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How to Become a Digital Nomad: 8 Steps to Location Independence

digital nomad Dec 16, 2022

We have all dreamed of living and working wherever and whenever we want. We have seen remote workers sitting next to a steaming cup in a café or at a sandy tropical beach with the ocean as a backdrop. It is only natural to be envious and desire such a life.

Fortunately, with the increased number of online jobs today, your dreams have never been closer to reality.

The COVID-19 pandemic has produced a new generation of workers itching to satisfy their wanderlust while working. According to MBO Partners, the number of American digital nomads increased by 42% between 2020 and 2021.

Nevertheless, transitioning to digital nomadism is not as easy as it sounds. Read on to discover what it takes to become a digital nomad.

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What is a Digital Nomad?

A digital nomad is a person with remote employment who frequently travels to different locations for work and leisure. Digital nomads feature a technology-enabled lifestyle and rely on internet connectivity to work on their mobile devices. Hence, coffee shops, libraries, hotels, and internet cafés have become regular spots for digital nomads.

What Jobs do Digital Nomads Work In?

Digital nomads work as software engineers, data scientists, travel bloggers, digital marketers, technical and creative writers, or graphic designers. You should note that a digital nomad isn’t a job specification. It is a way of life and can apply to anyone who works online while traveling. As a digital nomad, you can be self-employed or work for a dedicated employer.

How to Become a Digital Nomad in 8 Steps

Becoming a digital nomad can be as simple as packing your bags and setting out on the road. However, you will quickly discover that you are ill-prepared for a life on the move. As such, you have to make ample preparations for the journey ahead. There isn’t one predefined method to becoming a digital nomad. Still, a set of standard guidelines applies to whichever path you choose.

Become Location and Financially Independent

You need to identify and terminate things in your life that tie you to a specific location. They could include in-person jobs, vehicle and apartment leases, credit card services, and gym subscriptions. In addition, you may need to get rid of several material possessions and settle any pending debts and financial responsibilities.

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Acquire the Relevant Skills

Not every job is suitable for a digital nomad, and not every skill applies to a remote job. Hence, you need to self-examine to recognize any skills you can monetize on online platforms. Moreover, you can enroll in online schools or coding bootcamps such as Thinkful, Springboard, General Assembly, Coding Dojo, and App Academy, which will equip you with the qualifications needed for your nomadic life.

Build a Portfolio

Acquiring the relevant skills is one thing and demonstrating that you can apply those skills is another. Hence, it would be best if you built a portfolio that displays your best work and experience to potential clients. We recommend building the portfolio before setting out on your journey and updating it with any skills and experiences gained on the way.

Prepare Your Finances and Build Up Your Savings

Nomadic life is often viewed as a minimalist lifestyle with few expenses and financial commitments. While this is true for the most part, you can quickly burn through your savings if you don’t have a job. Therefore, beginning your journey from a financially stable position is vital. You can work freelance or remote jobs and save enough money for several months of unemployment.

Plan a Budget and Choose a Destination

As a digital nomad, your location options are practically limitless, which can be quite overwhelming. Consequently, you must compile a list of potential destinations and determine the cost of living in each locale. Then, you can choose a location according to your budget. If you have secured employment, it is prudent to select a location close to your employer's office.

Join a Digital Nomad Community

The process of becoming a digital nomad can be quite scary and uncertain. However, you are not alone in your journey. You can join some of the best job boards for remote work to connect with fellow nomads, receive valuable advice, and find travel buddies. Furthermore, you can reach out to the digital nomad community in your destination city for support.

Obtain Travel Insurance  

It would help if you got travel insurance to cover emergencies before beginning your journey. You can also apply for a complete package covering health, third-party accidents, and life insurance. Moreover, you should look for a broker for nomads to find insurance companies that cover you within and outside the country.

Gather the Necessary Documents

At this point, you should gather the required travel documents, including your international passport, travel visa, work permit, and insurance papers, if required. You should also carry your identification documents, including your driver’s license and social security card.

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Final Thoughts

The decision to become a digital nomad is not an easy one. It requires a lot of courage, determination, and preparation. However, every journey begins with a step, and within a few months, you will find yourself well-adjusted to your new lifestyle.


Zoi Kotsou

Copywriter - Content writer - Content Strategist

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