How to become a digital nomad

[pl_row pagelayer-id=”5p0r4zbkw319f9fw” 0=””]
[pl_col pagelayer-id=”525ukke9vehw627c” col=”12″]
[pl_text pagelayer-id=”7klliswy6eyjm6qe” 0=””]

[pl_row pagelayer-id=”yGuNCQ0IeR4PpAQy” stretch=”auto” col_gap=”10″ width_content=”auto” row_height=”default” overlay_hover_delay=”400″ row_shape_top_color=”#227bc3″ row_shape_top_width=”100″ row_shape_top_height=”100″ row_shape_bottom_color=”#e44993″ row_shape_bottom_width=”100″ row_shape_bottom_height=”100″]
[pl_col pagelayer-id=”Xc9i2CD5mBpKGwDw” widget_space=”15″ overlay_hover_delay=”400″]
[pl_text pagelayer-id=”POBNCmLIzyXfSPQE” ]

was overpaying for a run-down, tiny room in a bad Brooklyn neighborhood with sporadic hot water and a roommate who forgot to flush. Overnight — literally, overnight—I was renting a gorgeous room in Florence, Italy from a friendly art teacher who loved to share her cooking, and a balcony that overlooked the city’s legendary cathedral (the same one that helped kickstart the Renaissance).

And I was paying half as much on rent and living expenses.

Freelancing is all about the perks: making your own hours, working wherever you want, and sidestepping the doldrum cubicle life. But taking the plunge into becoming a digital nomad, the ultimate perk, is a scary one that often goes unexplored.

Becoming a digital nomad isn’t easy. But it is so much easier than everyone thinks! What often scares people off is the laundry list of obstacles that seem to be in your way, namely:

  • Working without the security of a steady paycheck or the camaraderie of your colleagues
  • Leaving behind friends and family
  • Abandoning your comfort zone
  • Language barriers
  • Meeting new people (the “I’m shy” myth)
  • What to do with all your stuff
  • Irrational fears like: “what if I lose my passport?” or “isn’t is dangerous to live abroad?”
Fierce traveler logo
It can be scary to take the first step to becoming digital nomad, but there is a fierce traveler in you just waiting to come out! Fierce Traveler logo by pmo

These obstacles are much are scarier in your head than in reality. When you focus on everything that could go wrong, you forget all the amazing things that could go right. Sure, sometimes the language barrier will cause trouble and, sure, sometimes you’ll get homesick. But sometimes you’ll also have magical experiences with fascinating people that will make it all worth it.

When I started freelancing, it took three years of navigating horrible housing situations and exorbitant living costs before I worked up the courage to do what I really wanted to do: buy that first plane ticket and a gigantic backpack and head overseas. Twelve countries and five continents later, it was the best decision of my life. No question about it.

Remote jobs are steadily on the rise, but that doesn’t make the thought of traveling to, and working in, a foreign country any less scary. Here, I share what I learned along the way so you can avoid making the same mistakes I did.

Get paid in Belgrade

cartoon of a home office by Odius.
For a home office, both “home” and “office” can be relative. Illustration by Odius

First things first, you need a source of income independent of location. I’m a content creator for digital marketers, which is a fancy way to say that I’m a pro blogger. But digital nomads come from a variety of different industries, although most tend to revolve around the internet. Some common remote jobs are:

  • Graphic designers
  • Programmers
  • Videographers
  • Social media professionals
  • Editors and proofreaders
  • Ecommerce proprietors
  • Customer service representatives
  • Virtual assistants
  • IT technicians
  • Business owners

A lot of these positions are client-based, but don’t think you have to find clients in the country you’re visiting. As long as you’re happy with a 3-month tourist visa (see the Visa section below), you can continue finding clients from your home country.

One thing to be aware of is the late-night business call. Considering the time zone differences, I regularly attend phone meetings with American clients at midnight or later. As a night person, I don’t necessarily mind this — in fact, it’s a bit of a thrill to talk business in the alley next to a bar or with a special someone waiting for you in bed. But even if you’re a bit rigid on this, I’ve noticed my clients are more than willing to shift their schedules to find a time that suits us both. In all my years of doing this, scheduling a business call has never been a problem.

If none of the jobs above appeal to you, or if you want to avoid the hassle of learning a new skill, there’s always one golden-ticket job that anyone from anywhere can pursue: language teacher

I taught for a couple years in Milan before I got into pro blogging. Teaching English is a risk-free way to earn a long-term visa, and it streamlines meeting new people and making friends. However, you’re glued into a school/city for however long your contract is, so it’s not for the rapid traveler.

If you’re a native English speaker, you have your pick of countries as an EFL teacher (although competition is worse in some cities). But regardless of your mother tongue, someone, somewhere, will pay you to teach it to them. Getting a teaching certificate is fairly cheap and easy, too, so you can’t use “I’ll never find work” as an excuse not to become a digital nomad!

Manage money in New Delhi

Buildings for multiple banks.
Citibank, HSBC, and many other banks have branches all around the world, so that’s one less thing to worry about. via Pexels

Keep in mind, you’ll still need to pay taxes in your home country if you’re traveling under tourist visas. I use my father’s address for my taxes, and as long as the IRS gets their check, they’re happy.

If you’re not using a tourist visa, i.e., you have an actual job in the country you’re visiting, then obviously the rules are different. Each country handles taxes their own way, but you should be able to ask any questions you have before signing your documents. If an employer is willing to hire you, they’ll be willing to explain how taxes work.

