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What Makes a Digital Nomad, and How to Become One

Sep 13, 2022
What Makes a Digital Nomad, and How to Become One

While traveling in Asia, Eastern Europe, or South America, chances are you’ve met people who don’t look like typical holidaymakers. They might be spending all day in a seaside cafe working on their laptops and taking Zoom calls. While you struggle to fit another activity into your tight two-week holiday schedule, you’ve probably asked yourself, “What’s wrong with them? Are they bored? Or are they indifferent to the beautiful views around them?”

Don’t be too quick to judge them. Those people are digital nomads living the life of their dreams—traveling all around the world, working online, and having a neverending holiday. We bet you’re a bit jealous now and want to know more about becoming a digital nomad with such a lifestyle. You came to the right place because we will sort it all out in this article. And who knows, maybe you’ll become the next digital nomad traveling and working your dream job.

What is a digital nomad anyways?

A digital nomad is a person who travels from country to country regularly and manages their own online work or is employed by a company that allows them to work remotely. The digital nomad lifestyle might be a great option for those looking to escape the clutches of a nine-to-five job. A laptop and a stable internet connection are almost all you need.

Below we will cover the realities of this alternative way of life and share steps to avoid unnecessary stress while you smoothly transition into this lifestyle. Keep reading!

What are the pros of being a digital nomad?

Flexible schedule

Flexibility is one of the primary benefits of being a digital nomad. This lifestyle allows you the freedom to work whenever and wherever you want, letting you choose your comfortable pace and schedule.

Freedom to move around

The whole idea of being a digital nomad revolves around traveling. While a conventional nine-to-five job offers roughly two weeks of vacation per year, being a digital nomad allows you to move freely and work from anywhere with a decent Wi-Fi connection.

Most digital nomads prefer to choose their next travel destination and settle down in the country for a few months or until they feel the urge to go somewhere different.

Community and networking

Traveling and new experiences can help form deep bonds between people quickly. As a result, digital nomad communities are robust in most countries.

When you live abroad, you’ll probably want to meet other ex-pats and digital nomads for support. It’s an excellent way to expand your network, make like-minded friends, and open yourself to new opportunities.

A higher standard of life

Digital nomads say that being paid in one currency and spending in another affords them a much higher standard of living than they would have at home. It’s hard to argue with that as the cost of living in Southeast Asia or South America is much lower than in most Western countries.

More time for things you like

Let’s be honest—we work to live, not vice versa. Since the work of a digital nomad mainly involves completing tasks, their productivity is usually much higher than office workers, who are required to work a certain number of hours per week.

And with so many beautiful places around you, the incentive is high to get your work done as quickly as possible and explore your surroundings or go surfing.

Incredible life experiences and adaptability

Traveling means leaving your comfort zone. It increases your ability to adapt to change. When you travel, the stress of navigating unknown environments improves your awareness and responsiveness to difficult situations. Due to these life experiences, digital nomads can be considered some of the most stress-resistant workers.

Creativity and inspiration

Living in a different country gives you unique experiences and a new perspective on life in general. And this applies to work as well. As a nomad, you’ll be surprised by new possibilities, different approaches to addressing issues, and an overflow of information. As a result, you’ll be far more creative, and new ideas will come more naturally.

How to become a digital nomad?

Now that you’ve learned about all the perks of a digital nomad lifestyle let’s walk through the steps needed to start your digital nomad journey.

1.Research potential career paths

There are plenty of job openings from tech companies that don’t require working regular office hours or a specific workplace. More and more startups and big companies are hiring remote workers and freelancers, offering to pay hourly or per project. You might even find a full-time remote position if you’re lucky enough. So our best advice is to start looking through job openings online. First, you’ll get a clear idea of the most hirable jobs on the market. Second, you might discover something that clicks for you.

If you don’t want to waste time researching, you can always seek professional help. A career advisor can help you find the perfect digital nomad job to fit your previous experience, skills, and personal characteristics.

Choose a career path

Today remote work possibilities are available in various industry sectors and for people with a wide range of skill sets. However, we’ve created a short list of the most popular, high-paid, and location-independent jobs that are ideal for digital nomads:

Enroll in a training and get a certificate

Those who have a degree can skip this step. Lucky you! However, this is one of the most critical steps for those who have decided to change careers. But don’t get too worried—with a decent training program that provides opportunities for practical learning, finishing a training might take you just a few months.

Make a budget

Now the fun starts. Planning your finances is essential to living a comfortable life abroad. Calculate your living expenses, the cost of flights, housing, and activities. Then calculate how it may impact your budget if you aren’t able to earn money for a while, which is the worst-case scenario. A safety net will make you feel more confident and secure about your future.

Eliminating any costs you won’t need while living as a digital nomad, such as gym memberships and long-forgotten subscriptions, is also a good idea.

Research your destinations

Even if you plan to go with the flow, arranging your first few stops is never a bad idea. A bit of planning will help you organize the practical side of your trip, such as visa and residency permits. While choosing a location to reside, don’t forget to consider your employment regulations and the time difference between your location and your employer’s primary location. Extreme time zone differences are one of the trickiest issues faced by digital nomads. For example, it will be hard to hop on a Zoom call if 1 pm for your employer is 2 am for you.

Join online communities

If you go online, you’ll find many groups for digital nomads where professionals connect and share experiences. These groups can provide a valuable network of contacts and resources and inform you about location-related issues, especially if this is your first time traveling to the country.

It’s a good idea to research before your journey so that you know where digital nomads connect and hang around when you start your adventure. But don’t worry—even if you don’t join networks beforehand, connecting with other nomads won’t be a problem.

Learn the language and culture

Knowing the language of your destination country is always a big advantage. Even learning a few phrases will help because locals tend to be more open to tourists who take the time to learn about their culture and language.

Believe us, having a few local connections always comes in handy, especially if you’re planning to stay in the country for a while. Whether you’re planning to take on a long-term lease or want some help with legal issues, your local friends will be glad to assist.

Set up your visa

Many countries in Southeast Asia and South America allow visa-free entry with an option to stay for a few months. So if your goal is to travel and move across various destinations, this might be a perfect choice for you.

However, if you’re planning to settle in one place, look for countries that provide special digital nomad visas. For example, Estonia, Georgia, and Portugal have recently introduced visas for remote workers that secure your stay and legal tax status.

Get health insurance

Remember, your health should be your top priority while traveling. Unfortunately, many people assume that the life of a digital nomad is all fun and adventure or that life in a tropical climate will keep you from getting sick. In reality, you can get a fever or an infectious disease that can be quite severe.

Add to this poor medical services and higher costs for international travelers, and you’ll understand the importance of having decent health insurance that covers your expenses and works in all your travel destinations.

Organize the financial side

What type of currency is accepted at your destination? Will your bank cards work? And what’s the fee for cash withdrawals? Find answers to these questions before you set off and save yourself from unnecessary stress.

Secure a decent internet connection

A stable internet connection is always a primary concern for digital nomads, no matter their job. More often than not, internet connections leave much to be desired in digital nomad destinations.

To avoid relying on public Wi-Fi, consider purchasing a cell phone booster or a hotspot device. You can’t afford to miss an important work call or fail to finish a project because of bad internet!

Before you go

If life on the road has always appealed to you, becoming a digital nomad might be very exciting. Working with a view of the sea, mountains, or jungle is an amazing experience, as is living in a foreign culture. However, be prepared for the challenges most nomads encounter, such as homesickness, administrative issues, and lack of stability. If you arm yourself with a positive attitude, self-organization, and self-discipline, you can enjoy all the perks of the digital nomad lifestyle.

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