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You may have heard the term “digital nomad” mentioned among world travelers and certain Instagram influencers. What is a digital nomad? It’s someone who chooses to work away from a desk while traveling the world. Thanks to widespread internet availability and technology, the digital nomad lifestyle is possible.
A 2020 study found that 10.9 million Americans call themselves digital nomads. That’s up 49% from the previous year, partly due to remote-work policies many employers adopted as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of nomadic employees and freelancers is likely to increase as a portion of remote workers skip returning to the office and decide to go nomad instead.
Digital nomad jobs make it possible to earn money from nearly anywhere. In most cases, employers may not even know what destination you’re working from. The desk may be a cafe in Paris, poolside in Bali or a hotel in San Francisco. For many, digital nomading is the ultimate freedom — and it may be just what you’ve been looking for.
Types of Digital Nomad Jobs
For the digital nomad lifestyle to work, the job you do must be able to get completed online using tech. It may take some creativity to pivot from your current job to a digital one. For example, if you work at a retail sales clothing store, you won’t be able to ring customers up from a beach in Vietnam, but you may be able to start your own online clothing boutique, or transition into a role of online customer support at your current employer.
Unless an employer is generous with paid time off and flexible hours, being a digital nomad can be challenging. Many digital nomads end up working as freelancers so they can set their own schedules. Digital nomads typically work as:
- Digital marketing
- Social media influencers
- IT or computer programmers
- Graphic designers
- Virtual assistants
- Language teachers
Digital Nomads Pros and Cons
While most people can agree that working from a sailboat in the Mediterranean beats sitting in an office cubicle on a cold, grey day, the lifestyle isn’t always easy. Consider some of the main benefits and challenges digital nomads face.
|Fund your travels as you go||Loneliness|
|Set your own schedule||Discipline required|
|Potentially lower cost of living||Challenges with scheduling|