As for banking, I use my U.S. Citibank account with minimal drawbacks. They’re pretty popular internationally, and I can use at least 80% of ATMs around the world. My biggest complaint is sometimes they’ll freeze my card because they see activity in a new country. Of course, I usually forget to tell customer service where I’m headed. A more responsible nomad won’t have this problem.

My goal is to get an HSBC account. Of all the banks in the world, HSBC is the one I see most frequently in different countries, and it seems to cater to travelers. Check out NerdWallet’s Best Banks for International Travel 2017 for more useful information about banking overseas.

Stay a while in São Paulo

Choosing where to go on a map.
Anyone who said “it’s the journey, not the destination” never spent a 9-hour flight in the middle seat between two snorers. via Pexels

When choosing where to set up your digital nomad headquarters the world is literally your oyster. I tend to go for places with warm and open cultures (it makes it easier to forge friendships), cities on the smaller side, and those that are known for being affordable. But if you want to check off all the world-famous tourist destinations or live in a shack in the Australian outback, I won’t stop you.

Figuring out what neighborhood to live in can be a bit trickier. I usually take the advice of people who’ve been there before about where the good bar scenes are or which areas to avoid at night. If I don’t have a personal reference, I just poke around online until my questions are answered. Although I try to distance myself from the tourists on Trip Advisor, I can’t deny that their forums come in handy when learning about a place. When scoping out areas to live in, make sure that the neighborhood has what you need, and that you can afford it. I always look into the coffee shop scene beforehand and try to rent rooms in areas that have wifi cafes for work.

As for the how, I usually use Airbnb. It’s convenient, and I like the guarantee (you’ll soon learn the world is full of swindlers who prey on out-of-towners). I book the first 30 days through Airbnb because there’s usually a price break for a month. Then, if I like the place, I rent the additional months directly from the host to avoid the site’s fee. The hosts prefer this too, especially if you pay in cash.

If you know someone in the area before you go, they can usually help you find a place, too. Friends of friends have invited me to Facebook groups that exchange sublets and those tend to be cheapest. I’ve also heard good things about Couchsurfing, but have never tried it myself as I’d rather pay extra for more privacy.

Make friends in the Netherlands

Illustration of friends for a social net website by WolfBell.
Strangers are just friends who haven’t added you on Facebook yet. Social net website by WolfBell

Making friends seems to be what causes the most fear in the prospective nomad—and for good reason. I’m not going to sugar-coat it: lonely periods are par for the course for digital nomads, lasting weeks or even months, but if you hang in there, you’ll cultivate two essential life skills: thriving in solitude learning how to make friends in any situation.

Making new friends is a muscle that gets strengthened with use, but there are some tips that can help to make the process a bit easier:

1. Make the first move.

I was shy for most of my life, but traveling has trained me to be much more outgoing. It’s now second nature to start a conversation with a stranger. So much of traveling is learning about who you are and pushing yourself to become a better person. With practice you can turn your weaknesses into strengths.

From personal experience, I know how excruciating making new friends can be at first, especially since a lot of work-at-home positions attract the introverted type. But the good news is, it gets easier every time you do it. So start practicing today—right now, in fact! If you begin talking to people you don’t know now, by the time you’re ready to leave you’ll be a lot more confident.

On top of that, the country’s culture will determine how easily you can meet the locals. In Italy, all you have to do is step outside your apartment to make friends.

2. Find your niche.

There are meet-ups, activity groups and classes all over the world that can help you meet people, and at the very least there are always bars and clubs. Determine which ways are best for you to meet people.

Language exchange sites like Conversation Exchange have been a huge help for me. Just as it sounds, these sites connect people that want to learn the a country’s native languages. It works well because if you’re in a foreign country, your mother tongue will usually be in demand. You can even start using it today to meet a pen pal in your next location. Just refrain from hitting on anyone—it’s not a dating app! Speaking of dating apps, they can also be a shortcut to making “friends.” I’ll sometimes set up an account in my next city a couple weeks before arriving just to get a head start.

3. Don’t be afraid of being alone.

Inevitably, there will be lonely times, even if just for a night or two. Learn to make the most of it, whether attending an event by yourself, or staying in and watching TV. It will save you a lot of distress if you learn to become comfortable in solitude. That’s not just good advice for traveling, but life in general.

If having travel companions is important to you, you can also join a digital nomad group. There are talks about gangs of digital nomads that travel together gypsy-style around the world. While I like the freedom of going solo (in groups, you don’t always get to choose where you go), I can see the appeal of traveling in groups, especially if you’re new to the whole nomad thing or want to travel to a location that may be a bit sketchy to navigate solo.

Pack in Peking

Luggage print design with famous world destination theme by Prim.
If you were going to a desert island and could only take 66 lbs of luggage, what would you take? Luggage design by Prim for K Chen

Before I did it, the thought of selling and getting rid of my things was horrifying. After I did it, I never felt better in my life.

There’s something so liberating about fitting all your worldly possessions into a single piece of luggage. The act of deciding what to keep and what to let go forces you to examine the role of material possessions in your life. Would you rather hear a captivating tale from a Russian painter in a snowy bar in Moscow or hold on to that second hair-dryer?

In my giant Samsonite, I have a small wardrobe of summer and winter clothes, my laptop and accessories (including all socket adapters), a spare bag for small trips, a handful of art supplies for fun, and backups of a few hard-to-find brands for things like mosquito-repellent and acne cream. I keep everything of sentimental value in two shoeboxes at my dad’s house, and add my new souvenirs to it every time I make the trip back there.

Books are the worst because they’re heavy. I’d recommend investing in a Kindle or just reading off your phone.

