Introduction

WHY BECOME A DIGITAL NOMAD

"Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway." – Earl Nightingale

Before we begin, let's define what it means to be a digital nomad. Simply put, a digital nomad is a remote worker who provides value from anywhere while staying connected. 

For a glimpse into the digital nomad lifestyle, check out our documentary below.

Interested in living a life of career freedom? Our step-by-step guide will help you transform into a digital nomad. Learn more now.

Remote working is becoming a big trend, which gives rise to the digital nomad culture. And with the progression of technology paired with 68% of millennial job seekers saying an option to work remotely would greatly increase their interest in specific employers, remote working is only going to trend upward in the coming years.

People are leading more towards a life of freedom as opposed to the traditional 9-to-5 office job. And let us tell you, it's definitely possible.

But how does a remote working life compare to that of an in-office environment? Let's review a list of benefits and advantages of being a digital nomad: 
 

1. Your GSD (get shit done) time increases

When you take yourself out of the office environment, there's so much more time in the workday to accomplish tasks and goals. With an estimated 1.8 trillion lost in productivity each year, it's no wonder that two-thirds of managers prefer their employees work from home. 
 

2. Your work day becomes more efficient

Minimizing distractions allows you to develop a consistent workflow. A report done by ConnectSolutions explains that 30% of telecommuting professionals are able to produce more in less time 
 

3. Ability to fill your days with things that matter most to you  

When you become more efficient and complete your tasks more quickly, you have more time to dedicate to things that matter most to you. Also, you'll have more time to reflect on your work, which could enhance the quality of your performance.
 

4. Has the potential to enhance employee relationships  

When you work on a team, it's important to stay connected. And when you're not physically in the office, you'll feel the need to engage and connect more with your teammates on a daily and weekly basis. And that's an easy task to accomplish with the amount of apps and programs that exist today. 
 

5. Ability to provide value from wherever

All you need is a 4G cell reception to make a big impact. There are currently 78 countries that are 4G compatible; the United States comes in at 10 on the list with 81% of the United States being 4G compatible. 
 
Access to wifi could work as well, but having a cell reception is more ideal for those digital nomads that need their phone for work. We use a mifi device and our Verizon unlimited plan. 
 
Imagine the potential of what you can do in your spare time when nature is your office.
 
 

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6. Becoming the future of the workforce  

According to a 2016 Gallup survey, 43% of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely; that's a 20% year-over-year increase in remote working. This is only going to increase in the future as technology progresses.
 

WHAT'S OUR DIGITAL NOMAD STORY?

We're wanderers at heart. We've been fulltiming in our Airstream and DIYed truck camper since March 2017.  It's been a dream in the making for many years. 

When we're on the road, time seems to slow down. All of a sudden a week feels like a month and a month feels like a year. We see and experience so much; it's a feeling very unlike living stationary. It took us awhile to adjust to the 'living, not vacationing' mindset. But once you get accustomed to the road life, it's hard to revert back to 'reality'. You'll find yourself planning your next stop and looking for things to do in that area.

We completed our first tour around Unites States in July 2017. We wandered 10,700 miles in 100 days while successfully working from the road. 

first-wandering.png

We learned a lot from this experience and want to share it with you. So if you're someone who dreams of becoming a digital nomad, the information below will help equip you with the knowledge and information needed to become a successful remote worker from the road.

Working Tips

HOW CAN YOU WORK SUCCESSFULY FROM THE ROAD?

 "You think effectiveness with people and efficiency with things." – Stephen Covey

No matter how effective you are at work, there's a definite shift from working in an office environment to working anywhere and everywhere. Just because your environment changes doesn't mean your routine has to. Below is a list of tips that helped Justin become an effective digital nomad.

1. Prepare yourself with helpful applications

Every traveling remote worker needs a digital nomad tool belt (aka helpful applications that make their working life easier). Check out these 10 must-have applications recommended by HubSpot.
 
Justin's favorite apps for staying organized and connecting with his team are:
  • Google drive
  • ZOOM
  • Slack

2. Learn how to comfortably work from your vehicle

At one point or another, every digital nomad will most likely need to work from their vehicle. You'll often find Justin working from the truck! Our Ford f250 allows us to work from the truck cab, as well as the additional living space in the truck cap.
 
