In today’s episode, I share with you my best digital nomad tips when it comes to working online + traveling the world. This is honestly the episode I wish I had listened to before I took the leap & became a digital nomad myself as while I did have a vague idea of what to expect when it came to working online + traveling, there’s a big difference between reading about it versus actually experiencing it for yourself.
So, if you find yourself yearning to launch your own social media management business, one that actually allows you to work online + travel from anywhere in the world… then this is the episode for you! I share my tips on how to find the right destination, how to make friends & build a community, find reliable internet, balance work & travel, & all the other things in between. My hope is that this episode gives you the confidence you need to pursue this lifestyle for yourself, & prepares you for when you do decide to take the leap & go after your own dreams.
I know my own family members + colleagues from back home think that all I do is lounge by a beach, surf, travel, & go to cafes. And while yes, I absolutely love doing those things, a key part of being a digital nomad is that I work remotely – yes I do work. Being a nomad means I am able to work online from anywhere in the world (as long as there’s reliable wifi), be my own boss, & have the freedom to schedule my own workdays.
One big positive that I have seen come out of this whole pandemic, is the shift in remote work. It has become so much more acceptable to work remotely because quite frankly so many businesses had to do so in order to survive. Businesses + companies that had never even considered being remote are now allowing their workers to do so remotely & a lot more people are realizing that they actually enjoy working from home or wherever they choose, rather than having to commute to an office every single day.
So with that said, more companies are actually introducing this kind of hybrid model where they allow their employees to work from both the office and remotely. And because of this, people have been given this opportunity to in a sense test out this whole digital nomad lifestyle and just see if it’s something they would want to pursue. It’s opened their eyes to this newfound freedom that they can work from anywhere + travel, especially once countries and restrictions start to ease up a bit more.
Now, something to note here, is that being a digital nomad doesn’t necessarily mean you have to start your own business, travel, & work from anywhere – that was my own personal decision. For you, this could look like working remotely full-time for a company or part-time while building your own online business on the side. Again, there are so many options when it comes to being a digital nomad + working remotely, but for my own clients, they have chosen to launch their own social media management businesses to help kickstart their remote lifestyle dreams.
One of the top questions that I get asked as a digital nomad, especially in my Instagram DM’s, is why did I pick Bali? What made me choose this location? And what went into planning to move across the country?
If I’m honest, not a ton of planning was involved. If you listened to episode one, then you know that I got cheated on 3 days before Christmas in 2019, and that’s really what made me drop everything and move to Bali. But, the reason I picked Bali in the first place was actually because of the Bucketlist Bombshells. My senior year of college, I had come across their Facebook Ad and that’s really what opened my eyes to the whole digital nomad lifestyle & is the reason why I actually put Bali on my own bucket list – yes as cliche as it sounds I chose Bali because of a Facebook Ad. However, I did do my research and I knew it was a huge digital nomad hub, had reliable wifi, & would be a great way to network + meet like-minded individuals.
Another reason why I choose Bali was because of the affordable cost of living. So coming from San Diego where rent prices are absurd, Bali was much more affordable in comparison. Obviously, everyone’s budget is going to look different, but in Bali, you can spend anywhere from $350/month (typically these are guest houses) to upwards of $700/month (for your own room or private villa). Secondly, Bali has some of the best coworking spaces in the world, and it’s a great way to network, attend events, & integrate yourself within the community.
Which leads to my third reason, which is the community + culture here. If you’ve ever talked to someone who has visited Bali, you will probably hear that Balinese people are some of the warmest and kindest humans you will ever come across. They are usually very friendly and interested in engaging in conversation with you – which coming from the states has been a vastly different experience. And of course, I can’t forget to mention that I also chose this location because of the tropical + warm climate. Yup, I love all things tropical (hence the podcast name), so I took that into account when choosing a destination.
First, you want to determine your own budget and establish how long you actually want to live in another location. So for instance, are you wanting to just try out the digital nomad life for a month, 3 months, or are you actually wanting to move there? For me, when I arrived in Bali, I had only planned to stay a few months and then figure it out from there. But, I had factored in how much I had in savings, the cost of living, insurance, & other expenses I would need to account for. So do your own research and take a look at your finances because of course some countries are going to be more expensive than others in terms of cost of living.
A really great resource that I heard about recently is called “Nomad List” – it’s a resource hub that has been curated by a community of other nomads. It gives you a ton of information & metrics on top digital nomad destinations such as average internet speed, weather, cost of living, best neighborhoods to stay in, coworking spaces, how to get around, recommended travel insurance, reviews, etc. It’s a fantastic resource to use especially as everything is all in one hub, you can hear from people who are actually in these locations, and have experienced the digital nomad lifestyle for themselves.
