Before I started running my online business full-time, I had a desk job where I received a couple of weeks of vacation a year. Before that, I worked in a position for over five years which gave me no vacation time whatsoever.
While I realize that not everyone receives vacation time, I knew having limited traveling time was not good enough for me.
Even though I have to work while I’m traveling since I’m location independent, I wouldn't have it any other way. Being able to work remotely is a dream!
I enjoy traveling, seeing new places, and being able to work at the same time. Being a “digital nomad” isn’t perfect, but it is a lot of fun!
Just in 2015 I have traveled to the states of Nevada, California, Washington, Wyoming, Utah, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and, of course, the states of Colorado and Missouri. I have been on the road for the majority of the year and I don't plan on that changing anytime soon.
In fact, I’m currently looking at the beautiful Jackson Lake and the mountains (in Grand Teton National Park) while typing this post.
Many of you seem to be interested in possibly living the location independent lifestyle as well. I know it’s a dream for many, but there are things to think about. Being location independent still means that you have to work and earn money!
Continue reading below if you are interested in learning how to become a digital nomad.
Figure out how you will support yourself.
There are many ways to support yourself and travel at the same time. Whatever you decide to do, figuring it out ahead of time is usually a good idea.
You may find an employer who allows you to work from your laptop and phone, you may decide to run your own business, or you may decide to find work as you go.
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This leads to my next tip…
Have a plan.
Having a plan is a good idea if you want to travel and work at the same time.
Some of the things you will want to think about if you want to learn how to become a digital nomad include:
- What will you do to earn money?
- How much will you need to earn in order to survive?
- Will you need to save money before you leave?
- How long do you plan on traveling for?
- What will you do for health insurance?
- Will you have a home base?
- How will you receive mail?
- What will you do for internet?
- Will you need a visa in order to work?
Determine your pace.
There are pros and cons to traveling slowly or quickly.
Traveling slowly is what I prefer as you can usually travel more affordably this way. It’s more affordable because usually transportation costs are what eats up a travel budget. Plus you have more time to enjoy each place that you are visiting since you will not be in a rush to move on to the next city.
Traveling quickly means that you may be able to visit more places. If you are in a time crunch then this may be what you decide to do. If you are able to work remotely, then this may be possible. However, if you are working as you travel in each specific city this may be more difficult since you will have to hold a job for a longer period of time.
Backup all of your work.
I highly recommend you keep backups of everything you do if you work primarily from your laptop. You never know if your phone, laptop or camera will experience water damage, be stolen, and so on.
You will save yourself a lot of pain and anger by having backups of all of your work.
Planning and working ahead are both what helps keep me sane. This way if I come across an area with no internet, if I really love an area I’m visiting, or if I am unable to work for some other reason, then I can still have fun and not feel as stressed out.
Trust me, this is key. I’m in Wyoming and the internet so far hasn’t been the greatest. I haven’t been able to work as much as I normally would, but the fact that I have planned and worked ahead has helped me greatly.
Also, I’ve had a lot of you ask what I’m using for internet. I'm using a Verizon MiFi Jetpack.
Unplug occasionally if you work remotely.
The toughest thing I have a problem with while traveling is unplugging.
Being location independent means that it can sometimes be hard to have a good work-life balance. This is because if you are able to bring your work wherever with you, then it may be hard to separate your work and life.
Since you’ll be traveling a lot, you may want to find a way to save money on your trips. Travel hacking may allow you to travel for cheap or even free in some cases.
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Keep yourself motivated.
Whether you are working for someone else or you’re your own boss, you will need to keep yourself motivated since you won’t have anyone hovering over your shoulder telling you to get work done if you work remotely.
If you're having a hard time staying motivated and completing work, then you may want to set a designated work schedule for yourself. This may help you stay on track just like if you were going into an office.
In the end, you should enjoy yourself. Traveling all over the world yet only seeing the inside of a hotel room wouldn’t be any fun.
Get out there, work remotely, and see the world!
Would you like to live the location independent lifestyle? What other tips would you give to someone who wants to know how to become a digital nomad?