Three core questions to answer before becoming a digital nomad

Working abroad, even for a short spell, can be a life-changing experience. It allows you to experience another part of the world from the moment you wake to the moment you fall back asleep at night, and it can allow you to see the way people do things in another place. That may well become the way you do things, which can be revolutionary. When you turn over a significant portion of your life to working abroad – as a digital nomad, in most cases – the change can be something that enriches your life in ways you’d never imagined.

With that said, it’s important to recognize that the digital nomad experience is not as simple as grabbing your passport and deciding that you’re going to take tomorrow’s Zoom meeting from a small cafe on the Champs-Elysees. You’ll need to do your research, using dedicated resources like Digital Nomad World and a wealth of location-specific guides, to make sure that your ambitions for digital nomadism can actually get off the ground in the first place. It’s not as straightforward as a lot of people may assume, so it is certainly worth answering the most important questions. And these are three very basic questions.


If you’re going to do the digital nomad thing, then you need to have places in mind. You may well have dreamed of living in another place for a while; most digital nomads take this a step further and travel from place to place, never permanently settling in any of them. That’s great if you like that kind of thing, but you’ll need to have at least a basic road map in mind. This is important because you’ll need to know things about internet service, availability of accommodation (sometimes at short notice) and local laws in every single place you stop for as little as a single night.


If you currently have a job that you can do from home, it’s likely that you can also do it from a new location. Likely, but not certain. If you have an employer, you’ll need to run the idea past them, because it may need to be cleared by people within the company. If you’re self-employed, then you need to know how you can deliver your services in the new place while staying onside with the law. You’ll also need to know what to do with your current home base – are you under a lease? Do you need to sell up? Can you sub-let? Also, you need to know how you’re going to get from place to place, and what (as well as maybe who) you’ll bring with you. Will you need to put some items in storage, and if so, for how long?


When we mentioned that it’s not as simple as deciding you’re going to wake up in Paris tomorrow, that was a flippant way of making a serious point. You’re not going to become a digital nomad overnight – as the above points make abundantly clear, it’s not something you can do without a lot of prep. So you need to think of a target date, and work towards it. With a deadline in mind, you can work on getting travel documents sorted out, arranging the home stuff, and talking to your loved ones about the plan. If you’re thinking about doing this for real, plan to live the life for a year initially and explain it to family and friends on that basis. They’re going to need to know what this process entails as much as you do.