The pandemic made a lot of people realize that our jobs can be done remotely. It's then alluring to think of adopting the lifestyle of the digital nomad, traveling around the world while still working from anywhere.
The good news is that several experts have already shared their advice and experiences for free on the internet. From podcast and ebook guides to apps that sort your visa issues, these are some of the essential online tools for beginner digital nomads.
1. Where to Start: Nomad List and Nomadpick
Before you move to the other names in this list, we would be remiss to not mention Nomad List and Nomadpick, two of the best sites for remote workers and digital nomads. We've talked about them several times before, and they continue to be the benchmark for those looking for where to live as a digital nomad, and tools and resources to make it possible.
2. Nomad Visa (Web): Which Visa Can You Get to be a Digital Nomad?
If you're going to be traveling the world while working from different places, you need to be sorted with your visas. Nomad Visa tries to be a simple place to search for which visas you can get, across categories like digital nomad visa, working holiday visa, tourist visa, startup visa, and the much-chased golden visa. You can also learn about the differences between them.
Once you filter your requirements, you can browse the results by map or list. Click any country and the dashboard will tell you everything you'll need to know. Needless to say, Nomad Visa pays particular attention to COVID-related data. You'll find vaccination and quarantine requirements in all countries, as well as their latest statistics on active cases, vaccinated population, and so on.
There are a few cool tools on Nomad Visa like the "work hours overlap" to compare different cities and see how your company timings will play out in that place. You'll also find information on health insurance, VPNs, equipment, and other useful things for the digital nomad.
3. Pipewing and Remote Clan (Web): Communities to Meet Digital Nomads and Ask Questions
Digital nomads are a global community unto themselves, and becoming part of it requires just a laptop and a passport. But you always have questions about how other nomads are managing things, want to meet similar minds, and network for better opportunities.
Pipewing is a social network for digital nomads to meet others in the place you're in, or the one you're visiting soon. It shows a map of the world with people as pins. Click a person, read their profile, and message them to chat. You can also add posts to your profile much like a social network.
Remote Clan is a question-answer board for remote workers and digital nomads, much like Quora, Stack Exchange, or Yahoo Answers. Once you become a member, you can share your experiences or comment in threads created by others to initiate a conversation. The digital nomads tag is more useful to you, but there are enough tips and talks about remote work that are of general interest to anyone.
Both Pipewing and Remote Clan are pretty new to the game but have a healthy number of subscribers already to make them interesting. If you prefer chat rooms or want older forums, check out our other recommendations for friendly communities for digital nomads.
4. Become Nomad and Nomadtopia (Podcast): Best Podcasts for Digital Nomad Insights
What does it really take to live the lifestyle of a digital nomad? Hear it from the people who are actively doing it through two popular podcasts. With the global pandemic, both podcasts have obviously slowed down their episode frequency, but they still release one new recording each month.
Become Nomad by Eli David focuses on being a digital nomad while building (or working for) a startup. The episodes are usually about 30-40 minutes and cover a range of topics such as money management, lifestyle changes, meeting new people, philosophies behind travel and work, and so on. David has been a digital nomad since 2010 and puts all his experience into these episodes.
Nomadtopia by Amy Scott came to our attention with her "Grounded Nomads" series during the pandemic, interviewing digital nomads who could no longer travel. That comes with its own challenges and the series is worth listening to so that you can be prepared for all future eventualities, especially more outbreaks. Even before that, Scott regularly interviewed digital nomads whose professions and lifestyles vary widely, giving you a nice insight into how to be a long-term digital nomad. Read the excerpts before you listen to an episode if you want to find someone that fits your outlook on remote work.
5. And.Co's Anywhere (Ebook): Handbook for Digital Nomads, By Digital Nomads
And.Co has set itself up as one of the best tools for freelance accounting and money management tips. It's only natural that many of their clients are digital nomads, or looking to get into that lifestyle. So they made Anywhere, a free handbook for digital nomads, written by digital nomads.
The 150-page book takes you step-by-step through the various things you need to know to become a successful digital nomad. It'll help you figure out when you are ready to go into that life, finances and taxes, wellness and self-care, tools and gear, and so on. All of this advice comes from experienced digital nomads themselves.
There are some vital tips in this handbook that make it worth reading in the order of chapters as written. For example, the third chapter deals with building a safety net for remote work, which is a vital step that too many people ignore when they're caught up in the excitement of life on the road. Take your time to go through Anywhere so that you actually can go anywhere.
You can download Anywhere for free by signing up for the And.Co newsletter.
Work-From-Home Isn't the Same as Digital Nomad
All of these sites and guides will teach you how to travel the world while you work. But just because you were able to work from home during the pandemic doesn't mean you're ready to embrace the digital nomad lifestyle. You had lost the office as a "base" but you still had your home base. As a digital nomad, you're constantly adjusting, and it's not for everyone.
So before you take the plunge, try it out. Take a month, plan to go to a new destination every week or ten days, but don't do any work in advance. If you can manage to do that while still remaining productive and happy, you'll be a step closer to realizing whether the digital nomad lifestyle works for you or not.