The Digital Nomad Lifestyle – A Day In The Life

Are you wondering what is the digital nomad lifestyle? Looking to learn more about the nomadic lifestyle? Here’s how I do it. “What do you do all day?” I am regularly asked what my average day is like. It’s always such a difficult question to answer, as there is no routine day for me. If…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: June 5, 2023

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digital nomad lifestyle

Are you wondering what is the digital nomad lifestyle? Looking to learn more about the nomadic lifestyle? Here’s how I do it.

“What do you do all day?”

I am regularly asked what my average day is like. It’s always such a difficult question to answer, as there is no routine day for me. If you know me at all, then you know that I pretty much hate schedules, haha.

My hatred of schedules is probably one of the main reasons for why I love living the digital nomad lifestyle.

Telling people that I work online and travel is always an interesting conversation. Telling people “I’m a blogger” just leads to so many questions, which I completely understand. But, when they find out that I’m a full-time traveler too, they get even more confused!

Now, blogging is a lot of work. I may not work a ton everyday, but there are many days when I’ll work 16 hours a day. There is almost always something that needs to be done when it comes to my blogging business, and I have a whole long list of things that I want to do when I have more time.

Plus, it took me time to build my business, just as any good business takes time. I now have a streamlined method for working so things go a lot more smoothly and efficiently.

Side note: Make sure you’re following me on Instagram!

My average day can vary greatly. That’s one of the main things I love about running my own business and how it works with my digital nomad lifestyle – I can create my own schedule, and it can be as flexible as I want it to be.

Like I said, there are some days when I put in long hours and work from the moment I wake up until I go to bed, but there are other days when I am working for less than an hour.

I’m not perfect and will waste time on social media, pet my dogs for a crazy amount of time, and binge watch Netflix (we just got Netflix again and have been watching it so much, UGH!).

Also, now that we are living on the boat, there are a ton of boat tasks that I don’t even mention below, but trust me, we are doing something boat related at least once a day. Whether that is cleaning the boat, doing routine maintenance, sailing, or something else, something boat-related is being done every single day.

The next question that I am asked most often about my digital nomad lifestyle is probably, “How many hours do you work each day/week/month?” Since my average day varies so widely, it’s hard to say exactly how many hours I actually work each day or week. Sometimes, I may spend 100 hours a week working, and other times I may not work more than just a few hours – just enough to answer some emails. Similarly, there are some months where I may only work ten hours on the business, and there are other months that are full of 100 hour work weeks.

Anyway, below is my average work day as an online business owner and full-time traveler.

Related articles on the digital nomad lifestyle:

Here’s my daily, digital nomad lifestyle:

 

8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. – Wake up

The time we wake up usually varies, but lately we’ve been waking up around 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. We will get ready, feed the dogs, and make smoothies. While everyone is eating, I usually check my email and respond to as many as I can.

Then, we take the dogs for a walk. Usually our morning walk is around 30 minutes, sometimes longer, sometimes shorter, such as if it’s raining hard. We usually let them out at least five times a day, and that takes up a significant amount of our day, but we love them so it’s worth it. Plus, they get us outside even more and help keep us healthy!

 

The Digital Nomad Lifestyle - A Day In The Life

10:00 a.m. – Work a little

After the two main things of the morning are done, eating and walking the dogs, I then work a little bit. Usually, I don’t work a ton during the day, as I like to use daylight hours for enjoying wherever we are, since we travel full-time while living a digital nomad lifestyle.

So, I may work for an hour, answer more emails, reply to comments, go over things that may need to be done with my assistant, read some blog posts from others that may have caught my eye, and complete other routine items that go along with running a website.

My average day includes at least a few hundred emails, and I pride myself in the fact that I answer every single email. While my replies may not be book length, I always try my best to answer reader emails and assist them in a realistic way. Sometimes that may be just referring them to a blog post that answers their specific question (I also turn a lot of reader questions into blog posts!), answering their question in an email, or it may consist of me doing some research for them.

