requirements. Different countries have vastly different requirements for foreign nationals on extended stays. What the requirements are in a place should factor into your decision whether to go there. For some countries, citizens of the United States, Canada, and Britain can stay for a very long time with no visa. The countries of Georgia and Barbados, for example, allow stays for up to a whole year with no visa. In the case of other countries, you do need to leave after a smaller length of time. Often you can stay without interruption between one and six months. But some countries allow you to return after a “visa run.” This is when you leave the country overnight and come back, re-setting the length of time you’re allowed to stay. Then there’s other countries where you’re allowed a fixed amount of time per year, whether you leave and come back or not. You’ll want to have a clear grasp of these regulations for wherever you’re going. Otherwise you may be leaving in the worst way possible – being kicked out!
Digital nomad sources of remote income
Digital nomads have many options when it comes to ways to earn an income remotely. I’ll go through an abbreviated list here!
- A lifetime of hard work may earn you retirement. Whether you’re living on a pension, government retirement program, or savings, this is clearly the best option. You’ll have the most time to enjoy your new destination, and your finances will be predictable and stable.
- Remote work for a land-based employer. These jobs are tougher to score, but becoming more mainstream. I had success proving myself to an employer in-person at headquarters for a year before requesting the option to work remotely. If you take this route you can prove to your employer you’re indispensable, that you can work without supervision, and that you can be trusted.
- Freelancing can be done in a variety of fields. Think about what marketable skills you have, and contract them out to different clients. This is a great opportunity for people from high-demand fields. Some of these include information technology professionals, accountants, language teachers, recruiters, and virtual assistants. You could contract your services out on a platform like Upwork or Fiverr, or market yourself on your own website.
- Got a LOT of patience? Blogging or social media influencing may work for you. I can tell you from first hand experience this is a long, tough road. It’s advisable this not be your sole income until you’re well-established. Get grounded before hitting the road. Otherwise, you may find it takes a lot longer to curate a following, and make money from it, than you thought! This is best utilized as a backup stream of income.
- Passive income is ideal for nomads. Passive income, like retirement, can give you a lot more time to explore and soak in the sights and sounds of your new home! Passive income can be achieved through investment in the stock and commodities market. Or by investing in real estate – either by buying and flipping properties, renting them out to tenants, or renting them out through agencies like Airbnb.
- You could start an online business. This can be done through selling products on a Woo Commerce storefront, through drop shipping, selling products on a site like Etsy, or offering your services through an online business presence. Many of the skills that are good for freelancing are also good for opening an online business. You could also buy an established, existing business to take the helm and run.
- Contractor or gig work may be an option… Companies like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Grubhub, and Skip the Dishes are jobs you can take with you, but often only domestically unless you have a work permit for the foreign country you’re headed to. Just like regular employees, contractors also need to be eligible to work in a country to get hired. Be advised, with some of these companies, you need to contact them to switch your home base, and there may be a waiting period. There’s also gig jobs on sites like Craigslist, or through people you meet on the road. Since these jobs are more informal, you may not need to provide documentation that you’re eligible to work. But be aware that if you are outside your home country it’s likely a violation of the law to engage in this type of work, since you’re taking a potential job away from a citizen or resident with a work permit…
More of the digital nomad lifestyle
Thank you for reading! I’ll have more digital nomad content coming soon! Please leave a comment if you’re a digital nomad, or considering becoming a digital nomad! I’d like to hear about your experiences and why you decided to pursue this way of life! And check out my YouTube video on becoming a digital nomad here!
Want to hit the road right now… virtually…? Check out my blog post on Kusadasi, Turkey! https://ultimatetraveladventures.blog/2020/07/28/kusadasi-turkey-tour/
And you can view more video tours on the Ultimate Travel Adventures YouTube channel at!