The phrase digital nomad has been flying around the interwebs for quite a while now, it’s one of those cringe-worthy hipster phrases, that somehow managed to sneak its way into our everyday language. Despite that, I still end up using it all the time and aspire to be one of them myself.
But what the heck is a digital nomad?
Well here’s what (I think) it means:
Basically there are two parts to it, digital and nomad, duh! 🙂
Ok, ok, just kidding!
A digital nomad is someone who is able to work online and who, therefore, is able to work anywhere, just with their laptop and a fast WiFi connection, even while travelling around the world.
Location independence is also a good description, as most digital nomads don’t travel continuously, that would become pretty exhausting very quickly. Being location independent means that you CAN travel if you like, but you don’t have to. Many digital nomads choose to spend a good chunk of the year in tropical locations like Thailand or Central America, not only because of the nice weather and beaches but also to take advantage of extremely low costs of living. They often work in co-working spaces, which are getting more and more popular all over the world.
Good examples of common jobs that allow you to be location independent are web design/development, graphic design or writing.
It’s not as romantic as it may sound, though.
Nowadays everyone and their dog is aspiring to be a digital nomad, and for good reason if you ask me. It conjures up images of sipping mojitos on the beach while typing away leisurely at a new blog post, the rushing of the waves in the background.
Haha! Although we’ve all seen those pictures which are aimed at making us jealous I’m sure it won’t be quite that idyllic. Sand in the keyboard, overheated laptops and cocktail spills come to mind.
Nevertheless, having this much flexibility and freedom while still making a decent living sounds exactly like what I’ve been looking for! But how do I become one of them?
Although I’ve known about digital nomads for quite a few years now, mainly through reading travel blogs, I never really imagined myself becoming one myself. That is basically because I have no skills whatsoever to become location independent.
I mean, sure, I’ve studied science for the better part of ten years, and I might be able to understand the more detailed theory behind Breaking Bad, but I couldn’t design a website if you chased me with a stick!
Well, everything changed while I was living in Sydney and working a pretty boring lab job which provided me with heaps of time to listen to a whole bunch of podcasts. I started learning more and more about people quitting their jobs and taking off to travel the world while working from their laptops. And the best part? Many of them didn’t have any web development skills either!
But how did they do it?
Well, there are many different ways:
- some people do online tutoring
- run their own businesses
- others freelance as writers
- or trade at the stock market.
What’s most important is that even if you don’t have all the necessary skills (yet!), you can teach yourself enough to make it work, if you really, really want it.
It took me a while to realise that I had already taken the first step to becoming location independent, I got rid of a lot of my stuff and I am basically homeless. I wasn’t starting out from scratch, I was already travelling, even living in Thailand, and all I needed to do was take the next step.
Now I only have to figure out how to become a freelancer. Or web designer. Oh well, there’s still time to decide.
Over the next few months I will be doing an internship at Koh Space on Koh Phangan, designed for newbies like me who want to be digital nomads, so I will have lots of time to learn new skills and try to earn money online, some way, anyway!
I will document my progress on my blog and hope it will be helpful if you are also trying to become a digital nomad.
Now over to you, do you dream of working while travelling the world? What’s stopping you?