Nine months ago I joined the growing community of ‘digital nomads’, and quit my job to travel the world.
Put simply, anyone whose income doesn’t rely on a physical location. They work online, and set up shop anywhere with good coffee and WiFi. In the past 12 months I’ve worked from Bali, Thailand, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Greece, Turkey, and the UK.
What sort of jobs can you do?
I teach online, am a freelance writer, and have an online shop. Lots of nomads are coders or graphic designers, but the choices are pretty endless - I’ve met professional bloggers, yoga teachers, social media managers, and language tutors, to name just a few. If you’re looking for a remote job instead of going freelance check out Working Nomads, Jobbatical, and RemoteOK are all packed with options.
How can travelling non-stop be affordable?
A city apartment in Northern Thailand costs around £250 a month, and a meal in a restaurant is £2. When you combine this with the potential of an online income (many nomads earn well over £100k a year) it starts to make sense. For information on living costs in various cities, NomadList is a great resource.
What are some top money saving tips?
Norwich & Peterborough Building Society offer a free international withdrawals card that I’d highly recommend. Getting a local SIM for internet and calls helps avoid expensive roaming charges.
Accommodation is cheapest when booked in person on arrival, but AirBnB can still be pretty cheap (always ask for a discount if you’re staying for a month or longer). As for flights, Nomadic Matt gives tips to find discounts, and Secret Flying is my favourite bargain-hunting mailing list.
What’s a typical day like?
I work a full eight-hour day in a co-working space, but many people work just a couple of hours. I spend the rest of my time doing yoga, shopping, or meeting up with other nomads. I eat out twice a day and my apartment comes with a cleaner so domestic chores are a distant memory.
The downside is that you’re a slave to the WiFi, and uncertainty about the future is a fact of life. It takes a particular mindset, but it’s becoming an increasingly common lifestyle, and can actually be a very financially sound investment.
Louise Croft blogs about her journey as a digital nomad at From Pauper to Princess.