Want To Become A Digital Nomad? Do This Now
So, you want to become a digital nomad? It’s a dream worth dreaming: traveling the world while working online.
And, for many people, it’s not just a dream. It’s our reality. For me personally, it took months of research and inspiration to believe that it was actually possible for me to become a digital nomad.
The digital nomad lifestyle is challenging, exhilarating, and above all: totally worth it. I talk more about the challenges you face when you become a digital nomad in this blog post here: 6 Things No One Tells You About The Digital Nomad Lifestyle.
No matter what your situation is now, you can do these 4 things right now if you want to become a digital nomad someday.
4 Things To Do Now If You Want To Become A Digital Nomad
1. start deflating your lifestyle today (AKA lifestyle deflation)
Have you heard the term lifestyle inflation? It’s where you make more money, and therefore you spend more money. Well, the habit of lifestyle deflation will help you deflate your lifestyle.
It’s not a necessity for everyone. Not all digital nomads are broke. In fact, when you do finally become a digital nomad, you’ll meet quite a few that are loaded.
Some people own their own companies. Others are highly-paid consultants. There’s as much variation as there is in any other demographic.
They exist, but they’re not the majority. Most of us will have to budget to keep traveling. There will be days where we can’t do certain excursions or have to say no to a happy hour because it’s not in the budget for the week.
You can prepare for this now by lowering your daily expenses. Simplify your life and spend money intentionally.
Here are a few no-brainer ways to reduce your outgoing money:
- Do a grocery budget. A cash budget is a system that my husband and I use, and most weeks we have to squeeeeze by. This means that we would’ve spent more, oftentimes way more, without our cash system.
- Unsubscribe from promotional emails. Even if you still like the company. Even if you may want to buy something from them down the road. Don’t allow them to come into your inbox and convince you that you HAVE to take advantage of their swimsuit sale.
- Look at your bank account and see where your money goes. You may be paying for things that you didn’t even remember signing up for. In fact, I think some online platforms even bank on that.
- Initiate spending freezes. For instance, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays you don’t spend any money. This means no money on groceries, gas or shopping. You have to plan and think about what you need the day before a no-spend day.
You’ll be more emotionally prepared for when you become a digital nomad, and can also put saved money into savings.
2. Stop buying new things
Halting your accumulation of stuff is about much more than just saving money. It’s about being lighter, having easier lift-offs, living less attached to material things.
Moving becomes much less of a chore when you have minimal things. You’re also able to say yes to opportunities like house sitting in Hawaii, joining a sailing crew or buying and moving into a cheap van that you find on Craigslist.
Having loads of stuff isn’t harmonious with the digital nomad lifestyle. If you want to become a digital nomad, you should develop the muscle of only keeping what matters.
That doesn’t mean that you have to go donate everything in your apartment, but ask yourself how buying more stuff fits into the lifestyle of freedom that you’re dreaming of.
Plus, buying things is costing you money (point #1).
Exceptions to this would include travel gear, if you don’t already have it. I have a blog post on digital nomad gear that you should consider taking: Digital Nomad Gear That Will Help Keep Your Career Going While You Travel.
3. Develop your marketable skills
If you want to become a digital nomad, you are going to be relying on digital skillz for your income.
There’s endless opportunity to make money online: teaching your native language, teaching really anything for that matter, writing, helping people with social media.
You could even start a blog, start answering people’s questions about the online world and then have them hire you to help them! That’s how I got here.
The list goes on! And of course, you don’t need an off-the-wall remote job. You could even just ask your boss if you can do you regular job remotely. That’s never off the table, especially after covid drove many people into their home offices (aka: to their couches).
Whatever your work situation is: even run-of-the-mill career tasks like redesigning your resume and preparing for an interview can, and SHOULD be improved from time to time.
I use the following resources to help me learn and keep developing my skills:
- YouTube: I learned how to do most of the technical stuff for my blog from YouTube tutorials
- Blogs: blogs are a great place to learn! You’re here learning right now *we cheers our coffee cups.* You should subscribe to useful blogger’s email lists, which is likely where they share their best tips anyway. My email list is where I share the juicy and meatiest tips. You can sign up here if you haven’t already!
- Skillshare: YouTube and blogs will help you answer questions and give how-tos, but for entire courses, Skillshare is your friend. It’s an online learning platform
Even though they’re simple and available to everyone, these are honestly some of the best online business tools out there.
4. Become crazy organized
When everything you need to live and work is being carried on your back, you don’t have a lot of wiggle room. Like, say, carrying 3 backup charging cords or a couple of extra pairs of ear pods.
You also can’t afford to lose electronic things, like files, passwords, client documents. The list goes on.
Work this skill now, before you become a digital nomad, because it will surely come to bite you if you don’t master it.
Becoming crazy organized in the digital space looks like…
- Naming all of your files correctly and storing them in the proper place
- Backing up your work appropriately to the cloud
- Automating as much of your work as possible
In the physical space, being organized enough to become a digital nomad looks like…
- Having minimal amounts of stuff to begin with
- Having a specific place for every item, and putting it there
- When you do hit the road: protecting everything appropriately (cases, waterproof sacks to put things ins, etc) – I really dig into this deeper in my blog post on digital nomad gear
If you can’t be organized at home under normal circumstances, then you’re going to be in for a big headache when you hit the road.
It doesn’t mean that you won’t make it as a digital nomad, but you will learn this skill the hard and expensive way.
Where are you in your journey to freedom? Wherever you’re at, following these 4 steps will help you become a digital nomad.
These are all timeless life skills that will help you no matter what lifestyle you pursue.