To work and travel.
If you’re like me or anybody else I know, you have definitely wished for that at least once. You could be tired of the normal, the daily routines, the set schedules. Travel could have been your desire since you could dream. Whatever it may be, if you’re searching for an answer, you’ve come to the right place.
It may even have sounded very unorthodox a few years back but right now being a digital nomad seems to be the answer. And on the plus side, digital nomad jobs seem to be increasing every day.
So, who or what is a digital nomad?
Digital nomads are those who work remotely and use that flexibility to travel the world.
If you’ve been wondering if it’s the right course for you, I think you’ll figure out an answer by the end of this post. I’ve been really considering that lifestyle and I found out something very interesting. The whole concept has a completely balanced list of pros and cons. So, I went ahead and tried to find out as much as I could about it.
That’s the first thing to do, by the way.
Find out if it’s right for you
Obviously, that’s a no brainer. I know the idea is very appealing, but you need to know the facts before you get into it. Not trying to talk you out of it but the job has got a lot of both positives and negatives.
My lifelong dream has been to travel the world at no additional expense to me or my family. And that’s what I did first too. Found out if it’s right for me or not.
So, before getting into it, let’s look into this small list I have made so that you know exactly what you’re doing.
The advantages of the digital nomad life of course include:
- Location independence: You’re not bound to any place. The world becomes your home. You can adapt to any situation and be comfortable anywhere.
- Experience: It’s a world of tests and trials, of dreams and stories. You learn so much out there. Each day of yours is an adventure.
- Freedom: There is that exhilarating sense of freedom which comes hand in hand with all that independence. You realize you can do anything you want, whenever you want, wherever you want.
- Work flexibility: You choose your work and you do what you love so it doesn’t seem like work anymore. You can choose your schedules.
But yeah there are disadvantages too. For example, some of the disadvantages to digital nomads include:
- No social life: You never stick in any place long enough to build permanent connections. You can’t possibly maintain relationships.
- Technical problems: All places will not have great Wi-fi and conditions suitable for working well. And you will have to adjust according to that.
- FOMO: Fear of missing out. You are never there for the important events in your family’s lives. Nor are you ever there for your friends. You are always on the road and the most you can do is listen to how much fun they had or how much difficulty they overcame when you weren’t there.
- Unstable income and retirement: Unless you’re continuing to work as an employee in some company, you never have a steady income. You don’t know how long you can go on nor how much you can earn for sure. And you have to certainly plan your own retirement.
The next thing you will have to do is find stability.
Find a source of income
Yup, again another easy one, and yet it’s a commonly forgotten one. You have to get out there and find some work that you can do remotely. And this is something you need to do before you go ahead and make travel plans or quit your present job.
Yes, please don’t do something harsh like that. Find something that sparks up your interest so that it doesn’t seem like you’re at work but on vacation. Find something that gives you flexibility.
There are companies out there now which will let you in as a remote worker now, which welcome digital nomads. So, you could choose to do that. You could always ask your current employer to let you work remotely. Another thing you could do is become a freelancer.
It might take a bit of time and hard work but following your heart always pays off, doesn’t it?
Blogging on a niche that appeals to you very well, is certainly an option. Sure, you’ll have to keep at it for some time with all dedication but it’s worth it. You wouldn’t even need any more skills than you already possess so that shouldn’t worry you.
So yes, getting travel insurance is very important. You can go travel the world without travel insurance of course. But you don’t need me to say that it would be very irresponsible of you.
And you do not want to pay more than you need to in some foreign hospital overseas or be forced to pay more than you need for broken equipment without which you cannot carry on.
We have in detail written a post on travel insurances out there, their pros and cons, and everything you need to know about them before getting one.
As for banking, you need to plan that carefully too. Check for a bank that would allow you to withdraw funds in any part of the world. Being a digital nomad, that is indeed a must. Check for something that wouldn’t add unnecessary expenses. Also, app-based bank accounts are the best.
And there are good banks in each part of the world. It really varies according to where you live. One thing to do without fail is to inform these banks that you would be traveling so they wouldn’t block your card for any suspicious activities.
- For US residents. HSBC or Citibank seems to have a lot of recommendations.
- For those of you who live in European countries, N26 seems to be the best hands down.
- Citibank has also quite a good standing with Australian nomads.
- Vijaya Bank Global Chip Card seems to work well for Indians. HDFC and ICICI work well too but they do charge transaction fees.
Planning, Planning and Planning
You wouldn’t believe the amount of planning you would need to do just before you set out. But there’s a bonus for sure. After you set out, then that’s it. You live that life you’ve always dreamed of. And when I say planning, you wouldn’t need to plan out every single detail of your trip because that never works out anyway.
Plus, you’re here to get away from all those normal schedules. You’re bound to have many detours. But a rough sketch would help you have a direction. And and and… this is the part where you get to decide the countries and places you would be visiting. If this part isn’t fun, I don’t know what would be.
- One particular area to keep in mind: the tourist laws in a country.
- Passport validity is another thing to confirm.
- Check if you need visas. Inspect if you would be able to acquire visas on arrival or if you would need to book them in advance.
- Look into how long you can stay in each place, after which you might need to pay taxes.
- Study for the additional vaccinations you might need to take before leaving.
- Get an international driving license.
- Change addresses wherever you deem necessary.
- Always have copies of important documents like your birth certificate, marriage certificates, flight tickets, visas, health insurance and international driving license if you have it.
And one thing you must definitely do is save up some money for at least a couple of months. And yes, try to clear your debts before leaving. Get out of any memberships, subscriptions, anything that ties you down. And then you would have to save up enough money for a couple of things actually.
- Flight tickets
- Accommodation: Try to house sit because that seems to be the best option. There are other cheap accommodations too like Airbnb and you can find them in most countries.
- Local SIM cards
- Data protection: A VPN would be important because you are going to be easily exposed to hackers and scammers over public Wi-Fi connections.
- Other basic necessities: These may be covered with your accommodation expenses but it’s always good to make a double check.
- Recreational Expenses
- Emergency funds: It’s always better to be safe than sorry right.
You always need to keep a lookout for tax issues. You will need to find out if you would have to continue paying taxes in your country and you would also have to check if you would be expected to pay taxes in the country you’re going to. It would be really helpful if you had an advisor but that’s not absolutely necessary of course.
You must know this part already. You need to pack less. I know it’s tempting to add so many more things, but it must be done, my friend. So, these are things that I believe are the most important things to take on your trip.
- Laptop: In this particular case, always do keep the weight in mind too.
- Smartphone: Get a good one with good storage and a good international plan
- Charging cables (of course)
- Bag: Get a smaller one than what you think you would need. Trust me on that.
- Clothing: Comfortable clothing is always preferred. Clothing that would enable you to hike or trek easily. One or two fancy pieces of clothing. You could accompany those with some fancy shoes as well. (You never know.) Shoes as well as sandals, socks, underwear and swimsuits.
- Sunscreen and other skincare
- Hairbrushes (and other hair accessories, if needed)
- Toiletry kit
- Water bottles
- External battery chargers
- External storage devices
- Global hotspots: Skyroam is the best around as well as the most recommended.
- Universal plug adapters
- Headphones: Noise cancelling ones would be the best option.
- A small notebook and pens
- Medical Kit: Basic painkillers, first aid and other personal medications
Now if you aren’t the type of person who would like to be alone and constantly on the run for friends, then joining digital nomad programs might be right for you. According to my research, Remote Year is one of the best and most popular digital programs out there.
But you should definitely look into more before settling on one. You can book reservations in co-working and co-living spaces with other digital nomads. Also, you might not have control over your schedule and sometimes it’s more expensive than you would expect, but you can easily find one that suits you well.
You can also join groups on social media especially for digital nomads. Social media, like Facebook in particular, does make it easier for you to find both friends among digital nomads and further advice. You can also comment below asking for advice and I would try to answer it the best I could.
Worth A Shot
If you have stayed with me so far, I know for sure that either you have already made the decision or you’re really considering taking the chances. And in all honesty, it’s a wonderful decision. I should know because I have made that decision myself.
I know I have given you enough caution so now I must say, some things in life are definitely worth a shot. If you feel that this is one of those things, go for it!