Does wanderlust consume you? For the average worker, the desire to travel is only satisfied once a year when they take their allotted 40 hours of paid vacation. They dream all year of digging their toes into white sandy beaches or lounging on the dock at a clear mountain lake.
Travel doesn’t need to be a dream, nor does it have to occur on someone else’s schedule. You can live the nomad life and work from anywhere!
If it sounds enticing, but you’re not sure where to start, don’t stress. We’ll show you how to live the digital nomad lifestyle in a few simple steps. Read today’s post, and explore what it takes to live the nomad lifestyle successfully.
Get Me Out of This Cubicle
Many people spend their lives wishing they could walk into work singing the 1977 country hit single made famous by Johnny Paycheck. Okay, maybe you don’t sing songs from the 1970s, but you can still share the sentiment.
If you’re one of the 40 million people in North America who live most of their workday in a cubicle, you’re an excellent candidate for the digital nomad lifestyle. Cube life can take a toll on your life, but if you play your cards right, you can escape!
We get it. Not everyone wants freedom from punching the old time clock or sitting through the daily meetings with the team. It’s okay to stay put and put in your hours.
However, if you can’t tame the desire to travel with your two-week vacations and feel ready to jump into the nomad life, spend some time figuring out why.
The drive to escape from your cube is a start, but you’ll need more than that if you want this adventure to be successful.
What Is Your Why?
People who choose the life of a digital nomad do it for a variety of reasons. Some people have a constant itch to see the world. It’s one reason why people choose a life that the rest of the world thinks is a little crazy.
There’s a whole group of people who are rebelling against the new normal. They’re tired of spending over half of their income on either rent or a mortgage. Instead, they take life on the road, and save money by coliving, staying in hostels, living short-term with friends, or moving into an RV.
Have you heard of the minimalist movement?
Less stuff and more experiences. Those two concepts build the foundation for a minimalist lifestyle. When you have fewer belongings, you can quickly adapt to a mobile lifestyle.
Your why might sound like one or all of these. The essential thing is to figure out why you want to live the nomad life. It will help you stay the course, especially on those days when everyone in your life questions your sanity.
Financial Considerations for the Nomadically Minded Person
When you look around at people working remotely—which is one common denominator in the digital nomad world—you’re looking at employees, independent contractors, freelancers, and those who consider themselves self-employed.
Each of these categories of digital workers has unique things they must think about when it comes to money.
Your main concern is how your employer deposits your check and how you pay your bills if you’re an employee. Freelancers and independent contractors know that they need to generate enough work to cover their expenses.
The self-employed nomad typically runs their own business, which means they bear the responsibility for the financial health of both their personal and business financial health.
They all need to create a nomadic budget, including paying taxes, healthcare insurance, social security and Medicare payments, and retirement savings. Beyond those big picture expenses, budgets also must include the cost of daily life.
What will you allocate each month for the basics?
- Cell and Internet Service
- Personal Hygiene
If you decide to live the nomad life in an RV or a van, you’ll need to budget for maintenance, fuel, propane, and camping and parking fees.
You can’t just start this life willy-nilly without knowing how much money you have in savings and how much you’ll need to live. Creating a budget keeps you on track, and without it, your digital nomad dream could die an early death.
Get Out Of Debt
Unless you’re one of those individuals trying to escape not from a cubicle but collection agencies, you likely understand why starting the nomadic lifestyle bogged down with debt isn’t a great idea.
Debt hangs over your head and distracts you from enjoying your new life.
Pay down as much of your debt as possible before you head off to your fantasy island. Get rid of credit card debt, your car payment, and any other expense that detracts from living life without worrying about finances.
Getting out of debt means staying out of debt. You can accomplish both by eliminating unnecessary expenses. Next, we’ll talk about filling your pack with the right tools, but that doesn’t mean overpacking it with things that sound fun but aren’t necessities.
Another tip will help you stick to your budget and keep you from accruing debt. Here it is: limit your monthly expenses. Maybe for you, that means cutting off your online move subscription or your daily coffee jag at high-end cafes (no, we’re not judgy, just trying to help).
Fill Your Pack with the Right Tools
As you can imagine, location-independent people use a wide range of tools to help them travel the world and keep up with work. You’ll want to give strong consideration to the following digital nomad tools:
First, this is not the backpack that carried you through high school or even college. Find a pack that can play the role of a day bag, carry-on, and laptop case.
A laptop is the most critical tool for a digital nomad. Choosing the right laptop for remote work means you’ll need a combination of performance, weight, and battery duration. Read more about the different laptop options perfect for your independent lifestyle.
You can have the best laptop in the world, but if you can’t get access to reliable internet, trying to get any work done on it will feel futile. It’s part of the nomad gig—terrible WIFI. A global hotspot ensures you can connect anywhere at any time.
Once you secure the essential tools, you can have fun sourcing things like VPN service, productivity planners, money transfer service, and a whole wide world of apps popular for digital nomads.
Finding The Right Balance
Work-life balance isn’t a buzzword. It’s a real-life concept that can make or break your physical and mental health.
In the traditional work environment, many companies try to provide employees with a healthy balance between their work and personal lives. When you travel around the world living the nomad life, it’s up to you to create the balance.
Working from the beach sounds fantastic, but it still works. You’re not disconnected just because you can hear the roar of the surf and have a stunning view of the sunset. The lines between work and fun often get blurred for work-from-anywhere people.
If you find yourself stuck in front of your computer screen long after the sun sets, you’re not getting the whole digital nomad life experience.
Start by making a list of what you need to complete each day. Stick to the schedule and set time limits for each project. You may need to silence your phone and stay off of social media while you work.
Schedule time for exploring and getting together with friends. Remember your why—if you let your work snuff out the dream, then you might as well stay in your cubicle.
Find Your Tribe
One of the hardest things for many people transitioning from a traditional to a nomadic lifestyle is finding a community. Whether you’re working remotely for your employer, diving into freelance work or you’ve decided to start a business, you need to have like-minded people in your life.
Remember, if you’ve talked your employer into allowing you to work from anywhere, it’s unlikely that every person on your team lives the nomad life. While the rest of the group still meets for after-work socializing, you head for the beach.
While solitude has its merits, you don’t want to spend every moment alone.
Connecting with others in the digital nomad community comes with several benefits. You’ll find support from people living the same lifestyle. Often people in your community will know about job opportunities or places where you can live.
Start by joining a few online groups. At first, you might feel like you’re way out of your comfort zone, but finding your tribe is one more way you can enjoy success living the digital nomad life.
Ready to Live the Digital Nomad Lifestyle?
Whether your dream is to escape the constraints of working in a cubicle, pursue a work-from-anywhere career, or see the world on your schedule, you’ll find success in the nomadic lifestyle if you plan well.
If you’re ready to join the 7.9 million and growing group of people living the digital nomad lifestyle, you’ll need resources. Check out the other articles on our site for ideas and tools designed to help you enjoy your new life.