A few months ago I became a digital nomad, and it’s the best life decision I’ve ever made 😁.
“WTF is a digital nomad?”, you ask. Here’s a description I lifted from Wikipedia:
Digital nomads are people who use telecommunications technologies to earn a living and, more generally, conduct their life in a nomadic manner. Such workers typically work remotely—generally from foreign countries, coffee shops, public libraries, co-working spaces and even recreational vehicles—to accomplish tasks and goals that traditionally took place in a single, stationary workplace.
The crazy thing is, I never actually knew I wanted to be a digital nomad. Quite the opposite. If you had suggested to me 12 months ago that my dream job might be one where I spent most days alone, working remotely, only connecting with my team online, I’d most likely have laughed at you. “I’d go stir crazy not having coworkers to talk to everyday, and I’d never be able to find the motivation to get my work done” is what I might have said. I’d always liked the idea of working remotely when it suited me (when I was travelling or I needed to be at home for some reason) but I never thought it was something I could do all the time.
Earlier this year, my job at the tech startup I worked for was made redundant quite suddenly, leaving me with a massively bruised ego and very unemployed 😧. In hindsight, it was the best thing that ever happened to me because during my frantic job hunt, I stumbled across a job I might never have applied for under different circumstances. But I took a chance on it, and I’ve never looked back.
I work with an insanely talented team of developers and designers, who are based all over the world. I’ve had to learn a few new skills, like how to manage a team working across different timezones, but you’d be surprised how much more productive you can be when you work remotely, free from the distractions and useless interactions you get with an office job.
You’d also be surprised how quickly you get used to managing your work and keeping yourself motivated. If you imagine remote work to be not wearing pants, working for a couple of hours and then spending the rest of the day watching Netflix, I can assure you this is definitely not the case. Well, except maybe for the no pants thing… 😬
And the best part – I can travel and take my work with me wherever I go! ✈️👩🏼💻 Gone are the days where my travelling time is dictated by my annual leave balance. As long as I have my laptop and wifi, I’m set. This was definitely one of the big drivers behind our decision to sell all our stuff and live in Airbnbs – no fixed address or fixed workplace means we can travel whenever we like.
I won’t lie, when you work remotely you can feel a little isolated at times, which is why coworking is the best thing ever. I’m part of the Inspire9 coworking community, so when I’m not travelling, or working from a cafe or our Airbnb, I spend my work days at the Inspire9 space with a bunch of other awesome, likeminded people. Inspire9 is dog-friendly too, so I even get to bring Miss Lola Bear to work 🐶.
Coworking is also a great way to meet other people when you travel, so I’m looking forward to hunting down some cool spaces the next time we’re overseas. Coworker is a great resource for finding coworking spaces all over the world. Hot tip – many coworking spaces let you have your first day for free, so why not save some $$ and try out a few different ones when you travel somewhere new. I also love the Work Hard Anywhere app for finding cafes with WiFi to work from.
If you’ve been considering becoming a digital nomad, I can honestly say go for it. It’s completely changed my life, and it will change yours too. There are so many jobs that you can do remotely – product/project management, user experience design, product design, programming, digital marketing, customer support, sales, copywriting, etc. It’s not uncommon these days for companies to have entirely remote workforces. Here are a few remote job boards to help you start your search:
• We Work Remotely
• Working Nomads
And if travelling is your passion plus you like the idea of working with a bunch of other digital nomads, check out Remote Year. They’ll even help you try to convince your boss to let you make the switch to remote work 🙏.
Also published on Medium.