What is a Digital Nomad?

posted by Chris Valentine

What is a Digital Nomad? ... photo by CC user stevenzwerink on Flickr

After a particularly crappy Monday, you might be weighing your options to leave behind the rat race, once and for all.

You’ve heard about people that have freed themselves from the cubicle and now make their living from interesting places like Central Europe, or in the tropical areas of the globe.

What is a digital nomad anyway, and what is it all about? This article will answer that question, and more…

So what does it mean to be a digital nomad?

A digital nomad could be any professional or entrepreneur that is able to get their work done via a wireless internet connection.

Basically, if the set of tasks that you do on daily basis doesn’t strictly require your physical presence, you too can become a location independent professional.

As a result of this, they are able to unhinge themselves from a single, physical location (i.e. the office), allowing them to complete their tasks from home, a cafe, or from a beachside restaurant in Thailand.

When they get tired of their surroundings, they simply pull up stakes and move on to the next destination that strikes their fancy.

What do they do for a living?

A digital nomad can do any job that can be completed on a laptop. Working towards becoming a business consultant? You can adapt your position to do most of your client interactions via Skype.

Do you write or bang out code? That can be done as easily in an apartment in Buenos Aires as it can in an office park in Des Moines. Creating websites, doing graphic design … the list goes on and on.

Where in the world can you find digital nomads?

The person across from you in your favorite coffee shop that is perpetually buried behind their laptop could very well be a digital nomad, but generally, they take advantage of their unrestricted mobility to congregate in places that are warm year round, and/or culturally interesting.

Chiang Mai, Thailand is the runaway favorite due to its tropical climate, low cost of living, high quality of local cuisine, and the friendliness of the locals. Because of this, the community is sizable, making it a great spot to start your journey in this lifestyle.

There are other hot spots throughout the world – Bali, Medellin, Prague and others, but if you want to introduced to each in a methodical, organized manner, there are tour groups like Wanderos ( that will take care of the logistics for you. This will permit you to focus on work and seeing everything that your destinations have to offer.

How do you become one?

The life of a digital nomad sounds exciting, and it is. But how do you put it all together and become one?

It starts by building skills that can be marketed on the web for clients that are willing to pay you money for the services you can provide.

It means foregoing your regular Netflix and chill sessions after work to build up a consistent income on the side that can support you when you make the move to a developing country in Southeast Asia.

$1000/month is a good baseline to shoot for, but before you give notice at your job, be sure to save up six months worth of bills and rent/mortgage payments at home in the first world.

You can also put together a proposal to work remotely for your present company. Offer to take a pay cut if need be; when you’re in Thailand, you’ll finish out ahead in terms of lifestyle anyway.

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