7 Simple Ways to Balance A Life Of Work & Travel
Have you ever dreamed of getting paid to travel the world?
With advances in technology and the ability to work online from absolutely anywhere, more and more people are becoming location independent, making the world their office, and earning a living as “digital nomads” – laptop professionals able to work and travel continuously.
But being a digital nomad is not pure travel fantasy, where you can traipse around the planet at will while the money simply flows into your bank account.
The “digital” part of digital nomad means you have to work, sometimes extensively, in order to keep your travel lifestyle financed.
Here are 7 simple ways to balance work with travel in order to realize your digital nomad dreams:
1. Establish yourself before you travel
Many digital nomad hopefuls make the mistake of setting off on the road before they have an established digital lifestyle.
Whether you’re a freelance writer or working for your company remotely, it’s important to create a steady stream of income before you get on the plane.
Build up your client base and workload before you go, so once you’re travelling you’ll have a reliable source of revenue to keep your travels going.
2. Always account for bad/slow WiFi
As a digital nomad, you absolutely, positively need a reliable WiFi connection. Together with your laptop, it’s pretty much all you need to run a successful business from the road.
Be sure to do your research before choosing a country, city, hotel, or coffee shop. Impromptu searches for reliable WiFi can take up hours of your day – and is that really how you want to spend your precious time in Bangkok, Jakarta, or Ho Chi Minh City?
3. Schedule travel in advance
The digital nomad lifestyle is all about freedom and flexibility. Instead of reporting to an office 5 days per week, you can hop from city to city as often as you wish.
The key to doing this without upsetting your clients is to plan in advance every time you change locations. In many countries, travelling by bus or train may mean being off the grid for several days at a time. Be sure to finish up your workload so you can afford to take a few days off to travel.
4. Learn how to say “no”
As a digital nomad, you’ll be surrounded by other travellers who are unlike you in that they aren’t working – they’re on vacation!
While it can be tempting to blow off work and join the party, remember that you’re not on holiday. This is your permanent lifestyle, and that lifestyle includes at least a few hours per day spent working online.
Allow yourself time each day to enjoy your current location and the people you meet, but don’t forget to set aside time for work too.
5. Opt for long-term travel
The longer you’re in a destination, the more affordable it becomes as you discover great (cheap!) restaurants and build relationships with locals.
Bouncing from city to city every few days is not only stressful; it prevents you from really experiencing the culture of your destination.
Since you’re working and travelling, spending ample time in each city you visit is the best way to ensure you don’t miss out on the true travel experience.
6. Triple check your travel destination
Is your destination conducive to the digital nomad lifestyle? Besides solid WiFi, you also need to consider the things you may take for granted at home: a quiet place to work, somewhere to charge your laptop, a way to make overseas phone calls, and so on.
If you’re on a strict deadline but your hotel WiFi stinks and the coffee shop is pumping loud music, you could end up blowing a project and jeopardizing your digital nomad career.
Do a little legwork before deciding to stay in a place long-term and make sure it’s a great place to visit and to work.
7. Set aside time for reflection
Travel is stressful in and of itself. Add full-time work into the mix and you’re bound to get burnt out in no time.
That’s why it’s crucial to schedule time for reflection and solitude into your day. Think of digital nomadism as a long-term lifestyle, not a race to the finish line.
If you spend 5 hours working in the morning, and 4 hours sightseeing in the afternoon, take it easy in the evening so you can rest, recharge, and reflect on all you’ve done and seen.
Being a digital nomad can be exhausting and exhilarating, frustrating and phenomenal, stressful and stupendous.
If you’re willing to work hard and don’t mind a bit of juggling, you can easily thrive as a location independent road warrior who gets paid to go wherever the wind blows.
Rebecca Anne Nguyen is a freelance writer and the Founder of TheHappyPassport.com, an inspiration site for solo female travellers.