If you want to be a digital nomad, first forget about the stereotypes. Like the one in the image above, lol. Your Clients are not going to wait for you while you are resting on the beach.
First, the reality of being a digital nomad. You need to be very good at planning and prioritizing, and you need to know very well how to motivate yourself. Each time you move from point A to B, you need to keep in mind time zones, potential delays, work deadlines, etc. Also, you really need to love what you do, because often the choice is between working or enjoying some time on the beach (like in the above-mentioned picture that you always see associated with digital nomads), out with your friends, exploring new places, etc. There are no physical constraints which make you think “I am here anyway, I better work” if you are not motivated yourself.
If you are thinking “so what, this is what I love anyway! I love my job, the impact I have on the world. I love to prioritize (or at least I am good at it)” perfect, you may be ready for a life as digital nomad! If the scenario scares you, because you need external motivation and the day planned for you (nothing wrong about it, we need variety in the world to make it interesting and strong), then you are better off with keeping your current 9 to 5 work dear to you, and just take a vacation when possible. Again, that is totally OK.
Now, assuming you are fit for nomadic life, the real challenge starts. Yes, volunteering, unpaid internships, etc. are great ways to help society. Those are things which are important to do. But, to be a digital nomad, you need to support yourself financially. That means finding at least a job. Job = something which pays you at least a living income. Or, even better, a dream job = something you love to do, and you would do for free, and you are so grateful they even pay you to do. Then, you have to perform well, to keep it. Ideally, you would perform so well that you can progress to even bigger opportunities.
Digital nomads, by definition, work online. Don’t kid yourself: if you plan to work locally, competing with locals, in Countries with a low cost of living, you would be earning a few dollars per hour at most. You are unlikely to be able to compete with locals, but in terms of costs and network of contacts. Sure, you can start your own local business (Thai restaurant in Chiang Mai anyone? 🙂 but then you would no longer be nomad nor digital.
Once you fulfilled these requirements, then yes, you are ready to enjoy the perks of being a digital nomad. Freedom, friends, fun, the best education the world can offer (traveling), great weather (unless you are chasing grey clouds in your itinerary), etc.
The infographic below gives some interesting stats and ideas to become a digital nomad. It also has some good stats about Bali. Personally, while I love very exotic location and I really enjoy spending vacation time or some weeks there, I prefer places like Spain for longer term stayings. Countries which have a great infrastructure in place (no trying to find one’s way through dirty roads), are culturally very similar to my background, and still offer great weather and reasonable cost of living. Of course, especially when you are in your 20s or if your needs/wants are different from mine, you may prefer places where you feel more like a pioneer. We have all been there, and that’s one of the best gifts you can make to yourself, your travel companions and the world.
Originally posted on Frank Ravanelli LinkedIn Pulse.