 

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When working from your vehicle consider working from the passenger seat or backseat (this way you'll have access to your car power inverter and you'll be more comfortable). If you use the car power inverter to keep you charged, then make sure to turn on your vehicle every once in awhile so you don't kill your battery. 
 
Also, this goes without saying to make sure the windows are open. Nothing's worse than sitting in a stale vehicle...
 
Get creative with whatever vehicle you have. But, remember, the goal is to make it a comfortable, productive environment.
 
 
 

3. Get ready to work a flex schedule

It's possible your job may be a traditional 9 to 5 workday, but that doesn't mean less freedom. You can learn to become more efficient by managing your time, allowing hours to free up during the day. Plan your workday around your meetings and appointments as well as when you do your best work, while being respectfully present to others during your work's hours. 
 
Before bringing this up with your manager, you need to build trust with them first. Start off by abiding by the agreed work schedule, even if it means you're in a different time zone. And take baby steps towards the flex schedule, like recommending Monday or Friday flex hours to start.
 
At the end of the day, your manager is going to care about your production and performance, so make sure you're putting forth your best effort and show them you're cut out for remote working. 
 
Justin is an early bird (he's on his computer before the sun's up most days), which allows him to be more flexible with his time during the day. And when you have more time in the day, you can fill it with things that bring you joy. For Justin, one of those moments was setting up and playing his drum set (which he brought with us on the road) in front of the Grand Tetons. On other days, that could mean taking a walk or hike in a new place.
 

4. Scout locations for cell reception

4G cell reception is your most important asset to being a successful digital nomad. "Sorry, I didn't have WiFi access or cell reception" should never be an excuse for unexcused work. If you have the privilege to work from the road, then be respectful to your employers and find a way to make it work, even if it means you have to climb to the peak of the nearest hill to find reception.
 
 

5. Arrive to your work spot early

If you find a place you like and want to work from, arrive early, especially if it's a popular spot and you're bringing your travel fleet.
 
One of our favorite digital-nomad work spots is the Gulf Islands National Seashore in Pensacola, Florida. We arrived early at the beach and set up camp (in the fewest spaces necessary) while allowing us to leave without being blocked in.
 
 

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6. Organize your life

Staying organized will keep you effective and stress free. Take the time to plan your days and weeks with GSD (Get Shit Done) time and meeting time. 
 
Justin uses Google Calendar to manage meetings with team members, then blocks off chunks of time for specific projects and tasks. Where he does those tasks is up to him (and wherever we wander).
 
 

7. Do video calls whenever possible

Working remote can disconnect you from those you work with if you don't make an effort to be present, even if being present is through a video feed. Anyone can do a phone call, but a video call is an effective touch to show your teammates that you care and want to be in the moment with them (as opposed to multi-tasking).
 
When Justin was out of the office for four months, he never missed a video call with his team.
 
 
You can use something as simple as Google Hangouts for video calls. Justin likes using ZOOM as he can dial in with his cell phone and use data for the video (this helps minimize the audio from skipping).
 

8. Keep your backpack packed

Road life isn't always easy. I'm sure you see photos of how glorious it can be on Instagram, but there's a lot you don't see. 
 
 

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The best thing you can do is be ready to live and work from anywhere in any situation. Whether your home on wheels is out of commission or you're out wandering around, a stocked backpack will keep you living and working comfortably.
 
Here's what Justin stocks his backpack with:
  • Portable USB charger
  • Thermos
  • Computer and charging cord
  • Mifi and charging cord
  • Five dice (because, games)
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Sunglasses
  • Small bottle of castile soap
  • Notepad and pen
  • Small key chain flashlight
  • Headphones with built-in microphone
  • Protein bar
  • A set of sports apparel (shorts with a liner and a dry fit shirt)
  • A $20 bill (you never know when you're going to need cash)

digital nomad guide

Finding a Job

WHERE SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR A JOB?

"If you haven't found it yet, keep looking." – Steve Jobs

Forty percent more U.S. employers offered flexible workplace options than they did five years ago (and it's only going to trend upward). If you have the training, skills, and credentials, then below is a list of websites that can connect you with remote working opportunities.

