Have you ever dreamed of having the freedom to live and travel in a campervan, to visit the places you’ve always wanted to go you, to wake up by the sea, in a vast deserted forest park or atop a snowy mountain, all the while making money online from the comfort of your tiny home? If you have the desire to travel but don’t have the money to quit working, being a digital nomad might be for you!
Digital nomad is the term for this kind of van life, which allows you, working online, to earn enough money from the back of your van to fuel your adventures, to fill up your gas tank and keep your bank balance topped up.
In this blog we’ll take a look at the lifestyle of a digital nomad. Be sure to stick around to the end where we will reveal the secret behind how 25 different vanlifers earn an income while living on the road!
If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this blog below:
Digital nomads do many jobs from virtual assistant to freelance writers, coders, website developers to those that run dropship virtual stores. Teaching, proof reading, translation services and social media management for established companies are all great, flexible, online alternatives to employment that you can do from your van. So what are the pros, cons and considerations of being a digital nomad, and more importantly, how can you become one?
Digital nomads often speak of the freedom the digital nomad lifestyle allows them.
Being in charge of your own time, working and collaborating entirely online and not being tied to any one physical location can be a very rewarding experience. This allows you to sightsee, to relax, to concentrate on your hobbies AND to earn money, whenever it takes your fancy.
Digital nomads sometimes put in fewer hours of work every day as van life expenses tend to be smaller and life on the road so much cheaper.
The ability to dictate your own working hours and volume of work you submit can mean much more spare time for you to enjoy yourself and your van. Some digital nomads work only in the off season and save their money for a long hot summer unfettered by employment at all. That truly is the digital nomads dream!
There are few cons associated with life as a digital nomad.
Finding a suitable employer is one, and if you choose to freelance, following up with even more clients might be a difficult task.
Running a laptop, monitor, video camera or other office systems can be a drain on your batteries or solar power and you may rely more on campsites to plug in to shore power or EHU. Decent invertors to run your electronics can be expensive to purchase.
Some online jobs such as virtual assistant or copywriter can pay significantly less than a conventional job and payments may be sporadic with little contractual guarantees that you will be employed next week. For this reason, some nomads take on seasonal work to compliment their online assignments, like campground wardens, bar tending, festival workers and various positions at holiday and ski resorts.
When you are a digital nomad, there is also the matter of motivation to consider. Some people are less easily self-motivated, and working for yourself in this way requires a good amount of discipline which can be difficult to muster when you’re parked up in paradise, the sun is shining and all you want to do it hike!
But perhaps the biggest con of the digital nomad lifestyle is ensuring you have a consistent, reliable internet signal with which to work. Some of the most scenic rural places in the world will have great parking spots and beautiful views but next to no internet signal. This will impede your ability to sign on and complete your assignments or transmit any data and finished pieces.
If you live in the EU and travel through a couple of countries, you will need to buy new SIM cards in each one and top up with credit, mobile plans with unlimited downloads can be expensive and the language barriers may make them difficult to procure.
To become a digital nomad, you will need to equip your van with a few essentials. As mentioned, solar panels, shore power plug in or extra battery storage are essential to run your invertor and keep your laptop or tablet charged up and ready for use.
An office area or tabletop to use as a desk can help with long periods of typing and a USB powered desk lamp can light the way for working in the evening when the sun goes down. If you have a lot of work to complete, long periods of inactivity in your van can lead to sluggishness and health problems so ensure you take regular breaks (not too long!) to stand, stretch and walk around.
Like any paid position, it is a learning curve and it may take a little time to settle in to your perfect routine.
How to become a Van Life digital nomad
Once you have decided to move into your van or rig, how do you go about becoming a digital nomad? There are a few avenues to explore. Take a look through the many and varied positions for a online office assistants offered, download an app like Fiverr or UpWork or ask in our van life forum for advice and assistance. Work within your skill set or develop new talents, write a great resume and reach out to companies you see that are hiring.
If you are interested in writing as a career, you might begin by blogging or journaling your travel stories, this will help you gain experience publishing online and give you an excellent portfolio for potential employers to sift through. Photographers and graphic artists often start out this way too, it works!
So, having learned of the many options to make money from the comfort of your tiny home, you are probably more interested in becoming a digital nomad now than ever before! Once you find the right employer, the right position and set your rig up to resemble a mini office on wheels, you will be ready to dive into a new and exciting career as a digital nomad.
I highly recommend reading “How These 25 Nomads Make Money While Living ON THE ROAD!” this consists of real life stories from 25 of the most popular digital nomads who ditched the 9 to 5, forged their own paths in employment and are currently living their best lives, working on the open road!
They’ll reveal their jobs, income, expenses, give you advice, and much more!