Curious what’s like living as a digital nomad day in and day out? Here’s my first-hand account of a typical day as a digital nomad. But, first things first…
What is a Digital Nomad?
The term “digital nomad” is used to describe anyone who uses the internet to earn a living that supports a nomadic/traveling lifestyle. According to this article from We Lance, digital nomads:
- Are 64% male and 36% female with 33% being between the ages of 30-39
- Visit 5-10 countries each year
- Stay in a country for an average of 1-4 months
- Make between $1,000-$2,000 a month
So, What Makes ME a Digital Nomad?
My husband, Scott, and I have been traveling and working remotely for several months. Since September 2017, we have lived in New Zealand and Australia with plans to crisscross Eastern and Western Europe throughout 2018. In total, our trip will take us to more than 20 countries over 15 months.
We sustain an income from various sources, including:
- Working remotely part-time for a business in our hometown.
- Selling Minnesota themed items on Etsy through our company Nice Minnesota.
- Help small businesses with online and social media marketing through our company King Lincoln Studio.
- Running our travel blog, International Hotdish.
What Does a Typical Day Look Like?
Being a digital nomad definitely has its perks (working poolside, for example), but we do spend a fair amount of our time in front of a computer – probably more than you’d expect. Here’s 24 hours at a glance:
- 42% – Sleeping
- 25% – Working
- 17% – Being a tourist and seeing the sights
- 8% – Researching or making travel plans
- 6% – Eating, planning or preparing meals
- 2% – Relaxing, reading, knitting, napping, misc.
I normally wake up between 6 and 7 a.m. depending on the amount of work I have on my plate. I know, that’s considered sleeping in for plenty of people. 😉
I set aside my mornings for getting work done. For me, this time of the day is when I am the most focused and can give a task/project/article my complete attention. During this time I:
- Work at least two hours for a business back in Minnesota
- Read and answer emails
- Work on digital marketing efforts for our own businesses and our clients (i.e. social media posts, emails, copywriting)
- Write travel blog posts (includes content for our own website as well as collaborative posts for other travel blogging websites)
- Network with travel bloggers through social media
If it’s a nice day, we try to enjoy the city we’re currently living in. If it’s rainy, hot and humid – or we’re buried in work – then we’ll stay in.
Make dinner at our airbnb and follow up on any work or travel items that need immediate attention. To relax, we like to read, watch movies and I’ve recently been working on my knitting skills.
How Much Flexibility do I Really Have Over My Schedule?
Most days are pretty flexible and since our work is self-directed, we can easily change our plans from day-to-day. For example, last week we took a day trip from Melbourne and were gone from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. In order to get a couple of hours of work done that day too, I just got up at six that morning instead of seven.
I know some digital nomads prefer to switch this schedule around and spend their days sightseeing to avoid running into big crowds. Then they have their evenings free to work remotely.
Also Check Out: 5 Steps to Quitting Your Job and Traveling the World
Is Being a Digital Nomad Worth It?
Being a digital nomad sounds like a dream come true, right?
Well, for all the benefits of being a digital nomad, you might discover that this lifestyle conflicts with traditional lifestyle choices. If you dream of having a large family, for example, you might find it extremely challenging to try to raise multiple children on the road. Also, having a permanent house for your family isn’t really an option. You’ll also miss family events like birthdays, holidays, funerals, births and weddings.
But for everything you’re giving up, you’re opening yourself to rich experiences you wouldn’t have otherwise had. It becomes your responsibility to balance those two worlds.
Even with all these potential conflicts and challenges, Scott and I enjoy being digital nomads. The great thing about choosing this lifestyle is that you can tailor your experience based on your own preferences. If you want to work more or less – you can do that. If you want to take two weeks off to go on a hiking trip in the Swiss Alps – you can do that too. When you’re a digital nomad, you completely control your work schedule and how it fits into your travel plans. Not the other way around (like when you have a traditional 9-5 job).
There are tons of perks that come with being a digital nomad, but it takes a lot of self-discipline, motivation and flexibility too.
Are you wondering if working as a digital nomad would be right for you? Or do you want to know more details about how we work remotely? Leave me a comment and I’ll answer all your questions. Happy travels!