11 Feb What Is A Digital Nomad?
I first stumbled upon the relatively new concept of “digital nomads” by reading blogs when we were in Peace Corps and was instantly fascinated. After we completed our volunteer service, we spent the remaining 8 months of 2014 testing out the digital nomad lifestyle for ourselves. Eventually, we deemed that initial experiment a success. Today, the term “digital nomad” is one of the best ways to describe this unconventional life of ours.
A Digital Nomad uses online (or “digital”) tools to work from wherever they choose. This kind of work has also been referred to as “location independent.”
Digital nomads are individuals that leverage wireless digital technologies to perform their work duties, and more generally conduct their lifestyle in a nomadic manner. Such workers typically work remotely—from home, coffee shops, public libraries and even from recreational vehicles to accomplish tasks and goals that used to traditionally take place in a single stationary workplace. -Wikipedia
Different Types of Digital Nomads
- Freelancers who write, code, coach, run social media campaigns, etc. for their clients online
- Professionals who provide online/remote services including things like legal help, accounting, or even counseling
- Entrepreneurs who manage their team using online tools
- Employees who work remotely within a more traditional company
- People who create and sell digital products like e-books, guides, online subscription services, etc.
- And sometime it’s a combination of the above
Our Favorite Benefits of Being Digital Nomads
- More freedom to follow our own life script, for life to look more and more the way we want it to
- No more commuting in traffic and wearing uncomfortable work clothes
- Typically there’s more freedom to create your own work schedule – no more 9 to 5
- Fewer bills and less need for material things, so we have more money to spend on experiences
- Less opportunity to accumulate and get bogged down by tons of extra “stuff”
- Experiencing new places – variety keeps life interesting
- Ability to save money by living in places with lower cost of living
A Digital Nomad is not on vacation!
One of the biggest (and most disappointing) misconceptions we come across when people hear about our lifestyle is the perception that we’re on a near-constant vacation. There are two misconceptions behind this:
- People tend to equate travel with spendy vacations. Yes, we spend a lot of time away from our “hometown” but we do so much more slowly than vacationers. Actually, we spend (significantly) less per month as digital nomads than we did when we had “normal jobs” and rented an apartment in Portland. We rarely stay in hotels, rather we visit friends and family, house-sit, or do long-term apartment rentals. Also, we get free international flights through our travel hacking hobby. Not to mention that everywhere we go, we continue to work and earn money!
- People tend to equate travel with not working. Whether we’re living abroad or in Oregon, our “schedules” are often pretty similar – only the scenery changes. We exercise in the morning, work for a few hours, eat, go for a walk or see something new, work for a few more hours, eat, sleep, rinse, repeat. Our “weekends” happen whichever days we want them to. We don’t have to pack all our sight-seeing into one week because we can stay put for longer periods of time. When we say that we travel, it really looks different than the typical travel most folks are used to.
Resources for Future Digital Nomads
If you’re thinking about becoming a digital nomad or just want to learn more, here are a few recommendations where you can find more resources.
(Disclosure: Some of these are affiliate links. Of course, you are not obliged to make a purchase. We do earn commission on any purchases you make through our links, at no additional cost to you.)
Working On The Road by Unconventional Guides
- Gain access to tools and resources (many of them free!) that will make life much easier when working abroad
- Avoid trading one rat race for another: how to ensure that you enjoy your new lifestyle without simply transferring the stress and overwork
- Get primed on everything you need to know for insurance, visas, bank accounts, phone service, WiFi, and all other important logistics
- Plan the budget that works for you, based on detailed budgets consisting of actual costs that several professional nomads compiled over many years
- Master the art of free accommodation (Nora paid just $1,718 for an entire year’s worth of accommodation, and she’ll show you the complete breakdown of costs)
“Mish Slade has spent three years as a “digital nomad” – running her businesses from over 20 different countries, and blogging about the experience on makingitanywhere.com. She travels with nothing but a backpack (and her husband), and has travel down to the finest of arts – yet still can’t quite be trusted not to make jokes while going through security.”
Digital Nomads We’ve Interviewed
Ditching Suburbia – Family living out of an RV around the States
Intrepid Freelancer – Photographer who lives part-time in Seattle and travels often
Travel Life Experiences – Former corporate couple now traveling full time and doing video projects
Creatives in Transit – Graphic designer/programmer couple who have lived internationally
Feel free to drop us a note in the comments below if you have any questions about the Digital Nomad life. We may not be experts but we can probably point you in the right direction!
Get our best tips and resources for transformational travel
Subscribe now to get our free Checklist for International Travel, plus other exclusive content about how to travel more, save money, and enjoy transformational experiences around the world.