Do you want to become a digital nomad and don’t know where to start, what you can do and what to expect from living on the road full time? In that case, read this exceptional article by Danny, travel blogger at What’s Danny Doing, who has been living a nomadic lifestyle for almost a yearnow.
Discover how to prepare for your nomadic lifestyle, what you need to know about working remotely, what to expect when living on the road full time and what to expect during your first year as a digital nomad.
8 Essential Tips for Living on the Road Full Time
I’ve been living the nomadic lifestyle for a little under a year now.
And I’ve got no plans for going home (and back to an ordinary full-time job) any time soon!
I just love this lifestyle. Living in a constant state of travel, and earning money as I go…it’s literally my dream come true. I feel hugely fortunate and thankful that I’ve been able to make it a reality.
That said, being on the road, living out of my backpack, and being on the move full time isn’t without its trials and tribulations.
Sure, it has more than its fair share of advantages and highs! The good times roll by with abandon. Yet the challenges that go with them are far from negligible. The entire process has taken some getting used to.
I thought I’d share some suggestions for easing the transition into full-time travel, and making the digital nomad lifestyle a wholly enjoyable affair. Hopefully, the coming post will help out anyone else considering this awesome way of life. Interested in learning more?
Keep reading to discover 8 tips that should make living on the road that bit easier.
Make it Happen
First thing’s first:
It’s time to actually make your new digital nomad lifestyle happen.
There’s no time like the present! It’s all too easy to stop, hesitate, and fail to act on our ambitions. Before we know it, a year, and then two, and then 5, drift by. We find excuse after excuse and eventually feel like it’s too late.
If you have any looming desire to give life on the road a shot, then I wholeheartedly encourage you to act upon it as soon as possible.
Like most people, I hate the idea of getting to the end of my life and looking back on it with any semblance of regret. Digital nomadry is a daunting prospect. There can be a host of genuine hurdles to overcome to get there!
But you owe it to yourself to do it. After all, the only way to know if life on the road is right for you is to try it out! Obviously, that takes action.
Also, you owe it to yourself to stay healthy and safe. So before taking any actions do some travel health research on the place you are visiting. Many exotic places have diseases that might hinder your travel, plus some countries have mandatory vaccination rules.
Do yourself a favour, pack your bags (don’t forget your protective travel crystals!), and make your dream a reality.
Get a Location Independent Source of Income
Okay, ambition and motivation are firmly in place.
The next thing to think about is how you’ll actually earn money on the go.
Now, there’s nothing stopping you from or ganising the job once you’re on the road.
However, I recommend getting it in place before you leave home. This allows for a bit of trial and error beforehand. You get to grips with the new job and understand whether it’ll be a viable source of income when you’re travelling.
Likewise, initial practice in the comfort of home will help you master whatever you’re doing. I can almost guarantee that the first few weeks on the road will pass in a blur of adrenaline and activity! Learning the basics of a new job is unlikely to be on your radar. You’ll benefit from knowing the ropes in advance.
This part often stumps people. What on earth are you going to do for a living? What actual job will you do?
Nicely, there are all sorts of potential jobs available. We’ve got the internet to thank for that! There’s almost no shortage of things you can do. If it can be done via a computer, then you can do it on the road. It’s actually easy to be a digital nomad and to have a location independent lifestyle.
Here are some common examples of digital nomad jobs: how to make money anywhere in the world:
- Graphic design,
- freelance content writing (this is what I do!),
- virtual assistance (VA),
- administrative work,
- teaching a language,
- selling e-books,
You’ve got a lot of options. Think about your personal skillsets and set about finding the job for you. Often, you don’t need even additional qualifications. Websites like Fiverr, Upwork, and PeoplePerHour are great for freelancers.
Remember to speak with your current employer! Negotiate with them to see if you can take your work to the road. They may be more than happy to do this if it means keeping you on board and it’ll be a good start for your nomadic lifestyle.
Okay, let’s say you’ve finally made it to the road.
Congratulations! You did it! Now the fun really starts. Get ready for one long learning experience to head your way.
One of the main things I’ve had to get a handle on is my finances.
I was lucky enough to get a job writing blog content before I left for my travels. It’s ideal: the work is almost always there to be done. I just need to log on, choose the article I want to write, and then a week later I’m paid for it.
Sounds easy. Unfortunately, travel has a habit of draining your funds sooner than you’d like! There’s so much you want to see and do. Spending your money is all too easy…
Within the first few months, it was clear that I was spending far more than I was earning. I didn’t budget well at all and almost ran out of cash.
I learned early on that if my travels were to have any longevity, then I’d need to be more responsible with my budget.
I recommend sitting down and working out a budget for the road. Know how much money you can earn, and how much you’re expecting to pay. If you can save up some money in advance, then even better.
Redirect Your Mail
Make sure you remember to redirect your mail when you leave.
It’s one example of a practical thing to think about in advance. I was silly and forgot to change all of my addresses over before I left. This led to a bunch of correspondence going to my old address.