You want to get your bag down to less than 30 kg, about 66 lbs. Anything more requires extra fares on airplanes. Unfortunately my bag is up to 33 kg at the moment with souvenirs I haven’t dropped off yet, and it’s frequently an issue during airline check-in.

If you’re struggling with letting go of possessions, I think it’s time you sat down and rewatched Fight Club.

Get a visa in Vancouver

Travel documents for a flight.
The golden rule of visa laws: hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Via Pexels

Visa laws are the bane of my existence. Almost every country permits a 90-day stay on a tourist visa, at least for Americans. I’ve heard the requirements are stricter for citizens of some other countries. My poor Norwegian buddy wants to take his Nepalese girlfriend to meet his family, but they’ve been cutting red tape for months just trying to get her a vacation permit.

Some countries are more relaxed about visa laws than others. In Argentina, I had to pay a fine for overstaying my visa by one day, and missed my boat because the fine could only be paid in a special government building. After a misstep in Japan, true to form, they pulled me aside and politely explained the rules of their visa program. Meanwhile, countries like Nepal encourage multiple returns because they charge per visa and have a large tourism industry.

Some countries turn a blind eye to “visa runs,” where you leave the country for a weekend or so and return with a fresh new 90-day visa. But pulling this off takes thought, so do your research beforehand about how acceptable this practice is in the country you’re visiting. Often, it will come down to the officer you work with at the immigration office. Look for a friendly face.

Be sure to research visa laws online before planning a trip; sometimes you need to buy a visa online before they even let you board the plane.

Bring fido to Hokkaido

A pug dog poses in front of a traditional Japanese building.
Like people, some pets love traveling, while others prefer to stay at home. Via Pexels

My first year as a digital nomad, I took my cat with me. Pets will restrict you in terms of where you go, both in where you can rent a room and which countries you can travel to without quarantines (island nations have the strictest rules). But traveling with your furry companion is doable, if you’re willing to make a few sacrifices.

My cat hated traveling and was not nearly as happy as I was, but luckily my ex offered to take him since they were familiar with each other. If you look hard enough, there’s always an alternative to dumping them in a shelter.

Take the leap!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: becoming a digital nomad was the greatest thing I’ve ever done. When I think about who I was before and who I am now, I feel grateful and humbled that I was lucky enough to have this opportunity. Throughout your journey, you will see your insecurities and bad habits melt away, and you’ll discover new, admirable traits that you never knew you had. It’s clear that some things can only be learned through traveling.

If you want to learn to fly, at some point you have to jump off a cliff.

Do you have questions about becoming a digital nomad? Ask me anything in the comments section now!

The author

Matt Ellis

Matt Ellis

Matt Ellis is a freelance content writer, specializing in web design and ecommerce. For over a decade he’s been sharing his industry knowledge through ebooks, website copy, and blog articles just like this one. You can learn more about his career and writing services at


10 remote work statistics you should know about

We’ve gathered together some of the most interesting facts and statistics, helping you to see what the current remote work landscape is like and some of its key traits.

With the upcoming Remote Future Summit 2019 we thought about sharing with you this most important statistics about remote work. With continuously improving technology and ever-changing working culture, remote work is becoming increasingly common in companies around the globe. More people are realizing and experiencing the benefits that flexible working arrangements have to offer. We’ve gathered together some of the most interesting facts and statistics, helping you to see what the current remote work landscape is like and some of its key traits.

Remote workers are more productive

One of the biggest benefits for employers when allowing their employees to work remotely is the increase in productivity shown by workers. Global Workplace Analytics Costs & Benefits survey shows that teleworkers in a number of large companies are actually between 35-40% more productive than their office counterparts*. They also found that “two-thirds of [all surveyed] employers report increased productivity among their telecommuters”.

Not having to commute can improve your health

Not needing to commute and significantly reducing your travel costs can lead to an increase in real income. You also save precious time spent commuting, and the stress associated with traveling to work. 55% of people reported increases levels of stress due to their daily commute, according to a report by the UK Royal Society for Public Health as cited in Forbes. Saving both time and money will, of course, lead to an improvement in your overall work-life balance.

Your work life balance can be greatly improved

Flexible working arrangements also help employees better manage their work-life balance. It’s been shown to be conducive to a better standard of mental and physical health, reducing stress and burnout. FlexJobs reports that 97% of over 3000 respondents in their 2018 annual survey said that a flexible job would have a “huge improvement or positive impact on their overall quality of life”*.

Your stress can be greatly reduced

A lot of the time during our working life we will have to deal with a certain amount of stress. This can actually help improve our performance if we have a certain upcoming deadline, but too much of it is detrimental to both your physical and mental health. A 2014 survey from PGI looking at remote workers reported that 82% of telecommuters had lower stress levels when working outside the office*.

More and more people are working remotely

It’s predicted that by 2027, the majority of the US workforce will be working remotely*. The number of those with flexible working arrangements is also growing faster than the overall US workforce, at roughly 3 times the rate. More companies are hiring and realising the benefits and potential that remote work can offer.

Remote work is here to stay

According to LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends Report for 2019, 72% of talent professionals agree that work flexibility will be very important for the future of HR and recruiting. In the past two years alone, there’s also been a 78% increase in LinkedIn job posts advertising flexible work arrangements. It seems than that remote work is here to stay, and won’t just be a temporary trend in the job market.

Companies that allow for remote work can save significant costs

Remote hiring companies see a tangible reduction in costs associated with running a fully equipped and staffed office for all workers. IBM for example managed to save $50 million in real estate costs. 60% of employers questioned in the costs and benefits survey reported cost savings overall as a significant benefit of allowing people to work from home*.

