How We Became Digital Nomads: Part 2
Part 1 of this post left off with Corey and I making a new discovery. There was something called being a “digital nomad” or someone who travels while they work remotely. I was stunned I hadn’t thought of this solution earlier. All the writing I did for work was on a computer… why couldn’t I keep doing that abroad?
Simultaneous to this realization, an old co-worker of mine reached out to see if I was available for any freelance copywriting. It was like the world was screaming, Go do this!
This idea took all the upsides of our Amsterdam plan and made them better. My future was no longer in the hands of a hiring manager, but in my own. Travel wouldn't be restricted to weekends and holidays, and I would still have a way to make money. It was all the flexibility I could ever want. But getting there would not be easy.
We have an apartment
We have a cat
What about health care?
What about our families?
What about all of our stuff?
We have jobs
My suggestion to other people who are considering making this same change: Don’t sweat the small stuff and tackle the big stuff head on.
Our lease was up in a few months, so we gave notice to our leasing office.
Monty, our beloved cat, was going to stay with his grandma.
We bought travel insurance that included healthcare coverage.
We'll miss our families but there's always FaceTime and What's App
We decided to sell most of our stuff
We decided to leave our jobs (in part)
I realize I’m not even touching on the biggest issue of all — money. Yes, it took saving up some money, but not nearly as much as you think. We knew our goal was to make some sort of income abroad, so we both made the goal to each have $3,500 saved before we left. But before you put your faith in my recommendation, just stay updated on the blog to make sure we’re not starving and homeless yet.
The Fun Stuff
I won’t dive too deep into our trip planning right now (I could write a short novel about it.) But it was important to figure out where we wanted to start so we could look for affordable plane tickets.
We chose Paris as our starting point, it was the only place I'd ever been in Europe, so we figured that would give us someone of a head start, hopefully.
It all began to feel so real. We had dates, and then plane tickets, and then a place booked to stay. For so long these plans had been like a secret between Corey and I. Something we spent our brewery afternoons talking about wistfully. And now it was as real as the huge backpack I’d (somehow) be stuffing with four months worth of clothes.
The Hard Stuff
It was time to tell our respective companies we’d be leaving. Luckily, telling your boss that you’re leaving to travel the world plays much better than leaving to go work for someone else. I said goodbye to all my beloved coworkers who wished me well on my adventures.
For Corey, it turns out the hard stuff wasn’t hard at all. His wonderful company decided that he could keep his job and work remotely.
As for me, well, the hustle was about to be real.
We began to brainstorm other ways to make an income and decided to launch an online business for small companies. Seeing as I write and Corey designs, offering our services together for small business branding just made sense. We had worked together before as partners in school for advertising, and needless to say that had gone well.
We launched takeawaycreativeco.com. I spruced up my portfolio site. And we were ready to start the hustle.
As I mentioned earlier, our apartment lease was ending and, as fate had it, our departing flight was leaving the same day we had to be out for good.
But before we left the first place we ever lived in together, we had a lot of stuff to sell and donate. We held a mildly successful yard sale with my grandparents who were also moving. My sister came over and claimed what she wanted. We filled up donation boxes, and eventually, put our big stuff on Craigslist. Goodbye dresser, goodbye couch.
I forced my parents into taking our super comfy king sized bed — my first big purchase after I got my job. They also took a few boxes of things I couldn’t bear to part with. And finally, Corey and I made fall/winter boxes that could be shipped in case our trip extended into the colder months.
We still have an apartment to clean, things to pack, but our departure date is inching closer every day. Before you know it, I'll be in Paris ... or Belgium ... or Germany — and the blog will start to get a lot more interesting.
We’re leaving for our adventure in a few short weeks. Between now and then, Corey and I are launching our blog with a few stories on how we planned this move, what we’re doing to get ready, and other tips for people who want to travel and work on a budget. For more information, check out one of the first digital nomad blogs we ever read at www.nomadicmatt.com.