Digital Nomads: How You Can Work While Travelling
International travel is part of the fabric for young Australian communities, with the travel restrictions imposed in 2020 and 2021 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic devastating to a new generation of backpackers. But with restrictions long since eased, opportunity knocks once again.
Travel is expensive though - and prohibitively so for many would-be travellers. As such, the idea of the 'digital nomad' has begun to take root in more and more people.
The digital nomad is a new concept, born out of a world more connected than ever before. Digital nomads take advantage of the freedom and flexibility afforded by remote working technology, taking the concept of remote work to its natural extreme. But what does this mean exactly, and how could you become one?
What is a Digital Nomad?
Digital nomads, essentially, travel and work wherever they please. They typically take on freelance work, run their business or accept devolved remote roles in larger organisations. The remoteness of their work means there are relatively few restrictions to where they can work â€“ enabling them to travel to far-flung corners of the world and earn money all the while.
Digital Nomad â€“ The Pros and Cons
Becoming a digital nomad is naturally an alluring idea, and potentially even a lucrative one. However, the remote work path is not suitable for every traveller; there are both advantages and disadvantages to becoming a digital nomad, depending on your personal intentions and experience.
Digital nomads naturally enjoy unparalleled flexibility when it comes to travelling. The only requirements for them to access their work are access to power and access to the internet â€“ both of which are ubiquitous. This enables digital nomads to plan their work around their travels, as opposed to planning travel around work.
There is also a vibrant online community of digital nomads, all sharing tips and advice as well as meeting up in various hub cities around the world. Coupled with the sheer possibility of a world begging to be explored, you could be living a life many only dream of.
Becoming a digital nomad isnâ€™t quite as simple as buying yourself a laptop and setting off, though. The biggest hurdle for many can be found in tax obligations. This can be simple enough, if you continue to work solely for Australian companies and remain an Australian resident for tax purposes. But the moment you start to think about longer stays in other countries or new foreign clients, you face fresh complications.
Being a digital nomad can also be an isolating experience. In countries where you are unfamiliar with the language, you may struggle for meaningful social contact. Many digital nomads travel alone, relying on online relationships for their social fix.
Lastly, travelling is an expensive endeavour at the best of times. Even with a relatively large income from skilled remote work, you can find the costs of travel and accommodation mounting. This is especially true for those on a travel visa, who may be unable to find cheaper long-term housing.
Work Ideas for the Digital Nomad
There are hundreds of ways in which you can make the digital nomad life work for you. All you need to do is find a niche or discipline that suits your skills and experience. Many take the opportunity to turn their experience towards going freelance, with some taking the plunge and attempting to monetise their hobbies. For example, there are those that utilise CFD trading to subsidise their travels, making use of digital platforms to engage with the stock market and foreign exchanges.