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If you’ve found yourself on this section of the blog, there’s a good chance you’re interested in digital nomad life. And that probably means you have some questions.
Well, I hope this page will help you! I get asked a lot of good questions about digital nomad life and many of them are very similar. I put this page together to answer some of the most common questions, so I help it answers at least one of yours.
Some of these questions are more practical, in which case I’ll try to cover the area as extensively as possible. Some of them are pretty personal, and I’ll have to answer with my own anecdotes and experience.
Whether you’re already travelling full-time or just beginning to plan, there’s a lot to think about. If your question is already answered, drop me an email, tweet or IG message, and I’ll add it in. I’ll be updating this page regularly with any other questions I get asked, so check back soon to see more.
Money and business
How do you make money?
Ah, the money question (literally)!
I have several income streams – and I’m working on building even more. Right now, the majority of my income comes from blogging or SEO/copywriting work. Explaining both of those would be an entire blog post in itself – one that you can read right here. If you’re more of a visual person, I also went through each of these in more detail in this video. I recommend checking that out. (It has puppies!)
Did you save up before quitting your job?
I had no financial help and I saved up enough to keep me going for 6-12 months plus a flight home from anywhere. That meant the worst case scenario was I could write the whole thing off as a late gap year.
Before I left the UK, I put £8,000 into a savings account. That gave me 12 months of living costs in Thailand (£500 per month), £1,000 for a flight home and £1,000 to keep me going while I looked for a job.
Luckily, I never had to use that money and I’m now using it towards a house deposit :)
Do you pay tax?
Yep. I’m a good girl. ;)
I’m still a resident of the United Kingdom – for now, anyway! – so that’s where I pay my taxes. My company is also registered in the UK, so all my corporate tax is paid there too.
How long do you spend working every day?
Probably longer than you think! Running your own business is HARD, and it’s even harder when your office is constantly changing.
There’s no such thing as an average day for me simply because of the nature of my work. Some days I’ll spend the entire day at home, working 12-14 hours to get ahead on things before a trip. Sometimes I’ll be on a trip and won’t even open my laptop until 10pm. On those days, I’m still working – taking photos, jotting down notes and filming – but it’s a totally different type of work.
The fact it’s always changing is one of the things I love most about this lifestyle. As much as I love to have a routine to rely on, I like that my work and life are so flexible and can adapt with me.
How do you choose where to go?
This is a hard one to answer because it depends on SO many things!
Firstly, there’s work. Work dictates a the basic outline of where Brendan and I plan to be, whether it’s because of his photography tours or because of a brand campaign or press trip. We’ll usually start off with work commitments and then plan to visit nearby places before or after.
When we don’t have tours or trips planned, we’ll choose somewhere we’ve been wanting to go. It has to have good enough WiFi, good travel connections and enough to keep us entertained.
We’ve started choosing a base for 2-3 months at a time and planning our travel from there. For example, we’re currently based in Cape Town but will travel to Namibia (for a photo tour), Botswana (for fun) and Lesthoto (also for fun).
Are your travels planned or spontaneous?
It’s a complete mix! I know roughly where I’m going to be until May 2020, but the details are still TBC. My flights are booked up until May 2019.
I guess you could say my travel is loosely planned with room for spontaneity. There’s still plenty of time to squeeze in spontaneous trips or projects if need be.
Digital nomad lifestyle
Is there anything you miss from your previous life?
Yes! The thing I miss most, though, is being around my friends and family. They’re all pretty spread out, so I didn’t get to see them much anyway. But being far away can make you feel really distant from them. Regular Skype calls are a must.
Aside from people, I also miss the little personal touches at home. I carry a guinea pig calendar, photos and a pillowcase around to make every apartment and hotel room feel more like “mine”. But I really miss scented candles and recipe books!
Is the digital nomad life as good as it looks?
Yes and no. For me, it’s everything I want and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But I really don’t think it’s for everyone.
In fact, I think it’s a lifestyle that very few people would enjoy. It’s far from easy and you give up a lot of home comforts, security and bits of daily life you probably take for granted. The reality is also very far from those dreamy pictures you see of people working on the beach. I wrote about some of those myths right here.
That said, you gain a whole lot too. New friends, new memories and new stories are just the tip of the iceberg. If you really want it, you’ll never look back. And if you try it and don’t love it, you can always go back to a ‘regular’ life satisfied that you gave it a go.