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Tips to Living Your Best Life as a Digital Nomad

Koh Rong Cambodia digital nomad destination

Living the digital nomad lifestyle can be an incredible adventure, blending work and travel into a seamless, flexible existence. Though to be honest, it isn’t realistically easy to get started and find work online in today’s world.

Hitting the ground running is a tough approach, so establishing yourself in the digital world before you take the jump is probably one of the best ways to make sure you will have longevity and don’t end up stranded in a foreign country because your work dries up.

There are certain things you need to take into account which we will dive into in this article. From the best countries as far as cost of living, banking and visa situations, to what you are really looking for as a traveling remote worker.

Whether you’re a seasoned nomad or just starting, there are key strategies to help you thrive on the road, sky or sea. Let’s get into it.

Overhead, Budgeting, Tools and Necessities to be Sustainable

You have to keep in mind that as glamorous as it seems to live abroad, there will be overheads that need to be taken into account. For instance, to be an online master, you are going to need paid tools, reliable internet and a number of other things.

Whether you are a programer, web developer, UX/UI expert or an SEO guru etc. there will be outset monthly and yearly costs for the tools to keep up with the market.

Starting off with a bit of a nest egg for the first year, just in case, is always a good idea – unless you already have long term clients with contracts that you know won’t evaporate overnight. If not, you may have to work twice as hard for a year or two to set the money aside and build your CV.

Utilizing online platforms for small jobs is a great way to build your resume and make some extra cash. There are a ton of websites that promise the world and literally won’t help you in any way. One solid website, though it does definitely charge its fees, is Upwork.

The competition is fierce for sure. If you are a US citizen, you are in luck however, as they have a section full of remote opportunities that are only available to Americans that tend to pay quite a bit more.

Keep in mind that with most online job websites you will have a certain amount of credits per month. It costs credits to submit a proposal, so if you run out, you will have to purchase credits to continue submitting for jobs – be mindful of the jobs you submit for and make sure you are a likely candidate.

Embrace Flexibility

One of the greatest perks of being a digital nomad is the ability to work from anywhere. Embrace this flexibility to create a lifestyle that suits you.

Stay Open to Change: Flexibility means being open to changes in your plans. Sometimes, the best experiences come from unexpected opportunities. Don’t be afraid to deviate from your initial plans if something exciting comes up.

Experiment with Locations: Each city or country offers a unique experience. Spend time in different places to discover where you feel most productive and happy. Whether it’s a bustling city or a tranquil beach, find what works for you.

Don’t Be Afraid to Stay: When you are working mobile, you may end up in a place that you really love – where you find community, culture and common interests among your peers. It’s okay to settle in somewhere for a while, get that one year lease and really dive into the place – wherever that may be!

Prioritize Your Well-Being

Maintaining your physical and mental health is an important piece of the puzzle in terms of long-term success and happiness as a digital nomad.

Establish a Routine: While it might seem counterintuitive, having a daily routine can help you stay grounded. Set regular work hours, meal times, and exercise schedules to create stability in your life. There will be a lot of opportunities to learn things such as the country’s martial arts and language. For instance, when in Cambodia, take the time to enroll in some Khun Khmer (Kickboxing) classes or learn some Arnis, the national martial art of the Philippines during your travels. 

Stay Active: Regular exercise is essential for both physical health and mental clarity. Many digital nomads find joy in exploring new locations through hiking, biking,climbing  or running. Find activities that keep you moving and engaged with your surroundings. If you love the ocean, snorkeling or diving may be a perfect pastime when you aren’t behind your laptop getting things done.

Practice Mindfulness: Traveling can sometimes be stressful. Incorporate mindfulness practices like meditation, yoga, or journaling into your routine to help manage stress and stay present. Also, many remote workers find peace in the work, so busting out your laptop and working on projects while offline on that long plane flight, boat ride, train or bus might be just what you need.

Build a Reliable Workspace

Your work environment can significantly impact your productivity and satisfaction.

Invest in Good Equipment: Ensure you have a reliable laptop, noise-canceling headphones, and other essential tech. Quality equipment can make a significant difference in your work efficiency and comfort. However don’t let not having the top level tech deter you from your dreams. You can always upgrade your PC with faster RAM, an SSD hard drive and other components. With Apple products you will get what you pay for, which is why they are so expensive. 

Find Suitable Workspaces: Explore coworking spaces, cafes, and public libraries to find places that inspire you. A good workspace can boost your creativity and productivity. Don’t be afraid to deck out your own home office though. Many Nomads like to roll out of bed, open their computer to check the day’s communications, respond to urgent requests and then take the time to make a cup of coffee or pot of tea to start off the day. Some people like to work in social environments, where others like to work alone and save the social aspects for time off.

