The Digital Nomad lifestyle is becoming increasingly popular all over the world.
As many young people start looking for alternative career and lifestyle opportunities, location independence or the “laptop lifestyle” has caught the attention of many.
It especially caught my attention as soon as I learned about it and realized that I could live a life where I could work and travel at the same time indefinitely.
In this post I’m going to explain why I’ve decided to become a Digital Nomad, how I’m going to execute my 3-year plan and most importantly how/why I’ll be documenting this journey through the Fearless Nomad blog.
What is a Digital Nomad and Why Do I Want To Become One?
Digital Nomads are remote workers who travel and work from different locations around the world.
They often work in coffee shops, public libraries, co-working spaces or anywhere that has reliable internet as they mainly make their living by doing work virtually or online.
Common careers for Digital Nomads include:
- Customer Service
- Software Development
- Virtual Assistant
It’s important to know what a Digital Nomad is so that you can understand why I’m planning out the next 2 years of my life in this way.
The regular 9-5 lifestyle just doesn’t appeal to me in the way it used to. Getting up every day to work for someone else’s business without the freedom to live life the way I want just isn’t a vibe.
I grew up pretty closed off from the rest of the world and didn’t get to travel much as a kid, my parents worked super hard to provide for us but there wasn’t ever money left over for nice vacations.
When I became an adult I knew that I had to get out there and see the world for myself despite not having a lot of money to do it.
Once I got the taste of travel and living on the road for long periods of time without spending a ton of money, I knew that I had to do this for the rest of my life.
I started the Fearless Nomad blog to document my life as a young woman exploring the world on a budget and sharing how others can do it too without breaking the bank!
Waking up every day to live life on a schedule that you created, in a gorgeous location with nothing but new opportunities, endless adventures and an affordable lifestyle, now that’s the kind of life I want to live forever!
I’m 23 with a beautiful life ahead of me and I want to spend my time seeing as much of the world as I possibly can while building successful businesses and investing in myself in the process.
That’s why the best way for me to do that is to become A Digital Nomad.
Unfortunately, becoming a Digital Nomad isn’t as easy as it seems, in fact, most people fail within their first few years due to high expectations and low preparation.
To become a successful Digital Nomad, everything has to be planned out strategically and it takes a lot of hard work and sacrifices to get there.
Most people fail because they don’t spend enough time beforehand building their incomes, minimizing their debt and realistically planning out their lifestyle.
I made this mistake 3 TIMES before and I think I’ve finally learned enough to never make those mistakes again!
Here are a few reasons why I failed my first 3 attempts at becoming a Digital Nomad
- High interest debt
- Low savings
- No income
This is literally a recipe for disaster and although I had some pretty amazing travel experiences during those attempts, I’d probably be a lot happier if I was still living that life now, instead of preparing for another brutal Canadian winter.
In this post, I’m going to go into detail about how I’m currently handling those mistakes and how I realistically plan to become a digital nomad in 3 years.
Just an FYI year one of my 3-year challenge ends next month in December, so I basically only have 2 years left to go.
How I Plan To Become A Digital Nomad In 3 Years
Give Up My Dream Of Becoming A Travel Blogger
After a while of trying to achieve location freedom, I finally realized something, most successful Digital Nomads aren’t travel bloggers, they’re people with their own online businesses, experienced freelancers or people who took their careers online.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be a successful travel blogger, heck I’m still technically running this blog as a travel blogger.
However, instead of relying on it as my only source of income, I’ve decided to put it on the back burner and focus my energy on business ideas that are actually making me money like my Etsy shop.
This has probably been one of the biggest sacrifices but one of the most important steps towards my location independence journey.
Coming to terms with and being more realistic about the way that I’ll earn my money on the road has drastically shifted my mindset and put me in front of opportunities that are truly going to help me reach my goal to become a Digital Nomad in 3 years.
Start An Etsy Shop
Etsy is an e-commerce platform where you can sell hand-made or vintage items on one of the most popular online marketplaces in the world!
It allows you to create and start running your own business within a few minutes after setting up your own shop.
I started my Etsy shop in April 2020 by first releasing a set of digital planners. I made 1 sale in 2 months.
Shortly after that, I expanded into physical products and quickly started earning an extra $200-$400 a month!
I made my first official dollar as an entrepreneur from my Etsy shop!
After running the Fearless Nomad blog for 1 year I made absolutely no money, that was a pretty clear indicator that something was wrong with my business plan and it was time to make some changes.
In order to become a successful Digital Nomad earning an income while you travel is mandatory, luckily for me, my Etsy shop turned out to be the first successful stream of income that I’ll be able to rely on once I get on the road!
By the time I depart, I would have run my shop for a total of 2.5 years, which I’m hoping is more than enough time to start earning a full-time income.
Either way, this won’t be my only way of making money, but it is an income I expect to partially rely on once I start travelling.
Get A Day Job
Many aspiring Digital Nomad’s cringe at the sound of getting a 9-5 or staying at the current job they’re at.
Although the whole purpose is to live life on your own terms, it takes time to build a successful business or passive income stream to the point where you can live off of that income full-time.
Here are some benefits of having a day job:
- Pay off debt quickly
- Have $ to invest in business ideas
- Save for 3 years of living expenses
Having a day job is making the financial journey go by a lot faster and a lot less stressful.
With a day job I can invest in my businesses without fearing that I’ll lose all my money, I can save and pay off my debt at the same time without sacrificing any meals or daily comforts.
Most importantly, I can continue to enhance my professional skills and network with others in my industry while I try to figure everything out.
