The nomadic lifestyle means being location independent, moving from one place to another either all the time or at a certain period of time.
For me, it’s the ultimate escape from the comfort zone.
It hasn’t been a whole decade yet since this concept started getting attention, but now it’s something normal as so many passionate individuals have left their ordinary lifestyle and took an adventure to never settle in one place.
It’s about being independent, free of attachment, open-minded, willing to explore the world and actually enjoy every moment.
Once you begin a journey like that, you grow more than you can imagine. You see places, learn stuff, try new things, meet people, experience cultures, shape a new identity and are then ready to do that for the rest of your life. But even if you don’t, it leaves a mark in you that nothing else can.
Me? I’m not such a traveler. At least not yet.
(2017 Update: Now I am!)
That’s because the first step in order to live such a lifestyle of freedom and passion is to become financially independent. Once I do that, it will be an option. And I may decide to give it a try.
Probably not the option in which you travel the world for years and never settle in one place for more than a month.
I see myself living another version of this – something like being away for a month or 3 once every year and living on a tropical island (while still working on what I enjoy), plus a few little vacations every few weeks to other big destinations, exploring the beauties of the universe. Add to that the option to actually leave home at any moment and still knowing you’ll get paid.
Those who aren’t really familiar with this concept have one main question: What would you do for a living?
In my case, it all started with writing – my passion. But it turned into blogging, self-publishing, and learning all about creating sites, content marketing, eCommerce, etc. As, otherwise, no one would really read it.
What I’m currently working on is this blog, self-publishing, freelancing and experimenting with niche websites.
But no one really did it in a day, and it’s totally worth the time and effort considering how much I love it and how many opportunities that opens to me every day.
But most digital nomads (the cool people living the lifestyle we’re talking about) do this or other stuff online – SEO, building sites, software, programming, consulting on a niche they’re experts in, etc.
And they travel the world while doing it.
In this post I’ll talk about different aspects of the idea of being a world traveler making money doing what you love. And there will be some pretty amazing examples.
The following can serve you in 3 ways – it can either be informational, inspirational, or both.
I know that for me, reading such people’s life changing decisions and stories is one of the biggest motivators.
So let’s get started.
How Does One Become a Digital Nomad and What Does it Take?
It all begins with the realization that life is about much more than the mundane lifestyle we live every day, that we deserve to experience better things, and that it’s all a matter of choice.
Then comes the decision to change – some research is always needed as to where you’ll go first, what you need to get done before you leave, how long you need to keep working your current job so that you can save an amount that’s enough to sustain you for around 6 months once you leave, how you’re going to make your money, etc.
Then you simply hand in your notice, and never come back.
It’s not going to be easy, though.
Here’s what Mark Manson (a successful entrepreneur that started as a pick-up artist) says about that:
“When I left the bank that day, I had only a vague idea of what I would do. I had been writing a blog and posting on local forums about my dating life and adventures with women as a young bachelor. I developed a bit of a local following and actually made some money dishing out advice to men and speaking at a few singles’ groups around town. It wasn’t anything close to a full-time living, but I knew it was a new market that was growing quickly. And with some hard work combined with my savings, I (naively) believed I could have a full-time business up and running within a few months.
It turned out to take almost 18 months for me to earn a full-time steady income. I went broke a number of times, was supported by my ex-girlfriend for a time and then moved back home with my mother. For most of 2008-2009 I worked 10-16 hour days and the majority of my projects failed and made little or no money.”
Check out this post on his blog where he explains more about how he left his day job. There he talks about the actual escape plan: you should sell everything you own, figure out your source of income, calculate what you’ll need, and actually take action.
How Does Being Location Independent Work?
There are many, many stories about such people you can find out on the Web.
Many include struggles, but I haven’t really found one who didn’t eventually succeeded in becoming free from mediocrity and actually leaving home and traveling to whatever point in the world he feels like visiting.
But in most cases, it takes years. And there won’t really be anyone in your surroundings to support you as they just don’t have the same goal and may even consider you crazy for wanting to escape such a comfortable life.
But if you develop a powerful mindset with a definite desire and a vision of you doing what you love while on the beach in Bali, for example, you’ll make it.
Another famous figure in the digital entrepreneurship and location independence world is Sean Ogle.
Here’s his story.
He was an average person back in 2009 who admitted his life sucked. He knew university didn’t prepare him for real life and show him how to become successful, his job after that was a dreading experience with the long hours.
He wanted to live a completely different lifestyle so he did what he felt was right – quit his job, started his site to hold himself accountable, published his bucket list and started working on it, moved to Thailand and built a business.
In a few months he was making enough to have the lifestyle he had always dreamt about – to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants.
He’s lived on a tropical island, ran a marathon, climbed a mountain and much more.
