How to Survive and Thrive as a Digital Nomad

Remote working is nothing new and has been growing in popularity for the last several years. Upwork estimates that over 36 million Americans will be working remotely by 2025. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused that growth to expand even more rapidly, as more people started working from home for their safety.

If you love to travel or you’ve always wanted to explore new cultures, a remote work lifestyle could be perfect for you. It opens up opportunities to see the world like never before since you have the ability to work anywhere. If you take advantage of those opportunities, you might start to consider yourself a “digital nomad”.

That term refers to someone who has the ability to explore the world and experience different cultures while working along the way. Digital nomads don’t tend to stay in one place very long, but they’re able to keep a consistent job wherever they go, thanks to advancements in technology.

While there are plenty of positive draws to being a digital nomad, there are also some crucial things to consider. Before you decide if the lifestyle is right for you, think about how you might be able to survive and thrive by making it a reality.

Make Sure You Have the Right Tech

There’s truly not much you need to be a digital nomad, especially if you’re traveling all of the time. But, in order to keep working, you’ll have to have the right equipment and technology to keep going.

That means having access to the internet wherever you go.

While most countries shouldn’t have a problem providing a quality internet connection, you might also consider turning your smartphone into a mobile hot spot. Then, you’ll be able to access Wi-Fi no matter where you are, and not worry about having a reliable internet connection to be able to do your work. Personal hotspots might seem expensive upfront, but consider the fact that you’re not paying for internet service at home each month, and you’ll see how affordable they really are.

In addition to having the right technology, you need to know how to use it effectively. Utilizing collaborative technology is crucial for digital nomads. You need to be able to communicate with co-workers, clients, or even your employer. You might need to attend virtual meetings or conference calls, and it’s not good enough to just “get by” when it comes to your technological knowledge. Because your job depends on technology, you should commit yourself to utilize it more effectively than those who work in an office setting or other in-person jobs.

Use Your Planning Skills

While the term “digital nomad” might make it seem like you’re doing things spontaneously, that can’t be the case if you want to be successful. Planning ahead is crucial when it comes to things like:

  • Where you’re going to set up your workspace
  • Knowing which places have strong WiFi connections
  • Understanding time differences between where you are and where your boss/client is
  • Recognizing the intricacies of the culture you’re traveling to

You’ll also need to plan ahead when it comes to where you’ll stay from one place to another. The last thing you want is to travel somewhere new, only to find yourself without some kind of reasonable shelter.

If you plan on staying in one place on a more long-term basis, you might consider renting a property rather than staying in a hotel or hostel. But, there are scammers all across the globe. Look out for rentals that seem too good to be true, or anyone who doesn’t want you to see a property before signing an agreement. It’s important to keep yourself safe, no matter where you are. Planning things (including where you’re going to live) as much in advance as possible will make your life much easier.

Decide if You Have the Dedication

It’s important to remember that life as a digital nomad isn’t a permanent vacation. Of course, your entire life won’t be dedicated to working. But, one of the risks digital nomads face is getting distracted by their surroundings very easily. It’s understandable when you’re immersing yourself in some of the most incredible cultures on earth.

But, digital nomads need to stay productive in order to continue making a living. Thankfully, there are a few ways to do that, no matter where you are. Try some of the following tips to keep yourself motivated:

  • Set up a specific workplace in each new location
  • Regularly keep up with your employer or clients
  • Find a healthy work-life balance
  • Make sure your travels have meaning

It’s also important to consider some of the other potential drawbacks of a nomadic lifestyle. You will never really have a place to call home, so you might not be able to bring many personal possessions with you. Additionally, you’ll be far away from family and friends for long periods of time. The combination of those things can contribute to loneliness. Some days will be harder than others for those feelings.

But, if you know your true passion is to explore the world, the digital nomadic lifestyle might be your best option. Even if it’s not a permanent career move, it’s a  fantastic way to live out your dreams right now.


Jori Hamilton
Jori Hamilton
Jori Hamilton is a writer from the pacific northwest who enjoys covering topics related to social justice, the changing workplace, and technology.

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