How To Become A Digital Nomad
Boredom and frustration are the two words that best describe your life. You wake up, drive to work, and deal all day with people you don’t particular care for and work that has never once challenged you; all the while hoping for a promotion that you know you deserve but will never get.
Life in the high-end service sector no longer has the edginess and energy it once had. The fields of law, design, finance, engineering, and consultancy have become so crowded that it is hard for new entrants—even those who have graduated from the best schools—to find outlets for their talents and to get opportunities that will allow them to advance quickly. Most junior and mid-level executives spend their days on rather dreary and uninteresting tasks and finish them in an equally mundane and predictable home life.
A growing tribe of young professionals have decided to give up this futile and soul-sapping lifestyle to become digital nomads. A digital nomad is someone who roams from city to city whilst working virtually. Only in this new age of near worldwide Internet connectivity is such a thing possible. Many people are doing it; and if your career is not going the way you envisioned, you should think of doing it as well.
Of course, it is much easier to become a digital nomad if you don’t have familial or financial ties to your present location. A wife, mortgage, and children can make leaving hard to do. If it is just you and your wife or girlfriend living in an apartment, then it may be possible for both of you to uproot yourselves and become nomads—that is, if she is as unhappy with her job as you are with yours.
Once you’ve assessed the feasibility of leaving, there is the matter of transitioning to the online world of work. There is a tremendous amount of work available online in nearly every field. The job you get may not pay as much as a salaried position; but if you have made up your mind that you want to stop wasting your life away in a cubicle and start living it as a never-ending adventure, then the pay cut won’t be a problem.
Indeed, going nomadic will rid you of your most expensive obligations: no big-apartment rent; no car, utility, and dry cleaning bills. You will be able to scale down your monthly expenses and pay only for food, a small room, and a few daily entertainments.
The amount of money you will need to earn will depend on the cities you decide to live in. Phuket, Thailand, Davao, Philippines, Siem Reap, Cambodia, Prague, Czech Republic, and Zagreb, Croatia are among the least expensive places to live as a digital nomad. You can live well in any of these cities for just over $1000. Destinations such as Vancouver, Canada and Porto, Portugal will cost you double that amount.
There are two approaches to becoming a digital nomad. If you are in a position to save up a large store of money, then you may be able to start in more expensive cities such as Paris or Rome. Your resources will dwindle fast and you will probably have to migrate somewhere less costly within a few months. But by then, you will be in a more stable position workwise, which will give you the means to do even more traveling and sightseeing in the city you eventually move to. The second approach is to do the opposite of the first. Save up, start somewhere cheap, build up your reserves, and then spend a couple of years bouncing around Europe or South America.
Wherever you go you should make sure of the Internet connectivity. It can be unreliable even in first world countries. The cities I mentioned above are popular among digital nomads because they have exceptionally good Internet service.
If you are ready to live a more vibrant and fulfilling life while still making money, then digital nomadism may be just the thing for you.
About Christopher Reid Chris was born in Washington, D.C. and lives in Britain. He works as a blogger, essayist, and novelist. His first book, Tea with Maureen, has just been published.