Now his blog is all about helping others achieve the same. He shows people how to build a business they can run from anywhere and live their legend by doing whatever makes them happy.
And with today’s online opportunities, you can educate yourself to such an extent that you can be making a small income as a side project very soon.
There’s more to the nomadic lifestyle:
- you don’t really need to be that adventurous and have a bucket list like Sean, you can just live on the beach, feel good and work hard;
- digital nomadism goes together with living in a cheap country as a start – that’s why you won’t see someone who wants to become location independent move to Dubai. You’ll hear about places like Thailand, Bali, Vietnam, Philippines, etc. Which are beautiful and exotic enough for you to completely change your way of thinking and approach to life and refind yourself.
But there’s one ingredient you can’t go without – hard work.
Hard Work as The Cornerstone of The Nomadic Lifestyle
TropicalMBA is a super useful blog to those who are doing business at one of the places I mentioned above, or any other actually. It’s for creative individuals, entrepreneurs, hard working passionate guys looking forward to form relationships with like-minded people.
The guys from the blog write and talk about the best places to live in, what to do there, how to handle your business, how to manage employees and work with virtual assistants, how to scale, come up with ideas and all you need to know about location independence.
But there’s one thing they think is a must – the desire to work more than the average in order to achieve all that.
Many people have the misconception that the nomadic lifestyle means traveling all the time just sightseeing and communicating with the locals, or living near the ocean and actually sunbathing all the time.
That’s not true.
In fact, you always have the chance to do all that as you’re the one controlling your time. But it’s just that you choose to keep working on the stuff that got you there in the first place, simply because you’re a hustler and can’t just leave the business, even if it’s mostly passive income.
Here’s what Dan from TropicalMBA says about the actual amount of work such freedom requires:
“Many people I meet underestimate the incredible amount of effort required to get a business off the ground. If you aren’t clear on the effort required, me quoting you a figure would probably make you uncomfortable…
There are a million factors that stand between you and what you want. How much loot you have, where you were born, how good you are at Photoshop, how smart you are, what kind of family you grew up in.
The good news is that there is only one that you can do anything about:
Let people bicker about how much work is really required.
Let them gossip about how much work so and so *really* does versus what they say they do.
Let people sit around and run the odds. “If I do x work, what are my chances…” “Is it really possible to work 4 hours a week?” (BTW, of course it’s possible!)
Let them scoff. Let them “discuss.”
You’ll be busy.
If you aren’t where you want to be, for whatever reason, you are in the fantastic position of only having one question to answer.
How hard are you willing to work to get there?”
Here are some other examples to check out and places to stop by if you’re interested in seeing how people achieve location independence:
Mish and Rob are this sweet coupe that left their jobs in London and have since then lived in 16 cities across 3 continents. On their blog they talk about every aspect of the location independent lifestyle and running a business from anywhere in the world making more money than in an ordinary job.
They do brand consultancy, copywriting, launched a property management company and published books.
Personally, I’ve learnt a lot from them.
Here’s what they say about all the people out there who are concerned that you should be able to code or create softwares and apps in order to live anywhere in the world and make a lot of money:
“A few years ago you might have needed to be a programmer or designer to have this sort of lifestyle, but not anymore.
Not only does technology now make almost anything possible, but people are increasingly comfortable buying services from those they’ve never met. If an accountant is the best at what she does, who cares if she’s in Iowa, Ipswich or India?
We know people living this lifestyle who are recruitment consultants, psychiatrists, finance brokers, language teachers and startup CEOs… and yes, OK, we know a fair few programmers too.”
Clayton from Spartan Traveler
He’s been traveling full-time since 2011 and for him that’s a dream he made a reality, which consists of first defining all the elements that create a satisfying life and then combining them into a system that works.
He’s not focused on money or property, and doesn’t think success is connected to them either. He then became a lifestyle business entrepreneur and joined a community of others like him.
And discovered something interesting – it was all easier and cheaper than he expected. And living the dream actually costs much less money that our current lifestyle, in terms of time and expenses.
That’s what his blog is all about – living life on your own terms, doing more with less and not taking things too seriously so that you can enjoy this life at the same time.
The person behind this big project is Chris Guillebeau, He visited every country in the world over the past 10 years while writing books and blogging.
The essence of his philosophy is this:
You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect;
You can do good things for yourself and help other people at the same time;
If you don’t decide for yourself what you want to get out of life, someone else will end up deciding for you;
There is usually more than one way to accomplish something.
He’s a strategist, a believer and a successful entrepreneur. On the blog he writes about personal development, entrepreneurship, doing unconventional work, and traveling.
And here are two more adventurers that made it while traveling the world that are worth mentioning:
“Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.”
I’d love to hear your opinion on all that. Maybe you disagree with what I’ve said, or want to add something.
Let me know in the comments below.
Featured photo by Steven Zwerink @Flickr