Do you dream of hiking Machu Picchu in Peru?
These are all nice ideas, but let’s be real. How would you even begin to pay for all these trips?
Wouldn’t it be nice to get paid to travel? Is that even possible?
Well, sort of. Maybe no one will pay you to travel. But they’ll certainly pay you to work while you travel!
There are people who travel around the world and do all their work on the internet. They don’t have to secure a job teaching English or giving guided tours in foreign countries. They just take their computer and keep moving.
These people are called digital nomads, and it’s surprisingly easy to take on this lifestyle.
What It’s Like to Be a Digital Nomad
The best thing about being a digital nomad is the freedom to travel almost anywhere at your own pace.
I say “almost anywhere” because to sustain the lifestyle of perpetual travel, digital nomads usually need to be connected to the internet to work.
But in today’s modern digital age, there aren’t that many cities in the world without internet access, even if it’s not the fastest. And there are many off-the-beaten-path places that offer digital nomads a great work environment.
A digital nomad’s life offers freedom and adventure, all while maintaining the financial security of being employed.
Places to Find Work for Digital Nomads
If you’re looking for work as a digital nomad, there are a few routes you can take.
First, you can ask your current employer if you can work remotely. If you recognize that your job exists solely on a computer, your job is likely capable of being done anywhere. Whether or not your employer will let you work remotely varies depending on the company.
You can also send out a letter of inquiry along with your resume to a potential employer asking if they have location independent positions available. I’ve personally acquired many jobs with this approach.
Finally, you can search job portals. For more stable, steady and contracted labor jobs, check out these job hunting sites.
And if you want to work as a freelancer, here are some good sites to check out.
So now that you know how to find to a digital nomad job, you need to figure out which job you want.
Work as You Travel! The 15 Best Jobs for Digital Nomads
Best Jobs for Digital Nomads in the Tech Niche
In my experience, most of the digital nomads I encounter are programmers.
Programmers write the computing code for various things, the most popular being software, websites and apps.
They speak one or more of the many computer languages needed to communicate with some kind of digital interface. Because of that, there’s a steep learning curve associated with this kind of work.
But as the digital world keeps growing, the need for talented programmers will continue to increase as well.
A huge perk is that the job can be performed independently and in an offline environment. This means that even if there’s an unstable internet connection, the programmer can still perform their work.
And trust me, if you travel to certain parts of Asia and Africa, you’ll face an unstable internet connection!
2. Website Developer
Website developers can be specific types of programmers.
On the other hand, some website developers are simply digital artists who only need to know the basics of a coding language to perform the job.
Web developers build, maintain and fix websites. They either work using code with some sort of coding language or via a more intuitive content management system like WordPress.
These people take an internet-based idea and, well, develop it.
They create and build the style, layout, look and various functions of a website. They also take care of any bugs that make a site slow, unstable or unusable in some way.
This kind of digital worker is responsible for building, testing and maintaining the proper functionality of a website.
3. App Developer
The work of an app developer is similar to that of a website developer. But because the coding styles and languages are different, the skill sets needed are also different.
Like a web developer, an app developer takes an idea for an application—either a phone or computer app—and develops it.
They build the layout, functions and features of an application. They test it, analyze its flaws and fix any bugs that could hamper its usability.
Some developers are responsible for making sure the app functions as it should for peak performance and user experience.
Again, as the digital age continues to reach new heights, the demand for talented app developers will continue to increase.
Maybe you’ll become inspired by your travels and create an innovative app for fellow nomads!
Best Jobs for Digital Nomads in the Business and Marketing Niche
4. SEO Specialist
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
This skill set is as elusive to business owners as it is vital to their business’s success.
In short, SEO helps a website stand out in a highly competitive search engine, such as Google. Without proper SEO, a website can’t find its audience and an online business won’t find its customers.
The SEO specialist tweaks certain codes in a website’s architecture and makes sure the website contains certain numbers of highly searched for keywords. They also highlight certain areas where the website is failing to attract the attention of a search engine.
This skill is relatively easy to learn but difficult to master. As more and more people understand the importance of SEO, it’s becoming harder to get a website to rank highly in a search engine’s results with only basic SEO knowledge.
That’s why truly skilled SEO experts are highly valuable in today’s digital environment.
5. Social Media Marketer
Nearly all major brands have a social media presence. They need someone to build, refine, analyze and manage that presence.
A social media marketer helps create and maintain a brand’s public face. They’re instrumental in getting everyday consumers interested in and engaged with that brand via social media.
