Becoming a Digital Nomad

Posted on July 26, 2009 by

More and more modern-day nomads are taking on this new lifestyle, creating a trend amidst the travel addicts these days. Some call themselves ‘location-independent’, while others use terms like ‘digital nomads’. All sorts of lingo have sprung up revolving around the newly sought after lifestyle of working as you go. Regardless of where you are – in the Amazon jungle or sailing in the Arctic – with a laptop in hand and internet connection to connect you with the world, you can easily keep up with your professional life while traveling around the world.

Why become a Digital Nomad?

imageWho said work has to be boring? Who said work needs to be in an office? Picture yourself working on your laptop sitting at a cafe overlooking the Iguazu Falls, finishing up an article or having a business meeting with your clients. All these while the money rolls in. Isn’t that everyone’s dream job?

That said, making a living while on the road is not a bed of roses like many would imagine. Taking precious time off traveling to check emails, to work on articles and liaise with editors can be taxing on what is otherwise a leisure activity for others. Instead of completely getting away from work and soaking in nature and beauty, your mind might not be able to shut off even while traveling. However, with some excellent time management and prioritization, I believe adopting such a free lifestyle definitely overwrites any other undesirable traits it might entail.

Our Transition into a Digital Nomadic Lifestyle

imageAlthough we have yet to complete our transition into fully-fletched digital nomads, I can already see the difference it will make on the way we travel. I personally see more of the positive sides than negativities of the digital nomad lifestyle, and honestly can’t wait to plunge right into it. With our new Canon 450D SLR camera and tiny netbook Lenovo S10, we are almost constantly plugged in and connected to the world even while on the go. Writing from our hostel in Buenos Aires, I am already loving the baby steps we are taking into the location-independent lifestyle.

Some interesting articles/blogs that provide tips on Digital Nomad Lifestyle that are worth checking out.

About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is a professional travel writer and blogger with a special interest in off-grid destinations and adventure travel. Her mission is to visit every country in the world. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Iceland, swam with sealions in the Galapagos, built a school in Tanzania, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, crossed into North Korea and drank beer in Palestine.

33 Responses to “Becoming a Digital Nomad”

  1. Yi Lin July 26, 2009 10:01 pm #

    Hola Nellie!

    Como estas? We SO understand what you mean about writing on the go. We blogged about it too – our friends told us to get off the Internet and go have a proper holiday. But – as I'm sure you know – long-term travel isn't like a normal holiday, it's more like normal life on the go. And like in normal life back home, getting plugged in is just another daily activity for us. I used to do write freelance and people told me to write while on this trip and sell articles and photos to publications. But I haven't done so cos I don't want to get bogged down by 'work' on this trip. The extra cash would be good though.

    I have a 450D too and love it lots. But we've been rather wary about carrying a big camera around in Bogota, so it's been under lock and key. Which is a pity. Snapping with a small point-and-shoot just seems less inspiring and satisfying!

  2. Anil July 27, 2009 5:24 pm #

    Best of luck with the transition. Technology is really making traditional offices less important and I think there will be a shift away from them over the year to come.

  3. Matt July 27, 2009 10:50 pm #

    good luck! i hope it works out for you. it's hard but it can be done

  4. Princess August 4, 2009 5:03 am #

    It's true, these are exciting times. On the one hand people have the opportunity to be liberated from their desk jobs, daily commutes and office politics, while the flipside is working on the road or from home can feel like yu are never away from the job and make it difficult to switch off and relax.

  5. Melbourne Gallery Jobs October 31, 2009 3:07 pm #

    I really enjoy reading Becoming a Digital Nomad | Wild Junket . It’s very interesting. Hope you will post something like this again.

  6. soultravelers3 December 21, 2009 12:13 am #

    Go global nomads! It's a fantastic way to live and raise a family! ;) We've been doing it since 2006 and love it! Stumbled!

  7. Travelfusion January 20, 2010 9:57 am #

    Great and inspiring post – I've often thought of making the transition to "digital nomad" someday but have to admit that I'm not sure I have the courage! Keep us posted on your adventures!

