You are reading this because you heard of those mysterious digital nomads, who travel around the world and work only with their laptops and smartphone. It sounds amazing, right? I assume you want that life, too? Basically, no problem. The only question is: Where do you start? If you want to become a digital nomad but are at the very beginning of the idea, you should answer the following questions before your quit your job and leave the country.
1. Why do you want to become a digital nomad?
Ask yourself first, what the reasons for your desired change in lifestyle are. Are you sick of your job? If so, would another local job in your hometown make you happy? Or do you want to travel more? If yes, maybe an extended holiday or a sabbatical would satisfy your need?
Maybe you are tired of the place you live now and the people. Would it help to relocate to another city? Find out if you really want to become a digital nomad or if you’d be happier with your old lifestyle and just change some basic conditions.
2. Do you have the right skills to be a digital nomad?
Although being a digital nomad looks super easy (“they are only hanging around at beautiful beaches all day, drinking cocktails and playing with their laptop”), there are certain skills and character traits you need to have to be successful.
How strong is your self-discipline? Do you easily get attached to people, locations or routines and struggle to let go of them? Check out this list with some essential digital nomad skills. Of course, you don’t need to be a genius in all of them and many can be improved as you go. But if you are doing badly in all of them and are not willing to change that, you might find the digital nomad lifestyle very hard.
Of course, you don’t need to be a genius in all and many can be improved as you go. But if you are doing badly in every single one of them and are not willing to change that, you might find the digital nomad lifestyle very hard.
But not only your skills will develop and change during this new lifestyle, but also you as a person will change. Learn what’s going to change when you are a digital nomad in the linked post!
3. What kind of job do you see yourself in?
Not all people like working online all day. A friend of mine works as a carpenter. He said he’d love to travel around the world forever but working in front of a laptop all day would kill him. If that’s the case, you can still be a nomad and get local jobs wherever you go. It might be a bit more affordable but on the positive side, you get to know the culture and mentality of the country even better.
If you decide to become a digital nomad, you have many job options. You could work as a web designer, translator, content writer, virtual assistant, social media manager, blogger, consultant, teacher, or whatever comes to your mind that doesn’t require you to be physically in a certain place.
If you have decided what option (or several) would work best for you, you can google job opportunities and see what your chances are to get these kinds of jobs, if you need particular skills or what you could potentially earn. If you want to do certain local jobs, check out open positions, too, to get a feeling where your chances are best. However, short-term local jobs are often easier to find once you are in on-site.
Click here to learn more about how to get jobs that pay you to travel or digital nomad jobs that don’t require any IT-skills.
4. Did you test the lifestyle before?
Before you sell your car, house, and furniture, quit your job and throw the biggest farewell party the world has ever seen, you might want to give this new lifestyle a test run. How about taking a bit of time off of work, grabbing your laptop, and working (if not a paid job then literally anything online) from a completely different place for a while? How do you feel about it? Could you do that every day from now on?
And have you ever traveled for longer than 2 weeks? Maybe after two months on the road, you realize you hate all this and prefer having a permanent home. Be aware that the nomadic lifestyle brings a lot of disadvantages, too. Can you handle them?
5. Are you ready to say goodbye to your old life?
If you read the list so far and thought about every question properly and you are still excited about it and are convinced that this is the right thing for you, then do it!
Take all the necessary steps to leave your old life behind you. That is for example: quitting your job, renting out or selling your house and canceling all your subscriptions. Check out this extensive list of things you have to organize to become a nomad.
6. Have you prepared everything for your new life?
Leaving your old life behind is one part. But you should also prepare a few things for your new lifestyle. How about visas or luggage or credit cards, equipment, vaccinations or insurance? This list will help you to prepare for your start as a nomad.
7. Fully prepared? Go!
If everything is organized and well prepared you can begin your new life as a digital nomad. In the beginning, you might find it easier to start in a place with many other nomads. Popular hubs for remote workers are Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Colombia, or Eastern Europe. Take your time, learn from others and simply go with the flow.
When you start out everything is going to be new, so different, but also very exciting. Embrace this time! Get as much knowledge and skills as possible, but give yourself time to adjust before you change your location every day and travel to places with poor internet access or no fellow nomads at all.
Extra Tip: It is normal to feel homesick after a while. Of course, you miss your family and your friends. You probably spend your whole life seeing them every once in a while and now you can’t see them in months. Try to schedule regular video calls. Maybe it helps when you go on a “holiday” and visit them. You might even realize why you have left in the first place. After that experience, you are even more convinced that you want to become a digital nomad.
If you are still considering giving up your nomadic lifestyle, make a list of pros and cons. What life would you prefer? Maybe you are just not a big fan of Asian cuisine, but would absolutely love traveling and working around Canada? Find out what would make you truly happy.
Or: Screw this list and jump right into it!
If you like taking risks, are spontaneous and have nothing to lose, go for it! Do it your way! I have met quite a few digital nomads who left their homes with hardly any savings and just started working online along the way. And it worked for them! I’m not going to lie, you either need to work very hard for it or you need to be very lucky. Probably both. But it is definitely possible to start this lifestyle without much planning or preparation.
Start your new lifestyle
Do you still want to become a digital nomad? Great! I hope this list helped you a bit and gave you some ideas about where you should start with your new life and what you should take into consideration.
Is there anything I missed on the list or something that still worries you? Let me know in the comment section below!