First and foremost, I love traveling within my native Philippines. However, it’s important to broaden your perspectives and see the world as opportunities arise. For those of you interested in traveling abroad while maintaining your work life, I’m going to share my journey of how I survived the #DigitalNomad lifestyle!
After graduating from college, I decided not to pursue the career path I was studying. I was a Management Graduate of Commerce, and it felt like my blood wasn’t in this career path. At first, I wanted to take up Computer Science or Programming, but my dad didn’t see a bright future in that course. Considering that he was the one paying the tuition, I just followed his advice to take up Commerce.
Months before I graduated, in October 2009, I’ve saw a glimpse of being a “digital nomad.”
It was April of 2009 when I decided to enroll in a summer class. The reason I enrolled was for me to have fewer units to take in my final semester – I couldn’t wait to graduate after six and a half years in college. One day, my friend shared with me the concept of freelancing and nomading, and I was curious about it. After studying everything about freelancing, I realized that this was something that I wanted. Working anywhere with a laptop is incredible, rather than sitting in a cubicle for eight hours a day.
My father used to be against freelancing because he thought that it could affect my studies. However, he also felt that I need to save some money. I managed to balance my time in my studies and freelancing before I graduated in October.
Being a digital nomad isn’t easy at first.
Of course, I don’t have a reputation. I don’t have a portfolio. I don’t have experience as a freelancer. However, I managed to get some small freelance jobs before aiming for the bigger ones. As I continued working with a few clients, I managed to buy my very first laptop. I still have it today!
I was finally able to experience what it’s like to be a digital nomad, working anywhere outside of my home. I bought one of the best laptop backpacks I could find, to secure my gadget.
Fast forward to today, I’ve enjoyed the ride and learned alot, no matter how many ups and downs that I’ve encountered. Even at the worst of the worst in my life, I learned to overcome the challenges. There are lots of things I’ve learned in my nomadic life abroad, but I would like to point out a few that matter most to me.
Here are the three things I’ve learned about surviving the lifestyle of a digital nomad:
1 – Check yourself first
Before deciding to become a digital nomad, you have to check yourself. Do you know what I mean? Here are some things you need to ask yourself:
- Are you ready to be a digital nomad?
- Are you passionate about becoming a digital nomad? Does the fire burn within you, unable to be put out?
- Are you ready to do whatever it takes to become a successful digital nomad?
- How can you be an excellent example to others who are on the same journey as you?
- You will face struggles, are you ready to overcome them?
It is essential that you have responded positively to these questions to be prepared for the nomadic lifestyle.
2 – Never rely on one source only
One of the hardest things I’ve learned in becoming a digital nomad is that I should not put all my eggs in one basket. In other words, I should not entirely rely on one source of income. We all know that digital nomading is not treated as a full-time job. In the world of freelancing, there’s no guarantee that you can have a stable income from just one client alone.
Surviving the digital nomad lifestyle requires multiple sources of income. If you only rely on one source and the client decides to stop the project, you’re pressuring yourself to find immediate online work. It is essential that you should have more than one income source to support yourself while being a digital nomad.
3 – Always do your homework and get prepared before taking off
I remember the time before traveling to El Nido with my family – I didn’t know that aqua shoes were essential for island-hopping and hiking. Before moving to any travel destination, make sure that you are prepared with what you need for the entire trip. If not, you’re going to regret it big time.
Another thing is that before you visit your next location, you should Google about the major do’s and don’ts. If you’re in an unfamiliar place, make sure that you bring your GPS device. You can install Google Maps or Waze to prevent from getting lost.
About the Author
Jeff Caceres has been a digital nomad for almost 10 years. He travels around the Philippines with his family and friends when the opportunity arrives. You can check out https://mightygoods.com/ to learn more about stories from different people who are living a nomadic life.