Here's the edited definition of "Digital Nomad" according to Wikipedia:
Digital nomads are a type of people who use existing technologies to earn a living. Such workers often work remotely from foreign countries, coffee shops, co-working spaces, or RVs. Successful digital nomads typically have a financial cushion. Digital nomads may vary depending on status; common types of digital nomads include refugees, affluent people, younger people, and entrepreneurs. People who become digital nomads often do so due to positive reasons, such as financial independence and a career that allows for location independence.
The digital nomad movement is given credence by famous authors, entrepreneurs, and marketing professionals. There's a growing list of popular books on the topic, most famously popularized by The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. As technology continues to evolve and Internet connectivity becomes ubiquitous around the world, more people will break the shackles of the traditional workforce and find financial freedom working from anywhere. The realization that robots will continually replace menial repetitive jobs is an important decision factor for being your own boss. The best way to become a successful digital nomad is to START! Save up some money, buy a plane ticket to your dream destination, pack your belongings, and just go for it! Taking that first crucial step and breaking away is always the most difficult part but you'll soon realize, hopefully, that it's worth the decision!
So, without further ado...
I've been traveling in South America on a shoestring budget for almost 2 months! No regrets so far. I'm currently typing this blog post from a coffee shop in Baños, Ecuador waiting on my breakfast. I arrived here 3 days ago after a 5-hour bus ride from Quito. It was a beautiful drive through the mountains. I decided to check into Erupcion Backpacker's Hostel for the night. This place has more hostels than Starbucks in a typical American city. They're everywhere! It's important to not break the bank staying at fancy hotels if you are to succeed as a budget traveler. I've personally combined email marketing with lead generation to arrange free accommodation at hotels along the way. You can read my recent blog post about How I Stayed at Trump International Hotel for Free. My day just got better after receiving an email from the owners of Balsa Surf Camp for a complimentary 3-night stay at their hostel in Montanita on the coast in exchange for professional photos! If you believe it and put in the work, you can achieve it! Don't hesitate to contact me if you need any advice on how to arrange travel assignments!
This quaint touristy hippie town in the mountains is known for its famous thermal baths. Without hesitation, I put on my swimming shorts and walked the short distance to Thermas de la Virgen. It's only $3 entrance fee in the evening hours. You have to put your clothes in a basket, rinse off your body in the shower, and rent a cap for your head. The largest thermal pool has medium-hot water from the volcano. The water is a dirty-looking brownish color for some reason. There's another thermal pool on the lower level. I dip my feet into the murky water and it immediately takes me back to the first time I touched a hot stove. Ouch! It's all I can do to keep my feet in for 5 seconds. After soaking in the cold pool for a few minutes, I rake up enough courage to jump in to the volcanic waters. A feeling of pins and needles immediately courses through my body. Definitely a more painful experience than jumping into Barton Springs Pool, the rejuvenating natural spring in Austin, Texas. After repeating this process a few times, my body acclimates to the temperature difference, but it's still a struggle to stay in the pool for more than 20 seconds.
After an hour, I collect my things and make my way outside. A feeling of calm relaxation washes over me and hunger strikes. After some searching I find a quaint restaurant serving hamburgers, pizza, and fish. It takes about half an hour until my burger finally arrives at my table outside. In the meantime, I spot a friend from Masaya Hostel in Quito. We chat briefly on the street (he reminds me of an Indian doppelganger of John Oliver from Comedy Central). He invites me to a nearby bar to play pool with a few friends. Afterward, we hit up a classy bar serving German beer and food, chatting into the late hours about travel plans, language differences, money, culture, and the travel documentary I'm creating.
You're never truly alone when traveling solo. Everyone craves human connection and to share experiences. I'm consistently stressed out about a lack of funds for my travel expenses. However, I keep coming back to the realization that money is simply a measuring stick for success and it should never define who you are. It's not necessary to be a millionaire if you're already doing what you love and work is passionately fun. You simply need enough for basic survival (food, shelter, transportation). I believe true richness is all mindset. I continually ask myself what I would do if money were no object, and the answer is "Travel the world!", which happens to be exactly what I'm doing right now! Happiness comes from within! The important thing I keep coming back to is to be present in the moment and trust in the process. Everything will work out if you just let it be.
The next day, I wake up early in the morning and immediately check my phone. This is a habit I'm trying to break. Many of the top performers have a daily ritual which typically includes a meditation practice. I've learned this from the following best-selling books by Tim Ferriss.
I received a notification from a friend requesting funds on PayPal. I opened the app and to the pleasant surprise, my bank account showed nearly $700 in available funds! My first thought was irrational. Is there a glitch in the software? Absolutely not! I'm continually generating passive income with the Airbnb referral program! Every 15th and 30th of the month I receive more money for referring contacts to join the platform! And you can do the same thing! Just click below.
The financial stress immediately dissolves as I explore the town with a feeling of ease. If I continue spending at my current rate, I should be able to visit all my destinatiosn in Ecuador and part of Peru, no problem! My average budget per day is an amazingly low $20! However, it immediately skyrockets to $100 after the funds hit my account. Blame it on human nature. Whoops! Most of success is derived from a regular habit of consistently doing things a certain way. I highly recommend the following books for more information on these topics! The second one by Brendon Burchard, one of the most influential leaders in the field of personal growth (Oprah Magazine), is available for free as a podcast! Highly recommend giving it a listen!
After checking into Princesa Maria Hostel, I walk downtown with my roommates and rent a bike from Wonderful Ecuador for $5 per day. My plan is to ride about 3 hours into the mountains to visit the famous Casa del Arbol treehouse swing. However, I missed the right-turn entrance and continued riding at breakneck speeds down the steep hills, through underground tunnels carved like magic through mountains, and past beautiful cascading waterfalls. I stopped for a few minutes to take a scenic ride on a trolley car over a massive canyon highlighted by two massive waterfalls. It was only $2. Totally worth it!
I continued riding for another 5 km while occasionally recording video like a mad-man for my documentary my handy iPad tucked into the side pocket of my Rolling Stones jacket. Later, I went for a short downhill hike through the mountains and grabbed a delicious trout meal for $8 at a sweet restaurant in the rainforest. Starving artist. I was not looking forward to the constant uphill bike ride back up to Baños. Luckily they were offering rides in an enclosed truck bed for $2. I bumped into a few friends form the night before. Stephan was volunteering with the Peace Corps and visiting from Quito (by way of San Francisco). I flew the drone briefly and we chatted over a Club beer while waiting for the driver to recruit a few more passengers. It wasn't long before we were back in Baños. I decided to head back to my hostel and relax for awhile. Then I walked toward the thermal springs and got a full body massage from a beautiful woman. Perfect ending to one of the top 5 days of my travels so far!
In conclusion, it's definitely possible to travel on a shoestring budget as a digital nomad!
I recommend following these 5 basic principles:
- Stay at hostels on a budget
- Use public transportation
- Eat for cheap or cook your own meals
- Arrange travel assignments
- Generate passive income (e.g. affiliate or referral programs)
If you enjoyed reading this blog post on How to be a Successful Digital Nomad, please consider donating to my GoFundMe campaign. You can be a sponsor in the contributor credits of my upcoming full-length travel documentary! I'm going to continue providing free content to my loyal readers. That being said, my time is valuable and I sincerely appreciate any donations you can make at this time! Thanks in advance...