So who are these Digital Nomads? Hippies? Bums? Lost souls? Rich kids ‘finding themselves’? Or lawyers, web developers, musicians, professors, laborers, designers and teachers. Entrepreneurs who run their own business and employees of global corporations. Single people, couples, and families, old and young. Digital Nomadism seems to be an option for anyone who really wants it. But can anyone be a digital nomad?
The first obvious hurdle is communication and practicalities of doing the job. The most successful digital nomad careers almost always consist of a computer based job that can be accomplished with a decent wifi signal. Although in the beginning this usually meant you had to be fluent in the language of code and web development or run one of those travel blogs that were popular for about five minutes. The array of different careers possible have widened and with a little creativity, many have found ways of either adapting their current jobs to life on the road or learning new skills that are more suited to a nomadic lifestyle.
Although more and more job sites dedicated to advertising work for digital nomads have appeared over the last few years many still display the usual list of programming based job options. To explore the more unusual career opportunities it is best to look a little closer at the individuals on the web, as I have found rule number 1 of being a digital nomad is that you must write a blog about being a digital nomad. It becomes apparent that many jobs can be adapted to the travelers' lifestyle.
The same goes for if you have a specific skill set that can be taught online. Jeff from @wildspacesopenplaces has been traveling around the US in his RV for the last two and a half years, with his wife and two young children. During an interview with Where’s My Office Now, Jeff explains that ‘The key was I had to be able to keep my job and do it on the road. So I spent a year, a very difficult year trying to convince my boss of this.’ Jeff has a full-time job working for West Virginia University in their medical school teaching online courses. Jeff’s story is an encouraging example of how you can adapt an existing career and redefine it to meet your own values and goals. With the use of Skype and online messaging online tutoring has fast become a popular way of learning and teaching. It opens up the doors for students to access teachers from different specialties no matter where in the world they are.
Another great example of this is Shawn from www.chordistry.com. Shawn teaches students all over the world how to play the guitar through the internet. When he and his partner Shawna of www.ototally.com decided to hit the road in their van, Shawn was able to take his existing clients with him by continuing to teach through Skype. He was able to receive more clients while traveling by setting up a youtube channel that provided free online guitar lessons. By continuing an existing service and growing it through the use of content creation on social media, Shawn has shown that you can not only survive while traveling but you can actually build and expand your business.
Overall as the digital nomad movement grows so do the job opportunities and with a little creative thinking and persuasion it would seem many careers could make the transition from office to remote.
A few other professions I’ve come across that can be adapted to life as a Digital Nomad:
Voice Recording Artist
Technical Support Specialist
Social Media Manager