Another tip when picking a digital nomad destination is to get specific on what exactly you want your lifestyle to look like. The truth is, your digital nomad lifestyle is going to look different from others. There are nomads who love traveling from place to place every month and that’s what works for them, others who like to have a home base for a few months and then travel a few times a year, or some who simply just like to stay in one location and explore there.
Me personally, I know I get burnt out if I travel from place to place every month so I like to have a home base and then travel off to other locations from there. I know that I need some sense of stability, community, & just feeling grounded in the place that I’m at instead of always having to move locations & in a sense start over. So figure out what your ideal lifestyle looks like and if building an online business is your dream, then start to build a business that supports that lifestyle + vision of yours.
Before you even take the leap and hop on a plane to whatever destination, you need to get organized + have some kind of plan in place. You need to be prepared for travel mishaps, look up travel insurance, make sure your passport is up to date, & know visa + vaccine requirements. Take the time to really think about all the necessary items you need to get into a specific country, how long you can actually stay for, what you need to pack vs what’s available there, & have those emergency funds set aside.
Something that I highly recommend doing when it comes to planning ahead is:
#1) Call your bank ahead of time & telling them that you will be out of the country so they don’t flag your card overseas.
#2) Get a debit card that doesn’t have any foreign transaction fees cause gosh those fees can add up.
#3) Have backup cards just in case you lose your debit card in the ATM machine (like I have), or if it gets lost or stolen.
#4) Convert a few hundred dollars in whatever country’s currencies prior to arrival so when you do land, you are not stressed out & you don’t have to use the airport ATM.
It’s easy to get to a new location and just want to see and do all the things in the area. However, as an online business owner or someone who works remotely, you have to learn how to balance work + play. This is something I definitely had to learn as when I initially got to Bali, I did not know how to manage my time, I did not know how to actually be productive instead of just busy, & I certainly didn’t know how to go about structuring my days.
So yes it was a tad ironic because when I worked in corporate I hated the structure of it all, but when I started working for myself, I realized that I needed a dang structure in place or else I wasn’t going to go anywhere. I think every single digital nomad I’ve ever come across has this realization at some point or another that they do have to establish some kind of structure & have self-discipline because there are so many distractions, places to go, & events to attend that you have to be very strategic with your time.
The truth is, we as humans really do need some semblance of structure + routine in order to be productive. For me that looked like sitting down and mapping out a system that would work for me + my business as there wasn’t anyone looking over my timesheet anymore or telling me when I could clock on or off of work. And through lots of trial & error, I learned to designate specific days for client calls, set business themes for each day, & also set aside “me time” (aka surfing, gym, spending time with friends, sunset walks, etc) so that I didn’t burn myself out.
The truth is having that structure in place is what’s going to allow you that freedom you crave even as contradictory as that sounds. So, if becoming a digital nomad is what you want, then really take the time to plan out that routine and schedule that will work for you.
When you arrive in another country, you are going to want to have a network of people you can go out to lunch with, ask for recommendations, lean on, & of course just not feel so alone. While this may come as a shock to you, I’m actually quite introverted so I had to pretty much force myself to attend coworking events and get outside of my comfort zone when I arrived in Bali. Otherwise, I wasn’t going to meet people & quite frankly I probably would have left Indonesia the second the pandemic had hit if I hadn’t put myself out there prior, made connections, & felt like I had some semblance of community to lean on in case things went south.
The truth is sometimes traveling and being a digital nomad can get lonely and this is definitely a topic that I don’t think gets talked about enough. The reality is, people in your life are probably going to constantly come and go especially as nomads are known to hop around from place to place – so the more you can put yourself out there, meet new people, build a community, & just really get outside of your comfort zone, the better.
I hope you found this helpful & you leave feeling way more confident + prepared when it comes to pursuing your own digital nomad journey. You can listen to the full episode by pressing play or tune in on your favorite podcasting platform. If you have any other questions or want to ask me further about my own digital nomad journey, feel free to send me a DM on Instagram @shannonsegall and I’d love to connect with you there!
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The podcast for early-stage social media managers who are looking to stand out online & live the laptop lifestyle. Whether you want to work online + live abroad, road-trip across the country, or simply be your own boss from the comfort of your home, The Tropical Social Podcast is here to help you do just that!
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