As you probably know by now, I am currently living as a full time entrepreneur and traveller (aka Digital Nomad). My boyfriend and I travel the world with laptops as our portable office, working on startups or freelance projects. Naturally, people often ask me how they can do the same. I’ve said a bit on my Become a Nomad page… But, here’s my quick guide to becoming a nomad and living a life too good for even Instagram to do justice!
1. Make money
This is the obvious one – you need money – but how might be less obvious. Firstly, take a long hard look at your skills. What can you do that people will pay for? It might be your existing job (either for the same company but remote, or for someone different) or it might be something new like a startup or freelancing. You may even want to start off with just your savings while you work out what is next, or retrain in something new.
As a rule of thumb we live very comfortably off £1000 a month per person. Of course you can do it with a lot less or a lot more but if you want a guide then there’s mine.
Our flights are about £400 (every 3 months), rent for a really nice apartment in Chiang Mai is £400 (which we split), then between street food and smart international places our food ends up about £15 a day each. Add £60 a month between us for a scooter and £20 each for the gym and that’s about it! That comes out as £840 pp pm, so throw in some extras like shopping and entertainment and you’ll hit around £1000pm.
If you can make or save up £1000 pm then you can be digital nomad and live a really nice life – cleaner, eating out 3 meals a day, swimming pool, taxis, unlimited cinema trips, etc.
2. Book a one way flight to paradise
If you’re a first time nomad then I can’t recommend Chiang Mai highly enough. It’s the global hub for nomads so you’ll be guaranteed to be surrounded by 100 like minded people at any given time. It’s incredibly open so everyone will share their advice and journey and gladly teach you how they did it. It’s how I got into Udemy and I’ve since passed on the same kindness to other newbies. There’s meet ups every day for learning WordPress/SEO/amazon, or for girls/gym fans/dinners. That makes it really quick to plug into so that you’ll be immediately surround by a group of new friends happy to help learn, or just hang out. Chiang Mai is also absurdly safe, and the locals tend to be very kind and friendly. We haven’t ever been ripped off for being foreign – even when we burst a tyre by the side of the road and were literally stranded the guy still charged us £5 to repair it. So if you’re not a very experienced traveller it’ll still suit you.
If you fancy somewhere other than Chiang Mai check out Nomad List to see almost every city in the world ranked by friendliness to nomads. Handy huh?
3. Join Facebook groups
Whenever you end up going, have a look on Facebook for Digital Nomad groups for that country/city. They’re a brilliant way to plug in. Then – don’t be shy! Go along to meet ups, or even suggest your own, give advice and ask questions. Just generally make your presence known.
4. Approximate a time frame
We stay in each city for around 2 months, but many stay longer or shorter. It depends how you like to travel and how many places you want to see. We tend to have a loose idea of where we’ll go next over the year and generally book a few days in and Airbnb before we arrive so we have time to hunt for a condo/apartment. In Chiang Mai and Bali you can just rock up to condo blocks and book on a month by month basis, but Europe might need a bit more forward planning. Prepare to pay a one month deposit too.
A photo posted by Louise Croft (@louisecroft) on
4. Embrace the unknown
Everything you’ve been told until now about security is a con. Having a job is far less secure than having a diversified income where you can see things declining or improving – it simply means one person (your boss) has entire power over whether you continue to have a roof over your head. Similarly, having a house isn’t security as you never know which part is going to break next, or whether the market will crash (anyone else seen The Big Short?). Finally, having a plan isn’t even security – things change at the flick of a switch – when you meet someone who offers you a new career option, or a family member falls ill. A plan is just the path you’re currently on but that doesn’t mean will (or should) stay that way.
So, embrace the unknown! We have a loose plan of which countries we will spend each month in, and what business ideas we intend to pursue… but if an exciting opportunity comes up then we jump on it! It’s time to start saying yes to things you don’t entirely know how to do, or that scare you a little. I promise it’ll be incredible!
5. Further reading
If this has caught your attention then I’m glad – it should! There’s a huge wealth of digital nomad blogs and advice out there so hit up google and do some exploring. Here’s a few of my favourites to get you started – A Girl Who Travels, Nomad Spirit, Johnny FD, Extra Pack of Peanuts
And if you’d like some more detailed information from me then check out the article I wrote for The Mirror – ‘How I Travel the World Without the Money Running Out‘, and a similar pice for the Job Shop How to Kickstart Your Career e-book.
And, if you want to hear more from me on the matter then let me know in the comments below! Plus check out my Learn How page on this blog.