How I Became A Digital Nomad

I feel like I tell this story 5 times a day: the story of how I became a digital nomad, what my work entails, and what this lifestyle is like. When people hear what I do, there are always a million questions to follow. These days everyone is interested in remote work. It’s a really hot topic right now and therefore, something I want to cover extensively in this blog.

So a little over a year ago, I was one of those people asking all the questions about remote work. As I mentioned in my bio, I have spent the better part of the last 10 years of my life traveling and living abroad. Previously I was making this lifestyle work the old fashioned way by either: a) LIVING abroad and traveling  around from where I was living when I had free time (as I did the years I lived in Spain and Australia) OR b) working several jobs at a time during a 4 or 5 month period to save up as much money as I could (at home in the US, making USD$$) and then, leaving it all behind to go traveling on my savings until the money ran out. This kind of traveling was stressful though, watching my bank account dwindle and trying to guess how much longer I would be able to go on for. The idea of online work presented the perfect solution, offering the freedom to travel wherever I wanted while I made money at the same time. But… how?

I kept meeting people in my travels who were doing this: working online and seeing the world at the same time, and I envied them so much! But they always seemed to be computer and IT people, a skill set for which I am not particularly endowed. It seemed I was SOL, until one day I was looking up jobs for teaching english abroad on an international job board (Dave’s ESL Cafe), trying to figure out where I could go next to teach, and this job came up for teaching english online. “Hang on, work for English teachers online?” I thought. That’s me!  Have I finally found my calling in the online working world?

The answer was yes, thanks to VIP kid, the Chinese startup company that hired me out of Beijing (you can read more about my job here). I applied immediately and, as my resume reflects many years of english teaching experience, I was given an interview and hired right away. That was one year ago and I have been traveling and working with the job ever since.

Getting this job with VIP kid was one of the best things that ever happened to me and has completely changed my life. Before, I was struggling so much to make this lifestyle work and, consequently, really doubting myself and what I was doing with my life. As soon as I got this job, everything fell into place. I can still maintain a professional, purposeful job that I love and make money while I am seeing the world. It works. Now that I finally found the job that I dreamt about for so long and I am comfortable and happy living this way, it is clear that I will probably continue to do this for the long term, and so I started the blog as sort of a hobby to write about travel and the digital nomad life.

I personally believe that the world is changing fast and within the next 5 to 10 years everyone is going to be working online. Our generation is demanding this kind of freedom in their work and we won’t take no for an answer. So little by little employers are beginning to acquiesce to our demands. While it isn’t every day that I meet someone else like myself who is working and traveling for the long term, I am constantly meeting people with fantastic vacation time and freedom to take off  of work and travel, sometimes even PTO. Who is going to want to keep working 9 to 5 in an office when they are watching everyone else working comfortably from home or from overseas?

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You mean… I can work from here?

For those of you who are looking for remote work, it’s only a matter of how bad you want it. If you want it bad enough you will find it; there is online work doing everything. There are websites like Upwork and Guru that serve as search engines for freelance work online. There are groups on Facebook for remote work, you can join travel groups and communities where you can find out more about your options for working online. If you are North American, have a degree, and have any kind of experience teaching you can do my job!

Getting this job was a turning point in my life. What an incredible world it is that we live in now where one can have this kind of freedom in their work and live this way; and every day more and more of us our settling in to this kind of lifestyle. I was happy to see that they have coined a term for people like me, the first generation of “digital nomads”. It’s an exciting time for the working world.

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