You’re tired of hearing the term “digital nomad,” but you’ll never be tired of living it. That’s the very essence of it. Isn’t it? You don’t think of nomads without thinking of a world tour which includes lots of camping, rafting, cottages, mountains and the likes or maybe, people wearing burkas and crossing the desert on camels.That’s what the nomadic lifestyle is. The world is your home, and you’re free to be wherever you want to be. That’s a fantastic idea, but there’s only one kind of work that can make this happen. No rewards for guessing; the answer is remote work.
Gone are the days when living a nomadic lifestyle was a novelty. The acceptance of remote work still is a novelty. The fruits that the decision of going remote can bear for you are plentiful and sweet. These sweet fruits come much later, though. Before getting to what comes after, you need to first understand how this whole “digital Nomad” thing is done.
Who Can be Defined as a Digital Nomad?
While we talked about a “too good to be true” scenario where you can tour the world if you’re a “digital nomad”. Let’s get real. If you’re a digital nomad, you can go for a world tour or soak in the sunshine on Miami beach while you work. It is real but there’s more to it than just leisure.
A digital nomad is a location-independent individual who uses technology to perform their professional tasks. Digital nomads work from various locations remotely. They do not attend physical offices for work. Instead they use software and websites that help them manage their day to day tasks and use video-conferencing tools for virtual meetings.
If you’re a digital nomad, you have to earn on the move. Let us make it simpler.
Remote Job = A job that allows you to work from anywhere in the world = A lifestyle of your choice
To earn that kind of a life and to not drown yourself in the everyday commute to a brick and mortar setting, the digital nomad lifestyle is your best bet.
What Do You Need to be Able to Become a Digital Nomad?
- A good internet connection because all your work will be online. That’s why it is “digital”.
- A good video calling app because how else will you connect with your remote team mates? Only text chat apps won’t do.
- A functional laptop and mobile phone to be able to complete tasks efficiently.
- A disciplined attitude that allows you to create a schedule for yourself because there’s nobody micromanaging you. You’re accountable for managing your everyday work.
- A self-driven mindset to be able to finish your work on time. Like is said, work hard and party harder. The rules are no different for a working nomad.
Is It Just A Fad? Pros and Cons of Being a Digital nomad
Sounds like it, but it isn’t. Technically, a digital nomad is someone who works from a remote location like a coffee shop, library, etc. Realistically, you can choose Venice or Iceland, or both.
The reason why this is going to become a way of life isn’t just the pandemic. It also isn’t the “micromanaging in-your-face boss hatred” syndrome. It is the practicality and scalability of the remote work model.
- “Live the life you love” won’t just be an Instagram hashtag anymore. It truly becomes a reality. Imagine being able to move to any place at any time without having to take a paid/unpaid “leave” for it?
- “Stayin’ Alive” by Bee Gees will make more sense because you’ll have less survival, more life, and that includes “Saturday Nights”.
- “Unity in diversity” will suddenly hit a different nerve because your colleagues will be from different parts of the world!
Pros of Being a Digital Nomad
- You get to work from anywhere in the world! You can keep moving and explore the places you love while still keeping your job.
- You get to meet new people, learn new languages and try new cuisines! This can be an enriching overall experience where you get to learn a lot outside your job too.
- You enjoy a lot of freedom! This freedom isn’t limited to your personal life but also extends to your professional life. While you work remotely, you can choose your working hours and you can skip the commute as well. Also, you are not restricted to staying in one region.
Cons of Being a Digital Nomad
- Managing work and life can be tough because the line between the two can become blurry. If you don’t stick to a schedule, you might end up overworking or uderworking without even realizing it.
- If you’re thinking of living in a hut in a jungle for two months, you can’t. There is a limit to how remote you can go with remote work because how will you get access to WiFi? You need that for work so all locations might not be suitable for a digital nomad.
- Constantly moving can be taxing for some. Although it seems like a lot of fun, which it is for the most part, it could prove to be unsuitable for some when they do take the plunge. You might end up missing home or probably getting fed up with packing and unpacking every few days or months.
If you can manage the cons and put in some efforts to make it work, digital nomadism can be very rewarding.
While remote culture does look and feel like it’s too good to be true, sometimes the best things do take us by surprise. If it has surprised and enticed you enough by now, and you’re ready to take the plunge, read on to know some amazing tips for becoming a digital nomad.
How To Be A Digital Nomad: 4 Steps
1. Welcome To The Tech Nomad Camp
You’ve taken the decision. Congratulations! Now what? Get a remote job! There are plenty of them out there. Companies that cultivate a remote work culture are always on the lookout for global talent, so you’re always a good fit from a geographic perspective. Most are also very open to any age group, salary bracket, etc., so you’re also a good fit from a demographic perspective. It all depends on how you fill your application and how you perform in your interview. Let’s see some of the things you need to know before you get on those video calls for remote work interviews.
