When should I become a digital nomad?

While I doubt the ‘Chinese proverb’ source for this quote, it is apt: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

The time will never be perfect, just like the traffic lights will never be green all at the same time, but there are probably signs it’s the right time. Who might be sending those signs? Your family, your job, your friends, or maybe even the universe itself.

Some people begin to consider the nomad lifestyle after:

  • A traumatic event
  • Completing a major milestone
  • After a sudden realization or epiphany

For some people, a traumatic event sparks the first internal debate — getting fired from their job, health issues, breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, a divorce, etc. Such events will make almost anybody re-evaluate core aspects of their life, and it is now that they’ll consider options they might never have thought of.

In other cases, completing a major milestone means you’re suddenly free to consider new options. This might be university, military service, or something else. A lot of time and energy has been devoted to something, but now you might be asking ‘what’s next?’. If the traditional answers are less than satisfying, this might open the door to considering new options.

In still other cases, there’s a sudden realization or epiphany that causes you to reconsider where you are in life. It might be a friend posting a beach picture on Facebook or a casual conversation with someone you haven’t talked to awhile. A random question, pondered on a random Tuesday afternoon, may be the thing that prompts more questions and research.

Back to top

When should I look for work?

Whether it’s a job you do for someone else or an entrepreneurial thing you’re building for yourself, you want to start this well before you leave. The idea here is to have a well-oiled machine that’s already producing income before leaving your home country and before you get busy with all the fun stuff that comes with the digital nomad lifestyle.

If you already have a full-time job and will be quitting it to become a digital nomad, you’ll want to start the transition over to the work you will be doing as soon as possible — ideally some months before you actually leave.

If you’re applying for jobs, do this in your home country before you want to leave. Again, you need to have an income stream — a job or business that’s already making money — before leaving. This is one of the most common mistakes new digital nomads, and one of the things that can send a digital nomad home much sooner than expected.

Back to top

When do digital nomads travel?

All. Year. Round.

Even in December?

Yup. Some digital nomads can’t wait for the skiing / snowboarding season, while others might head to the Southern Hemisphere where it’s summertime.

It’s worth remembering that the digital nomad lifestyle does not require a full-time commitment. Be a part-time digital nomad six months out of the year, during the coldest winter months or hottest summer months, or during your kid’s school break. It’s entirely up to you.

Back to top

This is just getting good.

Hey, I’m Chris. That’s my book to the right, Becoming a Digital Nomad. It’s a step-by-step guide that helps you test and transition into the digital nomad lifestyle. It comes with access to 12 worksheets and access to a Facebook group to connect with other digital nomads.