It has been time to turn all the spotlight on the second guest writer of this gig worker blog, Samira Holma. When I had a chat with her she told me she was on her way to Lissabon, Portugal. Why? Because she wants to spend more time there. Makes sense right?! Enjoy her story, insights, and inspiration in the life of a Digital Nomad.
What It’s Really Like to Work & Travel Full-time
I’ve been a digital nomad and a full-time traveler for 2+ years. For now, I can’t imagine having it in any other way. Being a traveling nomad can be amazing, but is not for everyone. While the upsides are many, it also requires a lot of energy, motivation, drive, and self-discipline.
With that said… If it fits you, going for it will probably be one of the best decision you’ve ever made.
Here are some insights about the options and what to expect, based on my experiences so far.
The digital nomad lifestyle is more diverse than ever
The number of digital nomads has increased a lot over the past years and this trend is just expected to continue. Some predictions show that there will be 1 billion digital nomads by 2035.
That’s more than the population of Brazil, Europe, and South Africa, combined.
The options within the nomad lifestyle go as far as your imagination. The following are a few examples of how the lifestyle may vary.
Office with a view. All the photos are samples of favorite offices.
While certain roles, such as programmers, designers, SEO experts, writers, nutritionists, and marketers, are more represented, there are nomads within most areas these days. The variation I’ve seen ranges from doctors and physics, to selling diapers online (yes, really).
What usually sets the limit is the mindset of what’s possible. I was skeptical towards remote project management before, but have learned that you can achieve great results off-site.
Since many future managers represent a generation who has never lived without high-tech, and the technology keeps on advancing faster than ever, I expect the variation to increase.
By employment type
You can work as a freelancer, grow your own business, or be employed. Several leading companies such as Amazon, Google, and Facebook are providing more flexible conditions in an attempt to match the flexibility the digital nomad lifestyle offers. Options, such as working from home, or rotating between different locations, are being promoted as perks to attract the best talent. Many leading brands do also contract remote workers.
I’ve consulted for a wide range of companies and it’s, not very surprisingly, easier to collaborate with organizations that are used to remote teams, than with those that aren’t. They have different routines and processes in place, which only should improve over the coming years.
By traveling (life)style
While I live a relatively fast-paced life without a fixed base, since that’s the way I like it, there are other nomads who prefer to be based in one location permanently, rather than constantly being on the move. There are also those who like to be based in the same city for a few months.
I’m usually based in one country for a longer time since I like to get to know the culture and the people, but I like to explore it well while I’m there. I’m in Portugal right now and will be going back to South America towards the end of the year. I’ve got the option to stop traveling and base myself somewhere at any time, and usually, travel without dates. That freedom is hard to beat.
By type of income
To simplify, income can be divided into active and passive income. Within each category, there is a wide range of options. You can earn active income by offering consulting services, selling products, being an influencer etc. Passive income is usually achieved through affiliate marketing or by selling online products, such as e-books and courses etc.
Passive income is a dream for many, since it allows you to earn money while you’re sleeping, literally. Several people earn millions this way (and quite a few fail, as well). Many nomads combine these two, but usually start with active income sources.
You will learn a lot, as long as you take initiatives
One of my fears before becoming a digital nomad was to leave the comfort of an office and the whole structure around it, where knowledge sharing, mentorship and so on, is a natural part.
Looking back, I’ve never advanced faster than over the past two years. The nomad lifestyle has allowed me to work with a wide range of clients across cultures and time zones. I’ve learned more about entrepreneurship, and best practices within my area (marketing) across borders. I’ve become more productive and skilled at familiarizing myself with new places and cultures.
I’ve experienced how it is to not be able to express myself in cultures that are quite the opposite from where I grew up. I’ve learned Spanish, and I’m on my way to mastering Portuguese.
As long as you take initiatives, there are many networks and events that you can join, which makes it easy to connect and learn from others across functions, no matter of location.
You will have unforgettable experiences
The freedom to be able to work from anywhere is what attracts people, and also what I love most about this lifestyle. I’ve worked from mountains, deserts, vineyards, lodges, beaches, all kinds of transports, charming hotels and cafés, and so on.
Creating your own schedule allows you to work when you’re the most productive, as long as you plan for it. Since I’m specialized in content within the travel industry, my lifestyle works as a great source of inspiration.
I’ve traveled through most of South America, and had some incredible experiences. The carnival in Rio, skiing down a volcano in Chile, wine tasting in Uruguay, driving through the driest desert in the world, slept in the jungle, seen the Iguazu falls, hiked through stunning nature, seen Saturnus on a private astrology tour, bungee jumped, visited coffee farms in Colombia, and spent more time in my hometown in a row than ever during the past 10 years, are just a few of the highlights.
International network and new friends
Lastly, but most importantly, I’ve met so many inspiring people. I’ve grown my network internationally, and made new friends for life, which I’ll be forever grateful for.
To sum it all up
In summary, it’s easy to understand why the number of digital nomads is expected to increase further. New businesses are arising, and traditional systems are changing, to cater to people with this lifestyle, which confirms that it’s much more than a trend. It’s a big change in the way we work and live.
If you choose to go this way, my best recommendation is to find something that you’re passionate about and experiment with the work/life balance, to be able to perform well long-term. It’s a bit cliché, but true. The nomad lifestyle involves so much more than just “traveling with a laptop” and it requires a lot of hard work to be successful. Some people feel lonely and others miss having more routines.
If you find a way that fits you, it can pay off big time by allowing you to design your dream lifestyle, and by giving you more time to check of your bucket list, one item at a time.
Get to know Samira
Samira is a writer and content marketer specialized in the travel industry. She’s also a full-time traveler and has so far been to 50+ countries.
Her drive is to inspire others to explore and experience more around the world. She do this by helping exciting travel brands with their content marketing, and by sharing authentic tips from her own trips.
For more info and travel inspiration, check out her website or connect with her on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).
Thanks Samira for your great story!
Do you also have a gig worker story that you want to share to inspire others? Then please do so 🙂