Once you make enough money in your writing career to give up your day job, you open up a world of freedom in your daily life. Have you ever wanted to travel, to see the world as natives do? Thousands of authors are doing just that, becoming digital nomads. Unlike expats, digital nomads don't need work visas because they never stay in one place long enough to qualify for residency. If writing for two months on a tropical island followed by six weeks in the heart of France appeals to you, here are some tips for living the dream.
The Boring Details
Take care of all the boring details before you set off on your adventure. Find and buy health insurance that covers you worldwide. Set up U.S. bank accounts and get cards that allow you to withdraw money wherever you go. Buy a cell phone with international minutes, and use it only for communication with your home base. Taking care of these worries is much easier while you're still stateside.
Where to Stay
If you're going to keep moving every month or two, you'll have to stay in transient housing. There are casual sites that offer couches for the night, but in general you'll be using one of two options. If you want most of the comforts of home and are willing to spend a little more, look for extended-stay hotels. They'll be more difficult to find in some countries, but you still may be able to work your way around most of the globe. The more popular option for most nomads is to use Air BnB. People with extra rooms, space, and even entire homes offer them for rent. Most owners offer deep discounts for monthly rentals, cutting them 50 percent or more. Your dwelling might range from a studio apartment over looking the Seine to a palm-roofed home on the beach in Belize. Lodgings are worldwide and come in all price ranges.
How to Work
Ideally, you'll be traveling when your royalty payments are enough to live on. In many cases, you can find lodging that's cheaper than your rent/mortgage and utilities combined. To get extra money to make those royalties stretch, look for online work such as copywriting, being a virtual assistant, or blogging for businesses. You can make hundreds of dollars a week in just a few hours a day, and that money will go a lot further in many of the countries you'll be visiting. If you visit the right spots, you may even find travel writing gigs that combine daily trips with making money.
Your Writing Life
The whole idea of this life is to be able to write while visiting countries around the world. It's crucial to make sure every place you rent has reliable internet. WiFi is likely to be slower than you're used to when you get into many foreign countries, but many cities offer coffee shops and shared working spaces where digital nomads gather to work. Plan your destinations by choosing ones where you can contact your editor or email finished articles.
You may be living in paradise, but set up a writing environment before you even unpack your bags. Set a scheduled time for writing, and resist the urge to lay in that hammock or tour that museum until you reach your word count for the day.
You may pass up the idea of being a digital nomad because of unfounded fears. Do some research, subscribe to some nomad podcasts, read about the countries in which you want to travel. Even if you're a woman, you have medical issues, or you're over 55, you can still travel the world writing and have a great time doing it!
Keep the Faith and May the Force be With You!