Raise your hand if you hate your job. I’ll wait. Ok, now that we’re being honest, I was like you and we are not alone. It was the end of 2019 and my lease was up so I thought it was the perfect time to put my things in storage and live life as a ‘digital nomad’ luxuriously for “just a few months”. The time away from life in NYC was meant to inspire what the next leg of my journey in life and business looked like.
To the outside world, I owned a lucrative marketing agency and had a fancy pad in the West Village. To me I felt like I was an employee working 15 hour days sometimes, my studio apartment felt like it was getting smaller by the day, and my mom was recovering from a health scare. Combined together, there was a weight on my shoulder.
Whether you’re looking to emulate from the success of Kepnes, or you’re simply looking to set out for an extended stay to see how you enjoy living as a digital nomad, there are 5 distinct steps that you need to take before embarking upon your journey. The more attention you pay to the details before you leave, the less headache you’ll have overall in your experience of the nomadic lifestyle.
Step 1 — Reduce and Eliminate Expenses
Considering that most people need a paycheck to ensure that their monthly needs and debt obligations are met, in order to travel the world and live as a digital nomad while still having the cash to pay your bills “back home,” you need to reduce and eliminate as many of your expenses as possible.
This includes things like gym memberships, subscriptions and any other extraneous debt obligations you might have. When you’re on the road, those expenses will weigh you down. If you have to go weeks or months without a steady income, you need to be able to weather that storm, so to speak.
If you have a car, think about selling it. If you rent a home, think about moving all your stuff into storage. Go through all your junk and do a garage sale so that you can simplify your life before heading out. You never actually know when you’ll return back from your journey, so it’s important to do your best at the outset before you leave.
Step 2 — Develop Skills To Work As a Digital Nomad
Anyone who’s heading out on the road needs some serious skills that they can use to work remotely. Without online skills and no passive income, you’d be left merely to working in the local economy, which isn’t the worst thing, but it also won’t afford you with the right amount of income to continue traveling and enjoying the digital nomad lifestyle.
Develop the right set of skills that you can use to work online. You don’t need to start a blog. In fact, doing that will involves years of hard work. But you can write for others or find any other kind of online work through sites like Upwork and Fiverr. In fact, there are numerous ways you can make money online, no matter where you might be traveling to.
The ideal skills would involve anything that can be done from a laptop, remotely. Keep in mind that you’ll likely be working from a vastly different time zone than you’re used to, so if you plan to work as a digital nomad, you need to be flexible enough to work when you have the time and not constrain yourself to some 9-to-5 hours.
Step 3 — Decide On A Destination
You need to decide on an ideal destination as a digital nomad. Where will you go? What will the cost of living be in that destination? How much will it cost you to rent an apartment or eat out at a restaurant? It’s important to not only decide on the destination, but also prepare yourself a budget based on that destination.
There are numerous resources that you can use to decide on the ideal destination as a nomad. For example, sites like Nomad List and Momondo can help you narrow down the choices. But it’s best to do your due diligence and look into the safety, security and quality of life in each of the destinations on your short list.
Depending on the type of experience and budget you’re targeting, any number of destinations from Eastern Europe to Asia and even Central or South America might work out for you. It all depends on what you’re after. Be sure to do extensive research before setting out so that you know what you have in store for yourself.
Step 4 — Set Goals And Create A Plan
Goal setting is an important aspect of life no matter what our future hopes or dreams might be, but especially so for living as a digital nomad. You need to get clear about what you want. Not only where will you go. But how long will you stay and what will you do while you’re there.
You need to figure out how you’ll support yourself and what’ll happen if you can’t make ends meet. What’s your Plan B? What about your Plan C? Things don’t always work out the way that we want them to work out, but as long as we put the proper plan in place, we can achieve what we focus on.
There are so many concerns such as healthcare and insurance that we often fail to think about all the small details that can interrupt our trips. How will we communicate if we have to go to a hospital in a foreign land? How will we navigate the local laws and regulations to do just about anything in our intended destinations?
Step 5 — Join A Digital Nomad Community
The final step in becoming a digital nomad is to join a community. Get out there and communicate with others that are already living the lifestyle. Their firsthand experience can prove to be an invaluable tool, not only in the planning stages, but also when you first arrive.
There are loads of communities that you can tap into, such as the Couch Surfing community and numerous others. These are all people that are living to travel and largely enthralled in a laptop lifestyle. What they might have to say could help you out in a number of situations.
The so-called expat community is large and thriving, which forms the basis for most digital nomad clusters and groups in the most popular cities in the world such as in Chiang Mai, Buenos Aires or Budapest, just to name a few examples. Tap into this thriving community to get the answers to the most pressing questions about living and working as a digital nomad and you’ll be surprised at the quality of information that comes back.
Recovering fashion blogger and Founder of NYC-based creative consultancy, Hashtag Lifestyle.