Digital Nomads have been making the headlines in recent years, with influencers promoting the location independent lifestyle in filtered Instagram pics. But what’s it really like to be working and travelling at the same time?

Digital nomads or location independent people work online.

This enables them to travel around the world while still earning an income, either remotely, as freelancers or through running a business. Most digital nomads value freedom more than a big pay check, and love to travel long-term, often with just carry-on luggage.

It’s easy to fall for the popular image of a tanned, happy millennial lying in a hammock on a beach, casually typing away on their shiny MacBook while sipping a coconut.

In reality, a digital nomad’s typical day isn’t always quite as glamorous.

So what does a typical day in the life of a digital nomad include (if there is such a thing).

 

Morning routines

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A healthy and ‘instagramable’ lunch

One of the biggest draws of living a location independent life is the lack of a 9-to-5 and everyday routine.

Because nomads often work for themselves, they can decide whenever they want to start their day, and they aren’t tied to an alarm clock.

However, the lack of routine can be tricky, especially when travelling to new countries regularly.

Time zones, jet lag and settling into new places all take their toll. That’s why many digital nomads like to create a personalised morning routine for themselves, to introduce a bit of stability into a free lifestyle.

Yoga and meditating are very popular ways to start the day as you can do them anywhere you want, and they can help you to focus on the tasks in hand.

 

Work, work, work, and the continuing struggle to find Wi-Fi 

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A huge range of jobs can be carried out remotely

After a personalised morning routine, usually including a healthy and ‘instagramable’ breakfast, it’s either time for work or for fun.

Freelancers or entrepreneurs can decide when they want to work and when they want to take time to explore their new surroundings.

In contrast, remote workers are often tied to a more rigid schedule, as they usually have to stick to their company’s standard working hours.

A huge range of jobs can be carried out remotely, and the list is constantly growing as the internet becomes ever more accessible and reliable worldwide.

These jobs include more traditional web development, customer service and writing, as well as digital marketing, coaching, translation and e-commerce. If you can do it online, you can do it anywhere.

 

Where do you work if you don’t have an office?

Koh Phangan, Thailand

Places with an established community of nomads are even more attractive

Well, basically anywhere that has Wi-Fi. Many nomads work from cafes, hotel rooms, libraries, or even trains, planes, buses and airports. The harsh reality is that we are completely reliant on a stable Wi-Fi connection. Many hours are spent searching for a decent signal, often only found by placing you laptop at a weird angle in a McDonald’s or Starbucks or outside an Apple store.

Locations particularly popular with digital nomads are Thailand (especially Chiang Mai), Vietnam, Bali, the Philippines, Medellin (Colombia), the Canary Islands and Eastern Europe. Generally, digital nomads look for decent Wi-Fi speeds, reasonable living costs, mild weather and favourable visa regulations. Places with an established community of nomads are even more attractive.

Another important factor in choosing a country is the availability of co-working spaces. These are communal offices where you can rent desk space for a day, week or month and use their fast, reliable Internet.

It might sound counterintuitive to pay to work in an office, when you’re actually fleeing from an office, but sometimes you just have to knuckle down.

Coworking spaces are great because they come equipped with comfy seats, standing desks, Skype rooms, printers and anything else you could need. And most importantly, it’s really easy to meet like-minded people to have lunch with, go on trips together and work together.

How many hours nomads work depends entirely on their job, many only work a few hours a week, while some work 80-100 hours a week. It’s up to you.

 

Work hard, travel harder

Magnetic Island, Australia

Many nomads like to take their time and get to know a new destination

Travelling is obviously one of the biggest draws of the location independent lifestyle.

That doesn’t mean digital nomads move every few days though, as this quickly becomes very exhausting.

Many nomads like to take their time and get to know a new destination, exploring the surrounding countryside or countries.

This can include taking a day trip to a nearby town, visiting a beach, surfing, hiking, paddle boarding; the sky is the limit.

 

What else do you do for fun?

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Nomads value learning while they’re travelling and self-development is also a big topic

When digital nomads aren’t busy working or taking photos of themselves with their laptops by the pool, they like to meet people.

The nomad crowd is generally a very open and sociable bunch and meet-ups can be found in hundreds of cities around the world.

In their spare time, a lot of digital nomads like to work on their businesses or take part in courses or workshops.

Nomads value learning while they’re travelling and self-development is also a big topic. Mastermind groups, run online via Skype, are very popular, as are local language classes, cooking courses or volunteering opportunities.

While there’s no such thing as a typical day for a digital nomad, it’s still important to generate some kind of routine. You can create the life you love, where you want and how you want, always searching for Wi-Fi.

Would you like to live a location independent lifestyle?