If you’ve been lucky enough to travel, you’re probably familiar with being completely broke. We’ve all been in the same boat and it seems to become part of the travel lifestyle – we just get used to it and carry on.

I’d like to explore a different idea of how you can make money and travel which many people overlook.  This isn’t a get rich quick scheme, but rather how you can take advantage of a new way of living.

Lets start with the typical backpacker lifestyle:

  1. Get a job.
  2. Work till you can’t work no more.
  3. Travel till you’re broke.
  4. Repeat.

This lifestyle has given me (and many others) experiences which will last a lifetime, but the old ‘save and spend it’ mentality comes with a lot of downsides. After a while, you naturally get tired of starting from scratch and the whole travel lifestyle becomes frustrating.

At this point you’re left with two options. Do you:

a) Go home and get a real job.
b) Work out a way to travel and support yourself.

If you chose a) then your reading is done here and you can go back to browsing Facebook or whatever else you were doing before you got here. Go on, get outta here!

Option b) is the more difficult choice, but for the determined individual, it is obtainable if you have a willingness to learn.

Enter: The Digital Nomad

Digital nomads are individuals who work from locations of their choice and typically set their own work schedule.

Digital nomad lifestyle

The Nomadic Lifestyle is the idea that you do not have to be location dependant. It’s about designing a work/life balance that gives you freedom and independence. This 21st century lifestyle has incredible benefits both for lifestyle and finance. The lifestyle point is more obvious. You can be anywhere that takes your interest and allows you to travel freely (awesome!). However, the financial benefits of this lifestyle design shift are equally as promising when you consider being able to take advantage of hugely reduced costs of living compared to countries like the US or the UK.  If you play your cards right, you can earn more money as a traveling nomad than you would have done in an office at home.

There are literally thousands of professions and skills which would allow you to do this. Some of the popular skills are freelance writing, graphic design, web development and photography etc. but there are many, many more. The following steps are meant as a starting base to continue your own reading. If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment at the bottom of the post:

  1. First off, find your skill!
    You have to learn a skill that is not location dependant. If you already have a skill, or you’ve got something in mind, then great! If not, there are all sorts of courses to take for you to kick off your freelancing career.  One of the best places to start is by taking a course from udemy.com. Their courses and instructors are very well moderated and their online learning platform is awesome. You can quite literally learn anything on this site, from beginner to advanced levels.  Take the time to pick a course that is right for you. You have to actually like what you’re getting into!

    **TIP: sign up for udemy but don’t buy the course right away. They frequently have $15 flash sales for every course, which is up to 97% off!**

    I highly recommend the complete web developer course. The content is fantastic, and web development is an excellent niche to be in. There are loads of restaurants and hotels you’ll run across during your travels who will be willing to pay $500+ per website, which is great if you need some extra cash, or if you need to build a portfolio to get bigger clients when you’re just starting out.
  2. Practice.
    Leading on from my last point, in the early days freelancing is a hustle. You have to be willing to work for free to get a portfolio together to show to bigger prospective clients. Work for friends, family, relatives and anyone in between. Just focus on getting better at the skill you’ve chosen, and building a client base. Work hard and keep your Nomadic goal in mind!
  3. Get work as a freelancer
    There are literally hundreds of thousands of freelance jobs in every niche you could imagine. Websites like freelancer and upwork allow you to start applying for freelance jobs right away.  You should also take a look at the great feed of remote jobs on remoteok. These jobs are looking for professionals who are more experienced, but it’s great to have an idea of what types of jobs are out there as you build your unique skill set.
    If you’re still unsure and have questions about how to reach these goals, you can join a community of other Nomads who are all working together to achieve the Nomadic lifestyle. There are some great resources for all things nomads on nodesk.co You can also leave a comment at the bottom of this post. I’m happy to help out anyone trying to reach this goal.

working on Siargao island

– The view from my office 😉 for more information see my post on the top 10 places to live and work as a digital nomad.

Conclusion:
Achieving the goal of making money as you travel is not an easy route. It’s going to take time and dedication to make it possible, but it is achievable to work from anywhere. As we establish ourselves in this digital age, more and more companies are embracing this new type of work environment, realising that the people who are best suited for their job already have the option to be location independent.

It is a wonderful time to be alive. This way of living wasn’t an option 10 years ago. We now have the opportunity to truly design our lives and work to live rather than the other way around. There are so many possibilities once you open your door to them. It takes work and commitment, but it’s worth it.

If you’d like to explore the idea of a nomadic lifestyle further, and you’d like to do some more reading, I recommend reading these 2 books on lifestyle design, entrepreneurship and location independent working:

The four hour work week
The $100 startup

  1. Loved this. It is so true – if you develop the right skills you can follow your dreams. Every new travel adventure gives more insight into human nature, more awesome places to visit and adds to a person’s expertise – whether it be web-design, writing, photography or a business sourcing handcrafted goods.

    1. Thanks Jean, glad you liked it 🙂 this post is really focused on digital professionals, but there are really so many different directions to take to live travel as an ongoing lifestyle – more posts to come!

  2. Hi John!

    I found a goldmine on this post, I never thought that there is a combo meal on udemy for web development, though I already got some about SEO and php / css I would still avail the combo meal. Thank you very much for sharing.

    1. Hi Paul,

      Really glad you found it useful, there are some awesome courses on Udemy, and hundreds more where you can learn web development and other freelance skills for free.

      The hardest part is starting!

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