 

11:00 a.m. – Podcasts and phone interviews

I usually try to schedule any podcasts or phone interviews for around this time, which keeps the rest of my day open to other things.

Now, I don’t do an interview every single day. Some days I may have five interviews, and there are weeks where I don’t schedule any due to lack of time.

It all just depends on what’s going on, if I know I’ll have cell service or wifi, and so on.

 

12:00 p.m. – Eat lunch

I’ll usually break for lunch around this point. We may make lunch on the boat or go out to eat. We eat out more than normal due to us traveling full-time, and we really enjoy eating at the favorite places in whatever town we are visiting. We do snack throughout the day as well – we usually have three meals a day with some snacks in between.

Before or after lunch, we usually let the dogs out for another walk. Since we don’t have a backyard, they get some pretty lengthy walks, and we try to go until we know that they are tired and happy.

 

The Digital Nomad Lifestyle - A Day In The Life

1:00 p.m. – Enjoy where we are

Many days, we are enjoying whatever new area we are exploring.

This may entail a long bike ride (Wes loves to ride 50-100 miles in a single ride, whereas I’m more comfortable around 40-50 miles), a fun hike, finding a rock climbing gym in the area, going to a state or national park, or something else.

Some days we may explore, be outside, etc. for several hours. On those days, we usually walk the dogs extra long so that they are tired all day while we are gone.

We usually don’t bring the dogs with us when we are out exploring because many state and national parks prohibit dogs. Also, they may not be able to do the hike, bike or climb, and honestly, they are older so they just like their sleep. On the days where they stay at home, we just look at the weather, adjust the temperature for the boat (the same for when we were in the RV), and make sure that they are happy. Now, some people may say, “You leave your dogs in the boat and leave?!” If you leave your dogs at a house, then it is no different. We have air conditioning, heat, and they have their beds. They are perfectly happy.

 

5:00 p.m. – Walk the dogs and dinner

After we get back from whatever activity we do during the day, we always make sure to give the dogs another long walk.

After that, we usually feed the dogs dinner, and we’ll make dinner as well.

After dinner is usually when I start working for the day. I’m typically less distracted during the evening, and we like to use the daytime to explore.

For the next few hours, I’ll brainstorm ideas for the blogging business, create images for Facebook and Pinterest, be active on Instagram (it’s my favorite social media!), check in on what my assistants are doing, optimize articles both new and old, create emails to go out to my subscribers (I tend to send 1-3 a week), create sponsored content and communicate with brands, check in on social media, create new freebies (such as printables, cheat sheets, free courses, etc.) for readers, interact with readers in my two Facebook groups, manage any Facebook ads that I have running, and more.

Whew, that’s a lot!

 

sailboat nomadic lifestyle

9:00 p.m. – Go on a final walk

We walk the dogs a lot each day, even more than I mentioned above. A few hours after sunset, we usually go on one last walk with them while it’s cooler and before they go to bed.

After we get back, this is usually when we wind down as well. Like I said, we just got Netflix again, so now we may watch an episode of our favorite show, or perhaps a Youtube video from one of our favorite vloggers.

This is a new routine, though. We used to NEVER watch TV. Like never ever, haha. We recently spent a few weeks having warranty repairs done to the RV, and we got Netflix again since we were in a small town without much to do. We’ve had it pretty much ever since, and now we’re addicted!

 

Where does writing come into play in the digital nomad lifestyle?

I write ALL of my articles here on Making Sense of Cents. I don’t have a ghostwriter, and I don’t plan on ever having one. I enjoy writing and talking about topics that interest me.

But, writing isn’t normally in my average work day. I like to write well in advance, when I am in the writing mood.

This means that I usually batch write. I may get really into writing and crank out a few articles in one day, and maybe even ten or more in one week. Then, I won’t write at all for a month or two.