Not everyone who works remotely travels

Even though flexible work arrangements offer the possibility to travel, many remote workers prefer to stay at home because it’s more convenient. According to the 2019 State of Remote Work study from Buffer, 84% of respondents said that they’re mostly working from home. This figure is actually up from the 2018 report, where 79% of remoters were primarily working from home.

Remote work hasn’t always been called remote work!

While remote work is one of the most popular term for flexible working arrangements, telecommuting was once the preferred one. Coming from Jack Nilles’ book The Telecommunications-Transportation Tradeoff in 1976, he proposed a system whereby work was brought closer to the workers. While technology couldn’t possibly allow for computers to be installed in every person’s home, they could at least build satellite offices close to their employees’ homes. After testing the idea with an insurance company in LA, Nilles reported that “[the] productivity of those employees went up 18%, the turnover rate went to zero and facilities costs were much lower.”

Remote work is environmentally friendly

By getting rid of the commute, working from home drastically cuts down on the carbon emissions created from using a vehicle. Even from just working outside of the office for half of the week, remote workers could reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 54 million tons every year. Also the amount of resources needed within the office environment is reduced, meaning that paper, electricity and heating use are all cut down.

Hungry to learn more about how remote work impacts our lives and business? Sing up for free for Remote Future Summit – the leading global conference about remote work. In 2019, we are proud to be Partners of the event, together with Remote-how pushing an envelope with a goal of 10,000 virtual participants, a more interactive formula, and with physical meetups in some of the world’s best remote working hubs. The conference takes place from 15th to 17th of May. Join us online, from anywhere. Grab your seat here.

10 Pieces of Versatile Gear for Working Remotely

Working from a laptop while traveling the world sounds like a sweet gig—because it is—but it can be trickier than you might think. Tom Wahlin, a remote worker, traveler, and founder of Pack Hacker, shares his 10 favorite pieces of gear that will help you get the job done!

One of the most common things remote workers hear from non-remote workers is something along the lines of, “Oh, I couldn’t get anything done if I worked remotely.” And sure, working remotely can be distracting. You also don’t have the typical comforts of an office desk, which is a problem for some.

But it doesn’t have to be that way!

I’m here to tell you that it is possible to work remotely while living out of a backpack without sacrificing your productivity. I did it for three years with great success, and I’m still doing it—albeit, more intermittently—today. The key is having the right tools for the job.

With that said, here are my top 10 pieces of versatile gear that will help you succeed as a remote worker.

Kikkerland Universal Travel Adapter

This is an absolute must for any world traveler. Instead of buying a dedicated adapter every time you visit a new country, you can just grab this one that works with every (known) outlet in the world. Plus, it can be used as a fun Transformer-style toy when not in use. Hah, transformer. Electricity jokes.

Roost Laptop Stand

Working from a laptop for long periods of time can be incredibly uncomfortable, bad for your health, and bad for your wallet (chiropractors are expensive!). A laptop stand can combat all of this and keep you more productive on the road with a true desktop-style setup. I’ve tried a bunch of them, and the Roost comes out on top every time. It does its job well, but it’s also incredibly compact, lightweight, and durable.

GE 3 Plug Outlet Splitter

We’ve all been there. You arrive at a packed coffee shop, somehow manage to find a seat, open up your laptop to start working and…realize you’ve got 8% battery left. But, of course, all of the outlets are taken.

Well, with this simple outlet splitter you can be the hero everyone didn’t know they needed. By transforming 1 plug into 3, you can pop into an outlet without inconveniencing the previous occupant while also adding another plug to the mix! I’m not going to say everyone will cheer for you, but I’m also not saying they won’t…

Retractable Ethernet Cable

You never think you need an ethernet cable until you really need an ethernet cable. Getting stuck offline can mean an entire day of work down the drain (whether you think that’s good or bad is up to you). Ethernet cables can truly save you when you’re experiencing WiFi issues. This one is great because it takes up almost no space and, since it retracts, you won’t have to deal with a cable salad in your backpack.

Jabra Elite 65t Noise-Canceling Earbuds

Trying to get work done in a noisy coffee shop or coworking space can certainly be tricky, but that’s where noise-canceling headphones come in. I love the Jabra Elites because they’re super minimal and discreet, they’ve got a microphone for conference calls, and they use an awesome audio pass-through feature so you can hear yourself talking. This helps avoid the whole, “why are you yelling at me?” thing.

SanDisk 256GB Ultra Fit Flash Drive

Unless you’re a video editor or something, you probably don’t need to be carrying around a bulky external hard drive. But it is always great to have a physical drive you can use to backup files or transfer if you’re having connectivity problems. This thing holds a quarter terabyte—more than most people would ever need—and is the size of your thumbnail.

Topo Designs Accessory Bags

Your desk has drawers, but what about your coffee shop? Chances are, no drawers. A couple of pouches can be great for keeping all your gear well-organized and within reach at all times. I love using one pouch for all my tech gear like chargers, cables, adapters, and other accessories.

Hydro Flask Water Bottle

If you haven’t heard of Hydro Flask yet, you’re missing out. Their water bottles are super insulated, keeping cold stuff cold and hot stuff hot—sometimes even too hot, to be honest. Hydration is important, people! And having a water bottle handy will help you stay focused and productive throughout the entire day. If you’re looking for a lighter or more compact option, try out the Vapur Eclipse.

Stasher Reusable Bags

Let’s be honest. As nice as coffee shops are, they can get expensive when you work—and eat—out of them for weeks on end. These Stasher Reusable Bags function just like a Ziploc would, but you can wash them out and reuse them over and over. I love keeping a few of these in my pack while I’m traveling so I can stock up on cheap, healthy snacks at the store. Just make sure your coffee shop allows outside food!

