[Skip to Content]

Digital Nomads - What are they and how can I be one?


Taking a gap year to explore the world and yourself is naturally an exciting time. The more you look into it however, the scarier it seems. You’ll be cutting yourself off from financial stability, unless you’re lucky enough to be running your own money-making business.

Digital nomads are the people who rally against that uncertainty, accessing work online and navigating the jobs market as flexibly as they travel the globe. If you’ve got a laptop, tablet or smartphone you can work remotely, making your office anywhere you lay your hat. From being your own boss to joining a firm thousands of miles away, here’s a quick guide to what a digital nomad is and how you can become one… 


Wandering the world

“Nomad” is an ancient word that refers to folks herding sheep around, but these days applies to the digital market also. There is a similarity to the old nomads though, in that if you don’t find stuff to feed the financial beast you’re going home pretty quickly.
The lifestyle requires discipline and organisation, as you’ll probably be spending a lot of time on your own and immersed in a different culture.
Nomads are known for being isolated and not connected to anything. Thankfully you can be in touch with all your friends via the internet, but there’s nothing like having a friendly face which isn’t being streamed on Skype. Bear in mind you have to be self sufficient and full of initiative to get by, which leads us neatly to some ways you can become a digital nomad…


Earn and explore

The best thing about being a digital nomad is you can combine seeing the sights with earning a crust. Visit exotic locations and stop to complete an urgent assignment, or search for some jobs as you enjoy the view. “Multiple income streams” is an expression you should get used to, as often you never know where the next payment is coming from. Cast your net far and wide! Have you considered the following…?

The free marketeers: We’re all social media users now, which makes offering your services as a digital marketer an attractive prospect. You can’t just dive in of course and skills have to be acquired. Once you’re on the ball with it however, you can help people get their message out there and get a few digital pennies in your virtual pocket.
Life’s a teach: Whether teaching English or imparting more specialized knowledge, online tutoring is definitely an area to look into. If you can explain something clearly and have reasonable people skills, you could build a nice career as a teacher.
The level of qualification needed varies according to what subject you’re into, though it’s important to remember life skills are equally sought after. Let’s say you want to teach guitar… well you can offer those lessons over your webcam straight away…!

The write way: Blogging and Ebooks are kind of the Holy Grail of digital nomad jobs. Should you have the writing skills to create strong content, and don’t mind embarking on the awkward journey towards monetising what you create, then you can really support yourself on the road.
As far as subject matter goes, the only limit is your imagination, so there are a lot of potential areas to cover. If you know about it, why not try putting your thoughts online and see what the reaction is…?

See the sites: There are numerous dedicated websites that connect travellers to employment opportunities, be they one-off gigs or long term business relationships. Arguably the best known at the moment is Upwork, though these sites seem to be geared towards people with agile minds and fast fingers.
If you don’t want to write a book or do creative work then there are casual ways of making small amounts of money online, such as filling out surveys or selling virtual items. Or for the more dedicated out there, you can embark on a trickier strategy that could pay off in the long-term, such as making a YouTube channel. For more details on making money online, check out the ‘make money online’ section of this guide

The vital point to make about becoming a digital nomad is you have to get your house in order before you leave your home behind. Getting up to speed on financial matters means you can operate with confidence and manage yourself in areas where you’ll find plenty of distractions from life’s necessities!

Ensure your debts are settled and that you have as much stability as possible, before jumping on that plane and heading off to enjoy your gap year.