Work therapy: can a cyber-commuter prepare a retail employee for life as a digital nomad? | Working holidays

Wand started a revolution from our beds during lockdown and is now spreading to beach resorts. Realizing that remote work is entirely possible, many people are taking that spirit abroad. A 2021 report from Airbnb showed that 11% of people who book extended stays from the company they lived a nomadic lifestyle and 5% planned to leave their main homes.

Barbados, Malta, Iceland, Bermuda, Spain, Croatia, Greece, Estonia, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia (specifically Bali) are among the countries establishing digital nomad visas and similar schemes for remote workers.

But how does someone who has never been self-employed, let alone worked abroad, prepare for such a drastic lifestyle change?

The case: Luisa Tulouna works at Victoria Market in Melbourne selling chicken. She is studying digital marketing, web development and writing, as well as Tesol (teaching English as a second language), with the idea of ​​freelancing or teaching while immersing herself in combat sports abroad.

Diego Bejarano Gerke working from Oman

The expert: Diego Bejarano Gerke is the CEO of Wifi Tribe, a community of over 1,000 digital nomads from 63 countries who travel together. The logistics of living in each country are arranged by the chapter hosts employed by WiFi Tribe. He is also co-founder of trip to the beachan online course aimed at bringing people closer to remote work.

The session

Diego is in Bali when we Zoom and he’s carrying a nice pair of cans, essential for the digital nomad. He tells Luisa that he finds his pursuit relatable to him: he quit working on startups (“failing miserably”) in favor of being an independent salesman himself.

WiFi Tribe started in 2016 when Diego invited a group of friends to work on a house his parents owned in Bolivia. Gradually that group became more nomadic, eventually morphing into a formalized arrangement that accumulates newcomers as they go.

Luisa wants to pursue her passion for Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which could take her to Thailand, Brazil, or the Netherlands. Her interest in combat sports has saved lives. “It has helped me deepen my desires for personal growth and the constant challenges are enough to give anyone purpose and drive,” she says. Learning about the cultures of the country you are visiting through martial and traditional arts would be “the best way to live”.

Before leaving, Luisa plans to save enough to live on for five months: about 9,500 Australian dollars according to her estimates. Diego agrees. He thinks that people need a minimum of living capital for three months, plus enough money to fly home in an emergency.

“If you follow nomad list, you can just search the destinations and they will tell you what the cost of living there is, as well as the ‘livability,’” he says. “I would take that with a pinch of salt because you can usually live cheaper.”

Diego advises Luisa to avoid any place that is touristy, since the cost of living is higher. Koh Phangan in Thailand has a healthy digital nomad community, as does Florianopolis in Brazil. The Netherlands would be much more expensive. Arriving out of season will also cut costs.

Koh Phangan in Thailand is a paradise for digital nomads.
Koh Phangan in Thailand is a paradise for digital nomads. Photograph: Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty Images

Luisa will immediately have a sports community because she will join a wrestling gym. To find a work community, Diego recommends searching for digital nomad groups on Facebook and following threads on Reddit, as well as finding a coworking space that emphasizes community building.

He says that, realistically, it will take Luisa a good month to find her way and that she will probably get distracted by tourist things. For this reason, it is better to move somewhere for a minimum of three months.

“The first week, I would probably look at the gym you’re going to be in,” he says. “Decide if you need a coworking space or which cafe is the right place to work.” Diego says that he should make sure that his accommodation has a desktop and a good Internet connection “as a backup.”

Most digital nomads use Airbnb, but paid couch-surfing community services might be “worth a try,” Diego says. “I wouldn’t recommend a hostel because most people are in a different phase of life, trying to have fun while trying to work.”

It’s smart to sweat the small stuff before you arrive. “Get health insurance, travel insurance and a few different credit or debit cards because you will inevitably lose some or they will be blocked.” Diego also recommends international banking systems like Revolut and Wise. “They allow you to exchange currency at probably the best rates.”

In order for Luisa to land ready for work, Diego tells her to make sure her phone is not locked to a carrier and buy a SIM card as soon as she lands. “Get 30 GB of data [with the sim] so if there’s an internet outage, you can keep working using your phone as a hotspot,” says Diego. It’s even worth bringing a pocket wifi router like GlocalMe in case you can’t get to a dummy store.

As for actual work, he cautions that getting a job locally, such as in retail or hospitality, is often not an option. Tax rules and visa requirements They vary from country to country as well.

Diego recommends that Luisa start building a copywriting and marketing portfolio right away using a platform like up work either five. “I started my marketing with a family contact and asked if I could learn on the job and only charge half the time, then I went to Upwork to put myself on there too,” she says.

Getting good reviews now will be vital to attracting new customers. “If you have a first client you’re working with, ask them to bill you through Upwork,” says Diego. “You are going to lose some money through this [Upwork takes between 5% and 20%], but more importantly, you will set up a portfolio and they will give you a review at the end of that. Just make sure they give you a review. The same goes for teaching English: you can put that in there too.”

There are many platforms to find remote work (some are free and others have a subscription system): Remote jobs for digital nomads; The world of digital nomads; Pangian, We work remotely, flexible jobs Y remote only.

A word of warning, though: It’s common for freelancers to go through feast and famine phases, which is why those three months of saved expenses are so important.

Luisa’s Takeaway

Luisa joined the Nomad List and Diego signed her up for Beach Commute for free.

“Phase one is the preparation stage,” she says. “I need to put more effort into my studies before I get distracted by all the potential jobs I could get.”

“Phase two is building the portfolio, working for free or cheap to get a foot in the door, and phase three is figuring out where I’m going and what I need to do to be in that country legally.”

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