How to Become a Digital Nomad Blogger

There are plenty of great reasons to become a blogger and start making money online. For starters, it’s an awesome feeling having your own business and knowing that there are people out there reading your content. At the same time, it’s a brilliant way to make some extra cash on the side and potentially even to make a pretty big salary!

1i

But what about using blogging as a way to change your lifestyle? What if you could use blogging as a way to live anywhere in the world, to travel and to experience total freedom?

That’s the dream of digital nomads everywhere and it’s probably easier than you think to turn into a reality…

What is a Digital Nomad?

A digital nomad is simply someone who travels while working. They are nomadic in as much as they don’t need to remain in any particular place – even any particular country – in order to make their living. This then means that they can work abroad while seeing different landmarks or spending times in other cultures.

This is easy if you are a blogger because you’re earning your living online and because your income is passive. Working online means that you can work from anywhere so long as there is an internet connection, while passive income means that you can earn money even while you’re asleep (or exploring the pyramids). While you do need to do some work as a blogger – you’ll need to update your site regularly with content – you aren’t exchanging time for money and there are no rules as to when you need to do the work.

If you decide to be a digital nomad then, it means that you’ll take your laptop on the road and start working from wherever you are as you travel. You might explore a new country during the day and then spend the evening in a café or a bar working and using the WiFi. Conversely, this might mean that you spend your evenings dancing and partying and you spend the day at the hotel working.

2i

Some people see this latter point as a compromise of course – why go to another country if you’re going to spend half your time working? The point though, is that even when you are working in another country, you’ll still be able to soak up the atmosphere as you sit by the beach and watch the world go by, or as you drink in the background chat of the locals in your chosen library or workplace.

How to Become a Digital Nomad

Becoming a digital nomad is easy if you’re already a blogger. All you need to do is make sure you’re at the point where you’re earning enough money from your advertising, affiliate sales or other revenue streams so that you can fund your travels. This might mean creating a budget that details how much you’re going to be spending on things like accommodation and food and it may mean that you need to work on increasing the income from your blog a little more. It’s also a good idea to save some money so that you have some you can fall back on – always make sure you have enough kept to one side to travel home should you need to!8i

Another tip is to consider finding additional work that you can use to supplement your income as a blogger if necessary. The good news here is that you can use many of the skills you’ve developed as a blogger. For example, why not become a freelance writer? A web designer or possibly even a marketer?

The other part of this equation is your travel costs. Try to keep these as low as possible so that you can travel relatively affordably and not find yourself struggling to afford it. Thankfully, this is made relatively simple in this day and age thanks to the ‘sharing economy’. Things like AirBnB for example, mean that you can now find accommodation in people’s spare rooms and holiday homes for a fraction of what you would expect to pay at a hotel while actually staying somewhere much nicer!

If you’re going to try out the digital nomad lifestyle for yourself, then it’s very much worth looking into the different communities and websites designed to help. ‘Hashtag Nomads’ (www.hashtagnomads.com) for example, is a website aimed specifically at digital nomads with the intention of helping them find work, meet clients and business partners and even find good places to work. While the membership isn’t free, it is a fantastic tool for potential workers that can make life a lot easier and is definitely worth the expense.

Tips for New Nomads

If you’re going to be a digital nomad, it can take a little bit of adapting to the new lifestyle. With that in mind, it’s worth taking some tips on board before you get stuck in. Let’s take a look at some things you can do to make life a bit easier in your new ‘office’.

Gear

The first thing you’ll need to think about is your gear – and specifically the kind of equipment you’re going to be working on. First and foremost, this will mean some kind of portable laptop/computer that you can slip into a backpack.

In turn, that is going to mean deciding what kind of power you need under the hood. Thankfully, blogging doesn’t involve many tasks that are too CPU intensive, so you’ll be able to make do with an ultrabook of some sort. Alternatively, you could even go as far as getting a Windows tablet and a portable keyboard to use it with. The Surface line of devices from Microsoft work particularly well in this capacity.

9i

Next up, you’ll need to think about other potentially useful items. These can include things like dongles for WiFi access no matter where you are or SD cards for backing everything up. Getting a decent smartphone is a very important move – especially if it has features like wireless tethering – and you can also benefit from power packs for letting you charge on the move. Getting some form of external power is important to help you avoid situations like this:

5i

These small charging bricks won’t normally set you back very much and can easily be slipped into a pocket or even a wallet. This isn’t just useful for work either – it’s also important in case of an emergency should you need to call someone or access Google Maps.

