How to work and travel the world

Funny, smiling and cute garden dwarf

© The Shortlisted

If you are on Facebook or Instagram, you will probably have seen pictures of perfectly tanned legs across a picturesque body of water. It could be a beach, a pool, or a lake. An icy drink on the cane table to their side, along with a laptop. The caption reads My Office!

You’re not sure if this post is real, or just some sort of scam. Or if it’s some rich beep blank beep performing their usual subtle brag. Or perhaps, you’re indifferent. They’ve probably just got lucky, you shrug to yourself and move down the newsfeed.

But wait a minute: I’m not trying to convince you to work on a beach. But really, have you ever fantasised about travelling around the world? Is there a special place that tickles your fancy, but you’re not quite ready to collect elephant poop for a living just yet?
Perhaps you have a mortgage, debt, obligations, or you’re just too focused on your career.
You need a real job.
But you, my friend, can have your cake and eat it too.
You can really make a living while being a digital nomad, and I’m here to show you how.

In January 2014, I walked into the HR office of my dead-end job, which I hated with passion, and gave my immediate resignation.
The team was shocked.
By everyone’s standards, I had “made it”. I was in my mid-twenties, had a great salary and benefits, was the Head of my department over people twice my age, and had a full-suite office for myself with an assistant, and three computer monitors.
Could it get any better?
Well, it turns out, it could.

I ended up travelling and then landing a remote position. Nearly 3 years and 5 countries later, I am writing this guest post from my base in South Asia.
It is currently 33 degrees Celsius, or 90 Fahrenheit.
We are in December.
My subtle brag is not so subtle.

Some people are simply not meant to be boxed.
If you dread clocking in and out an office, only to be sending e-mails and making calls all day, you know in your heart that you can do your job from anywhere with an Internet connection.
So why drive for hours in traffic just to do what could have been done at home, or from some exotic location?

Luckily for you and me, old companies, just like young start-ups, are beginning to understand the value of remote work.
Working remotely not only means less unnecessary expenses; it also means that no one can pretend to work by clocking in and out or marking the presence of their butt on a chair for a certain number of hours.
When you work remotely, the only way to “prove” to your boss that you have worked, is by actually working.
Your results will matter more than the number of hours you’ve claimed to have been connected to the workspace.

Now, let’s cover the basics that you might find most pressing.

7 Steps on how to become a digital nomad and travel the world while you’re working remotely

1: Are these “real” jobs?

  • Yes. Although all jobs are real, these are career-oriented positions, if that’s what you meant.
  • You will be performing tasks that are similar to what you would have done in the office (minus the office).
  • Just like any company, your career prospects will depend on your performance, soft skills and character, and the company itself.
  • If you’re also ready to consider freelance working, you’ll have many more options.

2: I have a mortgage/debt/obligations back home, will I get paid a commission?

  • Unless you’ve applied to a commission-based position, the majority of these positions offer a salary base that is competitive to the market.
  • Better yet, you can get equity if it’s a start-up and you join early enough.

3: Are there any benefits?

  • With my company, I get unlimited holidays. Yes, you read that right. This means that there is no maximum.
  • You can take time off whenever you feel burned out. Well, I must say that this is not necessarily the case for most positions, I was lucky enough to join a wonderful workplace with leadership that cares about their team members.
  • But I can assure you – and this goes out to my fellow Americans especially – that there is a world out there, where a one-week vacation per year is absolutely unacceptable.

4: How will my hours work out, if I am travelling across the globe?

  • The hours you work will differ and depend on the company you work at and nature of the job.
  • To be candid, some might even require that you work in their time zone, which will be a pain if you are travelling 12 hours apart.
  • However, you might be able to get a job with flexible hours. Again, the rule here is that you must show results to demonstrate that you have indeed worked your hours.

5: Can I really work from anywhere?

  • If you want to be a 100% digital nomad, be on the road permanently and maybe travel to remote places like Indonesia and New Zealand, then look for 100% remote, no travel required.
  • If you only want more travel, but don’t mind showing up to the office or meeting a client every once in a while, then your options are less limited.
  • Just be clear during your job interview about your desire to travel.

6: Is there a catch?

  • Yes. After you’ll have left your 9-to-5 office job, you will still actually work, very hard.
  • If you waste time Facebooking mid-task, you will have to spend time making it up immediately after, because no one can see you in the office, and your only “proof of work”, is… well, work.
  • You will have to be a self-starter and self-motivator.
  • In this type of jobs there’s no boss around, and you will have to be your own boss.
  • Just like any freelance worker, you are solely responsible for pushing yourself out of bed when you don’t have to report to the office at a specific hour.
  • You are responsible for not slacking off or wasting time. And you are responsible for your well-being: working remotely can make you lose grip on how much time you’re spending at work. You might burn out, and that is why it is always important to set boundaries and have a workspace that is separate from your bedroom or “chilling corner”.

And the big question now is…

7: How do I get a remote job?

There are several resources to find virtual jobs, freelance positions and work opportunities for digital nomads, but I will only share reliable and free resources:

  • We Work Remotely
  • JobEspresso
  • Remote Ok
  • Jobs Remotive
  • Working Nomads
  • Skipe The Drive
  • Power to Fly (for women in Tech)
  • Idealist (if you are not in business or tech, i.e. you are a nurse, teacher, and so on)

The world is a book, and those who never travel only read one page.

St. Augustine

★ If you liked this story, you may also be interested in the rest of our career tips

About The Author

Digital nomad

Aleana Bargaoui is taking full advantage of life. She does not normally refer to herself in the third person, but will do so when invited to write an article for an awesome website.