A Beginners Guide: Digital Nomad Living

With the rise of accessibility to the internet, the term ‘work’ has taken on a whole new meaning - bringing with it opportunities and employment lifestyles that have revolutionised the way we think, earn a living and establish a work/life balance.

For many, the internet is an opportunity to combine work and travelling the world. Digital Nomads (DN) are individuals who pursue a lifestyle of adventure, empowered by technology to break free of the constraints of the traditional office working environment.

With our very own local Swansea girl, Claire D’auria joining us on the 10th May to talk first hand about her DM experience, we look at the how, what and why you should prepare, before starting your journey into the unknown.

Research, read and resource

Quitting everything can be an incredibly refreshing but daunting experience. You’ll have some people who will idolise you and others who will deem you plain insane. Surround yourself with people who have the same mentality. Nomadic explorer Marianne Cantwell explains, "When I started out, most of my friends at the time would say 'Oh, that’s dangerous!' or, 'most of these things don’t work out'. If you stay in that environment it's not very helpful as they’re not giving you any solutions."

Use resources as a means of forward thinking and preparation for your journey. Barbara Winter published a book back in the early 90's titled, Making a Living Without a Job, which has been referenced as a “must read” before you set out on your journey. Keep an eye on DN blogs too, Claire’s is particularly inspirational and informative for anyone starting out.

How much money do you actually need?

Good question and unfortunately not one that has a definitive numerical answer. “It’s a bit like asking how long is a piece of string,” and the long and short of it being, “well as long as you want it to be!” In its fundamentalist terms, you need money to eat, drink, sleep and ultimately travel. Although the amount required varies massively by the way and standards in which you are willing to get there, live and survive.

BecomeNomad summarises, “If you want a lasting experience, which is independence; if you want to rely less on strangers, and have more say in the direction of your life, than money is important. If you want to narrow the uncertainty factor, which is both exciting but can also be negative – money is also important.” It's good practise to work on a monthly budget, you can then work up (or down) from there.

You are not alone, or are you?

If you’ve ever had periods of working from home, you’ll know that some days can be long, others short. Some intense, others a walk in the park, but day after day working without quality human interaction can become a little depressing at times. This can resonate with Nomadic working, especially when you’re not within a co-working environment. The realisation that not even the Amazon delivery man is likely to come out to your remote island abode, could leave you in a state of desperation!

Be sure to properly balance this lifestyle, as that’s what you set out to do right? Nomadic traveller Thomas Kuegler notes, “You need to get out of your base, whether that’s two or three times a week, and go take a class or work a part-time job. Figure out what works for you, and expect the loneliness to come.”

Be your own boss!

Many Nomadic travellers note that not only do they achieve a huge sense of freedom from escaping the everyday rat-race, but also by becoming their own boss. Scary as it is, the positives gained from making your own decisions seem to be an overwhelming success factor for Nomadic living. Be prepared to still be answerable to your clients, but generally via email or similar means.

Document your journey

These are likely to be the most valuable experiences in which you’ll ever invest. Why not create a blog or Instagram page for yourself, your friends, family and even to inspire others. This is a great way of documenting your journey and you’ll be able to look back and reminisce on those situations and people that made you smile, laugh and possibly cry! Starting a blog is actually very easy. It is very cheap, and it can be done in a relatively short amount of time. It could even be a way of making money. Although there is a lot more to this than just uploading beautiful imagery!

Enjoy yourself!

Don't lose focus of why you have set out on your Nomadic journey - ultimately it's a chance in a lifetime experience. Easier said than done sometimes, but you’ve probably already achieved so much by just getting to the starting line. As the creative collective say, “Remember why you’re doing what you’re doing and that while you can do anything you want to, you can’t (and don’t have to) do it all at once. So have fun – it’s a journey!”

Join Claire D'auria on 10th May, from 6.30pm, in our Furnace Events Space - TechHub Swansea, to hear more about the gritty reality behind a DN life. Learn what it’s really like to launch a start-up on the road and how to really progress your business without getting caught up in the sales pitch of a ‘freedom lifestyle.’