The term digital nomad is more than two decades old at this point, but the societal disruption caused by the recent coronavirus pandemic has created a new opportunity for more individuals to join the remote work lifestyle.

Traveling and living where you choose while continuing to work in any of countless ways…what’s not to like? Being a digital nomad is a great life—if you’re cut out for it.

How do you know if you are? We have some tips here, so read on.

Find Your Purpose

First, you might want to consider if becoming a digital nomad, for you, would be running to something fun, interesting, and fulfilling, or running away from something you don’t want in your life. And it’s important to remember that, as trite as it may sound, wherever you go, there you are. You’ll still be you, no matter where you land. So, that’s the completely personal part that only you can decide. You also have many practical matters to face.

Earning Money

Part of the definition of digital nomad is a nomadic worker as opposed to a tourist. If you’ll need to or want to work and earn while you travel, do you know how you’ll do that? Many budding digital nomads have this facet dialed in right away, as they’ve already worked remotely, or have skills that are remote-friendly.

Remote Jobs

If you work at a firm and don’t need to be physically present most of the time, why not go somewhere you fancy and work from there? If no one else cares, you’re all set. Remote work got a major bump in respectability in 2020, and the pre-Covid workplace is not returning at many companies. Good riddance!

You’ll find many useful websites focused on remote work. The following are reputable sources:

  • Flexjobs
  • We Work Remotely
  • Pangian

Those sites can also help you learn about the more complex and much-less-fun aspects of remote work, such as health insurance, and connect you with other digital nomads.

Going Your Own Way

If your firm isn’t open to your nomad plan, you still have options. Get a job with a firm that accepts your plan. Or enter the gig society and use websites like Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, and LinkedIn to find the work you need. You can and probably should start this track during your pre-nomad prep phase to get used to it, build your client list, and figure out if you have the discipline to be your own boss. We can’t overstate this point: you’ll have to push yourself to succeed. Will you?

Besides gig work, you can also be a nomad entrepreneur, and you’ll be in good company. Set up your Etsy and Spotify shops and you’re an online retailer. Amazon offers many paths for you here as well.

Online learning and course platforms are exploding in popularity and isn’t that cool?! You could teach your native language or another in which you’re fluent, handle customer support as a contractor or employee, and many more.

Keep in mind that you have many more options than one person can tackle, so don’t presume there’s only one way for you. You may already know the ideal path, but it doesn’t hurt to know a few other ideas.

Do not expect to get local work if you’re traveling in other countries. For that you’d typically need a work visa, as the government of the country you’re visiting doesn’t want you taking a job from a citizen. So remote, online work is your best bet. You may get lucky and stumble across something great here and there, but that’s luck, not a plan.

Take Care of These Details Before You Roam

You’ll have to figure out health insurance, banking, and all or most of those things we all have to deal with regardless of where we live. That’s life. Find a website with a forum where you feel comfortable and jump in with your questions, and contribute whatever you can. We all like the givers on this planet. Here’s one of many to check out.

You’ll also have to consider your stuff, and maybe you’ve already dreamt of owning only what you travel with, in your backpack or suitcases. Getting rid of your unneeded stuff is so easy: sell, donate, or store it.

  • If you’re selling things with value, you have your local resources like Facebook, craigslist, and your personal network with word of mouth.
  • If you’re donating, there’s Goodwill and the Humane Society and more, and some of these organizations will come fetch your stuff.
  • For things you want to keep, you can lend them to friends and family, store with friends and family, or store at a secure self-storage facility.

Are You Ready to Be a Digital Nomad?

Several factors are conspiring to make being a digital nomad easier than ever. Companies are eager for new workers, remote work is more tolerated and even embraced, and creating your own solid nomad career is completely feasible.

One final thing you definitely need to figure out is where you will stay. Will you move from city to city, spending a little bit of time in each place, or will you buy a motorhome and hit the open road?

Whatever you decide one thing is clear, it is a whole new world out there so make the most of it!

Steve Hansen