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The Practical Side of Becoming a Digital Nomad

How to travel the world and work remotely.

Digital nomad

Have you been bitten by the wanderlust bug? Are you tired of being tied down to one location? Do you wish you could travel the world and experience new cultures?

Thanks to evolving technology and the growth of remote work and freelancing, it’s now possible to travel the world in a financially sustainable way. But before you take a deep dive into becoming a digital nomad, it’s important that you cut through all of the B.S. that exists online and understand what it really takes.

What is a Digital Nomad?

According to HubSpot, “Digital nomads are remote workers who usually travel to different locations. They often work in coffee shops, co-working spaces, or public libraries, relying on devices with wireless internet capabilities like smartphones and mobile hotspots to do their work wherever they want.”

In other words, digital nomads are homeless (at least in the traditional sense). They have jobs, warm beds to sleep in, and money – but they’re not location-dependent. Digital nomads, much like nomads throughout history, travel the world at their own pace. They might spend three weeks in one city, six months in another, followed by a couple of days in yet another location.

Many digital nomads have very successful careers as freelancers or business owners – working from mobile devices and hotspots. But rather than clocking into a physical office, their workspace changes on a daily basis.

Practical Tips for Becoming a Digital Nomad

If you search the hashtag #digitalnomad on Instagram or read a blog post from some influencer, you’ll walk away thinking this lifestyle is glamorous and easy. But in reality, it requires a lot of sacrifice and planning. And we want to set the record straight by showing you what to do.

(By no means is this a comprehensive guide. The hope, however, is that the following practical tips will help you begin moving in the right direction.) 

Cut Your Local Ties

You can’t be a digital nomad if you’re tied down to a specific city. Cutting ties with a place you’ve called home can take time, so it’s best to start this process months in advance. Things you’ll need to do:

  • Notify your landlord or put your house on the market.
  • Inform your employer that you’ll be leaving or ask to transition to a fully remote position.
  • Eliminate all local memberships (such as a gym membership).
  • Sell your car.
  • Get rid of any possessions you can’t take with you.
  • If you have existing debt, set up automated payment plans.
  • Find out what sort of insurance you’ll need.
  • Speak with an accountant to determine how your taxes will be filed in the future.

Make a list of everything you need to do so that the process will unfold as smoothly as possible. It won’t be easy, but it’s necessary.

Shift Your Career

Unless you have an endless supply of cash to bankroll your travel for a few years, you’ll need to find a way to make money while you travel the world. Start marketing your skills as a freelancer and build up a small list of clients. 

Generate Passive Income

Unless you want to spend all of your travel time working, you’ll need to find a way to generate income without being tied to your laptop for eight or 10 hours per day. The answer is passive income.

While passive income often seems too good to be true, there are totally legitimate ways to earn “mailbox money.” One option is to invest in cash flowing rental properties and then offload the daily responsibilities to a property management company. Another option is to set up a business selling information products. With the right landing page and ad strategy, you should be able to produce several hundred dollars of recurring income every week. 

Ditch Your Expectations

Most people have this glamorous idea of what it means to be a digital nomad. They assume that it looks like an Instagram news feed with glamorous pictures, gorgeous smiles, and one carefree experience after another. But this isn’t always the case.

While being a digital nomad can be great, there are also plenty of times where it’s actually quite normal and average. And if you aren’t careful, your lofty expectations can turn to shock when you realize that life as a digital nomad isn’t as perfect as influencers make it out to be.

The best piece of advice? Leave your expectations at the tarmac and just enjoy the experience. Some will be great, some will be frustrating, and others will be quite forgettable. And that’s okay!

Stop Dreaming and Start Doing

At some point you have to stop daydreaming about what life as a digital nomad would be like. You can only do so much planning. There will never be a perfect time to buy that ticket and pursue your dreams – so just do it! Go out there and live the life you’ve always wanted. You’ll experience a lot of emotions along the way, but regret won’t be one of them.

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