Here is a list of what goes along with each new article that you see on Making Sense of Cents:

  1. Think of ideas for new articles. I have a long list of over 100 possible article topics that I keep on my laptop, as well as on my phone. I think of the many, many topics that you’ll find on Making Sense of Cents through life experiences, reader questions, research and articles that I’ve come across (such as if I see a crazy statistic that I find interesting, I’ll then turn it into a long article), and so on.
  2. Create a schedule for one month full of topics and their publish dates. I like to make sure I have a good variety of topics covered each week on Making Sense of Cents. For example, I don’t usually like to have a week full of making money ideas. Instead, I like to vary it between making money, saving money, life improvement, and so on.
  3. Write content. I like to write an article from beginning to end with no breaks. It may take me an hour to write an article or I may be at it all day. Sometimes, content does span a few days, but for the most part, I like to finish a piece of content in one sitting. I then hand over the content to my editor, and she fixes everything, makes it flow better, etc. The only thing she doesn’t edit is my monthly income report.
  4. Once I get the content back from my editor, I add images (one for Pinterest and one for Facebook), format it the way I want, and add links to related content on my website.
  5. Once the article is published on Making Sense of Cents, I share it to Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, StumbleUpon, Flipboard, and Twitter. I also schedule it to share for future dates on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
  6. Send an email to my subscribers about a new blog post being published.

 

digital nomad website

What’s a busy day like?

So, like I have said numerous times in this article, some days are more relaxed for someone like me living the digital nomad lifestyle. The schedule you read above is more relaxed than my busy days. Other days, I work from the moment I wake up until the time I go to bed.

I like to do batch work, as you can tell from the previous section. I may designate a whole day to writing content, a whole day to catching up on emails, a whole day to optimizing old articles, a whole day to being interviewed on podcasts and websites, and so on. Batch working allows me to focus on one task, really enjoy the task, and be an expert at it.

Those days are completely different from the above, and they go more like:

  • Wake up, eat, walk dogs
  • Work, work work
  • Wes forces me to take a break and eat lunch
  • Walk dogs
  • Work, work, and work some more
  • Wes forces me to take a break and eat dinner
  • Walk dogs
  • Work even more
  • Walk dogs
  • Work again
  • Go to bed

I absolutely love what I do and being able to live the digital nomad lifestyle, so working all day long is actually something that I like, haha. That’s why Wes has to force me to break and eat, otherwise I probably wouldn’t, even though I love to eat!

 

What do my assistants do?

I used to do pretty much everything on Making Sense of Cents. I have since realized how crazy that was. Now, I have a great team of assistants helping me. This has shaved a lot of work time off of my day and allows me to have a better work life balance. Plus, I can’t do everything 100% perfect, so, to me, having expert assistants is money well spent.

Some of the assistants I have completing tasks include:

  • Editor – I use Ariel Gardner for all of the editing work on my blogging business. She edits my articles, lessons for Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, and whatever else I send her way. This saves me a ton of time so that I can focus on other tasks. Plus, I am horrible at editing my own work!
  • Virtual assistant – I use Alexis, my sister, for a bunch of different blog tasks. Some of the tasks she’s in charge of include verifying requests for the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Facebook group, moderating both of my Facebook groups and checking for spam, adding Pinterest images to old articles, scheduling social media posts for new and old articles, managing social media, replying to support emails for my course, and more.
  • Lastly, I also pay for technical management for this blog. It’s a fairly low cost to make sure that my blog is always up and running. I highly recommend Grayson if you are looking for someone to do this for you!

Did anything above surprise you? What would you do differently if you had a flexible schedule? What questions do you have about my average workday?

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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Crabapple Pie

    This is so interesting! I’ve always wanted to know what drew you to the RV/boat/nomad lifestyle. The digital nomad lifestyle is always seen as something so glamorous and easy, but I feel it involves possibly more focused work than a normal lifestyle (digital or not). Do you have a blog post on what attracted you to this lifestyle, how you planned for it, and how much reality meets your expectations of it?:) Or would you consider writing a post about this sometime?;)

      1. Crabapple Pie

        Thank you!!!

