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digital nomads working outside

What is a digital nomad and what do they do?

Emily Schmidt
Emily Schmidt

Being a digital nomad is a way of life and not a monetization strategy. Digital nomads work remotely while traveling the world for either a short or long period of time. They often stay in cities for longer amounts of time and ‘slow travel’ to be able to meet new people, get to know the culture, get work done, and avoid burnout. 

We’ll share some of the frequently asked questions around digital nomads to help you better understand their lifestyle and get the first steps if you’re an aspiring digital nomad.

What does a digital nomad do?

As mentioned earlier, a digital nomad is someone who works remotely while traveling the world. They leverage the ability to have higher income and live in countries with lower costs of living. They lead a flexible lifestyle by being able to be anywhere in the world while working. 

There are many different digital nomad ‘hotspots’ around the world where many nomads live. Some of the most popular digital nomad hubs are Chaing Mai, Thailand; Medellin, Columbia’ Budapest, Hungary; Prague, Czech Republic; Tenerife Islands, Spain; and Bali, Indonesia.

Digital nomads follow great weather, low cost of living, and excellent food, which you’ll find in each of the places listed above. Digital nomads have many different communities and groups to support meet other likeminded people and enjoy a more non-traditional way of living.

How do digital nomads make money?

Digital nomads make money in many different ways. Some digital nomads make money by building their own businesses dropshipping, building eCom stores, or developing service businesses. Many are freelancers - like digital marketers and writers that don’t have to be tied to a specific time zone to make money.

Other freelancers teach English as a foreign language to support themselves. The key to making money as a digital nomad is being able to work remotely from any timezone. As the world transitions to more remote work, there is likely to be a rise in digital nomads who take advantage of the freedom and flexibility of a remote lifestyle.

How do digital nomads get visas?

Many digital nomads work on travel visas. In many countries, these are ~90 days and allow you to be in the country for that amount of time. For countries that have shorter visas, like Thailand, many people do visa runs to cross the border and reset their visas. 

Some counties, like Estonia, are starting to create visas specifically for digital nomads that allow them to be in the country for longer periods of time. Bermuda is another country that has offered this due to COVID-19.

How do I become a digital nomad?

Becoming a digital nomad is easier than you think. One of the lowest barriers to entry to becoming a digital nomad is starting as an online English teacher. If you have other skills that can be done online or remotely, start improving on those skills and building a portfolio. 

Once you have a more consistent client base, there’s less risk in moving abroad and working as a digital nomad. Figure out how much money you need to live abroad, how much money you can make, and get started!

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