I’m a Digital Nomad, Why Aren’t You?

By on May 2, 2016 in How To
I’m a Digital Nomad, Why Aren’t You?

Somebody asked me this question a year ago. It took me 6 months to come to a decision, 2 months to quit my job, and 4 months to save up some money. Now, instead of living in miserable England, I’m traveling Europe, and after that I’ll check out some of the most exotic regions in South-East Asia.

I still earn a living, but in a remote location instead of an office. It’s called being a digital nomad and you can do it too.

3 Excellent Reasons For Being A Digital Nomad

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  1. Money: I don’t think there’s any shame in admitting that money might be your biggest motivation to become a digital nomad. Some cities such as London, Paris and Los Angeles are hideously expensive to live in, and the sheer cost of rent can chomp away at all of your hard-earned cash. If you could do the same job while earning the same salary, but live at a fraction of the cost in a beautiful location, wouldn’t you at least consider it?

  2. Health: You’d be surprised at how a change of scenery can motivate you to be healthier, and ultimately, work healthier. Having something new to try or somewhere new to visit can make you work more efficiently, allowing you to have more “me” time - or better yet, take your laptop to your current cities’ best bar, use their free wi-fi, and have a lovely cocktail!

    You’ll also be more likely to eat healthier foods, and it might come as a shock to find out that your favourite types of junk food (that you know you shouldn’t be eating) aren’t available in other countries, or they’re a lot more expensive than they are back home. I’ve definitely become healthier on the road.

  3. Happiness: Even if you live in the best city in the world, it will, inevitably, become boring. Once you’re stuck in a routine it can be hard to break free, and in some cases lead to depression. If you live in a country of unrest, or taxes are too high, or you’re sick of the bad weather, there are hundreds of other countries out there. Find one (or several!) that suit you.

Earning Money While Traveling

It’s understandably harder to do this if you’re working in-house, but if you’re already freelancing, then you’re not too far off from being a digital nomad. It’s always worth checking with your employer, though; remember, they too can save money by having you work remotely. If not, then look for a new employer who understands how the modern world works. Remote OK is a terrific website to start with (also check out our roundup of The 10 Best Sites for Landing a Remote Job).

Writing About Design

It’s not only designers and developers; writers, entrepreneurs, lawyers, accountants - even Creative Market sellers can be digital nomads. If you’re nervous about taking the leap, remember this: you will always be able to find work as a design writer. What are your favourite design-related blogs? SitePoint, Designmodo, Web Designer Depot and of course Creative Market (to name a few) are always on the lookout for new authors. You already have the knowledge, so why not share it with the community?

Saving Money While Traveling

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When you first start to research being a digital nomad, the costs of it all can be overwhelming. You need to know where to look. Nomad List should be your one-stop-shop for finding out the cost of living in numerous locations around the world. Once something has tickled your fancy, take a look on AirBnb for accommodation. It’s usually cheaper than staying in hotels or hostels, and definitely cheaper if you book for 28 days or more.

When that’s settled, try using Skyscanner to find the cheapest available flight to that destination. Booking in advance usually saves you a ton of money. Tip: search by “Cheapest Month”.

Last but not least, eat like a local. Western food, for example, is costly in non-Western locations. This advice applies to wherever you’re traveling. I suppose this one is sort of a no-brainer; after all, you’re looking for new experiences as a digital nomad, right?

Conclusion

Being a digital nomad is not for everyone. We all live in different circumstances and that’s understandable. But if you could open yourself up to the fact the anything can happen if you really try, you’d be surprised at how close you are to becoming more free. Many nomads travel with their wives, children, even animals and serious illnesses.

If you have any questions about being a digital nomad, ask them in the Nomad Forum or ask me in the comments below. Personal questions are welcome.

Other Useful Tools

  1. Hashtag Nomad: a huge community of nomads in a Slack Chat. Not free, but well worth the money.

  2. Duolingo: a free and highly-rated app (web, android and iOS) for learning new languages.

  3. Product Hunt: a curated list of nomad tools by Irving Torres.


Daniel is a designer/developer currently traveling the world with his wife, experiencing the best of the nomadic world. He's also the founder, curator and editor of Airwalk Design, creative director of Airwalk Studios and lover of Sketch App.

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Daniel Schwarz

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I'm a designer and digital nomad. I started a content company called Airwalk Studios—I'm co-editor of design at SitePoint, writer at Creative Market and .net Magazine and 4x author. Currently selling .sketch resources and unedited photography at Creative Market.

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