Now I’ve got my mailing address set up for my parents’ house. My letters get sent there, and then either my mum or dad scans them and sends them through. This system works great, but only because I’m lucky to have a lovely set of parents to help!
An alternative approach would be to set up a phantom address. There are numerous companies that do this. Basically, they provide you with a physical address to use while you’re away. It’s a bit like a P.O. Box, but they’ll also open and scan all letters to you (for a fee).
This could be worth looking into as a workaround.
Stay In Touch With Home
Living on the road can get lonely.
It’s one of the many challenges of travelling for a long time. However, there’s something even more daunting about the prospect of travelling indefinitely.
Like, I literally don’t know when I’ll see my family and friends at home again! Sure, it’s nice to know that I could hop on a plane if I needed to.
But I have no actual plans to do it any time soon. Feelings of homesickness and loneliness are only natural when you’re a long way from loved ones.
Expect a fair dosage of it- especially after the first couple of months, when the initial rush wears off.
To remedy the situation, I recommend making a regular habit of calling home. You may not need much persuasion! Get it scheduled in the diary, though. Knowing when you’ll next talk with your best friend, or your mum and dad can take the sting off those feelings of isolation.
Actually Do Some Work!
Here’s a quick one:
Remember to actually do some work on the road.
This is another reason why I nearly ran out of money soon after starting my travels. There was too much fun stuff to do! I had very little motivation to sit down at a desk and work.
It’s a genuine challenge. I mean, there are golden sands to laze on, crystal clear waters to swim in, temples to explore, and hikes to do…you get the picture.
Simply, there are a plethora of excuses that stop work from being a priority. Obviously, you won’t be travelling for long if you continue to forgo it though!
It took a shift in mindset for me. There’s a very fundamental difference between location independent living, and pure and simple travel. In the beginning, I was treating my experience as travel; work wasn’t on my radar.
I had to force myself to think differently. I’m living on the road. I’m not just travelling it. Life isn’t all fun and games; it takes work. To sustain myself and live with purpose, work and goals had to feature in my day to day life.
The trouble with (and joy of) having total freedom is that there’s nobody telling you what to do. It takes willpower and resolve to sit down and get the work done. But doing so is the key to really being a digital nomad.
Settle Down Once in a While
Willpower is all well and good.
But there’s something inherently disruptive about being on the move all the time.
It makes establishing any sort of routine almost impossible. It means there might be insufficient internet access when you need it most. It means you’re tired, and low on motivation to work.
I don’t know about you, but I need a level of structure to my day to really make the most of it.
It helps me to know, in advance, when and where and for how long I’ll be working. I can then plan my day accordingly.
That’s nigh on impossible when you’re in a constant state of flux. Moving from place to place makes your days full of a new and awesome experience. But it inevitably makes working that bit harder!
I recommend stopping every once in a while. Even if it’s just for a few days, having that time in one location can make a world of difference. And not just in terms of work. Constant movement is a recipe for burnout too. Emotionally, spiritually and physically…it’s impossible to sustain.
Be sure to take time to rest and recuperate…and get some work done!
Look After Your Physical and Mental Health
This leads nicely to my next point.
Endeavour to look after yourself on the road.
Structure makes it easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It’s actually one thing that I like about ordinary 9 to 5 jobs. It’s predictable. You can build essential activities into your day by virtue of knowing exactly what you’re doing and when.
You can join the gym, establish running routes, plan and cook your own healthy meals, get enough sleep in your own comfortable bed…the list goes on.
All of these things are far harder when you’re on the road. For instance, you may never be in one place long enough to join the gym, you’re relying on hostel kitchens to cook, you’re only ever buying enough food for a day or two at a time…Similarly, travel is tiring, yet sleep can be a struggle in hostel accommodation. And so on and so forth.
It can simply be a challenge to stay fit and healthy.
It’s still a work in progress for me. But it’s another reason I enjoy settling down in one place for a period of time. You can get into a proper routine. It’s an ongoing endeavour, but the key point is to strive to do what you can to stay fit and well!
I also try and meditate every morning, read a book, and/or write stuff down in a notepad.
All of these things help support my mental wellbeing on the road. I encourage everyone to figure out their own means of doing the same thing.
Time to Start Living on the Road Full Time
There you have it: my top tips to ease the transition into living on the road full time, and make the most of this amazing experience.
I’ve not looked back since transitioning into digital nomadry. I love the newfound freedom and control I have over my life. It would take an awful lot to convince me to go back to the ‘olden days’ of location-based living.
However, it’s undeniably been a process of trial and error. There have been a fair share of downs to accompany the huge array of ‘ups’ I’ve had along the way.
Hopefully, this post will help you learn from my mistakes and get cracking with your new way of life! I wish you all the very best in your coming adventures!
About the author:
Danny Newman is currently writing and travelling his way around the world in a bid to figure out exactly what he’s doing with his life. He’d love you to follow along with his journey over at What’s Danny Doing. Follow her on Pinterest as well.