Becoming a nomad in the digital age

It may be easier for college students to become digital nomads than they may think. (Courtesy of YouVisit)

Dorian Taylor
Connector Staff

Many aspiring travelers become discouraged from traveling because they feel like they are too busy or do not have enough money. For aspiring travelers in a point in their lives where they are not tied down to one location, (whether it be for family, career or relationship reasons) these two problems can be solved by finding employment that allows you to make money while traveling.

With the cultural adaptation of the internet across the world, many traditional occupations can now be worked from any location with internet access. By possessing any marketable skill–ranging from marketing to guitar playing—a traveler may very well be able to make a living while on the road. Dana Norton—associate director of Career Services at UMass Lowell—said, “They’re calling these people digital nomads. This could be referring to people working remotely from home or to people who want to travel.”                                                                            

It is crucial for digital nomads to have a thorough understanding of their skill set, and to decide which of those skills or areas of expertise can be monetized through the internet. Norton said, “The first thing to do is to think about what you can do. Think about what skill you can really sell, or what skill you could sell in the future; maybe one that you have already started and have talent in.”

For the Social Butterflies

With more and more companies adopting social media to promote their businesses, many young people who grew up using the internet and social media may be overlooking a very useful skill that almost all of them have: understanding social media and online communication.

Related to social media management, freelance marketing, marketing consulting and crowdsourcing are all great options for aspiring travelers who have some background in marketing and have proficient communication skills. These types of positions vary in required experience and education levels, but when freelancing your skill set Norton said, “It is important to learn how to freelance before going out and traveling, and to find some clients first to give yourself some more job security.”

For the Creative

For the more artistic individuals, occupations such as graphic designer, digital artist, freelance photographer and illustrator can all be profitable crafts for digital nomads. Whether travelers are seeking full time employment as artists or would simply like to make some secondary income from posting the photos taken from their journey, their work can be uploaded to websites like Fotolia or Artfinder, where they can be purchased.

For the Technology-Savvy

This category may seem intimidating, but a little bit of knowledge in a specific area of the technology field can be very lucrative for a digital nomad.

Options for this type of employment include: web designer, front end developer, software developer and promotional video maker. Those who can create promotional videos are only becoming more valuable as Norton said, “So many businesses and organizations are putting videos on YouTube now. They need professionals to make those videos.”

For the Writers

Many digital nomads are earning their incomes through various forms of freelance writing. Whether it be writing articles for news organizations, blogging, copywriting or writing public relation statements for companies, there are many remote options for writers who want to travel. Of these options, blogging is the most accessible to anyone. If you have any knowledge or interest in any realm of life, whether it be movies, fitness, cooking, etc., blogging about your topic can become a long term source of income if you draw in enough readers.

 For Anyone

By no means do aspiring travelers need to have college degrees or highly technical knowledge. For those who have customer service or administrative experience, working as a customer service call center representative or a virtual assistant are becoming very accessible, entry level jobs for digital nomads. For those who are fluent in a foreign language, becoming a translator or an online ESL teacher—teaching English to foreign language speakers—are both great options. With a significant set of knowledge or skills in any specific area, almost anyone can make money by creating an online course on websites like Udemy.com, and teaching others808 what they know. Udemy offers online courses with categories ranging from business, to music, to general lifestyle knowledge, and anyone can sign up to become an instructor.

The bottom line is, if one really wants to make money while traveling they are fortunate enough to live in the best time to try it. Whether it be seeking out a company that could use help with managing their social media, searching introspectively to find a skill, talent or specific knowledge you have that can be profitable, one can find a way to make money on the road with just a quick self assessment of your skills and a little bit of creativity.

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