I’m still pretty young so using everything that I can to my advantage is really important for where I’m at in life.
Pay Off Debt
Debt is a huge hindrance to my life and contributes to one of the biggest stress factors in North America.
Without debt, I’ll have the freedom of taking lower-paying gigs, doing fulfilling work and invest in my business as much as I want.
It’s a huge advantage in the Digital Nomad world to be debt-free, especially in those first few years of growing a business when you’ll want to have as much freedom with your money as possible.
Not to mention a debt-free life contributes to a stress free life.
Most importantly, I’ll be able to make purchases while I travel without feeling guilty that I could have been doing something better with my money, this is a feeling I’m very familiar with due to being in huge amounts of debt during my previous travels.
Check out my blog post “6 Tips For Managing Your Money Better”.
Save 3 Years Worth Of Living Expenses
This one might sound a little out of reach for many people but really it’s just a number that I generated in order to make myself feel comfortable.
You don’t need to save this much money at all to become a Digital Nomad, especially if you’re earning a full-time income online already.
I’m actually on two separate journeys at the same time, one is to achieve location independence and the other is to achieve financial freedom.
Both go hand in hand for me so that’s why I chose to aim for 3 years worth of living expenses, having that much money saved will give me another level of freedom both location and financial.
When I travelled before the focus was ALWAYS how am I going to make money to survive, I don’t want it to be like that this time, I want more comfort and freedom to do what feels right for me rather than trying making money in any way possible so that I can pay for my next meal.
I’ll be able to focus on my business ventures in the way that I want without fear that if I don’t make enough money I’ll have to hop on a plane and go home.
Interested in how to save more money? Check out this post “How To Save Money On A Low Income”.
I invested my first $200 back in January of 2020 into a high-interest savings account through Wealthsimple.
I’ve officially made a whopping $5 on that investment in interest and let me tell you that yes I feel like a boss.
Since January, I’ve tried to invest $100 a month into this account which is labelled as my emergency fund.
This will not only earn interest but serve as emergency savings should anything arise once I’m back on the road.
Investing is pretty simple, you can invest your time or money in hopes of getting a return.
My second investment was investing in my business and education.
I’ve put a good amount of money into my business and education, I’m extremely happy with the results and I’ll continue investing in these areas in the future.
Create Multiple Streams Of Income
This step also is important for my financial freedom journey but you can never be too safe as a Digital Nomad with multiple streams of income
Here are some of my current streams of income:
- Day Job/ Unemployment Insurance for the time being
- Etsy Shop
- High-Interest Savings Account
I’ll definitely be adding a lot more streams of income through another business idea, investing and eventually I plan on monetizing the Fearless Nomad brand.
More income means more security and just in case one of those incomes stops coming through I know I’ll have other means of surviving.
Live At Home
This is something that a lot of people seem to be embarrassed about and I’m not sure why.
In Canadian culture or at least where I’m from a lot of young people live at home throughout post-secondary and some continue to live at home well into their 20’s.
Living at home with my parents over these next few years will allow me to make the most of my income and take advantage of not having to pay rent and household bills.
I know that this might not be an option for many people so I do want to recognize the privilege that I have from being able to do this.
This might come as a shock to some people but I absolutely refuse to buy a car and if I did buy one it would be used and paid for in CASH.
I’m not sure why as a culture we came up with car loans, but I think it’s one of the worst financial mistakes any young person could make especially if you’re trying to build financial wealth or become location independent.
As a Digital Nomad, I won’t need a car anyway so I don’t see a reason for me to make that investment.
Live Below My Means
This is the step that is going to allow me to achieve mostly everything I listed before.
The only way I’ll be able to pay off all my debt and save up such a large amount of money in the next 2 years is by living below my means.
I’ve been doing it for years now and it’s finally starting to pay off, I’ve seen massive growth in my savings accounts and a huge decrease in my debt.
With such a big part of this journey being financial, it’s absolutely mandatory for me to live below my means and put every cent of my money to work.
Have A Backup Plan + Extra Cash Saved
Not having extra cash saved is the main reason why I failed so many times before when trying to become a Digital Nomad.
This time I will not make that mistake!
I plan on saving an extra 5-10K should an emergency arise, I know that sounds like a lot of back up cash but I’m giving up everything here in Canada and taking my life around the world so I have to build an emergency fund just like a regular person would.
As for a backup plan, I’m still working on that but once I know what that is I’ll be sure to document it on the blog!
Join Digital Nomad Communities
How would I become a Digital Nomad if I didn’t learn from some of them myself?
I’ve joined numerous Digital Nomad communities on Facebook and it’s such a great resource to be able to get perspectives from so many different people all over the world.
I can ask questions, read responses and connect with other like-minded folks in the groups while trying to figure out my own journey to location independence!
Overall, the journey is not going to be an easy one, it’s going to take a lot more sacrifices and hard work to make it to the end but it’s going to be so worth it when I’m living the life of my dreams.
If there’s anything I want my readers to take from this, it’s follow your heart, chase your dreams and do anything that it takes to get there!
Anything that you want in life you can achieve, you just have to be willing to work for it.
If you enjoyed this post and you want to follow along my journey, SUBSCRIBE to the Fearless Nomad monthly newsletter here!
Every month I’ll be giving an update of where I’m at on my journey along with details of:
- My debt-free journey 15K to $0
- My savings update $0-36K
- My Etsy shop/ business income reports
Are you an aspiring Digital Nomad? If so let me know in the comments when your departure date is set for!
If you’re not a Digital Nomad share this post with someone who might enjoy the read!