4.8 million Americans describe themselves as digital nomads.
If so many people are living this aspirational lifestyle – does that mean it is available to you as well?
Continue reading and let’s see.
What Is a Digital Nomad?
Before we get into this article, let’s go over what a digital nomad is. Some people may have different definitions but this is what I am talking about in this article –
What Is a Digital Nomad?: A person that doesn’t need to be in one place to support themselves financially. They work online in some capacity hence the digital. They usually travel more than half of the year hence the nomad part of digital nomad.
I Am a Digital Nomad – A Brief Story of How I Got Here
By popular demand, here’s a little bit of backstory on how I became a digital nomad. I’ll also share some things that it’s done for me. 🙂
So, I thought that the American dream was going to be what I wanted. The big house, fancy cars and plenty of work work work to pay for it.
Driving the Mercedes and living in a 4 bedroom 3 bathroom house with a jacuzzi tub – yeah boi. Then I started realizing that I was super stressed. Always worrying about money.
Something was always breaking. More money going out. It was a pain.
I felt trapped in the big house and the American dream was very quickly the American nightmare 🙁
Since I did all of my work online I got to thinking about being able to travel and show my kids all kinds of places and do a bunch of cool things. As a kid my parents had me living the RV lifestyle from age 5 to 7.
Most of the time we would go from Pennsylvania to see my Mom’s side of the family, Tennessee to see my Dad’s side of the family and Florida to see friends. It was pretty awesome but I did miss my friends in each of these places – and there was NO Facebook video chatting! :-O
Deciding to Hit the Road in the RV
We were renting to own the house we were living in and the landlord decided he didn’t want to fix the gaping hole in the roof and mold and other problems it caused. We got out of our lease and got the biggest RV we could afford at that point and that was the 18 foot Wolf Pup we lived in for a year.
That winter was hella hard. My online work wasn’t panning out and if it hadn’t been for my brother and a couple of very dear friends we were in business with that helped us – yeah… it wouldn’t have been good.
We made our way across the US even though we were broke as – you know what and in that first year we visited 17 states.
After a very very very hard first year financially we ended up shutting down our boat detailing business. We wanted to full-time nomad and our business partners had bought a farm which is now totally rocking and cool!
Fast forward to where we are now and our online businesses are doing well and we aren’t eating spaghetti every night. Sheesh that was rough. Okay. Maybe not every night but there were some really tough times. lol
I wanted to give up so many times because we were far from people we knew and it was scary but we just kept going.
I wouldn’t trade any of those times and I have learned that living in the moment is a must. Being thankful in the lean years and the years of plenty.
That’s how we started our full-time RV lifestyle. I plan on writing a book and sharing more struggles and triumphs navigating the nomad lifestyle and I hope our story inspires you to go for it even before you have it all figured out. 😉
How to Become a Digital Nomad Even If You Are Clueless
We all have to start somewhere. But where? It can be overwhelming thinking about uprooting your life and having to figure out where you’re going to live, how you’re going to support yourself and how it is going to feel going places you’ve never been.
Before you strike out as a digital nomad, you need to make sure that you have a plan for generating income, where you’re going to live and more.
If you can get prepared before you go, it will make it a lot easier and the below tips can help you. Don’t let anything stop you if this is what your dream is because we are not promised tomorrow.
Here is some important information you need before you get at it.
Popular Countries to Live in as a Digital Nomad
If you want to move out of the USA, here are some of the most common countries to live in as a digital nomad.
- Costa Rica
The above places aren’t that expensive to live and they are freaking amazing. I have a lot of friends that live the digital nomad lifestyle in these places.
Some people are afraid to travel to these places because of news and different things but if you know where to go – you’ll be perfectly fine. I would recommend talking to some people that have moved from the US to these areas so you can get a true idea of where you should go.
What if I want to stay in the USA?
If you’re like me and have a ton of kids and don’t feel like taking them across the world then you might choose to stay in the USA.
We full-time RV with our family currently. It may change later – who knows!
From Nov 2017 until now (April 2019) we have been to/through 17 states in the US. We learned so many things and realized that some stereotypes are not so true.
If you want to stay in the US, you can full-time RV, if you don’t have a bunch of pets and kids then AirBNB is a good option. You may even want to do resort life.
There are lots of options. The biggest challenge is what type of work you can do when you’re on the road or in the air. Here are some of the best types of jobs/work that you can do while on the road so you can get paid and live a lifestyle that you love.
Whether you choose to build a business on the road or work a traditional job remotely – it is possible.
Common Jobs of a Digital Nomad
Here are some common jobs/businesses that digital nomads have. You can often get started with little to no experience. You might have to start out with low pay in the beginning until you get some experience – but it’s still amazing.
- Writer – You can become a writer online through various sites. The site that I started on is called UpWork. It’s a marketplace where people can find you as a writer and hire you from anywhere in the world.
- Website Designer – If you’re good at design (I am not, lol) then you can make some good cash from anywhere by helping people get their sites to how they want them to look.
- Web Developer – A web developer helps the backend of sites, apps, etc. Oftentimes web developer and web designers work hand in hand.
- Coach – Did you do something or achieve something in your life that other people want to do? You can become a coach and coach people from anywhere in the world.
- Course Creator – Online learning is booming. There are many sites that offer hundreds of hours of learning. While this is true, if people have a relationship with YOU then they often want to buy a course and learn from you. Create away. Use sites like Kajabi and Teachable to help you deliver your work. And use tools like GetResponse to keep them coming back.
- Lifestyle / Travel Blogger – If you’re going to be traveling around, you might as well share it with the world, right? My family and I are slow travelers. We usually only move every 2-3 weeks. If we really like an area then we might stay even longer – because we can! Sharing this experience with others is inspirational and really fun.
Getting a Remote Job
If you want to get a remote job – you just need to look for it. While I do like to be my own boss and work 1099, you can find jobs that you can work remotely if you want something more stable. Use the search bar below to start your search. Just make sure you type remote in the “where” section if you go to the site to search.
You can also use other filters like how much money you want to make per year and what type of work you’re interested in. 🙂
Hacks for Working as a Digital Nomad
If you're working in other countries, their laws may be different. In some places you aren't able to access the entire internet. How crazy is that?
If you come up against this when you're traveling - don't freak out.
You can use something called a VPN to get around those pesky rules.
If you're looking for a dedicated workspace, you can go to coffee shops to hang out and do your work. There are also a lot of cool coworking spaces available if you want to go check them out.
Are you a digital nomad? Do you have some tips you want to share? I'd love to hear them.