About the author

Darren Cronian, the author of this guide, has spent eight years securing remote jobs and building a successful freelancing business. His goal is to help people escape the office. Read more >

Many articles share how to become a digital nomad but writers, do not discuss the challenges you will face. When making a life changing decision it’s important that you are aware of the hurdles you will have to overcome.

Many articles share how to become a digital nomad but writers, do not discuss the challenges you will face.

It is essential to plan and be prepared for the challenges ahead if you are selling your home, quitting a secure job, or making life-changing decisions. How do I know this? Here is my story.

The First Steps to Become a Digital Nomad
My digital nomad story

In 2015, I quit my job of 24 years to work remotely and travel the world. This was not a decision made overnight. In fact, it took me two years to plan. Various hurdles had to be overcome. Since then, I have lived and worked remotely in cities like Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and Prague.

This was a life-changing decision. Going from living a materialistic lifestyle. Living in a very modern apartment with an Italian leather sofa, 50-inch television, and continuously buying the latest gadgets. Leaving a job that was secure, great pay, and solid pension.

Here is the first step to becoming a digital nomad.

Open up a new document on your laptop (or grab a pen and pad if you want to be old school) and make your favourite beverage. Then, find a quiet space at home, switch off your phone and any other distractions.

Making difficult decisions during a pandemic

At the time of writing this article, we are living through a global pandemic. Likely, you are currently working from home, and the thought of travelling sounds ludicrous. The point of this exercise is to get you thinking about the future. We will not be living through this pandemic forever.

When answering these questions, do not take the pandemic into consideration. Put it to the back of your mind for this exercise.

Create your list of challenges

You will need to write down a series of questions so, please take time to think about your answers and write your thoughts down.

Start by writing down what is stopping you from packing your bag today and becoming a digital nomad. Do you have debt? Have no savings in your bank account? Have a home to rent or sell? Worried about leaving your ageing parents? What are the mental barriers stopping you?

Will your employer allow you to work remotely and travel?
Do you not have the skills to work remotely?

Really think about what is stopping you.

This will become the list of what you will have to overcome and believe me, while right now, it might feel like a big brick wall stopping you, there are solutions to all of the challenges.

Reasons for becoming a digital nomad

Next, write down the reasons why you want to work remotely and travel. Really give this some thought. Are you stuck in the comfort zone? Counting down to Friday and wishing your life away? Or are you running away from problems that will not be solved by becoming a digital nomad?

Be honest with yourself.

After completing these two exercises, you will have a list of challenges that have to be overcome. This could be a list of tasks, i.e. clearing debt, or changing your mindset to help you make the right decision.

You’ll also have a list of reasons why you want to become a digital nomad, and this list will keep you motivated. Vision what your future might look like – create a vision board so that these images are the first thing that you see in the morning and when you need motivation.

Before you start these two exercises, it’s essential to be realistic.

The reality of becoming a digital nomad

It is worth noting that you will often see content portraying a digital nomad working next to the pool on a laptop, with a cocktail or on the beach with the waves lapping around you.

The reality is, it could not be further from the truth.

Relaxing next to the pool or on the beach is fun but working remotely in these locations is impossible due to glare on the screen, unreliable internet connection. It is essential to find somewhere to focus, rather than the beaches and swimming pools, which can be very distracting.

The reality is that you will spend your working day either in co-working spaces, coffee shops or in your apartment. Create a good work-life balance to have time to do the things you love in life.

Most companies will require you to work 8 hours a day, and if you are self-employed, more hours will be needed to run your business. Being a digital nomad is a life-changing experience, but be realistic.

Do you have any questions about this first step to become a digital nomad? Sign up to my email and, every Sunday, receive free training.

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