There are so many types of digital nomads that it’s actually hard to come up with just one description. However, what they all have in common is that they spend at least a few months of the year abroad, change their destinations frequently (usually every few weeks but can stay months), and earn a living while working online.
One thing you need to remember though is that the words ‘digital nomad’ and ‘location independent’ often get mixed up, but there is a huge difference. In reality, not every digital nomad makes enough money to be able to live and work anywhere in the world.
Digital nomads are individuals that leverage wireless digital technologies to perform their work duties, and more generally conduct their lifestyle in a nomadic manner.
While you’ll be fine running your business and enjoying a good quality of life as a digital nomad for less than a $1000 a month. Probably you’ll be restricted to low-cost of living countries and many other destinations which you’ll find on your destination list. You’ll need a lot more than that to become completely location independent and be able to run your business from places like Tokyo or São Paulo.
That’s why it’s a lot easier to become a digital nomad than location independent, which should always your ultimate goal.
The skills you need
You might think that you have no skills to work online but you’re probably wrong. Already knowing how to type and work with a computer could be enough to get you started and land you a simple remote job that could allow you to work from anywhere within a few weeks. It’s even better if you use some of your knowledge in other fields and combine them and that can be the biggest trade off when opting into this lifestyle and you can only decide for yourself if it’s worth the effort.
Before outlining some ways to become a digital nomad I’d also like to give you a few more ideas about the good things about it.
Enjoy a good quality of life for less money
One of the best things about being a digital nomad is that you don’t need to generate a lot of money to get started, well, except if you are a digital nomad family, like us. If you choose to spend your time in low-cost countries, you’ll be able to enjoy a great quality of life for around $1000 a month. You’ll have to work a lot harder and make a load more money to achieve the same quality of life in most western countries. Remember those numbers are individuals, imagining you are travelling alone. As a family, of 6, costs will increase. You can check our monthly and location budget here, where we break down our expenses.
Important step toward becoming location independent
As explained above there’s a big difference between location independence and being a digital nomad. However becoming a digital nomad can be a great step towards building a location independent business. That’s one reason why many people move to digital nomad hubs with a low cost of living like Bali or Chiang Mai. South Asia is on our list, but still a way to get there. These are great places meet other digital nomads, collaborate, and learn from each other.
Travel the world while working online
Finally, becoming a digital nomad allows you to travel the world. Once you’ve figured out how to stay productive you can reward yourself and go on work-vacations to many amazing countries around the world. Want to escape the winter in north hemisphere and learn to surf in south, or work from Brazil for a few months? You can do whatever your budget and workload allow you to do.
I hope this post has helped you gain a clearer picture of the possibilities of becoming a digital nomad. Living this lifestyle can be a truly life-changing experience, and you can get started way faster than you might have thought.
If you really want to work and travel the most important thing right now is to TAKE ACTION and start to work for that goal. If you take one step at a time and always keep in mind that your ultimate goal should be to not just become a digital nomad but create a 100% location independent business so you can return home whenever you want, you are going to have the time of your life.
The infrastructure is there and with the many remote work and freelance opportunities around it’s easier to start than ever before!
Got questions, or more tips for other digital nomads who want to get started? Let me know in comments.