Gerber Shard Multitool

This one might sound a little puzzling, but having a multitool on the road can be indispensable. It’s one of those things you don’t think you need until you need it—like when there’s a loose screw on your chair that’s causing some serious wobble. This one is great because it’s super minimal and TSA-approved.

For more tips on working remotely and staying efficient on the road, check out Pack Hacker’s Guide to Working Remotely

How to Overcome the Fear of Failure

How to Overcome The Fear of Failure The Remote Nomad Blog.png

Before anyone takes the journey to go remote, the first battle they will face is the one within. Doubts and fears will start to creep up into your mind. Internally you may start to question your ability to execute, whether we are worthy enough, whether you are skilled or experienced enough.

And the big one… “What if I fail?”

Let’s explore that. 

Fear of failure is a huge block that prevents many people from pursuing their dreams of working remotely from anywhere in the world.

If we dive deeper we can see here the real fear is, “What will happen if I fail?” rather than the failure itself. From an ego-driven place, most people’s biggest fear is what other people will think if you fail, or perhaps your own ego will be cracked. But let’s consider the logic. 

Failure Is When You Decide To Give Up.

First, let’s define failure. Failure, simply put, is when you decide to give up. 

On the journey to going remote, you may fumble and fall along in the way, in fact, it’s likely inevitable that you’ll face some sort of roadblock. The power lies in learning from those “hiccups”. It’s about a willingness to learn and grow from those hiccups – rather, dust yourself off and try again (Ok, didn’t mean to reference the Aaliyah song but, hey). 

Learning lessons along the way are not failures. They may require you to take a longer or more challenging path, but they still lead to the same outcome. So many people confuse a roadblock or learning opportunity as a failure. They are not. They are lessons to help you grow and get better at what you’re doing. 

Failure is when you CHOOSE (keyword being “choose”) to give up on pursuing a goal. So you have full control and the choice of whether or not you “fail”.

What’s Your Worst-Case Scenario?

Now, let’s consider the worst-case scenario of some of these “roadblocks” or “hiccups”. 

Say you’re a bit more risk-averse and jump into the digital nomad lifestyle as I did – without a plan, booking a one-way ticket to a different country, and only enough money to survive for a month. Finding a remote job in 4-weeks is a lot of pressure. 

At the start of my journey, my laptop broke which is essential to working online and I simply didn’t have the money for a new one. So, as one would, I cried in the middle of a grocery store. “That’s it. Time to go home.” Then I thought, “No way, HOW can I make this happen.” On the credit card, it went. 

Going through this journey it becomes a game of what are you willing to do or willing to give up to make this goal a reality. I was willing to invest in a new laptop because I knew once I landed the remote job I’d have the money to pay for it.

However, let’s say things didn’t pan out so well and that 4-weeks later I was still remote-jobless. What would have happened? 

Well, I would have gone back to Canada, and temporarily got a 9-5 job to save up more money. Then, I would either pursue going remote on the side or wait until I had enough money saved to quit and try again. 

Would my ego have been bruised a bit from the embarrassment of not being able to make it work at first effort? Sure. 

The Discomfort Will Outweigh The Reward.

But let me tell you this, being able to have the freedom to work remotely from anywhere in the world, will outweigh any “ego-shattering” moment. If anything, your tenacity and dedication towards achieving a goal will likely inspire more than it will hurt your ego. 

Let’s take it a step further, let’s say I didn’t land a remote job in those 4-weeks but had also spent $2,000 on a new laptop which means $2,000 in debt. So now, my worst-case scenario is $2,000 in debt and getting a 9-5 job. Is paying off $2,000 in debt manageable and possible? Yes. It may just take a little more time to go remote than planned.

You Are Already Living Your Worst Case Scenario

Everyone has these big fears about going remote but what most people don’t realize is that they’re already living their worst-case scenario. In the example I gave above, the worst-case scenario was returning back to the 9-5 (temporarily) and yet, isn’t the 9-5 what you’re already doing? If anything your ego gets a little shattered, but the benefit to that is you get a taste of humbleness and the opportunity for personal growth. And to me, that’s a win.

Fear will prevent more people from achieving their dreams than failure ever will, because, fear stops you from getting started and failure only occurs when you give up. 

If you’re already living your worst-case scenario, why not take a chance on yourself? From personal experience, I can tell you the journey isn’t always worth it but it’s SO incredibly worth it. I now get to live a lifestyle I would have only ever dreamed about before. I wasn’t born into this. I made a choice to pursue a big goal and went after it with everything I had in me. You can do the same.

So Ask Yourself…

  • What is my worst-case scenario? and can I handle that situation if it arises?
  • Are my fears ego-driven or legitimate fears?
  • Will I give up or keep learning and growing until it happens?

You’re Ready, But What’s Next?

If you’re feeling ready to take the leap but want guidance on how to make it a reality, check out the Remote Job Accelerator course or for a more personalized approached check out the 1:1 remote career coach mentoring

Both the online course and remote career coaching are options that use a proven system for landing a remote job. This means you’ll save a ton of time and money, compared to trying to figure it out yourself. There’s no point in trying to reinvent the wheel and figure it out all on your own when you can learn from others who have already taken the journey. 

You’ll also get support so you don’t have to take this journey alone. If you’re reading this you’re likely a “black sheep” of your family or community. Because of that, it can be challenging to pursue something that’s “out of the norm”, especially when so many people in your life don’t “get it”. 

If You’re Not Choosing To GO Remote, You’re Choosing To NOT Go Remote. 

