Have you ever dreamt of leaving the confines of your nine to five job, packing your bags and seeing the world?

Dropping everything to travel to your heart’s content may seem unrealistic because, well, you need money to pay for things, but it’s totally doable. All you have to do is embrace the digital nomad lifestyle.


Photo Credit: Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

What does it mean to be a digital nomad?

Being a digital nomad does not mean being on a sabbatical or permanent vacation. On the contrary, it requires you to hustle, except that your office is wherever you make it!

All you need is a laptop and a good internet connection, and you can earn a living while exploring different corners of the world.

How can you become a digital nomad?

As of 2014, a whopping 34 percent of the American workforce was made up of freelancers and with that number steadily rising, there’s never been a better time to take the plunge. You just have to keep in mind a few key factors. 

From managing your finances to finding enough work to pay your bills, follow the steps below to turn your goal into a reality. 

1. Embrace passive income  

Embracing passive income i.e. income that “comes from sources that are received on a periodic basis, often with little effort to maintain” is a must. According to R.L. Adams, a software engineer and digital nomad, passive income is “the most important financial tool that will afford you the freedom to not only receive income automatically, every single month, without fail, but it’ll also give you the means to have a flexible schedule.”  

2. Don’t rely on the local economy

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Rather than planning to find work on the ground, embrace the idea of working remotely. Maybe your current field is perfectly suited for working abroad — as Shopify points out, writers, editors, e-comm entrepreneurs, developers and designers are especially lucky — but if it isn’t, don’t worry.

There are plenty of sites you can use to find freelance work, like Upwork and Fiverr. Just make sure to account for time zone differences and be realistic about how much time you can devote to getting the job done.

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3. Keep expenses in check

In addition to choosing a destination where your dollar will take you as far as possible — cities like Bangkok and Budapest have a great cost of living — start cutting back on unnecessary expenses ASAP.

To truly embrace the digital nomad lifestyle, get rid of your ties to home, including your apartment, car, furniture and more.

Also, be sure to pay off your credit cards and eliminate as much debt as possible, so you don’t have to worry about it once you’ve said goodbye to your steady source of income.

4. Don’t forget to be practical

Before you set off on the adventure of a lifetime, Entrepreneur suggests ticking off a number of practical boxes, including purchasing an unlocked phone, signing up for a credit monitoring service (you don’t want anyone stealing your identity while on the road!) and investing in good travel insurance.

What’s more, setting aside a good amount of savings to draw from while you settle into your new lifestyle is also key.

5. Just do it!

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According to Matt Kepnes, the blogger and digital nomad behind Nomadic Matt, the most important step of all is going for it! “Just get on that plane or train or bus. Everything else will work itself out,” he told Forbes.

“All that worrying and fear I had before I left was for naught — this traveling thing is a lot easier than you would believe. It’s not like you are the first person to ever do this, there are plenty of fresh high school graduates on the road too. If they can do it, so can you!”  

And remember: Once you take the plunge, don’t be afraid to ask for help. The digital nomad community is a tight-knit one and by joining any of a myriad of social media groups you’ll be able to make connections, get insider tips and, most importantly, meet like-minded people. 

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