1. Growth.org

Growth.org is an online hub where good Marketers come to get better. You have an idea? Share it. You need to find or post a job? Do it. You want to connect, interact, comment, & learn? Growth.org has a community for that.
 
Check out growth.org: http://growth.org/
 

2. We Work Remotely

We Work Remotely is the best place to find jobs that aren’t restricted by commutes or geography. If you're looking for a remote working position, then this place has you covered.
 
Check out We Work Remotely: https://weworkremotely.com/
 

3. Remote.co

On Remote.com you are able to connect with other remote professionals as well as have access to flexible jobs and career opportunities. Another helpful source for any digital nomad. 
 
Check out Remote.co: https://remote.co/
 

Getting Hired

HOW DO YOU MAKE YOURSELF STAND OUT?

"If you can't advertise yourself, what hope do you have of advertising anything else?" – David Ogilvy

Don't expect the jobs to come and find you. Think of yourself like a sheep; you need to make yourself stand out from the rest of the herd. Below is a list of suggestions on how to make yourself stand out and land a position that allows you to live a digital nomad life. 

1. Get the training you need to be competitive

Anyone can tell someone they can do something. Show prospective employers that you have the industry training and credentials needed to be an effective employee.
 
Also, it's a good idea to start building a portfolio of your work. This way you can have examples and data to back up your performance. Potential employers will love this.
 

2. Develop a personal brand on social media 

Prospective employers will often look you up and judge how you represent yourself online. The best thing you can do is:
 
  • Make sure you're present on various public-facing platforms, like Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • Manage your online reputation accordingly.
Something to note: If you have an instagram or Facebook page, then consider making them private. This way you have platforms where you can still be you. 
 
Learn more about personal branding: https://sproutsocial.com/insights/personal-branding/
 

3. Build your LinkedIn profile

87% of recruiters find LinkedIn most effective when vetting candidates during the hiring process. Think of it as your virtual resume. A LinkedIn profile is something you'll want to create and take the time to build appropriately.
 
Here are some tips to help you effectively build your LinkedIn profile: https://www.fastcompany.com/3067594/this-is-what-recruiters-look-for-on-your-linkedin-profile
 

4. Engage with companies where you want to work

If you find a place you want to work, then get your foot in the door by engaging with them. To help stay top of mind, consider:
  • Following prospective employers' business accounts on social media. Make it a point to share, like, and comment on their updates.
  • Commenting on prospective employers blog posts. Try and say something insightful about the content and pose a relevant question that should help elicit a response from the author.
Something to note: don't go overboard when engaging with prospective employers. You want to stay top of mind, not be annoying or fake. Think of it like a real conversation and be yourself. Don't let your digital identity misrepresent you.
 

5. Go the extra mile during the interview process 

Make sure you're remembered during the interview process by reinforcing your value and interest in the role with a follow up interview email. 
 
 

6. Never give up the search

There are digital nomad jobs out there. Don't expect to get hired overnight. Sometimes the process can take months. You may think people who live a digital nomad life are 'lucky.' But remember, luck is when preparation meets opportunity. 
 
Keep your eye on the prize and never give up the job search. Every potential role that doesn't come to fruition should be seen as training for the main event – the role you were meant to have.
 

Job Training

WHO OFFERS FREE JOB TRAINING?

"Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world." – Nelson Mandela

Education should be free for all. Everyone has the right to open their mind and expand their growth. Below is a list of websites that offer free training that will give you the skills and credentials needed to land a marketing-focused digital nomad position.

1. HubSpot Academy's digital marketing certification courses

HubSpot Academy is on a mission to transform the way people and companies grow, offering free online training for the digital age. They have a list of valuable certifications that can help take your business and career to the next level. 
 
Justin is the Content Professor for HubSpot Academy and creator of their Content Marketing Certification, which has a community of over 10,000 certifications awarded. This course will teach you how to build scalable, repeatable processes for creating and promoting content that converts into leads and new customers. 
 
Learn more about HubSpot Academy's free certification courses: https://academy.hubspot.com/certification
 

2. Codeacademy 

Codecademy is an online interactive platform that offers free coding classes in 12 different programming languages including Python, Java, PHP, JavaScript, Ruby, SQL, and Sass, as well as markup languages HTML and CSS.
 