You have the invitation, now you get to decide what you do with this information. Do you get the right support to go remote so you can start working remotely from anywhere in the world or do you continue down your current path and stay in the 9-5 forever?

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

This is your opportunity for change and it’s up to you whether you take it or not.

5 Safety Tips for Female Solo Travelers in South America

Traveling throughout South America? Becca, a member of traveling with Remote Year Kahlo gives 5 tips on safety as a female traveler.

Becca of @halfhalftravel is currently traveling with her boyfriend Dan (the other half of @halfhalftravel) on Remote Year Kahlo, a 4-month program that travels through Peru, Colombia and Mexico. You can follow their story on Instagram and

Through my experiences of backpacking through South America alone in Costa Rica and Colombia, I’ve learned a lot about solo female travel in Latin America. People often ask me if I think South America is a safe place to travel, and if I feel that this region is pretty solid for solo female travel. First, while reading this article, please keep in mind that it’s crucial for anyone to employ standard safety measures when traveling alone, whether male or female!

I landed in Costa Rica alone at age 24, armed with some Spanish and found strength in numbers among those I met in hostels. I also went backpacking in Colombia with a friend in early 2016 and, in our final days, split apart so that he could go trekking and I could return to the U.S. to get back to work. In my days as a solo female traveler in Colombia, I felt confident and fairly safe in general.

Many people think South America presents immediate safety concerns, especially for women who are traveling on their own. In my experience of travel in Latin America, with trips spanning over six years and through 10 countries from Mexico to Argentina, I’ve never really felt menaced or in danger, mostly because of the precautions I’ve taken. Here are my best tips for backpacking through South America alone, from the Caribbean coasts to the salt flats of Bolivia.

1. Travel as a solo female within a group.

Solo travel for women doesn’t start and stop by being alone – I like to find travel groups or communities to use as a base off of which I can still be on my own. Remote work and travel programs like Remote Year provide community for women traveling long-term. On Remote Year, I’ve spent a month in Lima, Medellin, Bogota and Mexico City, with the flexibility to make my own travel decisions all while having the basis of community and friendship of a diverse array of new friends.

Another benefit to group travel are memberships to organizations like ISOS, which I was introduced to via Remote Year. Remote Year provides us with group membership to International SOS, one of the leading medical and travel assistance companies worldwide. ISOS has an app that we are all encouraged to download on our phones in case of emergency, and the group code is required in order to access all the services of emergency services, English-speaking doctors, and more.

The author, Becca Siegel of @halfhalftravel, at a group event outside Medellin, Colombia, with the RY Kahlo group.

2. Be aware of common scams for women in South America.

Common scams in Latin America range from people who may distract you in order to snatch your wallet or phone, to scams on dates. While I haven’t gone on dates in Latin America, I’ve surely been approached by or engaged in conversation with South Americans who ask if I have a boyfriend, how I learned my Spanish or if I like Colombian men, for example. In all these cases, it’s nice to be friendly, but to avoid getting too personal.

Among people I’ve met this year who’ve dated in South America, the most common scams occur on Tinder meetups when a local man or woman asks the foreign man or woman for money (usually “for school or university,” “for my visa” and “because I lost my job”) at the end of the date. It’s important to screen people well in order to find out their motive for meeting you, as you would at home, but with the mindset that some locals want to date travelers and expats for the underlying assumption that they have money, speak English and/or are letting their guards down because they want to adventure.

Join a group of traveling professionals receiving their own real-world education on a work and travel program

3. Take common sense precautions for solo female travel.

As a solo female traveler taking my first trip to Latin America in 2013, I was told by friends that I should wear a ring so that I looked married, to say I had a husband at home and to not talk to any men who asked me about myself. Overall, this was a bit dramatic, and I didn’t feel bothered by many men at all in Costa Rica or Colombia, in my next solo travel adventure.

The author, Becca Siegel of @halfhalftravel, in 2014 in Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

4. Ignore stereotypes of solo female travel in Latin America.

Common stereotypes of solo female travelers in Latin America might involve assumptions that women who travel alone are looking for exotic love or that solo women are loners. By joining communities or groups, or meeting other solo travelers in hostels, you will more likely than not meet others on the same wavelength with similar interests and goals during their trips.

5. Learn some basic Spanish for traveling through South America alone.

My Spanish fluency has increased infinitely after traveling through South America. If you’re looking to improve your Spanish, there’s no better place to be than Latin America! If you’re looking to learn Spanish and are starting from square one, it pays to start with an app or a language partner before you take your first flight to a South or Central American destination.

Though I’ve been to Latin America 12 times now, I forget once I’m here that the average person does not speak much English. You’ll find that taxi drivers, people in most stores, vendors in markets and sometimes even hostel or hotel staff do not know English at all. To start preparing for your own safety, should you have a personal or health emergency, start learning Spanish and keep going!

Solo female travel in South America can be worthwhile for any woman seeking adventure. Travelling South America alone as a woman is rewarding, exciting and a unique experience. For women who are ready for a challenge, backpacking through South America alone is going to be a lot of fun.

The author, Becca Siegel of @halfhalftravel, in the world’s largest hammock, in Minca, Colombia, in 2016.

Becca of @halfhalftravel is currently traveling with her boyfriend Dan (the other half of @halfhalftravel) on Remote Year Kahlo, a 4-month program that travels through Peru, Colombia and Mexico. You can follow their story on Instagram and

10 Best Laptop-Friendly Cafes in New York City

If you’re hustling in The City That Never Sleeps, you’re going to want some coffee. Becca, a member of Remote Year Kahlo, dishes on her favorite laptop-friendly cafes in New York.