These digital workers schedule social media posts, run contests on social platforms and respond to comments, concerns and queries on a brand’s social networks. In this regard, sometimes the social media marketer can double as a community manager by ensuring the brand’s community stays happy.
No one can deny the ubiquity of social media in today’s business environment. That’s why social media marketers are a necessary and treasured part of any brand’s core identity.
6. Affiliate Marketer
Affiliate marketing isn’t unique to the digital world. But since the advent of the internet, it’s never been easier to make a substantial income through this type of advertising.
An affiliate marketer is an independent entity (i.e. not an employee or contractor). They refer customers to a product or a service and earn a commission every time a sale is made.
This allows the company to attract new customers without having to hire a marketing department. It’s also a way for the marketer to make a significant amount of money by simply pointing prospective customers in the right direction.
To give you a better idea of what this job entails, an affiliate marketer is a lot like an agent. Except they work online! An agent has some kind of monetary affiliation with the service and earns money when they make a sale.
In an online world, this kind of affiliation becomes almost limitless.
7. Digital Entrepreneur
Other than programmers, most digital nomads I meet are digital entrepreneurs.
These online visionaries are usually business owners who’ve built a website or online service that provides value to an online community. They constantly push the boundaries of what it means to do business in the digital age.
There are numerous ways to become a digital entrepreneur. Typically, these people take the approaches of brick and mortar businesses and adapt them to fulfill an online need.
Digital entrepreneurs usually perform several roles within a company. They’re the owner, manager, creator and marketer. They usually either work by themselves or have built a remotely-based team. Their overall goal is to make sure the business functions properly and stays true to its mission.
Often, digital entrepreneurs build and develop an online business just to the point where they can sell it. Then they do the same thing with another online business. In this way, they make money by selling their creations the same way an artist would sell a piece of artwork.
Best Jobs for Digital Nomads in the Support Niche
8. Customer Support Representative
No product or service is perfect. That’s why companies need caring individuals available to support customers when problems arise.
A customer support representative is usually employed either by an agency or directly by a company.
When a customer has an issue, this employee tries to assuage their fears and give them practical solutions to resolve that problem. This is a great position for people who love to directly help others in times of crises.
Like a social media marketer, sometimes customer support requires branching outside of the confines of a company’s walls to help disgruntled customers. In this way, the customer support representative can often serve as a community manager, helping people on support forums and social media platforms.
9. Technical Support Representative
Sometimes technical support overlaps with customer support, but not necessarily.
For starters, a tech support rep is usually skilled in the technical aspects of a system. They offer specific and intricate troubleshooting advice when problems arise.
Because these technicians have such specialized knowledge, they don’t deal with people as often as customer support representatives. They’re often hired directly by a company who needs to manage and support their internal IT systems.
This makes them a bit like programmers, but they exist in a support role instead of a creation role.
Technical support reps can serve a lot of different functions. They might offer general IT-based support for a company or maintain a large network of communication across various locations within a multi-national corporation.
Again, as the digital world increases, people who know how to build and manage the technical aspects of digital networks will become even more valuable.
Best Jobs for Digital Nomads in the Online Teaching Niche
10. Language Teacher
Thanks to the magic of the internet, two people from across the globe can instantly communicate with each other. This allows for things like language learning to flourish.
Luckily, there are many online companies that have taken this idea and created platforms for teachers and students to come together.
And because English is the “lingua franca” of the world, English teachers are always in demand. Here are some online English teaching sites to check out.
But not everyone wants to study English. There are plenty of opportunities for speakers of other languages to teach online as well. Here are some other online language teaching sites to check out.
This career fits perfectly with travelers who like to communicate with people from different cultures.
11. Various Skills Teacher
Language isn’t the only thing that can be taught online. You can teach any subject to people around with the world, provided they have an interest and internet connection.
If you have a unique set of skills, you can create your own online class and sell it to people. Your course can contain an e-book, curriculum or videos of you explaining the subject.
This is a great way to earn money, because you usually only have to create the content once. Then collect residuals when people buy the course.
Naturally, you’ll need to market the course to optimize it for maximum profitability, and this can turn you into a digital entrepreneur of sorts. You could even conceivably start up an entire online business in which you just sell your own online courses.
But if you don’t want to worry about the hassle of building a website or aggressively marketing your videos to the right customers, you can check out these online course creation platforms.
