How to have a meaningful digital nomad life?


Human beings have been nomads for centuries. We are curious creatures, trying to explore the unknown and march toward the abyss of uncertainty with courage. Why do we do this? It’s because we seek adventure, we seek to understand, to see what else is out there. We are innate explorers! Fast forward to the 21st century, we have pretty much explored most of the crevices of the earth and are the dominant species on the planet, all because our ancestors acted on their curiosity to explore, venture, and experience the unknowns of what life has to offer.

 “Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” – Ray Bradbury

In the year 2022, I scratched my nomadic itch by traveling to 8 countries over the course of two months. For those who want to do what I did, and believe to find traveling and exploration as arduous but fulfilling life activities – this is for you:

Step 1: Reflect –

Everyone has a different reason for why they want to travel. It is important to understand the why behind traveling and what you are trying to achieve from doing it. Is it to relax? Is it to escape current circumstances? Is it for self-exploration? For me it was more than one thing, I knew it wasn’t because I wanted to relax, I wanted adventure, self-exploration, growth, and knowledge and it made sense for my destinations to be some of the major metropolitan cities of the world. If the goal was to relax and soak up the sun it makes more sense to book a destination to the Bahamas. Reflection allows for one to understand the why behind your travel, and what you are looking for and book the destination that is well suited to the experience you are trying to achieve.

Step 2: Flexible/ Remote Work capability and making time – 

Growing up, I did not learn the proper way to save money, therefore I did not have the means to take a sabbatical and travel the world. If you have enough money saved and you can take time off, please do so! But if you are like me, most likely you need a remote working job. Some of the top remote jobs if you google are online marketers, software developers, sales representatives, etc. Or if you work in the tech industry and in Software you can pretty much do your job remotely. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, even better, you can get creative in your remote work endeavors. For me, it was about being cognizant of my working hours and planning a schedule to explore and ensure I also had time to do work tasks. The remote work capability was key.

Step 3: Aspire and Strategize –

I have been in jobs where I was stuck in cubicles 8 to 9 hours a day but as soon as I got a job where I was able to get my job done remotely, the first thing I did was look at google maps and plan out which countries and places I wanted to visit and book the tickets and accommodations. Map out the different time zones, and take notes. If you work and travel at the same time like I have, then it also becomes important to make sure you have Wi-Fi access during work hours. Make a list of co-working spaces, and cafes, I like to do this as I prefer to sit in cafes in cities, I am visiting to get the experience instead of being cooped up in a hotel room. In between meetings, I would take a walk around the area, grab a quick bite or switch to another coffee shop.

Step 4: Reflect, have fun, and allow it to change you –

Travelling can be a life-changing experience, whether you realize it at the moment or not. Understand that every new place or person you meet has an impact on you, it may not be clear right away but there is the significance with every interaction. Reflection on the why behind your travel plans will give you the intuitive direction you need.

Before I started my digital nomad journey, I had to stop overthinking about planning every little detail and just act. Some planning is beneficial, my advice is to not let your inner perfectionist get in the way of overthinking and never doing it.

2022 was full of trials and tribulations for me, traveling allowed me to incur some inner wisdom, and I learned to love my flaws a little bit more and overcome some of my perfectionist tendencies, it brought forth a big wave of change in my present life as a result. I reckon 2023 will be a better successor to 2022, bringing forth another year full of gratitude and adventure.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Neelofer Hilal is a passionate freelance writer, avid traveler, podcaster, futurist, dreamer, and social science enthusiast.

Leave a Reply