Becca of @halfhalftravel is currently traveling with her boyfriend Dan (the other half of @halfhalftravel) on Remote Year Kahlo, a 4-month program that travels through Peru, Colombia and Mexico. You can follow their story on Instagram and

Are you looking for the best cafes in NYC? Places where you can work uninterrupted and with solid Wi-Fi? While I do love cafes that have signs reading “No Wi-Fi here – Talk amongst yourselves!” the fact is that sometimes you have some work to do. Here’s a definitive list of my favorite cafes where sitting down with a laptop is not frowned upon, and where you can have a tasty cup of joe and delicious food while you work hard (or hardly work).

1. Freehold, Williamsburg

(45 S 3rd St, Brooklyn, NY)

Freehold is like an expansion of a cafe or bar that can be treated during the day like a coworking space, and turned into a more lively locale at night. Enter on South 3rd and you’ll find a compact cafe, but turn left when you walk in to find levels of chic seating, outdoor space, a loft level out back and excellent service. You might not want to leave, which is okay, because Freehold turns into a bar scene after dark.

2. The Bean

824 Broadway, New York, NY and other locations‍

With four downtown locations all between NYU and the East Village, The Bean is a popular place to sit down with your work, if you can find a seat! Come early to get a table to yourself, or stay late, because The Bean is open ‘til midnight, every day (how’s that for the City that Never Sleeps?)! Wi-Fi is free, and for snacking, they have an array of vegan treats in addition to some coffee specialties. In fact, the first time I heard ‘dirty chai’ was at The Bean on E. 12th & Broadway.

3. Vineapple

71 Pineapple St, Brooklyn, NY

What do you get when you combine the vines of Brooklyn Heights with Pineapple St.? Vineapple Cafe, of course! Come here with your laptop and be ready to drink some good coffee. The interior is cozy, with couches and low tables, and if you stop by between 4:00pm – 6:00pm you’ll find daily happy hour specials. This is a true neighborhood place, and worth crossing the river for.

4. Project Cozy

NoLiTa 9398 Broome St, New York, NY)

You won’t be alone if you come here with a laptop, and there are a bunch of spots to plug in your power cord. On the menu at Project Cozy are smoothies, coffee, tea and pastries, with a bunch of different places to sit (all have varying degrees of sunlight, from lots to none, depending on your preference).

5. Variety Coffee

261 7th Ave, New York, NY and more

There are five Variety Coffee locations in Chelsea, the East Side, Bushwick, Greenpoint and Williamsburg, and all have clean, trendy design elements and pride themselves on unique coffee roasts. Wi-Fi is free and there are plenty of outlets. All are neighborhood favorites.

6. Lincoln Station

409 Lincoln Pl, Brooklyn, NY

This favorite neighborhood cafe for residents of Prospect Heights has Wi-Fi, plenty of outlets, meals from breakfast to dinner and even take-out. Happy hour is Monday to Thursday from 5 to 8pm, and the coffee menu is simple, but dependable. People come here to get work done during the week, as it turns into a popular brunch spot (and lively, too, with outdoor seating in warm months!) on weekends.

7. Kos Kaffe Roasting House

251 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY

Wandering through Park Slope? Kos Kaffe is an inviting spot for food and coffee or tea, and while it looks more like a place to sit down with a meal, laptops are ok here. Keep in mind that on weekends, there are certain hours when people using laptops can only sit at bar tables and the big communal tables. The menu is unique, and coffee comes in huge mugs.

8. Manhattanville Coffee

142 Edgecombe Ave, New York, NY and Brooklyn

If you are up in Harlem or out in Crown Heights, you can pick from either location of Manhattanville Coffee. Once, while taking a walk with friends, I met the two owners, who are both passionate for having intimate cafes with friendly staff. Their food caters to a whole host of allergies, if you have any eating restrictions, and the staff don’t hesitate to take out a binder that lists the allergens and ingredients of most available dishes. Oh, and the coffee is good (they brew Intelligentsia Coffee), the Wi-Fi is fast and there’s lots of natural light.

9. Hungry Ghost Coffee

253 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY and others

Head to Hungry Ghost’s ‘big’ location on Flatbush Ave between Park Slope and Prospect Heights for a spacious and aesthetically-pleasing space where you can prop up your laptop and settle down to get work done. Now with seven (!!!) locations all over the city from Williamsburg to NYU Tisch, you can get ‘hungry’ in a few boroughs and count on their excellent espressos, healthy lunches and free Wi-Fi.

10. Think Coffee

123 4th Ave, New York, NY and others

Think Coffee’s 10 locations throughout Manhattan south of 42nd St. down to Tribeca (and one in Williamsburg) will keep you caffeinated and hard at work. There are tons of laptops here, and after your coffee, you can stick around for beer and wine at most of their cafes, which are all open til between 8 and 11:30 pm (Bleecker St. location). 

Top 7 Remote Job Board Websites in 2018

Remote work is becoming an option for professionals in a variety of industries. Curious to see if you can find a remote job within your field? These remote job board websites will help.

The allure of remote work is well-documented: more and more professionals are in search of an opportunity to continue excelling in their careers while partaking in today’s push towards freedom and flexibility.

If you’re looking for a chance to expand your skills without succumbing to the traditional 9-5 in a conventional office environment,  you’re not alone. Some remote workers reside in their own cities, bouncing from coworking space to coffee shops as they please, and then there is that ever-expanding group of remote workers that is traveling the world, laptops in hand.

In this case, working remotely is not only a perk, but a necessity. To become a location independent worker, or to join a work and travel program, you need to have a remote job.

