The idea of a life devoted to traveling across the globe while making ends meet as a freelancer, or trying to own or help operate a larger business from as far as halfway across the world seems very daunting. And, in a way, it is.
But don’t get swept up in the intimidation. When you play by your situation carefully, it’s very possible to have a lucrative career while operating as a digital nomad. But the hard part often is how to even get started…
Building your skills, reputation… or even becoming an entrepreneur
Often times, it’s actually a lot more easy than people think. It generally takes a lot less time to prepare and be ready than many people assume. Once you’re able to accumulate a few relevant skills and a following of clients, or be in a place to comfortably and stably manage a business that you’ve already had…
Some people actually decide to try to create a startup as a way to do all of this. It’s risky, and most attempts do not succeed, but it is possible if it’s something you really are passionate about doing.
It only takes a bit of saved up cash to relocate and make a living from there. Much of that cash, in fact, can come from selling all of your unnecessary possessions and even your house!
...For some people, that’s understandably a little drastic. If ultimately selling you’re once home is a little bit too far for you, then there’s still likely hope that you’ll be able to save up by cutting out unnecessary daily expenses. With diligence, usually the cost of everyday life can go down somewhat -- and even if it’s only a little, little differences can add up.
Getting your foot in the door
Once you’ve actually made your plans and are ready to in fact go somewhere, sometimes that sheer amount of options can be overwhelming. When you can choose from practically anything… out of all of them, how could you possibly choose which one is right for you?
While it’s always advisable to follow your heart, as long as it’s reasonably stable and lucrative, a good idea would be to start out in a place with an already strong community of other nomads living and operating from. One of the most famous hubs for digital nomads currently is Chiang Mai, Thailand, with it’s low cost of living yet decent quality of life and relatively easy access to the internet. It’s become a very popular place among nomads, so it’s a great place to meet other people with the same goals as you, and possibly more experience that you can benefit from hearing for yourself face-to-face. Of course, there are other very popular areas, such as Bali, one of the many islands of Indonesia, and even Budapest, Hungary.
That all said, there’s a strong community of other nomads that are there to help each other. There are social media sites such as Nomad List that help explore options for cities and provides user-submitted ratings for each of them. There’s also couch-surfing networks to help people find places to stay -- there are also hostels and house-sitting arrangements that can get people through.
It’s hard to make that first step, but if you’re able to work up your skills and be diligent, it’s easier than you think to just jump right in.