Best Jobs for Digital Nomads in the Artistic and Content Creation Niche
Words are everywhere. But there needs to be someone to write those words.
Writers are an essential part of the digital landscape. And I’m not only saying that because I’m a writer!
Every website, email, social media post, advertisement, eBook, eBook review, video script, every FluentU blog post was touched by some kind of writer.
There’s an endless number of freelance and contracted writing positions out there on the internet, and there will never be a time when there won’t be work for writers.
One great thing about traveling while writing is that much of the job can be performed offline. For instance, most of this post was written in a cafe with no internet. I only needed the internet when I was ready to submit it to the editor.
I’ve composed many pieces of writing on trains, in cars, while sitting on park benches and while relaxing on the beach. It’s the perfect gig for a traveler in transit!
Design, like writing, is a ubiquitous element of both the online and offline worlds. Every product with a visual component was graced by the hand of a designer.
Specific to the digital age, companies need designers to build and maintain a brand’s identity, be it a logo, social media advertisement or overall look and feel of a company’s website.
But designers have more opportunities than just the business world. They can also be artists for various items, from t-shirts to phone accessories.
Nowadays, many print-on-demand companies exist to quickly and attractively bring a person’s artwork to customers. If you have a great design, you can upload it with one of these companies. When a customer buys a product with the design you created, you earn a commission on that sale.
One great thing about this field is that you don’t need any special qualifications to be a designer. If you know how to use the basic functions of design software, you don’t need any other technical knowledge or degree to be hireable.
And design work is largely based offline. Although unlike writing, many subsects of designing require a certain amount of not-amazingly-portable tools to effectively perform the skills of the job.
14. Video Creators
Video is dominating the online world, and the creators are raking in some seriously big bucks.
In 2017, 55% of people watched videos online every day, and videos accounted for 74% of all online traffic. With statistics like that, video creators have plenty of opportunities to make money!
In fact, “YouTube millionaire” is one of the most sought after tech jobs.
But video exists beyond YouTube. Many people turn to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other media to market their video content and build their online brands.
Businesses and individuals alike are seeing the amazing growth opportunities that exist in video marketing. People are quickly trying to produce video content that is captivating, entertaining and valuable to the ever-increasing digital world.
And as internet speeds get faster and more reliable, video content will become even more popular than it is today. That means the demand for high quality video makers will rapidly increase.
Blogging is perhaps the easiest online business to start … but the hardest to master. For those who do master it, being a blogger can be one of the most rewarding and effective digital nomad jobs out there.
Bloggers are digital entrepreneurs, but they’re a very specific kind of digital entrepreneur. Whereas most offer a service or product, bloggers offer content.
Bloggers take a topic they’re passionate about and build a website, or a series of websites, dedicated to delivering content around that topic. They use writing, graphics or videos to fill their website with engaging material.
They commonly make money with affiliate marketing, direct advertisements and sponsored posts. They also sell valuable content, such as e-books, courses and seminars created themselves.
While anyone can get a website and start putting content on it, it takes a truly talented, patient and persistent blogger to make it all come together.
That said, if you have an infectious passion for your niche and are a talented content creator, you can turn a blog into a million dollar enterprise.
Who knows? Maybe you can even create a blog about your world travels!
If you’ve been bitten by the travel bug but wonder how you’re going to pay for it all, consider finding yourself a digital nomad job.
Now your travel wish list can become a real to-do list.
And One More Thing…
If you’re excited to work your way around the world, you’ll love using FluentU to learn the languages of the destinations you’ll be visiting.
With FluentU, you learn real languages—the same way that natives speak them. FluentU has a wide variety of videos, like movie trailers, funny commercials and web series, as you can see here:
FluentU has interactive captions that let you tap on any word to see an image, definition, audio and useful examples. Now native language content is within reach with interactive transcripts.
Didn’t catch something? Go back and listen again. Missed a word? Hover your mouse over the subtitles to instantly view definitions.
Under the Vocab and Dialogue tabs, you’ll find words and phrases from the video and a complete interactive transcript.
You can learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s Quiz Mode. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
And FluentU always keeps track of vocabulary that you’re learning. It uses that vocab to give you a 100% personalized experience by recommending videos and examples.
Eric Michelson is a nomadic, philosophizing, peace-minded pluralist. He hopes to help bridge the divide between the diverse factions of the world by exploring various perspectives brought on by personal experience. You can follow Perspective Earth to learn more about him and his work.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn languages with real-world videos.