- Be Confident
This one goes without saying. You’re not physically face to face with the interviewer and it’s harder for you to exude confidence in a video interview. Body language isn’t well-visible so you have to rely more on your facial expressions and hand gestures. Not to forget, you get to the interview stage after impressing the interviewer with your resume or portfolio. Don’t forget to make that stand out.
- Don’t have a dull expression
You need to be excited because you’re on your way to become a digital nomad! Speak clearly and ensure that your audio device or headset is functioning properly. You don’t want the interviewers to just hear a “Whooosh”.
- Keep Your Room Noise Free
Lock your room and shut all doors and windows before the call. No, we don’t intend to suffocate you but listening to honking automobiles and your cat meowing in the background (with all our love for the little one) isn’t what interviewers will be pleased to hear.
P.S.- We adore animals so give your pet something to be busy with outside your room for a win-win situation!
- Dress Appropriately
Just because you’re a working nomad is no reason to wear a tee that says “I Hate Mornings” with tea stains on it to the interview. Exaggeration aside, a video interview needs to be taken as seriously as a face to face interview is.
Don’t forget that a remote job is a job like any other albeit it allows you to work from anywhere. Be professionally dressed. Wear that freshly ironed shirt and you’re ready to rock.
- Probe, Don’t Bore
There’s nothing more boring than a monologue on a video call for two. Don’t just nod your head at everything that is said. On the other hand, don’t just keep talking. Be precise even when you’re elaborating your experience. Going on tangents will steer the conversation in circles without the meaty part being the centre of attention. What’s the meaty part? Your experience at “work”.
- Use A Stable Connection
A crappy internet connection can cost you a job. Don’t let the interviewer get frustrated on the call because they will make a decision about you in an irritated mood and you don’t want that. Moreover, they’ll be running calculations in their head that say:
Bad internet connection = Delayed work – Missing Deadlines = Rejected Candidate
You don’t want this to be your fate. So, get that connection sorted right now.
Pro Tip: We know you’ll be wearing pajamas for your interview. Whatever happens, don’t raise your legs.
2. What Jobs Can You Do As a Digital Nomad?
Okay. You don’t know your most marketable skills yet. We jumped the gun by assuming you know what you’d like to do. So, let’s rewind a little bit. To be a digital nomad, you need to know and sharpen skills that can make work happen from anywhere and everywhere. Here are some of the digital skills that can earn you good money if you’re a pro:
- Content Writer – We can write from anywhere and everywhere!
- Content Marketer – We can make a hotel in the Bahamas look irresistible to an Indian. All thanks to social media and the internet.
- Web Developer – We can code an ecommerce website for a woollen socks store in Canada while sitting topless at a sun bathed pool in Dubai.
- Virtual Assistant – We can manage everything. From virtual calls to flights, meetings, IT issues, web app related team communications, smooth operations for the management and what not. Are we like superman and superwoman? Kind of. Add digital to that.
- Graphic Designer – A funny caricature of the boss, or a meme talking about global warming for the social media channels. We can create anything from anywhere!
These are just some of the many options you can explore. If you’re already good at any of these skills, sharpen them before you apply for a remote job. If you know none of these, don’t worry.. Plenty of online platforms are available to teach you some of these! Here’s a list of some of the platforms that could be helpful in your journey of becoming a digital nomad:
- LinkedIn Learning
- edX Online Learning
Pro Tip: Look for a remote job on reputable sites and companies like LinkedIn and DistantJob. You’ll get paired up with a perfect match faster.
3. Save Up 6 Months Of Expenses
Yes, you need the greens. No. Not the veggies. The money. If you don’t have a backup plan, you could get stuck. Imagine landing in the Maldives but not landing yourself a remote job in time. Sulk back home. Walk of shame. You don’t want to do that.
Instead, get a remote job first and then plan your next move after saving enough to sustain your lifestyle for the next 6 months. It’s important to have savings so that you can figure out the initial challenges of this lifestyle and are able to deal with the teething problems. It’s not all fun and games and beaches and peaches. You still have to earn to pay for what you eat, rent, etc., just like you do now. The difference is that the view/pay/work-life balance/happiness meter looks a whole lot better.
Don’t start a lifelong journey when you’re broke. You’ll inconvenience yourself, start whining and then blame the whole remote work experience for that. Your income needs to exceed your expenses. It needs to be enough for you to save too. Don’t go ballistic spending all your money around before you have enough to sustain yourself.
Pro Tip: Don’t go around breaking your piggy bank that holds a grand total of 2 (dented!) coins. Those savings aren’t going to save anyone. Since you’re moving, one option is to sell the things you can’t carry or won’t need! This can fetch you good money.
