Both an occupation and a lifestyle, becoming a digital nomad is a great way to work more adventurously from nearly anywhere and everywhere. If your work space has moved to your living space, it may feel like a bit of an inopportune time to be bitten by the travel bug. Taking your job on the go, however, has never been easier. And by on the go, we really mean on the go. Whether that’s to the coffee shop down the street or on an island across the world, working as a digital nomad has never been more accessible or more possible.
According to everyone’s most reliable source, Wikipedia, a digital nomad is someone who works in “telecommunications technologies to earn a living. Such workers often work remotely from foreign countries, coffee shops, public libraries, co-working spaces, or recreational vehicles.” More succinctly, digital nomads are individuals who work online, remotely, and from almost anywhere. The nomadic lifestyle itself emphasizes constant travel or changing locations. As nomads typically don’t subscribe to the practice of putting down roots in a home, they similarly choose jobs that don’t require entry into a physical office or business space. While the idea may appear to be an intimidating, even unstable one, it’s actually much easier to become a digital nomad that you might think — all you need is a laptop and a stable internet connection.
Living the nomadic lifestyle may seem like it’s all fun and games but, like most things, it requires an income to be sustainable. The two main occupational options for entering the nomadic working world appear to be the following:
The nomadic lifestyle focuses on placing less emphasis on location and more emphasis on mobility. Instead of making a downpayment on a house, a digital nomad may instead choose to rent on a month-to-month basis or exploring Airbnbs and hostels. Traveling, while an amazing perk to working as a digital nomad, isn’t necessarily required to be a digital nomad. Opting for a remote lifestyle from home creates more time to explore your interests and develop your passions. While it’s been proven that working from home has been more productive for many former office regulars, many have left their previous occupations for more entrepreneurial pursuits once they experienced the benefits and conveniences of combining the two spaces.
If you’ve decided to take the more entrepreneurial route, you may be in need of some potential career inspo. The easiest jobs to take on the go are ones that allow you to not only make your own hours, but don’t require a new skillset to take on. Make a list of your skills, talents, and interests. From that, you’ll likely not only be able to think of plausible career options, but genuinely enjoyable ones! Here are a few options, just to get you started:
Whether you’re an aspiring novelist or just really good with grammar, you can offer your services as a freelance writer by applying to websites, magazines, and other online publications!
Companies big and small are always on the hunt for social media savvy individuals. This job doesn’t require formal training and focuses on creating strategies to create content and increase engagement for creators and businesses.
Depending on where you’re going, you may be able to find immediate work teaching the very same language you’ve been speaking since birth! Alternatively, you may be able to revisit your best and favourite subjects in school by offering your services as a tutor.
becoming a virtual assistant, creating art, copywriting and editing, marketing, transcribing and starting your own online business!
If you’re planning to take your corporate job on the road, you’re going to need to clear it with your supervisors. However, since more of the world has been working home than ever before, you may find that you’ll have an easier time convincing your boss to let you take meetings beachside instead of couch-side.
No matter what route you decide to take, you should take the following questions and concerns into account before you fully commit to the nomadic lifestyle.
First, and most importantly, you need to consider your own health and safety. It’s important to research the severity of COVID-19 wherever you’re thinking of travelling. Learn what restrictions are in place, the case statistics, and consider the state of their hospitals and emergency rooms. If you determine you can travel and live safely and responsibly in your new destination, keep reading!
Depending on where you want to go, there may be serious travel restrictions in place. Many countries require travellers to quarantine for up to two weeks, sometimes at a government-mandated facility or hotel at your own expense. You’ll also likely have to provide a negative COVID test before you travel and potentially get tested multiple times before you’re permitted to end your quarantine.
If you’re planning to stay a while, you may have to look into travel visa options. Typically, you can stay up to six months in one destination. If you’re planning on living abroad for longer than that, though, we recommend looking into visa options between your home country and your dream one. The United Kingdom, for example, offers visiting visas for up to ten years. Canada, too, offers the option for visitors to extend their stays if they so wish. Once you’ve got that fancy stuff figured out, you may also need to consider the following depending on where you land:
While you may not need to be fluent, it’s important to have a basic grasp on a country’s language if it’s different from the one your own. Thankfully, websites like DuoLingo help you learn new languages at your convenience, for free! If you need a more immediate solution, you can invest in a portable translation dictionary to study on the plane ride over.
You should make sure that you have enough in your savings account for basic accommodations, travel within your destination, food, and for a departing flight. It’s also important to check the exchange rates between the dollars. What could get you a meal at home might be able to get you a coffee and a snack abroad.
If you’re planning on taking your job abroad with you, you should make sure you get the chance to actually be, you know, abroad. If your job is an overly demanding one, making it mobile may not even be worth it. You also need to consider the disruption a potential time difference could cause. After all, what’s the point of a garden path if you’re going to run through it?
While wanderlust is one of our favourite buzzwords, the actual wandering takes some mental preparation. It may be harder than you think leaving your friends, family, and even the comforts of your hometown. Depending on where you’re going, you may also find it difficult to meet new people. Toronto, for example, has been under a province-wide lockdown for months and all businesses, gyms, and indoor public spaces that have been deemed non-essential have been closed. Make sure that you’re mentally prepared for changes to major parts of your life and that you have a support system in place.
Now that you’ve considered the pros, cons, and all the in-betweens of the digitally nomadic lifestyle all you have to do is decide if it’s the move for you! Even if you decide to push your travel plans into the (hopefully) pandemic-free future, joining the ranks of the digital nomads is an amazing way to see the world, try new things, and experience life in ways you may not have thought were possible! So, think it over, pack a bag, and join the five million people already living your very achievable travel dreams.