Do you dream of adventure and freedom? Do you feel called to hit the road, not just for a weekend or a holiday, but for months or even years?
You can make that dream a reality! And you don’t have to be fabulously wealthy or a carefree kid on their gap year. With remote work you can travel indefinitely while still being a responsible, independent adult.
Digital nomads are the newest wave of long-term globetrotters. If this life sounds amazing, you have two big decisions to make before jumping into modern vagabonding: Where will you go? And how will you make a living?
Do Your Research First
Digital nomads are often referred to as a subset of expats, but there’s no reason you have to travel internationally. Of course, seeing the world is a big part of the appeal of being a nomad, so most people do at least give the international version a try.
If you opt for living abroad, there will be additional matters to research: legal questions about visas, work permits, and taxes; travel and health insurance; and internet access and technological compatibility. You may also want to brush up on the local language, culture, and laws of your various destinations.
Long-term domestic travel is legally simpler, and if you’re road tripping it is easier to move on or settle down as you please, no visas running out or plane tickets needing to be exchanged.
Start Searching for Remote Work
As the name implies, “digital nomad” refers to someone who works remotely, via the internet. Depending on your legal work status at any given time, you can also mix it up with local jobs. But it’s the consistency of reliable remote work that makes being a digital nomad sustainable.
Some people come into this lifestyle by taking their current, “regular” job fully remote, but if that’s not possible, you’ll want to find a good remote job before you hit the road.
If you’re choosing a new job, ask yourself a few questions: How flexible do you want or need your work schedule to be? If you want to go off grid for a few weeks, will your employer be ok with you not checking in? How much time do you want to devote to work and how much money do you need to make?
Remote work requires self-direction, so get in the habit of doing your work when awesome distractions don’t abound, and be sure you are willing and able to keep doing it for the foreseeable future.
Find your Place as a Digital Nomad
There are many variations on the digital nomad life, and no need to choose just one! If you’re just starting out, you might want to begin in one of the more popular locations for remote workers. That way you can hook up with the broader digital nomad community, get advice and encouragement, and maybe even a travel buddy. Just, don’t let yourself get siloed into only spending time with expats.
Whether you choose to work on a beach, in a bustling foreign city, or out of roadside motels as you criss-cross the United States, as soon as you close that laptop you’re sure to find a new adventure waiting every day.