How to Become a Digital Nomad

Winner Ajibola


Are you currently working remotely and looking to travel the world while at it? Perhaps becoming a digital nomad is the next step you need to take. However, before you can always work by the beach and tour hundreds of cities, there’s a lot of work that goes into building this lifestyle. 

That’s why in this article, we’ve listed everything you need to know about becoming a digital nomad, including its benefits and potential drawbacks. Keep reading to find out more.

Who is a Digital Nomad?

A digital nomad is anyone who works remotely, primarily online, while traveling to different locations in the world. Since their work is entirely online and sometimes at flexible hours, these nomads can travel anywhere as long as there’s access to the internet. 

Recently, some countries have started offering digital nomad visas. These visas serve as temporary permits that allow people to stay legally in a country while working online.

What Do Digital Nomads Do for a Living?

Since the key to being a digital nomad is taking online or remote jobs, many of them work as programmers, bloggers, writers, designers, social media managers, virtual assistants, customer support representatives, video creators, and many other similar roles.

The Advantages of Becoming a Digital Nomad

Are you looking for a solid reason to start this new phase? Well, here are a few benefits of being a digital nomad.

  • Flexibility: You can choose where and when you want to work. As a nomad, you don’t have to wait for your leave request to get granted before hopping on your next flight. You can choose to switch countries, locations and live wherever you want.
  • Work with international clients:  Granted, you may already get foreign clients at the moment. But, as a nomad, you’d get exposed to more global brands on your several journeys. This allows you to network with them and secure endorsements or multiple projects.
  • Build your network: Your travel experiences allow you to meet new people from various cultures and backgrounds. Aside from building your professional network, you’d also get to make new friends.

Five Steps for Becoming a Digital Nomad

Before becoming a digital nomad, you must first have the zeal to travel around the world and be open to unplanned experiences. This is because, without any of this, you’d end up getting overwhelmed, tired, and yearning for the regular nine-to-five experience. 

So, in addition to these fundamental requirements, here are the steps you should take to become a professional digital nomad;

1. Build your online portfolio and find a remote job

This is the first step. You need to identify your skills and strengthen them because the competition will be fierce. Take up more courses and build on your existing knowledge.

The best way to learn faster is to shadow someone in your preferred field. They’d be able to give you insights into how to position yourself for better jobs and how to increase your earnings. 

Once you’ve done this, create a stellar portfolio and apply for high-paying remote jobs. You want to focus on roles that give you the flexibility to do your work. 

This is the difference between work-from-home and a remote job. While some tend to have rigid communication hours, others allow you to share your deliverables when due and work with an asynchronous communication style. So look out for these types of roles and try to secure one.

2. Grow your savings to a substantial amount

If you already have a healthy client base and you’ve secured a remote role, it’s time to build your savings. Since you’d be traveling a lot, purchasing new items, and paying for hotels or accommodation, you need to have the resources to afford these. 

Many people take the risk of solely relying on their income. And while that might be possible, you need to prepare for rainy days. What happens if you lose that source of income? What’s the plan B?

And so, try to have an amount you can survive on for at least three months. We also recommend keeping it in a stable and universal currency like USD, GBP, or EUR.

3. Join digital nomad communities

A community of digital nomads is essential in helping you settle in. They’d obviously know more than you do and offer you valuable advice on navigating the nomadic lifestyle. So find these communities and gain insights before diving into them. Learn from the experiences of others. 

You can find helpful communities by signing up for newsletters of digital nomad influencers like work wanderers. You can also join Facebook groups, telegram communities, and other online channels. Start with a Google search to gain more insights. 

4. Get the right documents and digital services 

To start this lifestyle, you must have essential documents like your international passport. We also recommend opting for travel insurance, so you’re covered in emergencies. 

Have your medical records with you because if you are changing locations frequently, you’d have to find a new medical practitioner every time. Your medical history will be helpful whenever they need to make a diagnosis or prescription.

If you aren’t vaccinated, take the necessary vaccines for Yellow Fever, Measles, Chicken Pox, Covid, and others.

Another important thing you need is a universal account for accepting payments. With Grey, you can get a foreign account and use it to receive payments wherever you are in the world. It’s also very convenient to send money back home because all you have to do is swap currencies and send them to a local bank account in any of the countries we offer payouts.

5. Find a country and plan toward it

Although digital nomads are usually found in Mexico, Bali, Colombia, Rwanda, and other popular destinations, many countries now offer digital nomad visas. So you can simply look at the list, choose your first destination, and plan toward it.

Some things you’d want to look into include currency conversion rates, cost of living if there are any nomad communities there, and meeting the visa requirements. 

The Downsides of Being a Digital Nomad

While the idea of being able to sip margaritas during a weekday might seem appealing and this lifestyle exhilarating, being a digital nomad also has its disadvantages. Some of these cons include the following;

  • Visa restrictions:  Depending on your passport type, you might have trouble switching from one visa to another over time. If you want to visit a country that doesn’t offer a digital nomad visa, for example, you might have to use a tourist visa with many limitations. It also means endless applications and embassy visits if you're applying in the Schengen area with an African passport.
  • Unstable income: Since you might be freelancing a lot, there’s no job security like one that comes with the 9-5. So you might need to take on more work than usual, save more and live a simpler lifestyle.
  • Unpredictable taxes: Tax laws vary by country, so you might need to consult an account officer to help you keep track of your taxes, especially if you’ve changed countries within a year.

Wrapping Up

Being a digital nomad requires adequate planning, research, and savings. However, joining online communities will help you better understand the lifestyle as you hear directly from other nomads.

You’d also need a global foreign account that allows you to receive payments and carry out transactions remotely. Open a free account with Grey today.

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