9 May 2018

Digital Nomads: A Quick Guide to Life on the Road

There are pros and cons to any lifestyle. If you work in an office 9-5 then you benefit from security and stability, but you’re also sitting down all day, stagnant, and daydreaming about the big wide world outside your window. Becoming a digital nomad is a direct antidote for anyone stuck in the 9-5 rut. It allows you to break free from your chains and continue earning a living while you see the world.

Pretty much anyone can become a digital nomad. With enough planning, persistence and outright gumption, even families are able to uproot and take up the nomadic lifestyle. In this quick guide to life on the road, we’re going to share some tips and resources so that you can imagine making the leap and we’re including some strategies you could use to increase your income. Finally we list some quick hacks to make your journey that little bit easier.

3 Steps to Making the Leap

1. Prepare to Leave

Before you embark on this new and exciting journey, you need to make sure you’re prepared. One of the first things you need to do is create a plan. There are so many things to consider:

  • How much money will you need as a safety net?
  • Where do you want to go?
  • Where are you going to live when you get there?
  • Are you going to give up your current home, or find a way to pay the bills while you’re gone?

Once you’ve created your plan, you need to create a plan B. It’s important to protect yourself so that the worst possible scenario simply ends up with you back at home where you started.

Recommended Reading: 12 Practical Steps to Become a Digital Nomad

2. Network with Like-Minded People

Chatting with other digital nomads will help you in a number of ways. For starters, they will be able to share their firsthand experiences with you so that you can learn from their mistakes and benefit from handy insider tips that you might not be able to find on a blog or through a quick Google search.

It’s also great to connect with people that you could potentially bump into on the road. Life as a digital nomad can be lonely, especially if you don’t speak the local language, so meeting like-minded people can be a great way to enjoy the sights and surroundings. And who knows, you might even make a lifelong friend or two!

Here are some of the best places to network with other digital nomads:

3. Adapt Your Skills

One of the biggest roadblocks to the digital nomad lifestyle is money – mainly how to make enough to live! A good place to start is to try and find freelance roles that match your current career. This way you’re not stepping too far out of your comfort zone, and you can also start gathering freelance clients before you cut ties with your current employer. The gig economy is without a doubt the biggest enabler of nomadic living.

Here’s a couple of well-known freelance listing sites:

If the skills you’ve obtained so far in your career don’t match well with the majority of freelance roles out there (which tend to be creative or marketing-based) then it may be time to start thinking of getting another job. Living on the road is a highly desired lifestyle and more and more employers are recognising this and offering remote work. Take a look at this list by FlexJobs of the 100 Top Companies with Remote Jobs.

3 Ways to Increase your Income

Without the security and the constant flow of work that comes from your typical 9-5 job, it’s a good idea to have side-projects that can boost your income in periods of work-drought while you’re on the road. Here are a couple we suggest…

1. Document your Travels

The Digital Nomadic lifestyle is interesting to many people all over the world, so one potentially lucrative way to increase your income is to create a blog or a YouTube channel that documents your travels. A couple of successful examples of this are Nomadic Matt (a travel expert who shares his own journey along with other tips and tricks) and Boho Beautiful (a yoga teacher who teaches video classes in various beautiful locations all over the world).

2. Create and Sell Merch

A knock-on effect of documenting your travels is gaining a follower base, and another way to monetize this opportunity is to create and sell merchandise to these people (your fans!). By utilising a print on demand service, like Kite, you can sell a range of custom merchandise products from anywhere in the world.

3. Become a Teacher

With software like Skype and Google Hangouts, you don’t need to be in the same location as someone to teach them. Teaching doesn’t have to revolve around the subjects we learnt at school either, think about your skills and talents and how you can pass those on to others. Don’t think you have any skills or talents to pass on? What about your language?!

Teaching English (or any other language you are fluent in!) online is really easy through sites like iTalki, and it is rewarding too!

10 Quick-Fire Hacks to Life on the Road

1. Get a world clock widget on your device in case you need to schedule meetings with clients in different timezones

2. Save on accommodation costs by house sitting

3. Get an unlocked phone and then use a local sim from the country you’re in to save money

4. Get comprehensive travel insurance for emergencies

5. Find cheap flights using Skyscanner

6. Get coupons from sites like Groupon to enjoy the local area for less

7. Take advantage of free WiFi in cafes, libraries (But remember that WiFi isn’t great all over the world, so it’s a good idea to invest in an ethernet adaptor)

8. Sell or rent your home to help fund your travels

9. Let your bank know that you’ll be travelling around

10. Travel with other digital nomads to save money and have fun

Let’s Get Real…

If you’re lusting after the life of a digital nomad, then you’re probably unhappy about your current situation. Maybe you dislike your job, maybe you want to taste freedom, or maybe you’re just bored. Whatever it is, you owe it to yourself to make a change.

If you’re not yet in a position to quit everything and begin a new life on the road, a great way to start finding that source of freedom is by creating a side project that you can work on at home.

Check out our How to Setup a Custom Merchandise Business as a Side Project article.

Want to try setting up and selling print-on-demand custom merchandise to support your digital nomad life?

Shopify Merch Plugin