  2. Best VA and sister award goes to *ME* Woooo

    1. And awesome blogger in her own right!

      1. Aww you are so sweet!

  3. We all love it when you share bits of your life as a full time traveling blogger. This post was a brief insight that all the wannabe full-time bloggers (that also include me) would definitely like to know! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Good morning Michelle,

    One thing I learned about the pressure free digital nomad lifestyle is that this line of work has to be something a person really wants to do. They have to be willing to work under 0% pressure, change their way of thinking and habits, write content either everyday or every other day, build and sustain quality relationships online, and be their natural self in the process. The digital nomad lifestyle is kinda lonely when you’re single with no kids. But it definitely beats getting up in the morning with such bad feelings kicking in of having to get dressed and go to a job you dislike and work for an employer who secretly mistreats you. The digital nomad lifestyle is what a person makes of it. Yes, it’s surely lonely in the beginning. But as a person slowly transitions into “side hustle millionaire” status, they could careless about their employer, what jealous family members think of them, and what people think. You just live your life, create content on the go, work hard for yourself, and transform adversity into financial opportunity by creating “lots and lots of content.” Entrepreneurial transformation as a digital nomad is possible for anyone who believes and does the transformation business work. πŸ™‚

  5. This is amazing! I started my blog a few months ago with the goal to make enough money to allow my fiancΓ© to quit his job β€” he makes good money, but it requires him to be away from home M – Th. Not to mention his job is very physically challenging. Hearing how you and your husband (&dogs) spend your days together is so encouraging!

    You mentioned it took some time to start build your business. What did this timeline look like for you and what was the primary reason for the upswing?

    1. I recommend reading this article of mine as it goes over this in more detail – https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2017/04/how-to-make-money-blogging-online.html

      I started my blog in August of 2011 100% as a hobby, but it’s grown significantly since then πŸ™‚

  6. I love seeing what your day looks like! My busy days look the same except for that I am helping kids with stuff instead of walking dogs!

  7. MICHAEL J BONNELL

    I really like this post. I am not going to lie, when I got into blogging around two months ago, I thought it was going to be a lot easier than it is. Now, I spend about 4-6 hours a day on my blog after coming home from a 8-4 job. But, I am not complaining. This is my passion and I will give it everything I have:) Positivity leads to success!

  8. Claire

    This is such an inspiring post! As a new blogger I find myself cycling between motivation and feeling like I’ve already failed when I see other people’s income reports! To see that you have the lifestyle that you want and that it has taken you time to build this up, just goes to show that with patience and determination, it can be done! Thankyou for the inspiration!

  9. Melissa

    I love posts like these, I always like to see how people structure their days. You get WAY more exercise than I do, no wonder you look fabulous!! Lol my dog wants to live with you now, haha πŸ™‚ (She gets walks, don’t worry! Just not 3…)

    Thanks so much for sharing this all, Michelle! How do you keep your blender and such from falling down while you’re RV driving though? Do you just put them away in the morning?

    1. Haha thank you Melissa! I have been quite unhealthy in the past month – it is just so dang hot in Florida πŸ˜›

      Before we would drive somewhere, we would just put it away πŸ™‚ You don’t drive everywhere so it’s not hard.

  10. Libby

    I recently use Grayson for an emergency tech problem and had no idea you used him as well! I asked in a couple of facebook groups (while in a major panic) what to do and who to contact (I had been hacked). I received a million answers but ONE answer pointed me to Grayson and I couldn’t have possibly been more pleased. I wasn’t at home when it occurred, it was late at night, and I had to communicate everything via email on my phone. I highly second your recommendation πŸ™‚

  11. Pam Rosen

    How you spend your day is one of the most valuable blog posts I have ever read! Seriously! And to include info and links about what you source out and to who was over the top super helpful. I especially love the work, eat, move repeat flow! Using the daytime to be outside more and the evening to work more is wonderful too. And yay batch working!!!! I am still curious about how you organize and save content prior to publishing, and to how you schedule it. Evernote? Hubspot? email folders? Google drive? so happy for you that you have a lifestyle that you love, and fulfilling and meaningful work that you love as well. May everyone everywhere find their own best ways of being and doing!