4. Get Ready For The Ride
Now that you’ve taken up the remote job of your dreams and have sold off some items and gathered your savings, you’re probably planning a whole world tour. That’s great! Here are some things you need to take care of.
- Carry Your Devices With You
You’ve entered the tech nomad lifestyle. You can’t leave your devices behind when traveling. You will be working from wherever you are, which means your laptop and your phone need to always be with you.
This is why, as mentioned before too, you need to invest in robust devices that aren’t susceptible to easy damage. Also, invest in good covers and carry bags for your devices if you intend to travel from one place to another very often.
- Choose Internet-Friendly Places
If you’re planning to stay amidst a forest in a tree house, you might be inviting trouble. You won’t have access to WiFi nor will your mobile phone data have any network. Your work and therefore, your job will be out of the window. This is why it is very important to choose places that provide a seamless network connection.
Before city or country hopping, make enquiries about network stability in the regions. Also, contact the guest house or hotel that you’re booking in order to ensure that they house a good WiFi connection.
- Create A Schedule
It is very easy for digital nomads to start slacking in their work if they don’t set a proper routine. With moving often and exploring different places comes procrastination. You’re choosing the nomadic lifestyle, and it’s not a vacation. You need to remember this.
It is best to use some apps to set your routine. You can simply use a digital calendar to set reminders and manage your “to-do’s.” Besides which there are some apps like Evernote which can help you streamline your daily tasks. Make sure you fix your working hours and stick to this schedule every day. It is good for both your personal and professional well-being.
- Invest In A Permanent Home
While some of you might be happy in a permanent touring state of mind, it isn’t easy to keep up with. As a working nomad, it is advisable to have a permanent home to come back to after your digital nomadic escapades.
It doesn’t need to be a fancy place, if you don’t want it to. It is your home that is accessible to you at any point in time. For this reason, choose a place that is more centrally located to your favourite touring destinations. It should also be budget friendly so that you don’t spend a fortune on it because that will leave you with no money for the tech nomad lifestyle you chose.
Now that you have decided to begin your journey and we have equipped you with certain tasks on your “to-do” list to make the perfect start, there are some more things you will need along the way – digital nomad communities, legalities and some cool ideas for all the activities you can do!
What Will You Need When You Start Out?
1. Start With Being Part of Digital Nomad Communities
Being new to the digital nomad lifestyle can be tough. It sure is fun to explore new places and live your life like an adventurer while you work, but it can also get a little lonely. This is because you’re moving from one destination to another from time to time.
This loneliness can be combated by joining digital nomad communities where you will find other digital nomads like yourself! You can talk to like-minded remote workers and make friends that you can always talk to. You can help each other with tips on the remote working lifestyle, and who knows, you might also end up as friends in the process!
Here are the places where you can find digital nomad communities:
- Facebook groups for Digital Nomads.
- Coworking and Coliving places.
- Slack Groups.
- Professional networking groups like Internations.
- Coworking programs and retreats like Be Unsettled, Remote Year and Hacker Paradise.
- Reddit groups for Digital Nomads.
2. The Digital Nomad Laws & Visas
Simply put, it isn’t illegal to be a digital nomad. There is no law that states that you can’t choose to be a remote worker. However, one question does hover around most of those who work remotely. What kind of visa is needed to travel from one place to another?
- As a digital nomad, you can travel on tourist visas. With a tourist visa, you will be able to stay in different countries for 90 to 180 days. The number of days will depend on your nationality and the laws of the destination country.
Learn more: Insurance for Digital Nomads
- A work visa counters the purpose of being a digital nomad. You chose the lifestyle to be able to keep moving from one place to another from time to time while maintaining your steady full-time job. Work visas require a contractual long-term stay. It can be an option but because it binds people to one place for a longer time, it isn’t the prefered visa by digital nomads.
- A new option is also available. Countries like Croatia, Estonia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic and many more offer a special visa for remote workers. These visas are quite new at the moment. You might want to go for tourist visas until these new remote work visas become clearer on the terms and conditions.
3. The Adventure that Awaits You
Did you choose this lifestyle because you love going to new places and learning new things? If your answer is yes, your journey is about to be full of many adventures! With every new place you visit, you will have an opportunity to see a new culture, try out new cuisines and so much more.
Here’s all that you can add to your digital nomad bucket list.
- Learn a new language.
- Attend digital nomad conferences and find new friends.
- Start a new side hustle.
- Join a fitness and meditation group.
- Learn about the local history and culture of all your destinations and maintain a detailed experience of the same in your diary.
There’s no better way to live life than this but like we said, there’s a thin line between being a nomad and being homeless. How you shape up your remote career along with the digital nomad life is entirely up to you. It’s more about attitude than attributes so if you’re a strong willed person who wants to change their life for the better, the “digital nomad” tag is waiting for you. Don’t take the chance, make the choice.