To be a digital nomad means to live a life on the road or sometimes, on a beach. Instead of being in a place because of work, the world is your place, and you bring your work along with you.
The Rise of Digital Nomads
The workplace has evolved at an outstanding pace through the digital era. 4.3 million people are remote workers in the US, and around 16% of companies hire full-time remote workers only.
During the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, the number of remote workers has increased even more and is continuously increasing. Working from home has transformed to a new normal.
Most leadership management has transformed from a micro-managing culture to a culture of trust, transparency, and openness. Bosses are now realizing they don’t need to see you to know you’re working.
If you’re interested in bringing your remote work with you across the country or the world, here are 5 tips to help you venture into the world as a digital nomad.
1) Know Why You Want to Be a Digital Nomad
People have different reasons why they choose to become digital nomads, and it is important to know why you personally want to become one.
Some questions that might help you decide whether becoming a digital nomad is the right path for you include:
- Do you like traveling to other places for long periods of time?
- Do you adapt quickly to different situations and scenarios?
- Does your work allow you to work from another country or place?
- Are you okay with not being able to see your relatives and close friends for long periods of time?
- Do other cultures and traditions interest you?
- Do you enjoy exploring new places?
- Are you fine leaving the comforts of your home?
- Do you value novelty over constancy in your daily routine?
- Are you comfortable animating outside the comforts of your usual work station?
- Are you willing to invest in new gadgets you will need as a digital nomad?
Try to answer these questions as honestly as you can. This will help you decide if becoming a digital nomad is right for you, and it will help you understand your personal priorities and motivations. Once you know your why for becoming a digital nomad, then you’re almost ready to start your journey!
2) Research the Countries and Places You Will Visit
Before embarking on a journey, you should research!
Here some of the things worth researching:
Internet connection is one of the most important factors you’ll need to consider when traveling to your destination of choice.
It is the only connection you will have with your clients and coworkers once you’re on the road.
Another important factor to consider and plan for is the cost of living in another country. Not only do costs change from country to country, but they also vary from area to area within a country.
Depending on your purpose, intention, and duration of being at a specific place, here are some items you must consider when researching costs:
- Accommodation and housing
- Internet costs
- Utility costs
- Tours or other recreational activities
- Transportation fares
- Potential hospitalization costs
Also, be updated with the current money exchange rates, so you won’t be surprised with amounts after money conversions.
You don’t want to bring your bathing suit to a winter wonderland, do you? Always know the weather and the climate of your destination.
You want summer all year long? Maybe you want to specifically travel to places that match the weather you want to live in. Remember: Weather will affect all of your plans, movements, and even your work.
Speaking of time: It is important to determine if the time zone where you are will work for you and your meeting times with clients.
Always check your schedules and also what hours you will do your work in a day.
Getting out of your comfort zone and your home base does not only expose you to new experiences, but also to potential dangers.
Know how safe an area is before heading there. Like costs, security may vary per area in a country. Research and ask locals online when planning; locals can be the best source of information about this!
Culture is a major aspect to consider when deciding on a place. Aside from being open to other cultures, you must research and consider if you will be able to adjust well to a place and its culture.
If you’re traveling across the world, remember most of the things you’re used to will be different in other places. But hey, that might be what you’re looking for, right?
Learn to unlearn. You may find some things unusual or even unpleasant (or the contrary!), but remember, learning is part of the journey.
You’ve prepared everything, bought your tickets, and you are about to enjoy your new place, but you can’t get there because the taxi driver cannot understand what you’re trying to say.
Well, amigo, you should have planned better! Make sure you know if the people who live where you’re going speak your language.
Take it as a challenge! Maybe beyond valuing animation and travel, you want to learn the language(s) of the people who live at your target destination. You can always start learning before your arrival or while you’re there.
3) Consider Being a Freelancer
There are a lot of differences (both pros and cons, depending on your goals) between being a freelancer and being an on-staff animator.
Being a freelancer makes your work more flexible, and you can be choosy too! As a freelancer, you can choose work that will benefit you career-wise and time-wise.
