This is a guest post by Alexandra Jimenez of Travel Fashion Girl. Alex has been on the road for over 8 years and runs one of the most successful female travel blogs in the world, helping girls travel stylishly and carry-on only. She’s been supporting me and DNG for over a year and took the time to write a guest post about why people want to be digital nomads. This is something I also feel very strongly about and I hope you enjoy this guest post 🙂
Why do you want to be a digital nomad?
Is it to travel or is to make money? (Not both.) Over the years I’ve seen so many people lose sight of why they want to become a “digital nomad”; the motivation to chase after this dream; their PURPOSE gets lost in the process of succeeding in the actual profession.
Sometimes it’s easy to let the monetary aspect of working on the road distract from the actual reason why you wanted to work while traveling to begin with. Don’t get me wrong, we need to work to make money, but if your purpose is to travel, don’t let monetary success as a digital nomad interfere.
Let me explain.
Have you ever seen people advertising their success stories? They’ve become digital nomads and now they’re rich and traveling the world while sitting on a beach sipping on a coconut? While that is a possibility is that a necessity? Do you need to make tons of money as a digital nomad in order to travel? Do you need to be rich to travel?
Not at all.
Before digital nomadism became a thing, people who wanted to travel perpetually would travel on a budget. I was one of those people. I’d go home, work super hard, save all my money – and then I’d take off for months to years at a time. In order to stretch my money, I’d stay in cheap guesthouses, eat local food, and participate in work exchanges where I’d work a few hours a day in exchange for room/accommodation. It was AWESOME and I had some of the most memorable experiences of my life (laptop-free).
It didn’t matter if I was earning money so long as I could offset my expenses because my purpose wasn’t to make money on the road. It was to travel.
With that in mind, if your goal is to travel, I’d encourage you to start with the mindset of a budget traveler. How much money do you actually need in order to live?
One of the reasons why Southeast Asia or South America are popular places for digital nomads is the same reason they were popular for budget travelers – because your money stretches further.
So how much money do you actually need per day to travel in the cheaper parts of these regions? Anywhere from $30-$50 per day on average. (I used to pay $200/month for my guesthouse in Thailand, eat meals that were $2, and drink beer that was $1.)
With that in mind, if it costs $900-$1500 per month to travel on a budget in Thailand (less if you’re living there), then how much money do you need to earn per month as a digital nomad? $900-$1500
Using an average of $1000 per month, ask yourself a question: how long would it take you to save this much working at home? As a digital nomad, what work would you have to do every month to make $1000 per month?
In one of her original articles, Jenny Lachs put together a comprehensive list of the various ways she pulled together money when she started out as a digital nomad. There are a variety of what some would consider to be “low paid” jobs that would actually be enough to earn you a living to achieve your goal as a digital nomad.
In 2012, when I started out, my goal was to make $800/month as that would enable me to continue living comfortably in Thailand. If you break this down, that meant that I had to earn $200 per week or $40 per day, working 5 days a week.
What could you do to earn $40 per day? I could write one-two articles for blogs or work 4 hours per day at $10/hour as a VA.
These price points might seem low to experienced DNs but when you’re just starting out you need to start somewhere just like you would in any job at home. As a business person your monetary goals should be high but if you’re a traveler do they always need to? If traveling is your purpose, do you need to also become a high earning business person?
Don’t get me wrong. Of course it’s great to make tons of cash. Who doesn’t want that?
But if you started your journey with the motivation to see the world then don’t put pressure on yourself to become the next big entrepreneur and miss out on the world you set out to see.
Remember you don’t need to earn 5 figures a month in order to experience the personal journey of a lifetime. With the mindset of a budget traveler, you might only need 3 😉
You made the brave decision to leave home so you could TRAVEL the world so don’t miss it in the process.
I just wanted to share this message because I think many of us struggle at one point or the other when we see the success that other people have…I hope this can help encourage you to remember why you’re doing this and not to give up.
Shift your focus, remember your purpose, and chase after your goals. And if you stumble, there is this wonderful community Jenny has created here so we can all support and encourage each other. Good luck!