Stay Connected: A strong internet connection is non-negotiable for digital nomads. Research internet options before arriving at a new destination, and consider carrying a portable hotspot as a backup. These days in many countries you can utilize Starlink, for those living the van or RV life, having a Starlink dish gives the freedom to work from literally anywhere. Want to take that trip to Death Valley National Park and still be able to work? Starlink has you covered. It might be expensive on the outset, but what is freedom to travel and work worth?

Manage Your Finances Wisely

Financial stability is key to enjoying the digital nomad lifestyle without unnecessary stress.

Budget Carefully: Create a budget that includes all your expenses, from accommodation to travel costs. Stick to it as closely as possible to avoid financial strain. In many countries you can sign a 3 month lease, which will save money compared to staying in hotels and hostels.

Always pay attention to your visa situation though. In countries like Thailand, you will receive a free one month visa on arrival (depending on what country you are from) that can be extended for one month in the country. But these days they are cracking down hard on border bounces and you risk not being let back into the country after the first two months. There are countless stories recently about this happening.

Save for Emergencies: Unexpected expenses can arise, so it’s essential to have an emergency fund. Aim to save at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses. It’s always a good idea to get travel insurance before you leave your home country – it will be much more expensive to take out insurance when you are already abroad.

Optimize Your Taxes: Understand the tax implications of your lifestyle. Consider consulting with a tax professional who specializes in digital nomad finances to ensure you’re compliant and optimizing your tax situation. There are certain countries that you can pay a blanket tax on your income, depending on what country you are from, you can run the risk of being double taxed.

Cultivate a Support Network

Having a strong support network can enhance your experience and provide valuable resources.

Join Digital Nomad Communities: Connect with other digital nomads through online forums, social media groups, and local meetups. These communities can offer support, advice, and friendship.

Stay in Touch with Loved Ones: Regularly communicate with family and friends back home. Technology makes it easy to maintain relationships, even when you’re far away. As you travel and live in different countries, you are bound to make new friends that you will want to keep in your life. You may find, as many digital nomads do, that friends from around the world will come visit you wherever you are just for the fun of it – they may even just pop up out of nowhere at a late night noodle shop and you didn’t even know they were in the country.

Network Professionally: Attend industry events, webinars, and conferences to network with other professionals. Building a professional network can open up new opportunities and collaborations. Even though many people in the social media age find it archaic, a professional website goes a long way when it comes to how you represent yourself, your brand and your mission.

Embrace Local Cultures

Immersing yourself in the local culture can enrich your experience and provide a deeper connection to the places you visit.

Learn the Language: Even a basic understanding of the local language can enhance your interactions and make daily life easier. Use language learning apps or take classes to improve your skills. For certain countries, the Pimsleur Method offers a great crash course in language and can have you communicating on a high level in just a few months. Other countries you may want to hire a local tutor.

Respect Local Customs: Take the time to learn about and respect local customs and traditions. This shows respect for the culture and can lead to more meaningful interactions with locals. There are plenty of stories out there about foreigners breaking laws they didn’t know existed. Always remember that ignorance of the law does not equal absolution from it. For example, countries such as Indonesia heavily frown upon wearing items such as bikinis or strapless tops for women, especially in sacred places. Thailand has a number of temples that only allow men to enter and they specifically have a law called Lese Majeste. This law is very serious in the Kingdom specifically.

Explore Off the Beaten Path: While popular tourist attractions are worth visiting, don’t be afraid to explore lesser-known areas. You might discover hidden gems that offer a more authentic experience.

Stay Productive on the Road

Balancing work and travel can be challenging, but with the right strategies, you can stay productive.

Set Clear Goals: Outline your short-term and long-term goals to stay focused. Break them down into manageable tasks and prioritize them.

Use Productivity Tools: There are numerous apps and tools designed to enhance productivity. Experiment with different tools to find what works best for you. Popular options include Trello, Asana, and Todoist.

Maintain Work-Life Balance: It’s easy to blur the lines between work and personal time as a digital nomad. Set boundaries to ensure you’re not overworking yourself and take time to enjoy your surroundings.

Stay Safe and Healthy

Your safety and health should always be a top priority.

Research Destinations: Before traveling to a new location, research its safety, healthcare facilities, and any necessary vaccinations or precautions.

Get Travel Insurance: Invest in comprehensive travel insurance that covers health, travel delays, and lost belongings. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Practice Safe Habits: Follow general safety practices, such as keeping your belongings secure, being aware of your surroundings, and avoiding risky situations.

We hope this article was informative and helps you on your path to personal freedom. Keep an eye out for the next segment where we cover the best and worst travel destinations for Digital Nomads here at NewsWorthy Daily!

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