Learn more about Codecademy's classes: https://www.codecademy.com/
 

3. Skillcrush's 10-day coding bootcamp

Skillcrush is an interactive online learning community for creatives, thinkers, and makers. They offer a plethora of digital programs to consider with a Career Blueprint to help you on your quest. You can get started today with their free 10-day bootcamp.
 
Learn more about Skillcrush's program offerings: https://skillcrush.com/
 

4. Google Analytics Certification

Google Analytics lets you measure your online media outlets (including: video, social media, website, AdWords, and more). Google Analytics is an integral part of digital marketing measurement (Google Analytics, like most things Google, has a market stronghold as the analytics platform of choice).
 
Having a Google Analytics certification will prove you have the knowledge to adequately manage a Google Analytics account.  
 
 

5. Google AdWords Certification

Google AdWords is Google's PPC (pay-per-click) advertising channel. With graphic display ads, YouTube video ads, text-based search ads, or in-app mobile ads, you have plenty of ways to reach your target customer with AdWords.
 
According to Moz, 80% of search results now contain AdWords ad placements. Furthermore, those ad placements are covering as much as 85% of the space above the fold on the results page. 
 
Additionally, Google has made over 3$2,200,000,000 in ad revenue, making it a booming industry. Having an AdWords certification will prove you have the knowledge to adequately manage an AdWords account.  
 
Learn more about Google's free AdWords certification: https://support.google.com/partners/answer/3153810?hl=en&ref_topic=3203989 
 

6. Wordstream's PPC University

WordStream's PPC University is a free educational resource to help you learn pay-per-click advertising. This would be a valuable training for anyone looking to take their AdWords training to the next level. 
 
Learn more about WordStream's PPC learning tracks: http://www.wordstream.com/learn 
 

Gear

WHAT WILL YOU NEED TO BE SUCCESSFUL AT WORK?

"Proper planning and preparation prevents poor performance." – Stephen Keague

Confidence is achieved through preparation. When downsizing to live a life on the road, it's important to not acquire things you don't need. That being said, below is a list of must-haves for every digital nomad:

1. Cellphone booster 

This is a must for any digital nomad who plans to be off-grid at least some of the time. If there's even a hint of cell reception in the area (any carrier), this tool will pick up the signal for your vehicle or RV. This tool made it possible to have video conference calls where the cell reception was just fair to begin with.
 
What we have: WeBoost Drive 4G-X RV. The Drive 4G-X RV is a powerful in-vehicle cell phone signal booster kit certified for use anywhere in the US and Canada. The Drive 4G-X RV boosts voice and data with max FCC-allowed 50 dB system gain, enhancing 4G LTE, as well as 3G network signals, up to 32x. It's pretty much magic. 
 

2. Mobile hotspot mifi device 

A mobile hotspot is the most important tool in a digital nomad's tool belt. Without it, you’re restricted to hopping on WiFi (so you might as well be stationary). 
 
Verizon wireless offers unlimited 4G data plans starting at $80/ month. And while you can use your phone as a hotspot, you're going to need a mobile hotspot mifi to strengthen the signal. This is going to cost you another $20/ month for the extra device, but it's definitely worth it. 
 
What we haveMiFi 6620L Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot. This mobile hotspot features 4G LTE speed, so you can connect up to eight devices to the wireless network for quick, easy web access. The 2100 mAh battery enables extended use on a full charge.
 

3. Portable USB charger

It’s always a good idea to have a portable power source to keep you charged when you’re on the move. Worst case scenario, you’ll have to work from your phone or tablet. A USB charger will keep your handheld devices alive.
 
What we have: PowerFilm LightSaver USB Roll Up Solar Charger. The LightSaver’s flexible solar module wraps around the outside of the core battery taking up minimal space in your backpack or pocket. When you're ready to recharge the LightSaver, unroll the panel to expose it to the sun. 
 
 

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Once fully charged, roll it up and toss it into your pack and enjoy extended battery life on your hike or trip. A convenient micro-USB port also allows you to pre-charge the LightSaver before leaving home.
 

