Here’s How You Can Travel Like a Digital Nomad
Learn the tricks and tips of living the life of a digital nomad.
Although I started a bit late, I have thrived creatively and professionally as a Digital Nomad since 2015. My third book is due to be published this year and my business has more than doubled.
I have never met anyone who doesn’t love traveling. But being a traveling worker (a term I prefer over the much abused Digital Nomad) is more than traveling. It is about immersing yourself and feeling at home in a new place – several times a year maybe.
And if a few instagrammers and bloggers have captured your fantasy for leading a cubicle-free life, then these are the six steps you must take to that hallowed pedestal.
Have something that you love doing to the extent you can do it 24 hours a day.
List down your skills and pick the ones that are amenable for location-agnostic work such as:
- Consulting (find work on Upwork)
- Content creation/freelancing (find gigs on Fiverr)
- Text - Blogging, journalism
- Videos - Running video channels on YouTube etc, videography assignments
- Pictures - Food blogging, travel blogging with picture heavy content, photography assignment
- Courses - Teach what you know and earn money (start with Udemy, Teachable) Web Development
- Digital marketing
- Remote Tutoring
I started my career mentoring on Scholar Strategy, because I had graduated from top schools in USA and knew the process inside out. But, the point that made it successful for me is that I love giving advice to students and young professionals.
Over the time, I could see that I was also good at it.
Currently, I run online communities and consulting services around it. I am doing it 24x7 subconsciously because I love doing it and it doesn’t feel like work.
Get So Good at it That Customers Chase You
This is true for any work (especially freelancing) for that matter. The reason I say you should pick something that you absolutely love is because otherwise you are going to quit eventually.
I started a fancy sounding online dress rental website, but soon I resented doing it because fashion or logistics were not something that came naturally to me. In the long run, you can only do something that you are happy doing on a Sunday.
But once you have figured such a thing, you can enjoy the hard part. And because you do it from a happy mindspace, your work quality would be high. You will start attracting the right audience for it.
In my case, that is the people I provide career counseling to. In Pardeep Goyal’s (CashOverflow) case, that is the bloggers who are interested in personal finance.
Or, in case of Sumit Bansal (TrumpExcel), it is the people interested in excel training. They have put so much work in it and they are now touted as experts in these fields which means that customers find them rather than the other way around.
Plan Your Finances for a One-Month Trip
Stop planning too much and commit to one-month travel. Pick a location that looks accessible, and practical. I searched for safe places for solo women travelers and noticed how Bali’s name came up again and again.
Safety and affordability were important criteria for me. Some other things to look for can be availability of wifi, food options, community presence, ease of finding a workspace, things to do etc.
In the end, money matters. So, I started by looking at the air and hotel prices which gave me a rough idea of expenses it would take to work from Bali. One can get a return ticket from India within Rs 25,000.
I was finding AirBnB accommodations in Ubud from Rs 16,000 (renting monthly is the cheapest and you can get 10-40 percent discounts on the booking). Looking at cafe menu and prices, I figured a meal roughly costs INR 500. Factoring in commute, sightseeing and pampering, I estimated a maximum monthly living expense of Rs 50,000. (I ended up spending lower).
Additionally, I took the membership of a co-working space because I like working from an organized space. As it happened, Ubud has one of the highest rated co-working spaces called . Their monthly pricing starts from Rs 4,000 for 30 hours a month.
It is important to do this exercise so that your finances don’t go awry. As a digital nomad, you need to be on top of your money management because there can be unseen expenses (falling sick, stolen stuff, missing flights, delayed baggage and so on). Avoid the stress by planning things ahead.
Book the Air Ticket before You can Second Guess Yourself
I had been thinking of starting a digital nomad lifestyle, but kept on procrastinating. What finally worked was when I just applied to TribeWanted, got in and saw that their program was starting within 2 weeks.
I did all the planning in 2 weeks and arrived before I could start doubting myself. Sometimes, that is the best way to jump into something new.
Be strong for that one moment and book your tickets. Booking the air tickets is the best way to commit to it. That is what I do now. I was craving working remotely and booked a one way ticket to Bali last month. And now, here I am in Ubud for next two months!
Go and Stay at One (max two) Places for a Month
I like to get used to a place for a sustained period of time to be able to get more out of it. I also tend to focus better on work when I have found my comfort zone. So, I prefer spending at least a fortnight in one place.
I spent one month in Ubud, one month in Singapore and another one month back in Ubud (because I loved it so much) the first time I did the remote working.
This helped me form deeper connection with the people there and added social comfort in a new place. It could be important especially in first few travels. If you keep switching locations too frequently, you might find yourself struggling to fit in (see bonus points below).
See how you feel at the end. Do it again irrespective of how you feel
First solo trip can be a revelation and daunting. You will feel lonely, uncertain, scared and depressed in short bursts but then you will get comfortable with it. It is like taking a leap of faith and no matter what, I guarantee it will leave you transformed.
Even if you haven’t figured everything out, you now know what you are capable of - you are capable of being comfortable with yourself and isn’t that a big step forward?
Traveling for longer periods on your own is less about clicking instagrammable pictures and more about looking at the things in a new way. It brings out your deepest fears (similar to Vipassana that isolates you through silence and digital abstention). And transformation happens when you get over those fears.
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