Freelancers often have time flexibility as most of their work is per project. This means your client doesn’t really control your schedule, so long as you submit your work on time.
4) Gear Up With the Tools You Need for Animating
To know more about the basic tools you need for animation, we have list of basic tools prepared for you and some brands and items you might want to check out.
When gearing up, focus on the whys of your travel and of your becoming a digital nomad. This will help you plan what gear you buy well. Here are some guiding questions that may be helpful for you:
- Do you want to travel light?
At times, you may have to move from place to place with little time in between. In this case, you might want to lighten up your load.
As a digital nomad, all your stuff is in your backpack or your luggage. Depending on your preference.
But of course, how you pack your stuff still depends on where you will stay, how much you will travel, and also, the care you need to treat your gear with.
- Do you value mobility over comfort?
Will you stay at hotels, rented apartments, or hostels? Will you consider having a “home base” in a country?
At times, you might move from a city to the countryside for exploration. If this is the case, having a home base in a city and then carrying only your essential items with you will not only make your trip light and mobile, but enjoyable too!
- What gear do I really need for the kind of animation work I do?
As an animator and a digital nomad, you must be familiar with the limitations of living out of a backpack.
You cannot bring everything an office would hold, and there may be no stores to buy essential animation tools at your destination.
So you must plan, adjust, and bring the most important things you’ll need!
List the top items you will need to successfully animate. Consider your expertise and the type of animation work you usually do for your clients.
5) Plan Your Budget and Have Discipline on Spending
After going over the previous tips,you should have an idea of how much you’ll need to budget for essential tools and other costs.
Aside from costs already mentioned in Tip#2, you might want to consider some of these when planning your budget as well:
Having a savings account can help give you security in case something unexpected or unfortunate happens with your money or source of income (fingers crossed that this doesn’t happen, but it’s best to prepare just in case!).
If you’re a freelancer, there will be times when you have and don’t have clients. But even if you’re not a freelancer, living and traveling can be expensive.
Other than savings, investing is another way to make your money grow, while you work and enjoy your travels (lucky you!).
Health Insurance Plans
Traveling Lifestyle made a comprehensive list of the best health insurance for digital nomads. Check it out, and see if you can add one of those to your budget.
Health insurance is almost not optional. Protect yourself, and make sure you are covered, so whenever you are out there jumping from cliffs, surfing, or reading and being bitten by a dengue mosquito, you can tell it, “Not today, sweetie. Got my insurance, and it’s international.”
Hey, what’s the point of earning money if you cannot spend it?! You’re in a new place; make some friends and treat them with some food and drinks.
Enjoying is part of your digital nomad life as an animator and as a person.
By budgeting your leisure expenditures, you will be able to enjoy your trip more without worrying about how to eat the next day after an expensive dinner night (with whom? ;p).
“Wow! I Did Not Expect That” Fund
Okay, you’ve done your research, and you have prepared your budget. Not everything goes according to plan though!
In case things and prices don’t go as expected, it is important to have a buffer fund. You may want to consider allocating some of your savings to this fund.
You have to follow the budget you have created. Let your budget work for you and not against you. You have a budget because you want your travel to be enjoyable and fruitful at the same time.
In some countries, you can actually save more. Okay, yup. This may sound counterintuitive, but traveling somewhere else may make you save more, especially when you are going to somewhere with a more affordable cost of living.
Traveling, working, enjoying, and saving more money. Ain’t it your lucky day?
Wrapping It Up
Again, it all starts with asking yourself why you want to become a digital nomad and an animator in the first place. Once you know that, you’re halfway through your preparation phase.
By researching through all the possible questions and concerns you may have, you will be able to budget well and know all the items you will need for traveling and of course, for animating.
You might think we have forgotten about that extra tip. No, we did not. Here it is!
And now… THE EXTRA TIP!
Learn the business of animation. If you want to be your own boss in animation, then knowing the business side of things will help you out while you travel.
Growing as a person through your journeys and growing your career through your business is the perfect win-win situation: a mixture of passion, excellence, and growth.
If becoming great in the business of animation is something that interests you, we do offer some courses that will help you succeed.