Life in a 9 to 5 job isn’t for everyone, and if you find yourself staring out of the window, clock watching, and thinking ‘is this it?’ then a life on the open road/seas/land might just be for you.
Unless you’re lucky enough to win the lottery, you will need some kind of income to fund your travels, however the Internet is making is easier and easier for more of us to break even on the go.
Digital nomads are basically those of us who decide to travel the world and earn money as we go. This can be through anything that is done over the Internet, e.g. freelance writing, proofreading, online business, SEO consultancy – the options are endless. The beauty of this is all you need is a laptop and an Internet connection. If you can find yourself a hotspot where the cost of living is low, this adds to the pros, and you can up sticks and go somewhere entirely new, whenever the mood takes you.
It’s basically freedom with a safety net, and more and more people are choosing this road.
But back to my original question – where to start?
Let’s break it down.
1) Insurance – First of all, before you leave the country, research a good quality insurance policy which covers your laptop and all your belongings, plus yourself of course, without the requirement to return home to your country of residency every so often. Check the small print, declare any pre-existing medical conditions, and I’d recommend giving the company a call and talking about your needs, rather than booking over the Internet.
2) Plan your money – Whilst you’re getting yourself up and running business-wise, you need a cushion to fall back on, for rent etc. Cut costs wherever you can, e.g. eating in rather than out, find a cheap starting point. Once you get going with your online money making, you can spread your wings a little more.
3) Sell your stuff – It’s quite cleansing for the soul apparently, but they do say one person’s junk is another’s treasure. Have a huge clear out and sell it all on eBay, this is more money for your travels.
4) Streamline – Put all your CDs onto iTunes, get all your books on a Kindle, scan all your important documents onto your computer – you will need to travel light.
5) Head to a cheap hotspot – Chiang Mai for example, this is probably the number one base for digital nomads. Why? It’s cheap, it’s beautiful, and it has a great Internet service. Whilst you’re in a cheap hotspot, you’ll find it easier to start your digital life, as you don’t have the costly day to day tie-downs as you would at home, e.g. water and electricity bills, the car etc. Build up your online reputation whilst you travel, not before.
6) Think about what you’re going to do – in your digital line of work. Get a pen and paper and brainstorm your skills. This will identify where you can branch out. Join freelancing sites, such as oDesk, and if you see a job that fits you, apply for it, bid low and get your reputation built up, you’ll be surprised how quickly you can build up a client base. Be creative, start an online business, giving you total freedom to travel whilst being the chairman of your own kingdom. The options are endless.
7) Talk to people – Follow some blogs, talk to like-minded individuals on forums etc, get some ideas, think outside the box.
These are pointers, and what works for one person, might not fit another, however when it comes to earning whilst you travel, there are horizons out there to explore.