Posted on April 5, 2017
This article was inspired by many conversations that I had with people around the world, who want to become digital nomads, aka who want to work from anywhere, aka who want to be location independent, aka who want to be free (there are so many catch lines these days, hm?)
The more I talk with people about the digital nomad lifestyle, the more I realize that many have a very idealistic or naïve vision on this way of life.
One side of the coin is to have a job/business that allows you to work from anywhere and another side is your character and a skill set. In my opinion, the good thing about being a digital nomad is that you can explore a new country, understand the culture and participate in the local community (because that’s why we explore), you can practice your favorite activity (because that’s what gives us energy) and at the same time you can work form anywhere (because you need to make money to support this lifestyle).
There are some important lessons that I learned in the past years of traveling and freelancing. Let me share them with you and I would love to hear your opinions or questions in the comment section below or you can write me: firstname.lastname@example.org
What is freedom to you?
To me freedom means that I can be with people who I love, in a place I love and do what I love. It’s also having enough money to pay my adventures and leisure activities, work/online tools, educate myself, invest and pay all flight tickets and insurance.
As for a digital nomad, part of my freedom is having great internet connection as well as being able to disconnect and be offline for the time I need to unplug. Usually when I unplug and surf, I get the best and most creative ideas as well as I have the most fun.
How does the digital nomad lifestyle look like?
To me, digital nomads are people who work remotely, explore the world by traveling and they stay in different locations for a shorter or longer time.
The career options are pretty broad these days, so I recommend to find out what you like to do and have good skills and then choose a career that gives you the opportunity to work from anywhere.
Biggest myths about digital nomad lifestyle.
It takes a lot of work to be able to have a successful business. Especially in the beginning and it takes a lot more than 4 hours a week. And even when you have, e.g. passive income or a great virtual assistent, you have to keep up with the new industry trends and update your business model or communication strategies. Maybe there will be a point of my life when I will reach the state of super productivity and I will manage a 4-work week. However, I’m not sure if I want to. I like my work and I don’t know what else I would be doing haha. Surfing? 🙂
Working from a beach. Seriously?
Working from – especially – the beach can be very distracting. Sun, wind, and sand can ruin your day and your computer (For girls: Being surrounded by good-looking surfers can distract you more than you think). I’m talking from my own experience, because I spent lot of time in surf towns.
To sum it up I believe that if you want to step into the digital nomad lifestyle, you should consider these points
1. Social, tech and entrepreneurial skills: Tech savvy, confident social media user, community minded, community oriented, entrepreneurial and adventurous. It’s a great asset if you are good at networking in the online community groups (digital nomad, travel) or your career groups. Knowledge of foreign languages is a must. At least English and any other language
2. Experienced traveller: It takes time to get used to long-term traveling or living abroad, so it could distract you and even make you sad or lonely. Don’t underestimate this state of your mind. I would recommended that if you haven’t traveled a lot prior to your digital nomad experience, travel first and explore the world and yourself. You don’t have to build a start-up in the first year of your travels ☺
3. Work hard and be patient: Good things don’t come easily. Being able to live anywhere and work from there sounds amazing. However, everything takes time and the success doesn’t come overnight.
4. Strong online platform: Build something where your clients or customers can get the sense of your authentic voice, work experience and skills. There is a chance that you will never meet your clients. It helps to build authenticity to feel human. It can be a travel/lifestyle blog, or it can be your portfolio or LinkedIn Profile.
5. Reliable “office” on the go: Choose the best equipment for your work and the best online tools to be productive and to work with people online.
6. For starting freelancers – Work/financial stability: Have at least several long-term clients or projects that you can work on and earn money. Have some emergency budget in case you miss a flight or all your stuff gets stolen (you travel with your office, remember?).
7. For entreprenuers – Habits of running your business from anywhere: It’s important to run your business from anywhere so you should have a system in your workflow and a great communication with your team, clients and contractors.
8. Choose the right destination: What is your motivation for spending time and getting to know that particular country? Is it because of the good value and a great internet connection? Or because you want to get involved in some community activities? Or because you want to learn some new sport? It’s hard to be far away from home and you can get lonely. I believe that the choice of the destination and the right culture is very important.
9. Surround yourself by the right people: There is nothing better than being surrounded by people who understand you and who can support you personally and professionally. It’s great to give back, so you can do the same.
10. Have a vision: Set exact entrepreneurial goals and measure them. When you know that you can make enough money to survive, enjoy that and don’t blame your self for not being everywhere online. Perhaps you are in the “surfing” mode right now and that’s just fine.
Money – freedom comes with money, so learn to budget everything accordingly and have a financial or investment plan (I have to work on that!)
+1 Don’t forget to have balance in your WORK – TRAVEL – ACTIVITY (and LOVE) LIFE ☺
Finally, I would like to say that I am very happy that I can experience this way of life right now and I wish this lifestyle to everyone who is interested. YOU CAN DO IT! I’m not sure if I will stick to this lifestyle forever, but joining the digital nomad community made me more creative, think more like an entrepreneur, learn new tech skills and improve my social/networking skills. And I learned to surf (yes!).
I wish you success in the journey towards digital nomading and hopefully towards your personal freedom.
Work hard. Be nice. Have fun.
Good luck and safe travels.
About the Author
Thanks for reading this article 🙂 My name is Silvia and I’m form Slovakia. I’m passionate about entrepreneurship, marketing, traveling, surfing, photography and I’m in the search of the best ways how to combine it all. Over the past 3 years I changed my lifestyle completely. From an employee in a larger company I started freelancing and working online to be location independent. What drives me is the idea that if I want to, I can book a ticket and go surfing anywhere in the world and stay as long as I want. Also, I gathered lot of content and ideas inspired by beautiful people, places and products. I blog and organize presentations about these topics. Safe travels!