    1. I write and save my content directly in WordPress. I find it easiest that way.

      Thank you!

  12. This was a great post! I love getting insights into your life via posts like this – and Instagram! I think you’re such a good role model for people, myself included! I am very motivated to get my blog to a place where I can just focus on sailing and living in my van haha. I think blogging is my favorite job of all time, even more than being a news reporter. You’ve shown me that a life of freedom really is possible. Can’t wait to keep watching your sailing adventures!

  13. Nana

    I absolutely love this post. Mainly because as a digital nomad, I can totally relate! You won’t believe how many times I’ve been asked whether I’m a member of a gang or a freaking cult, “because making money like this is not legit”. It’s crazy and hilarious at the same time.

    I’ve started my own blog very recently, after purchasing the EBA course you promoted last March. Honestly, I feel incredibly inspired by your journey. Keep it up!

  14. The Curious Frugal

    I was excited to read this – I love reading day-in-the-life posts! It’s always fun seeing how other people craft their days. I know they can be a lot of work for bloggers to put together.

  15. The Fiminator

    Thanks for the post Michelle. Most of us want to secretly live this life, where you set your daily agenda based on what you feel like doing & your interests.
    Of course this also shows people that online entrepreneurs dont just sit on the beach all day and drink Pina Colada’s.
    I found that when I took a few years out of the corporate world, my days were as busy, if not busier. I was also a lot more productive and satisfied with what I did.

  16. Janet

    Thank you for sharing this post! I’m not a digital nomad although at the moment, I have no real responsibilities or jobs (I have the summer off) and I just feel like I’m living online all day. I love this post, it’s very inspiring. I really hope to live on a boat one day too and travel like you do πŸ™‚

  17. Loved reading this, although it makes me feel very guilty when I read how often you walk your dogs! I am such a planner, I actually have my “ideal” full time blogging day mapped out already. What I would enjoy the most would be the chance to exercise at a time that actually works for me (eg not dark, cold, raining). At the moment I blog for 2-3 hours at night and most of the weekends. I love everything about it.

  18. Sara Michaels

    As we recently started FULLTIME travel and I’m working towards establishing an outline for a β€œroutine” ((I also hate schedules πŸ˜‚πŸ˜¬πŸ™ˆ)) I love love love this post! Hope you are enjoying the new adventure on the boat! Love seeing the photos! β€” Sara

    1. Congrats on starting full-time travel!

  19. Sara @ Budget & Bliss

    Who are some of your favorite vloggers?

    1. We watch a lot of sailing Youtube channels! Pretty much any of those haha.

  20. Margaret

    Thank you, Michelle. I loved this post. I am going to adopt the title Digital Nomad from here on! My hubs and I are full-time RV’ers as we travel to different churches around the country serving as construction missionaries. My husband does the construction for small, rural churches. At times, I am not called to help in any way for the church we are serving. I struggled for an answer when I’m asked: “so what do you do when your husband is working 12 hours a day?” From now on, my answer:”I’m a digital nomad!”

  21. Great article Michelle! Thanks for demystifying a day in the life of a blogger. It’s inspiring to hear that while it’s still work, you’re able to be flex in how and when that work gets done and can really maximize and enjoy your daylight hours! I love boat life and hope to someday get there too.

  22. Brittany Gregory

    This is just the post I needed to read, before coming home to work as a VA/blogger dull time while careing for 2 kiddos. It gives me a lot of ideas for how to plan out my work load.

    Thank you Michelle your posts always seem to fit exactly what I needed to read when I needed to read it. Love you.

