In a world full of remote work, there’s less tying us to a specific physical location than ever before. Not only does this new dynamic give you the freedom to create your own schedule, but it also makes it possible to base yourself almost anywhere in the world. Picking up and moving to a far-flung destination has never been easier because of the ability to become a digital nomad.
With that being said, a sound strategy is necessary for making a smooth transition. By taking a few simple steps, you’ll set yourself up for an effective career as a true digital nomad.
Find a Job That Provides Consistent Remote Work
Moving abroad and then looking for virtual work isn’t always the best idea. While there are plenty of remote opportunities out there, you can’t be sure you’ll find one in time to support your nomadic lifestyle. The responsible plan is to secure a remote source of income before moving abroad.
Developing a remote career requires patience and commitment. If it were as simple as responding to a Craigslist ad and typing away, everyone would be doing it. Most digital nomads start by asking themselves what they’re good at. Once you’ve identified or honed a marketable skill, you can look for opportunities that match your talents. Common jobs include teaching English, freelance writing, and graphic design.
Make Sure You’ve Got The Technology You Need
Even if you’ve already got the laptop you’ll use for work, there are other tech-related questions that a digital nomad must consider. For one thing, you’ll need a cell phone to communicate with clients (not to mention friends and family back home). Your current service might not work in a different country, or it could result in astronomical roaming costs. Do some research to decide whether you should switch to a different American plan or simply buy a new phone when you reach your destination. The best option will depend on the region you’re visiting.
A travel adapter for chargers is another necessary purchase, allowing you to recharge your devices immediately upon arrival. If your job involves video calls, you should also invest in a headset to work effectively in noisy environments.
Pick Destinations With Reliable Internet
You’re hardly alone if you’re dreaming of some remote island paradise surrounded by nothing but tropical birds and lazy rivers. Unfortunately, living too far off the beaten track is impossible for a digital nomad. Your entire livelihood will depend on having a reliable internet connection. The moment you step off the grid, you cut yourself off from what’s funding your journey.
Plenty of amazing places in the world combine beauty and culture with excellent internet. Most hostels, hotels, and apartments have decent enough wifi for connecting to the web. Just make sure you keep your job’s specific needs in mind. For writers and designers, a spotty connection might be okay, but if you need to use video conferencing software, then you can’t afford constant breakups. That’s why it’s always best to read reviews and do some research before selecting a destination.
Up Your Productivity Game
Wherever you travel, you’ll be surrounded by beautiful places and exciting opportunities. If you’re staying in hotels or hostels, most of your neighbors will be dedicating themselves entirely to having a good time. Despite the festive environment, you’ll have to buckle down and do your work.
A digital nomad must be especially adept at fighting off distractions. Before you leave, train yourself to be as productive as possible. Find what it takes to get into a flow state. If necessary, invest in noise-canceling headphones. With a sturdy sense of discipline, you’ll be able to complete your work as quickly as possible – and give yourself more time to have fun.
Recognize That The Nomadic Lifestyle Isn’t Always Easy
The life of a digital nomad sounds exotic, adventurous, and exciting – and oftentimes it really is. All the same, you should keep in mind that the fun and excitement comes with plenty of frustration. An unexpected power outage can interrupt a project just before a deadline. A quiet cafe can fill with rowdy tourists in the middle of an important call. Your client list can suddenly shrivel, forcing you to book a flight home sooner than you had expected.
But even with the many associated hassles, traveling while working is a remarkable opportunity – and we’re lucky to live in the digital age that makes it all possible. With nothing but a laptop, marketable skills, and a willingness to learn, you can make a living while experiencing new things each and every day. It might not be easy, but it’s always worth the effort. After all, there’s an entire world out there just waiting to be explored.
About the Author: Ben Clabault is a freelance writer from Sandwich, Massachusetts. He has spent much of his adult life traveling through Latin America, and he currently lives with his fiance in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala. His areas of expertise include travel, marketing, SaaS, and global cultures. You can find his work on Copyfolio and reach out to him on LinkedIn.