How to Ditch Your Desk for Life As a Digital Nomad

Dreaming of trading cold wintry days for a more tropical locale? When you work remotely, you can. An increasing number of people—especially millennials—are choosing to ditch their desks and live a more untethered life as digital nomads.

Digital nomads are remote or freelance workers who live and work from anywhere around the globe. From a cafe in Paris to a coworking space in Phuket, the world is their oyster—as long as there’s a fast and reliable internet connection. Cost of living, climate, local culture, and safety can be other key considerations when choosing a destination.

Another factor that can often come into play? How Instagrammable the location is. Many digital nomads make their living as bloggers or simply want to share adventures in a proven drool-worthy location with envious friends, family, and fans.

Top spots for nomads

With affordability, fun things to do like surfing, and great weather, Bali ranks #1 on both Nomad List’s and’s lists of most popular places for digital nomads. Other spots that made the top 10 on both lists include Chiang Mai, Thailand; Lisbon, Portugal; Bangkok, Thailand; and Berlin, Germany. compiled their list by analyzing 12,000 Instagram images tagged #digitalnomad. Europe was the most popular continent with nomads flocking to cities such as London, Paris, and Berlin. In the U.S., New York City and Los Angeles were top spots.

For budget-conscious and fun-loving travelers, writer Eric Rosenberg suggests these five spots:

  • Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Medellín, Colombia
  • Sarasota, Florida
  • Krakow, Poland and
  • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The freelance life

The freedom to work when you want, where you want, and on what you want, is one of the biggest allures of freelancing for many people.

As web designer Kathleen Barretto said, “I was most attracted to the autonomy associated with being a freelancer. Having worked in a traditional office environment, I was excited for something new and the idea of having more control over my work and schedule was really attractive to me.”

Like Barretto, many people opt to freelance for the ability to choose their projects and clients and to do work they love. Barretto started her career in marketing but soon became interested in web design. After taking development courses and doing some projects for friends, she was able to build her own design business and take it on the road with her.

Skills pave the way to success

Ready to pack your bags but not sure how to bankroll your travels? Some types of freelance work commonly done by digital nomads include:

If you want to carve out a niche for yourself, you could also consider mastering some of the fastest-growing skills on Upwork. The top five are:

To see the rest of the skills that round out the top 20 and online resources to help you learn more, read “Set Yourself up for Success in 2019: Learn the Most In-demand Skills” >>

Staying safe on the road

Whether you’re working in Barcelona, Singapore, or closer to home, you’ll want to take precautions to make sure you and your valuables are safe.

Business consultant Larry Alton suggests common-sense tips when working in a public setting, such as:

  • Don’t sit near a door which provides an easy escape for a would-be thief
  • Don’t leave your belongings unattended
  • Don’t ask a stranger to watch your stuff
  • Attach your bag to your chair or table to prevent someone from walking by and grabbing it
  • Keep your phone in your pocket rather than placing it on the table where someone can walk by and take it

For tools to help you stay connected when you’re globetrotting, check out “The Crowd Has Spoken: The Best Collaboration and Work Management Tools” >>

For many people, traveling the world and freelancing is more than just a daydream—it’s a way of life and a dream come true. As travel writer Kelly D. said, “Without my freelance career, I never would have been able to swim with dolphins in Brazil, explore Angkor Wat in Cambodia, go camping in the Outback in Australia, and check numerous other items off my bucket list.”

Ready to get to work on your bucket list and freelance business? Check out the “Build a Business You Love” ebook, packed with ideas to help you get started.

The post How to Ditch Your Desk for Life As a Digital Nomad appeared first on Upwork Blog.

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