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How To Become A Digital Nomad

  • Jul 20, 2016
How To Become A Digital Nomad

I remember when Ka and I were working multiple jobs between us and claiming benefits from the government, but still barely able to make ends meet, or even buy enough food for our kids which is a pretty scary place to be. Juggling work and family life back then just equalled stress... For many people, the dream of quitting the weekday grind in the name of freedom sounds like a great way to escape the pressures of everyday life. For others though, like it was for us, it's a real goal.

But before you give up your day job, your home, your car and other possessions to catch the next plane to a beautiful foreign land, (we chose Costa Rica!) first consider the reasons why you want to become a nomad. Ka and I just wanted to escape this constant hamster wheel we felt ourselves on, day in and day out. Then, carefully consider what you'd be giving up in your current life - which for us was very little, and what you could potentially gain in new experiences, friendships and income opportunities.

Yeah I had to throw that in, income opportunities – because you'll still have to find a way to fund your travels and lifestyle. It's a gamble, but it's not as far fetched as you may think. We literally sold everything to get the money together to get our plane tickets, and it was totally worth it.

Travel First, Make Dramatic Lifestyle Changes Later

One of the best ways to determine if the life of a nomad is right for you is to take a trip - anywhere. We didn't have that luxury when we first moved to Costa Rica, so it's not essential, but we'd recommend it. Plan a month-long trip somewhere. Save up for it, create a budget, and learn as much as you can about where you’re going and then just get on that plane :-)

If you return full of cool stories, amazing experiences, a few scary moments, along with a very real and constant yearning to go back (even after returning to all the familiar things in life and getting back together with family and friends), then you're probably a nomad at heart - yay, welcome to the club! However, if you enjoyed traveling, but missed all the comforts of home, your friends, your fave TV programs, you should probably consider keeping your traveling to a few times a year at most, so you can maintain your current lifestyle.

And Now for the Dramatic Lifestyle Changes…

Leading a nomadic lifestyle doesn't have to mean wandering aimlessly from place to place, especially for us with 6 kids ;-). You can choose a place somewhere in the world you're really interested in and just move there - it can be on a temporary basis, you may of heard Ka mention in his videos that we're full time tourists and it works well for us having extended stays as well as shorter ones - say for a couple months to 6 months or so (depending on visa requirements and your own preferences of course). Then, you can move to another town or city around where you're at or go to a different country altogether. Ka and I have lived like this quite successfully for a number of years.

To fund your adventures, you'll likely have to set a firm budget - especially if you're not already making money online, so it's usually best to sell as many tangible items as you can and pay off your debts too, if at all possible. If you want to save money, you may want to cancel 'non essential' services like subscription television, your mobile phone subscription and switch to prepaid pay-as-you-go (and then look for cheaper alternatives that function in the country you're traveling to like WorldSIM, because if this is all new to you, it's important to maintain a connection with family and friends, and to know you can reach someone you know well in the event of an emergency), and if you have cleaning services - cancel those immediately too, and anything else you can think of.

If you have a car, sell it. If you have things like valuable electronics, stereo equipment - whatever, sell them. The point is to raise as much money as you can. If you're a home owner, sell or rent out your home.

We traveled literally with backpacks, and with a large family, so you can for sure do this too - plus the added bonus is that it's so completely freeing :-)

Surviving on More than Savings Alone…

A digital nomad is someone who travels while earning a living providing something like freelance services or running a business online, which is what we teach inside our business school. Thanks to the Internet, maintaining a nomadic lifestyle is easier than you might think, as long as you have a computer and reliable, consistent Internet service. Make sure you do your research and choose someplace where the Internet is easily accessible and runs at reasonable speeds too.


Now you need to ask yourself, "What am I good at?" You might be able to start getting paid for it as a freelancer. Online freelance jobs generally include writing, editing, blogging, teaching, graphic design, photography, data entry, accounting, social media, coding – you name it, someone will need it. Do a little research to find opportunities that allow you to work remotely.

Keep in mind that many freelance opportunities pay you through PayPal, Stripe, Amazon payments, or other online payment transaction services. Set up the appropriate accounts prior to your trip to make sure you receive timely payments for your work, or join a freelance site like Upwork.com

Then one day when you build your online business, you'll be the one hiring freelancers :-)

Starting an Online Business

If you're interested in starting an online business, consider pursuing something you're really super passionate about so you can do what you love everyday - really you can! Maybe this could take the form of setting up an online retail website to sell your artwork, crafts, clothing, and other items or you might be interested in sharing your specialized knowledge or experiences with the world in the form of digital products that you sell through ClickBank or another online retailer. If you enjoy writing, consider starting a blog, online magazine or email newsletter.

If you have enough traffic coming to your website, you can even make a steady income selling ad space, or you could promote affiliate products to your readers, which could be products and/or services that they may be very interested in purchasing. Basically, in an affiliate relationship you work on commission, which can work out very favorably for everyone involved. Furthermore, you could also easily sell ebooks and other informational products you create. Keep in mind though, you'll need a fair amount of traffic if you only want to do affiliate promotions. Even Ka and I can't retire just yet on what we make from YouTube ads ;-) so it's best to use that as a supplement, and focus on building your audience, selling your knowledge, and contributing to the lives of others as much as possible.

Living Free is Serious Business…

Taking the decision to pursue freedom and do what you love everyday can be one of the most awesome experiences of your life, especially if you can reasonably plan this out while having guidance from very successful people who have proven that breaking free is really possible. Living the life we really want isn't always easy, but it's always the journey with the most meaning - the one that truly inspires us to keep moving forward ;-)

Love and Sunshine,

One of the best ways to determine if the life of a #nomad is right for you is to take a trip - anywhere. http://bit.ly/2acGQCz

Posted by The Sundancefamily on Wednesday, July 20, 2016