Mitch Malone

Transitioning from Remote Work to a Digital Nomad Lifestyle

Are you currently working remotely but daydreaming of rice paddy fields in Bali or the beaches of Rio de Janeiro? Then perhaps the digital nomad lifestyle is for you. Many top destinations around the world are now catering for a digital nomadism. Cities offer widespread access to Wi-Fi, coworking spaces and even Digital Nomad Visas. If you are considering transitioning from remote work to digital nomadism, then now is the time. Before you take that leap and book a one-way ticket to paradise however, there are a number of factors you need to consider for your transition to be as smooth as possible.

What to Expect From a Digital Nomad Lifestyle?

The key thing to understand about being a digital nomad is that you are not a remote worker nor are you a traveler. As much as exploring islands in the Philippines or hiking in the Andes will become part of your life, you need to remember you are still working! Being a digital nomad requires you to juggle that innate desire to travel with fulfilling all your work commitments. Whilst remote work allows you stability and routine, it takes some planning and discipline to become a successful digital nomad. Starting a digital nomad lifestyle requires a lot of adjustments and planning to create the perfect balance.

The beauty of embracing digital nomadism is that you aren’t location dependent.  As long as you can find good, reliable internet in a peaceful work environment the possibilities are endless. It’s always a good idea to do some research about internet connectivity before you head off to a country. See what fellow expats are saying, seek advice on the best internet providers.

There are believed to be more than 35 million digital nomads worldwide. This digital nomad trend has resulted in more countries opening up to this sort of work. There are now 43 countries who offer the Digital Nomad Visa, from Belize to Bermuda, Iceland to Indonesia.

A digital nomad lifestyle allows for independence and freedom. You can absorb cultures from around the world whilst earning a steady income. What’s more, the new challenges and experiences you’ll face as a digital nomad will allow for a lot of personal growth. From potential challenges with visa, internet and language it's best to be prepared for your new life as a digital nomad.

Here are four things to consider when starting out as a digital nomad.

1. Plan Your Working Week

Digital nomadism may conjure up spontaneous images of working on a beach or in a café sipping coffee, but the reality is you need structure. Taking some time to plan your working week will allow you to be more productive and able to enjoy life a little. Planning where you will work, what you will do each day and when you will take time off will help you enjoy your new lifestyle. Though most seeking the ideals of digital nomadism long to kick the 9 to 5 life to the curb, its structure does have its perks. Waking up each day to start work at the same time and being in an environment where you can switch to “work mode” really helps.

2. Reliable internet with redundancies

It may be the most glaringly obvious priority of any digital nomad’s life but don’t underestimate the need for reliable internet options. Having multiple sources of internet is the best way to live a productive stress free life. You may be staying in accommodation with Wi-Fi but it’s always best to buy a local SIM with data bundles as well. You should also consider the possibility of using multiple network providers. In places like Zambia for example having access to their three network providers allows for contingencies if one network fails. Whether you teach online, work for yourself or an employer, there’s nothing worse than internet trouble. Besides, you’ll want to get your work done quickly so you can enjoy exploring.

3. Where Are You Going to Work?

So, you have settled on your first digital nomad destination, but have you considered where you are actually going to work? Sure, you can work from your accommodation, but this will get tedious quickly and it’s always good to have that separation from work. You can begin by searching for cafes with a good environment and most importantly charging sockets. Soon however the novelty of working in a coffee shop will wear off and you’ll want to look for alternative places to keep your creative juices flowing.

Whilst coworking spaces can’t be found everywhere they are becoming increasingly popular around the world. Coworking spaces offer you all the work environment amenities you’ll need on a short-term contract basis. Coworking spaces allow you to feel that office like environment but with flexibility and no eagle-eyed boss watching your every move. Companies like Impact Hub, Regus, and WeWork have locations in hundreds of countries, including parts of Africa and South America.

4. Time Zones and Logistics

One of the first things to consider when picking your digital nomad destinations is time zones. Does your work require you to be in a certain time zone? Most digital nomads still have clients or employers in their original country of origin, so it’s something you need to consider. If your job requires you to attend online meetings and meet deadlines at specific times, then the closer you are to home the better. Moving to Southeast Asia and facing a 12+ hour time difference is going to require a lot of adaptation and sacrifice. Traveling to places closer to home, with similar time zones is more practical. Remember you will also need time to adapt to the change in lifestyle when arriving at each new destination. Facing all the usual hurdles of moving abroad whilst also working crazy late night hours will leave you exhausted.

If you do decide to move further afield there are plenty of apps and websites, you can use to keep track of your deadlines across different time zones. If your work requires you to be interacting with the whole world, consider locations that utilize Central European Time or Central African Time.

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