10i

Note that you can work on a smartphone as long as you have a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse (for Android only). The WordPress app is actually very good for this, so if you have those things to hand then you can keep working even when your laptop dies! And with a pocket charger, you’ll be able to keep charging back up every time the power starts running low.

11i

You’ll of course need a power adaptor for using local sockets in multiple countries.

Packing and Tools

It’s not just the hardware you need to think about – you’ll also find a number of things can come in handy while working and living on the move.

For example, you might benefit from a microfiber towel. This is a small towel that dries instantly and folds small enough to be stuffed into a coat pocket. Another useful item is a notepad and pen – you can use this for drawing maps, for communication or for writing down notes and ideas!

Apps

Numerous apps can come in very handy if you’re working abroad. One of the biggest challenges is going to be working with people in different time zones and this can make it a nightmare trying to schedule meetings, calls or Skype chats. World Time Buddy (www.worldtimebuddy.com) is both a website and an app and can be very useful for getting around this problem.

Speaking of Skype, this will of course become an invaluable tool for working as well as staying in touch with friends and family back home. Whatsapp is also a very useful tool in this regard but more for making WiFi calls and sending IMs.

For collaborative work, you will find that Asana, Google Docs and Slack are incredibly helpful!

Planning

Before you set off on your journey, make sure you have a plan. That means you should know where you’re going to visit, you should know what you want to see while you’re in that country and you should have an idea of where you can find WiFi or spaces to work. It’s easy enough to find the latter with a little pre-planning and this can help you to avoid getting into trouble when you’re out there.

Pros and Cons of the Digital Nomad Lifestyle – Introducing Lifestyle Design

Of course this lifestyle isn’t going to be for everyone. On the one hand, this is an incredible way to see the world and to go wherever the wind takes you. While your friends back home are stuck in stuffy offices, you will be exploring bustling market streets or chopping your way through jungles. Work will mean sitting with a foreign cocktail while watching the sunset, or working on the beach. You’ll meet new people, see new things and have incredible adventures.

3i

But all this comes at a cost and you’ll need to decide if it’s a price you’re willing to pay.

4i

For starters, there are those aforementioned challenges of working on the move. You’ll always be looking for WiFi, you’ll be forced to work when the sun is out outside and you’ll struggle to meet with business partners or respond to messages from your blog. If it’s your dream to become a top blogger in your niche and you’re highly driven by the idea of that success, then you should know that you’re not going to be as successful as you could be working from home in an office.

The same also goes for creature comforts and family life. There will be times when you wish you could just curl up in your own bed with a cup of tea and some American chocolate. Likewise, there will be times when you feel lonely and miss your friends.

Another thing to consider is that you won’t be able to ‘progress’ in your personal life to quite the same degree. If it’s important to you that you buy your own house, or that you get married, then working abroad will put those things on hiatus as eating into your savings. If you’re already in a relationship, then you’ll be forced to either have a breakup, bring your partner with you or go long distance. None of those things is ideal!

Are the incredible moments, views and freedom worth all that? That’s something only you can decide.

7i

But just because you decide you aren’t cut out for a life of constant travelling and blogging on the road, that doesn’t mean you can’t still benefit from some of the things we’ve talked about here.

Becoming a digital nomad is essentially just an example of a bigger concept known as ‘lifestyle design’. In turn, lifestyle design basically means doing a job that you can fit around the lifestyle you want – instead of adapting your lifestyle to fit around your job. This is a subtle change but it makes a huge difference, so why not try changing your life in other ways now that you’re a blogger?

  • You could create the ultimate home gym and work from there…
  • You could change your working hours so that you get to spend more time with your family
  • You could work extra Monday-Thursday and take Fridays off
  • You could go on lots more ‘working holidays’ throughout the year
  • You could work in more scenic locations around where you live – nice coffee shops or scenic areas around your home
  • You could work more days of the week and retire early…

As a blogger, writing about the things you love, you’ve already made your lifestyle that much more idyllic. Now use that freedom to create a schedule and workflow that works for you and really create the perfect life for yourself!

For more on this subject I highly recommend reading The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss.