Digital nomadism is a trending topic, and everyone seems to have an opinion. Some preach that digital nomadism is a myth, and others call it the new American Dream. There’s also a lingering “4 hour work-week” chant that, if taken too far, might have you believe that anyone can simply vacation permanently with little-to-no effort. As most people guess, reality lies somewhere between all of these extremes.
In fact, at its core, digital nomadism is simply a form of intentional living. Intentional living means that rather than following the path of least resistance, you’re consciously choosing where, when, and how to spend your time. Digital nomads just happen to spend it slowly traveling.
There are countless paths towards becoming an anywhere worker. But if you don’t want to spend the rest of your life in an office, then now is the time to start planning your escape. These are the general steps to smoothly transition from a traditional office job into working from anywhere:
1. Practice a mindset of learning.
“If you want to live a life you’ve never lived, you have to do things you’ve never done.” – Jen Sincero
Any new job, relationship, or phase of life brings you out of your comfort zone to some extent. Remote work does it to a great extent. You’ll be faced with unusual challenges, novelty, and unexpected difficulties. With a learning mentality, the challenges will feel less like a headache and more like an adventure you chose.
So, how can you adopt a learning mentality? Practice framing everything as a problem to be solved rather than a trial to endure. Look for lessons in what’s gone wrong. And, keep reminding yourself that you’re always iterating, changing things that don’t work, and progressing toward a better version of you.
2. Figure out a primary remote income stream.
Remote work has become popular enough that there’s no need to become an affiliate link blogger or a drop shipper (unless that’s your thing). At this point, there are a multitude of salaried positions and freelance gigs ready to be done remotely.
If you’re already in a position that lends itself to working remotely, you can usually work out a remote arrangement with your manager. Make sure you’re doing valuable work so that they’re very interested in negotiating to retain you. And if your manager is lukewarm about the idea, suggest a trial period.
Most people don’t already have a job that lends itself to remote work. If that’s you, don’t worry! That’s far from a deal killer. If you’re open-minded to broadening your skillset, then a remote lifestyle is at your fingertips. There are plenty of high-paying, learnable skills that can be done remotely. And, you can start earning while you learn.
Some skills that open up a world of remote possibilities are interface design, coding, professional photography, copywriting, and videography. All these skills are both learnable and high-paying enough to support travels, which are two important factors what to pursue.
If you’re open-minded about practicing skills that can make money anywhere, you can explore learning a remote skill here.
3. Nurture multiple income streams.
Most people accept that it’s wisest not to rely on only one stream of income. Being completely dependent on one source is brittle. Even for a traditional office worker, there are no guarantees.
On top of that, if you leveraging enough passive income streams, you just might someday achieve the 4-hour (0-hour?) dream.
What income streams are available to you totally depend on your circumstances and abilities. But, here are a few possibilities to start thinking about:
- rent out your house
- monetize your social media
- lend out your photography equipment
- publish an eBook
- list your photos on stock photography websites
As a starting point, think of how you might monetize your favorite hobbies. If you think your hobby is impossible to monetize, do some Googling. I’ll bet someone else has already figured out how to monetize it.
4. Take care of practical concerns.
This seems to be the step that people get stuck on the most. And I think it’s because people hang too many dependencies on making a life transition.
More often than not, most of us create barriers to change that end up being excuses covering real concerns. Whether we end up making the change or not, it’s more emotionally healthy and intellectually honest to acknowledge the real reasons we’re doing things. It’s helpful to question every barrier you throw up: is that my real reason, or is that a front for being anxious/fearful/unconfident?
All that being said, there are definitely some things you should do before hitting the road full-time. I would recommend:
- securing travel insurance
- getting a travel credit card
- figuring out your phone and internet situation
- storing your things
- absolutely ensuring that any dependents (like pets and plants) are so well-cared for that you won’t be able to worry about them
There’s a relatively new site called NomadGate that provides in-depth information about all these topics and many other topics relevant to digital nomads. I would highly recommend checking it out.
5. Enjoy the journey.
“Travels are not an escape from your real life but a discovery of your real life.” – Ralf Potts