So it’s settled. You know that you want to work remotely, but where should you start?

Remote Year’s CEO, Greg Caplan, recommends that you try to transition your current role into remote work, or ask your network for opportunities when you are looking for a remote career. However, if you’re unable to secure a job through those methods, your next best bet is to look into remote job boards.

Work remotely while seeing the world on a work and travel program. Click here to get started.

3 Tips for Using Remote Job Boards

Remote job boards are websites that curate open professional positions that can be done remotely. They typically break down openings by roles, and then by whether the company requires you to be in a certain country, or whether you are free to roam the world. With hundreds of new positions listed every day, it can be easy to think that there are more than enough remote careers to go around.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Remote jobs are highly sought-after, with job seekers looking for remote positions more than ever before. According to a 2017 study from Indeed Hiring Lab, job seekers’ search terms like “remote”, “telecommute”, and “work from home” were up 32% from the previous year.

To help you lock down that coveted remote job, we’ve put together three best practices for using remote job boards:

1 – Get super specific

Technology has allowed many industries to get in on the remote work action, so scrolling through every job listed on a remote job board is a simple way to waste your time.

Narrow down the industry that you’re interested in, the job level (entry-level, mid-level, senior, etc.), and, if possible, search for an exact job title that reflects your skillset and desired role. Do some research on LinkedIn to see what job titles your peers have listed. Use these variations as a starting point when searching job boards for your dream remote career.

Top 7 Remote Job Board Websites in 2018 | Remote Year

2 – Stand out, or miss out

As mentioned, the remote job space is extremely competitive. Each position that you apply for will also attract a multitude of experienced candidates. Look for ways to make your resumé, cover letter, and any other required information stand out from the crowd. Draw on your unique identifiers and skills, particularly the ones that would make you a good remote employee, when you’re crafting your application. This is your chance to get your foot in the door of remote work, and you don’t want to miss your shot.

3 – Have an employer-first mindset

As much as you are set on finding a remote job, it isn’t wise to mention that you’re applying for a position simply because it is remote. Although some employers are committed to providing their employees with flexibility, it shouldn’t be the aspect of the job that you lead with when asked, “What made you apply for this position?” Instead, think of the ways that your skillset could help this partially-remote or fully-distributed company accomplish its goals. Your interviewer wants to know why you would be a great fit for their organization, not the other way around.

Best Remote Job Board Websites

Now that you know the best way to go about your job search, here are the best remote job board websites:


The one with the largest community of remote workers and employers

WeWorkRemotely is known as the go-to resource for many location independent workers. As the largest community of both remote workers and employers, WeWorkRemotely lists thousands of new job opportunities every day in industries across the spectrum, and you can access them for free. Here are just a few examples:

Top 7 Remote Job Board Websites in 2018 | Remote Year


The one with the hidden gem opportunities

Flexjobs was created with the job seeker in mind. They knew from the start that finding a great, long-term remote job was more difficult than the average job hunt, so they decided to do the work for you. In addition to a bevy of companies that post their open positions directly to the Flexjobs site, Flexjobs has a team of experts that scour hundreds of remote job resources every day to find the perfect jobs that you won’t find anywhere else. They have a library of their own resources to share with you including job search checklists, skill tests, and video introductions that will help you find the job you’re looking for. However, VIP service and expert advice comes at a price: it costs $14.99 per month to be a Flexjobs member.

Working Nomads

The one that was built with digital nomads in mind

If you consider yourself a digital nomad (or you want to!), Working Nomads could be the best remote job board for you. They curate jobs that are specifically targeted to people who want to work while traveling. These are the positions that you’re searching for if you’re over a traditional 9-5 lifestyle, and want to experience what it’s like to live your life, on your terms, in cities around the world. Take a look:


The one that has curation down to a science

Jobspresso doesn’t scrape other job sites in order to find their listings. Each listing is hand-picked, reviewed, and curated by the Jobspresso team. The positions they feature come from nearly every industry, from software development, to creative fields, to more surprising areas of expertise like HR and project management. With a visually appealing and user-friendly site at their disposal, Jobspresso is quickly growing into a remote job seeker favorite. In fact, it’s where the writer of this piece found her current job! Here are a few positions that you may be interested in:

Talk to a member of our Program Placement Team about joining a work and travel program.

Top 7 Remote Job Board Websites in 2018 | Remote Year

The one that’s encouraging employers to get on board with flexibility is not only hoping that you’ll be able to find a remote job through their site, they’re banking on employers being able to find top candidates as well. Their founder is an advocate for a flexible lifestyle and has given talks around the country in support of companies that embrace remote work. Because of her connection this issue, is able to source open positions from companies that may just be entering the flexible work community. Check out these listings:

Remote Work Hub

The one with deals on career coaching, courses, events, and software for its members

Remote Work Hub is focused on helping you, the aspiring remote worker, make your dream come true. They only list positions that they know will be long-term or permanent, so you won’t spend time applying for something that will only last for a few months. However, to view the jobs available on their website, you must become a Remote Work Hub member.

Remote Work Hub’s membership service costs $9 per month, and gets you daily job opening notifications, access to a private community of remote workers, online course admission, free resume evaluation, and deals on career coaching, coworking spaces, and resources that will help you find a remote job and secure an offer.

You don’t have to wait to pursue a life lived to its fullest. Starting your remote job search now is a great way to get to know the market, familiarize yourself with the companies that are consistently posting remote careers, and put yourself in the best position to attain freedom and flexibility. Use the tips we’ve provided to find the role that you’re looking for on a remote job board website and make it yours