  23. Thank you for this! At the moment I’m in the ‘building up a baby blog’ stage of work, work WORK!! It’s so much more intense than I ever believed- but weirdly I love it and am happily working at it day after day! It’s good to see that (hopefully!) things might be more balanced in the future!

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. We split our life between our RV and our boat, so it’s lovely to have a role model doing the same thing. πŸ™‚

  24. Soji Joseph

    Great Article Michelle, It was really peaceful to read the routine as I have saturated today reading so much articles from technical side. This article is different and relished mind!!!! Nice work…

  25. Sonja Adzovic

    Loved this article!

    I’ve been following you for a while on Instagram and enjoy reading your emails! I’ve always wondered where the writing time happens and all the details that need to be done to keep a blog running. This is great to see how you organize your time.
    I especially like how you and Wes have created a really in sync lifestyle that works for both of you. I love the “Wes forced me to take a break and eat dinner/lunch!”

    Keep the great articles coming! Thank you!!

    1. Thank you! Glad you enjoyed this.

  26. I wish I had a flexible schedule like yours. Mines fluctuates depending on the day of the week. Some days are slow, but most of them have been busy, especially lately.

    1. Flexible schedules are great!

  27. Love this! My day isn’t as flexible as yours (I’m a mom if that helps paint the picture lol), but I do have a lot more freedom now than I did when I worked a 9-to-5. Eventually, I hope to work part-time like you do, and enjoy life even more. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I’m sure your days are busy! Thanks πŸ™‚

  28. Cody @ Dollar Habits

    This was such an awesome read, Michelle. Thank you for sharing. It is really interesting to get a glimpse into an average day for you and very insightful to see all the work that goes on behind the scenes for your business.

    I love your new boat and look forward to all the sailing pictures to come.

  29. DeShena Woodard

    Hi Michelle,

    This was an Awesome look inside your day! You are such an inspiration! I am new to blogging and want to be like you when I grow up (even though I’m older), lol!

  30. You made me feel guilty about not walking my poor dog enough haha! Your lifestyle is very inspiring- i’m a full time lawyer and blog on the side about paying off mine + hubby’s $650k of student loan debt and I love reading stories like yours! πŸ™‚

  31. Great insight into your nomadic-working lifestyle! Also nice to see you getting in some walks and enjoying the fresh air. It’s easy to get sucked into the computer, not taking breaks (:

  32. Scott Bates

    I’m always amazed at how fast the days really go by! Especially when you’re in a mood for a writing spree of 6 or more hours. After a writing day like that, I often find myself not writing again for at least a day. Let the mind take a break, even if you love writing, it’s good to take a break.

    Living the on the road in the RV vs doing the Sailboat must be a bit of a change? Do you leave the boat docked mostly or do you take it out regularly? A day of sailing can also be a full day of work. How’s the cooking with the Insta-Pot going? LOL

    1. Yes, the days definitely go by quickly!

      So far, it’s really not too much of a change – they’re both nomadic so they have a lot of similarities. One’s just on land and the other is on water πŸ™‚ In the end, we’re doing the same thing – bringing our home to different destinations.

  33. Susan

    Regarding you using assistants: at what point after you started your blogging, making courses, and such did you feel and decide it was time to have assistants helping you? Besides using your sister as your virtual assistant, what did you do to find the other ones, editor, technical, etc.

  34. Loved this article!

    I’ve been following you for a while on Instagram and enjoy reading your emails! I’ve always wondered where the writing time happens and all the details that need to be done to keep a blog running. This is great to see how you organize your time.
    I especially like how you and Wes have created a really in sync lifestyle that works for both of you. I love the β€œWes forced me to take a break and eat dinner/lunch!”

    Keep the great articles coming! Thank you!!

  35. Thanks for sharing. I think I always imagine other bloggers live life on a perfect schedule. So cool to see that all your hard work has allowed you more freedom from that!

  36. I am trying to be more frugal at the moment, especially as we don’t know where money is going to come from at the moment so I am going to have to save this post for all the tips!