    Kathryn @Travelfusion

  8. Alex Simpson January 22, 2010 4:34 pm #

    Interesting article and some great comments. It sounds like a wonderful way to earn a living but I imagine there are some challenging aspects as well. Travelling is pretty tiring as well as mundane and as long as you are able to work on the go (as you travel from A to B) there shouldn’t be any problems.

    I have thought about doing this a few times as I love both travelling and writing but have found it hard to actually get going. Imagine giving someone a business card with the job title “Digital Nomad’, so cool!

    Does anyone have any tips on how to get started or other experiences from digital nomads?

    • Nellie January 22, 2010 9:08 am #

      hey Alex thanks for stopping by. Yeh definitely, digital nomad has its challenges as well – like finding a good connection in certain parts of the world, finding the time to actually go out and explore while managing your work etc. I found it especially difficult while travelling through Latin America, I basically put my travel writing on hold. But I've honestly never been happier, doing travel writing is so gratifying – while it doesn't exactly pay all the bills, I still manage to make a modest living out of it and I'm sure if you work hard at it, you'll get there too. I started my digital nomadic lifestyle after I sorta established my travel writing career at home i.e. writing for free until I started getting paid writing gigs and then I was off. But it's hard to do it without some savings or a sideline – so there, I'll be writing more about it, stay tuned!

  9. backpacklife January 31, 2010 5:39 pm #

    I think its best to make sure you realise travel writing is not an EASY way to make a living. Its not impossible of course but it helps to have a strong network and a certain amount of credibility to make the grade. I was shocked to hear the amount of full-time travel writers there are in the USA. Take a guess… currently I believe its less than 12 (Jan 2010). So the freelance gig is very very competitive and having a casual blog might not be enough (considering you are competing with experienced professional writers). Some people do it of course – but I think you need to have a strong angle or USP to stand out.

    It's a dream worth chasing but you need to remember its still a dream until you are covering all of your living costs. If you are getting income elsewhere to cover the costs then its not really a living – modest or not. As a means of topping up your travel funds – I believe that's a more achievable goal.

    Good luck nomads!

    • Nellie February 1, 2010 6:08 pm #

      hey Steve, thanks for sharing – you are just being more realistic than negative so dont worry about it. ;) I did quite a bit of research before I decided to give travel writing a go. Yes I agree that keeping a full-time job while writing is the smarter way out. Since we got back from South America, I have been dedicating all my time to writing, but I also teach 3 hours a day just to get some pocket money (more like spare change). But I have been getting results – beyond my own expectations! – Im now writing for a Singapore newspaper and have got quite a few gigs in international publications, so there you go, sometimes determination and hard work really helps! ;)

  10. backpacklife January 31, 2010 5:40 pm #

    I hope that didn't sound too negative – just wanted to add a bit of balance :)

  11. Travel photography February 12, 2010 9:57 am #

    I am currently trying to develop a location-independant business and trying to make passive income from photography. This is the way I think is easier to make a nomad life, having various sources of incomes and making a work you can do anywhere, since it's nearly impossible to live only with passive income or without work.

  12. travel tibet guide May 4, 2010 8:12 am #

    Great list and great topic to read. I read few of that list and it is really interested topic.

    • Maria November 22, 2012 5:30 pm #

      John,Thanks for posting my blog link. I’m gonna have to post more cottisnensly now that more people are visiting. Once again, your work is terribly inspiring and I look forward to seeing more. Andrew

  13. GRRRL TRAVELER October 4, 2010 9:33 pm #

    Interesting & inspiring. I've been trying to figure out how people live this lifestyle while on the road until I just gave into teaching abroad as a way to get on the road. But I'd lke more freedom to travel. The most important and ellusive question bridge: where do you set up your job contacts? As a freelancer, finding travel writing or photography job opportunities seems like chasing the gold nugget that's hard to get even when you're location based. Do you set up your opportunities and do the "finding work" legwork before you leave so that you can work in the field?

  14. Angie Orth March 4, 2011 12:08 pm #

    I'm in the process of transitioning from cubicle slave to digital nomad… kinda wishing for a like-minded travel partner to appear to help out in my areas of weakness. It's going to be a challenge… but one worth taking. Thanks for the great post!

  15. Marco November 7, 2011 7:43 pm #

    Short but inspiring: we have been on the road for few years now trying to make this dream a reality.


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