What Advice Would You Give to Potential Digital Nomads? (Survey Results)

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We put together a collection of advice from current digital nomads for future nomads, here’s the list!

    1. Just take the leap!
    2. Go for software/web development and know at least 3 languages.
      1. English is the business language and if you want to travel through central and south america, Spanish is a great thing to know…I’ve been doing customer service for the last 7 years and 80% of that time I’ve needed English. That’s the language it allowed me to work remotely, can’t even imagine a job I would do remotely just speaking Spanish. (Not one I would enjoy)
    3. Charge more – you’re good enough NOW. Don’t wait 3-4 years to start charging what you’re worth.
    4. Start sooner. I waited a couple of years longer than I should have because no one believed I could do it.
    5. Learn to type faster
    6. Dare more, you learn most from jumping in the deep and honestly its not that daring at all, the biggest barriers are in your mind
    7. Digital gypsy = your 90 days is over in 5 days. Buy a ticket to the next country, know what to say at the airport security check line. Learn the laws of that new country, stay focus, don’t fall in love and stay for the rest of your life in one country, keep your eyes open, one eye to your wallet, stay healthy and get your shot to prevent getting sick. Watch out for street meat, enjoy the ride as long as you can. 🙂
    8. You won’t regret going, but you might regret coming back.
    9. Stay the f away from the sex tourist hotspots. Focus on finding a few beautiful places and a handful of quality people.
    10. Studying and building real skills is all you really need.
    11. Make sure my revenue stream is coming in before I set off on my adventure. 19 months strong and only now starting to make a decent income stream.
    12. The best things in life are on the other side of fear.
    13. Don’t be afraid to try new things and fail
    14. You don’t need as much money as you think you do. Pack your shit and go.
    15. Put more into your retirement account before you leave the corporate world! You will be grateful when it matures and you can nomad with or without pay and still afford it.
    16. Half of the “opportunities” are scams or marketing attempts to sell products. Look more into telecommuting jobs than things marketed towards digital nomads. No real company would market that way.
    17. As the saying goes, ‘Ships are safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are built for.” After more than 20 years of working remote, the main thing I would have gone back and told my 20-something self is,

      “This is not the rest of your life. You have plenty of time to change course if things are not working for you. And besides, you can’t make decisions now based on information that is around the corner. The only way to make the best decision in the future is to get around the corner as soon as possible.

      If you feel pulled to be nomadic then not only is it okay, but actually necessary to take it one month at a time. You will far better know how to navigate once you leave port. You’ll be amongst the other travelers who can guide you. You’ll find the resources that you can only see once you’ve set sail. Your strong desire to do this is validation enough.

      Do not wait for approval. Do not wait for the facts to roll in. This decision is not about facts. This is not about approval. It’s about joy and fulfillment. It’s about you.”

    18. “Don’t strive for something which isn’t in your core desire. Work on discovering what is.” Digital nomadism wasn’t my thing it seemed. So technically I needed it to find out.
    19. Don’t listen to anyone who hasn’t done it themselves (most of the people who told me about the dangers of it, had never set foot out of employment or even their own city 😂)
    20. Ask more questions, focus on a niche, and align yourself with like-minded people.
    21. Don’t do it out of college work at a decent job for three to four years (get sales, project management experience)) and get established.. maybe a rental real estate property, that way when you do start your digital nomad business you can hire the best talent and create a real lasting brand and have the experience to be professional and give customers a true service) then split off and quit if your digital practice becomes something stable and lucrative… aka… patience! Do not chase easy money and no shortcuts… build real skills!Also, save, get financially literate, try to do it young (mid 20s or late 20s) network into a good job and save… also..trust yourself! LISTEN to others!The digital lifestyle isn’t for everyone, stability and co-workers are underrated… if you are working solo do co-working spaces, coffee shops or get a dog and a girlfriend/boyfriend 😉.Balance is crucial, if your personal life isn’t working your digital business will suffer.DO NOT use this as an excuse to run away from your problems, face them head-on. Create communities in two to three places you like around the world. When you’re young traveling around and partying sounds fun but loses it’s appeal in it’s 30s as much when peers are settling down having families, etc. DO NOT drink, take care of yourself, and your health – be vigilant.

      HEALTH insurance and safety are critical.

      The biggest cause of injury and death while traveling is vehicle accidents, avoid those scooters unless you know how to drive them – it requires skill.

    22. Understand that no one will be able to tell you the perfect place for YOU to go. When you see everyone raving about the most amazing spot this is their perspective of what works well for them.It may well take the experience of you living in a few places before you realize what is the more ideal environments for you.Before I left I thought I could ‘live anywhere’. Actually some environments make me happy… others don’t 🤣 Some of the ones that absolutely don’t work for you will be the perfect spot for someone else. Finding your favorite spots & understanding the criteria for them will be part of the process.Build up income before you go.Be prepared that some of your friends at home may be deeply freaked out (maybe it’s an underlying fear they don’t ‘have enough’ in their lives) & they may get weird with you.

      Balance may become a challenge you weren’t expecting. I’m now more of a ‘Slomad’ because I work a lot so I need to stay longer in one place to get the time to see it & do it justice. Unless you work part-time moving rapidly may not allow you enough time to get to know it.

      Give yourself time to adjust when you do it. It’s a big new start.

      The freedom and learning curve of this lifestyle are unbelievable. If that is a priority for you then do it.

      I realized that worst case it would fall apart & I would return to an office job back home. So the worst-case scenario was something I was already doing. No reason not to do it really – I could always go back to being boring & predictable later 🤪

    23. Spend less time working and more time actually making friends.
    24. My husband and I were digital nomads for a while. But we traveled FAR TOO MUCH. We were always on the move, and working full time, so that was really hard and we got burned out quickly. It’s also much more fun to stay in places that are conducive to getting to know people!
    25. Spend a considerable amount of your working hours working towards passive income instead of solely chasing paychecks
    26. Don’t believe in the marketers who are selling this lifestyle.
    27. Get travel insurance
    28. 1. Don’t wait until all the stars are perfectly aligned before taking the leap. There will never be a “perfect” time.
      2. Try out DN for a short period of time (several weeks to a few months) before committing for the long term. You’ll learn much about yourself and the lifestyle that you can apply before taking the plunge 100%.
    29. Do it sooner
    30. Show respect to the country and the people where you are staying.
    31. Push harder, go all in. Don’t let up.

If you’re looking for more info about becoming a digital nomad, check out our guide to location independence.

Cam Woodsum
I've been building digital businesses, wandering the world, and writing about optimizing life for freedom since early 2017. My mission is to lower the barrier for people who want to live with more freedom: whether that be as an entrepreneur, a digital nomad, an early retiree, or just as someone who wants to live a happiness-driven life.