The thought of working on the beach has always been a pipedream for many people. That is until 21st-century technology suddenly made it a reality. By 2018, as much as 70% of the global workforce worked remotely at least once a week; the percentage has only grown. This makes the luxury of setting up your office on the sand — something that was once an exclusivity for the hyper-successful — suddenly accessible to nearly anyone with an itch for the adventurous.
If you love to travel and you’ve been trying to think of how you can spend more time on the move, you may want to consider shifting your work career by adopting the lifestyle of a digital nomad.
What is a digital nomad?
A digital nomad is a remote worker who is free to travel to whatever location they’d like to as they work. This enables them to work in an office in New York City, from the comfort of a home in New Jersey, in a coffee shop in Manhattan, or even on a beach in Portugal.
The remote nature of a digital nomad lifestyle is the fact that you can fully indulge in your traveling adventures without worrying about your professional life holding you back.
Tips for adopting a digital nomad lifestyle
While a digital nomad lifestyle is perfectly attainable two decades into the 21st-century, that doesn’t mean it can be embraced without the need for a little effort. Here are some tips and tricks to help you successfully transition into the life of a digital nomad.
Choose the right field
The first thing you want to do as a digital nomad is to pick your profession carefully. While “working on the beach” may invoke images of writers, bloggers, and website designers typing away on their computers, there are actually many different remote jobs that can enable a digital nomad lifestyle, such as:
- Graphic design
- Customer service
- Computer programming
- Travel nursing – think Doctors without Borders
- Data entry
- Web development
Once you’ve settled on an industry that you want to work in, it’s important to look for the avenues through which you can get remote jobs on a regular basis. For instance, many mainstream job sites, like Indeed and Glassdoor, have remote work listings. In addition, you can go to websites like Flexjobs and Working Nomads that are specifically geared towards the digital nomad lifestyle.
Equip yourself with the right tools
Choosing your line of business is an important first step. Once you have oriented yourself towards a particular industry, it’s important to equip yourself to succeed within it. For example, if you’re going to be a freelance writer, it’s important that you get:
- A good laptop
- A phone with a hot spot connection
- Grammarly for word editing
- An account on a video chat platform like Zoom or Skype and a professional work email for correspondence
Each job will require different tools to succeed. Make sure to research what you need and then get comfortable with your equipment before you hit the beaches.
A digital nomad lifestyle may sound alluring in theory, but if you approach it haphazardly you can quickly feel overwhelmed. Moving at any time can be a stressful situation that involves time pressure, constant relocation, a variety of weighty decisions, and a strain on your finances.
In order to streamline your new lifestyle, consider adopting a minimalist mindset. Only keep items in your luggage that bring you joy or serve a purpose. This will help you stay limber and ready to adapt to any situation that may arise throughout your travels — all while remaining ready to work in whatever circumstances you may find yourself.
Build a solid network
Finally, remember to build a solid network of professional peers. You may think since you’ll be traveling, you hardly need to worry about staying in connection with others in your field. However, you will still be very much so present to your professional network in a virtual sense.
With that said, it’s important that you cultivate and grow your network throughout your travels. This can be critical at times, as it gives you a support system that you can lean on when you’re struggling with a professional issue while working in isolation.
Embracing the digital nomad lifestyle
Chances are, you’re currently considering how to make your travel plans and get from one location to another safely in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As you weigh your options, it may be worthwhile to really address the pros and cons of spending some time as a digital nomad.
If you truly feel a calling to be on the road as often as possible, the ability to take your work with you can remove what is, arguably, the largest obstacle to your desires. By keeping your job by your side, you can work remotely from nearly anywhere on the planet, all while simultaneously scratching that wandering itch for adventure.
About the Author:
Jori Hamilton is a writer from the Pacific Northwest who has a particular interest in social justice, politics, education, healthcare, technology, and more. You can follow her on Twitter @ HamiltonJori.