If you’ve ever thought about becoming a digital nomad, then you’ve probably wondered how you are going to make an income on the road and how you can still travel. When I first decided that I wanted to travel and somehow make it a part of my lifestyle, how I would make money while I did it was a bit more complicated than I had expected.
At first, I thought maybe teaching English would be the best way to go and that I could do it almost anywhere. However, after taking a TEFL course, it didn’t take me long to recognize that teaching English as a second language wasn’t a good fit for me, and that I would have to figure something else out in order to make traveling and making money possible.
I had worked as a freelance writer for a number of years before moving to Italy to teach. I was just starting out, and my rates were abysmal. I was writing 400-word articles for $4 and hoping I wouldn’t have to dig into savings in order to keep my apartment in Florence. I knew exactly how much I could spend at the grocery store, and even a Euro more felt like I was spending more than my means.
The truth is, starting out as a digital nomad wasn’t easy. It took me some time to develop my freelance business skills and to find clients who were interested in what I had to offer. There were times where I thought about giving up, and going back to my home town seemed like a smarter option. I had anxiety about how I was going to pay my bills and the life path I had chosen.
In the meantime, I was having a ton of fun. I was meeting new people, learning so much more about the world, and discovering that money wasn’t everything to a beautiful life. I was really enjoying what I was doing, even if I had to worry about how I was going to fund my lifestyle. And the thing I was discovering was that traveling was less expensive than signing a lease with an apartment, purchasing a car, and choosing a more settled locale.
The truth is, there is no secret to being a digital nomad. I’ve known some who have made a ton of money through remote jobs or through creating their own businesses. I’ve known others that have struggled along the way and have had to watch any penny. But if there is any advice that I could give someone who wants to take their career on the road, it would be to give it time. Exercise a little persistence, try not to stress out about things too much, and know you’ll have failures as well as successes.
Like any career that requires a little creativity, it might take some time for you to find your footing and know which direction you want to take it. The trick is not to be hard on yourself or be afraid to ask for help. There are now remote positions for almost any industry, and starting your own business at a young age has become more and more of an option. Making a living as a digital nomad might mean that you cut back on your budget in other ways, or that you look for a place to live abroad where you can save some money.
The truth is that being a digital nomad has been a wonderful choice for me in my youth and has taught me some valuable lessons about following my dreams and making them a reality.
Are you a digital nomad? How have you made it work for you?