4. Smartphone

Your smartphone is the multipurpose tool that can help in any situation, whether it be navigating, sending an email, watching a show, and so on. Because you use it for so many things, we recommend not skimping on the functionality or size. Yes, a larger phone can be a pain to carry around, but you'll thank us when you need to use it for more than just talking or texting. Remember, when all else fails, you probably can get the job done on your smartphone.
 
What we have: Apple iPhone X. The newest iPhone model with advanced camera functionality, better battery life, and immersive speakers, and more storage space than our last phones. We also purchased a 64GB flash drive that plugs directly into our phones.
 
We recommend getting an Otterbox case to protect your smartphone. You carry this thing with you everywhere, so make sure it can weather your travels.
 

5. Headphones with a built-in microphone

Headphones with a built-in mic allow you to enjoy music and movies and be able to perform hands-free calls. If you're going to be on the phone a lot, then you won't want to skimp on this.
 
What we haveApple’s EarPods with remote and mic (free when you buy an iPhone). Adjust the volume, control media playback, answer calls without having to pick up your device.
 

6. Portable laptop desk

Nothing's worse than working hunched over all day with your computer on your lap. This is an all-too-real scenario for remote workers. You'll quickly get tired of it. Having a foldable portable desk will help convert any space into a work space. Plus, it can double as a table to eat breakfast in bed.
 
What we have100% Bamboo Nnewvante Table Adjustable. It's a multi-use desk with adjustable height that can be used for working or lounging. This model offers a drawer to store small items that can also be used as a cup holder.
 
 

7. Laptop 

A must for every digital nomad. Your laptop is what you'll use to make money from the road. We recommend a newer model with ample storage and up-to-date operating system. A fast computer = a happy remote-working experience.
 
What we have: Apple Macbook Pro. It’s razor thin, feather light, and even faster and more powerful than before. It has the brightest, most colorful Mac notebook display ever. And it features the Touch Bar — a Multi-Touch enabled strip of glass built into the keyboard for instant access to the tools you want, right when you want them.
 
Once we started using Apple products, we never went back to anything else. Not only are they great computers, but they sync with our iPhones and Apple TV.
 
Before deciding on which computer you'll take with you on the road, be sure it aligns with your role.
 

8. Car power inverter

When you're on the move you won't always have the luxury of plugging in to AC shore power (stationary three-pronged outlet). But, you can convert your vehicle's battery into AC power through the 12V outlet on the dash. This device will keep you connected even when the sun isn't shining to power your solar panels.power inverter for a digital nomad
 
We have a strong battery in our Ford f250, so we can even borrow from the battery for about 30 minutes without running the truck.
 
What we have: BESTEK 300W Power Inverter. This power inverter provides 300 Watts continuous DC to AC power and 700 Watts instantaneous power, featuring 2 AC outlets and 2 USB ports for multi-purpose charging.
 

9. Waterproof backpack

Every digital nomad needs a way to store and organize their workstation. But because you're living on the road, you'll want this to serve as a survival pack as well. So make sure you have enough storage for working and living items.
 
What we have: Chrome Bravo 2.0 Welterweight. Backpack offers three different storage compartments: a 21 liter storage space with roll top, waterproof main compartment, a dedicated outer compartment that fits a 15" laptop, and an external zipper compartment that holds small objects.
 
We've had our Chrome packs for years and they're still going strong. They're one of the smartest purchases we've ever made. And if anything ever goes wrong, they offer a lifetime guarantee.
 

WHERE DO YOU GO FROM HERE?

"Start today!" – Anthony 'Civ' Civarelli

We understand it takes time to become a successful digital nomad. It took us a little over two years to make it a reality, but you have to start somewhere. If this is a lifestyle that you want to try out (and trust us, we LOVE it), then start today by making small alterations in your lifestyle choices, like downsizing your belongings to get into the traveling mindframe. 

Another suggestion is to keep up with the latest trends in digital media. Below is a list of digital marketing blogs to consider reading on a consistent basis:

Final thought: We believe in you. Don't give up even when the dream seems far away. Engage with us on Instagram or Facebook and we'll help you keep your head in the game.

digital nomad guide