Work and travel around the world – It sounds like the perfect lifestyle, doesn't it? You can alternate lazing on the beach, with sporadic bouts of work to have a stress free, fulfilling life. Just how practical and realistic is this though? Take a look to find out…
Work and Travel
There are a couple of reasons for writing this article about how to work and travel. The first, is that I have been living and working online in Greece for nearly a year now. During this time, I wanted a way of explaining to people what it is I actually do.
Whilst I technically haven't been travelling for all of the time I have been in Greece, I work from a laptop. This means that I am not tied to any one location. I might not be technically a digital nomad, but I am close enough!
My goal, is to create a means of earning an income no matter where I am in the world. As part of my 2016 travel plans, I put this to good use when I cycled from Greece to England during the summer. I managed to travel and work at the same time as cycling 80kms a day!
I Was Asked A Question
The second reason, is that someone recently sent me an email, in which they explained they were planning a long distance bicycle trip. They intended to keep a blog and take video along the way, and asked this question.
“I'm curious how I might turn this blog (With some video) into something that can help support me during my travels. .. In your experience what would you think is a good strategy?
I thought about it for a while, and part of my answer to the email was this.
“In regards to making a blog or online presence that may help support your travels – This is in all honesty a tough nut to crack! A lot depends on how active you want to be, how much time and energy you want to put into it etc. If I was to be brutally honest, working a month on a farm in Canada along the way would probably be more profitable, and less stressful!”
It Was The Truth
I hasten to add, that this was not a flippant reply. I am in no way discouraging anyone from seeking to earn a living online through their blog, YouTube channel, or whatever.
The simple truth though, was that as his trip was cycling from Texas to Alaska, working for a month on a farm in Canada would have been a great solution. I know, I've done it – Working on a farm in Pemberton.
(Stupidly I only worked there for a couple of days. Being older and wiser, I would have taken them up on their offer to work longer, and extended my travels with the extra money).
How To Work And Travel Around The World
So, I began to think about work and travel more. Has the internet and the concept of making money online changed peoples perception's when it comes to work and travel? Do people now think more about making a living through a blog, and discount the idea of doing ‘physical work' in a ‘real' job? Do people even know that it is possible to do casual manual labour on farms as they travel?
It seems that all the travel blogs I read today concentrate on how to make money online. I can't recall one recent article about anyone working different casual jobs as they travelled.
I have worked all sorts of jobs as I have travelled – I have picked grapes in Keffalonia, been a nightclub bouncer in Sweden, worked on a farm in Canada, and much more. I know it's possible, and to a certain extent, it beats sitting in front of a laptop screen for 10 hours a day!
Here is the part of the article when I turn into a massive, big fat hypocrite though – I now make my money online. Yeah, I know what you are thinking! But let me tell you, it didn't happen overnight! This was a few years in the planning.
Working Online As A Digital Nomad
It basically came about after my last major trip of cycling from Alaska to Argentina. This was an 18 month bicycle tour, but I ran out of money at about month 12.
At this point, I realised that I had to readjust my approach to travel. For the previous 15 years, I had followed a “Work-Save-Travel-Repeat” pattern. I needed a way to create an income whilst I travelled.
Borrowing a little money from my parents (thanks!), I continued cycling, and came across a couple of websites where I could bid for work as a freelance writer. I signed up, took on some incredibly low paid work, and combined cycling for a few days with writing for a few days.
At this point, a light-bulb went on. If I could develop a way to work online and travel at the same time, any trip I took could be self-sustaining. So, this is the point I am at now.
Related: How to choose the best digital nomad backpack for you
What exactly do “I Do”?
Freelance Writing Work
I have a variety of clients I write for on a regular basis. This makes up about 25% of my income. If you are looking for a freelance writer, mail me for competitive rates! – firstname.lastname@example.org
Undisclosed Online Work
I have found a rather unique company to work for, which I am afraid I will have to keep a closely guarded secret. It pays great, and makes up about 50% of my income. The one drawback here, is that I can't be pro-active and get more work. One month I may have a lot of jobs, the next might be dead, and I have no control over it. This is why it's important to have different income streams.
Dave's Travel Pages
The blog is a small source of income. If I priced my time spent writing and promoting my content at 10 Euros an hour, I would be losing 100 Euros a month. I will let you do the maths for yourself! So, yes it does provide a small income. Yes, I would be writing my travel blog even if it made no money. No, it is not going to make me a millionaire any time soon. It does, however, give me other benefits which are hard to measure. These include the opportunity to test new gear like the Stanforth Kibo Bicycle, or experience tours to Greek islands in return for an honest review.
Other Websites I Own
I am very much in the development stage with four other non-travel websites I own. The idea behind these, is that it expands my income stream. These sites take about ten hours per month to run, although I don't expect to see a significant return for at least another six months. Update November 2016 – One site has started to make me a reasonable amount of money now. Yay!
Website administrating, social media management, and email support
This year, I am branching out into different areas of website support and admin for other people. It is probably best described as being a glorified Virtual Assistant at the moment, although I know the skill-sets I have developed over the last few years of blogging will help me take this further. A long-term goal, is to develop this into a business where I can employ other people. Watch this space!
How Can I Manage All This
All of the work I do listed above, I can manage from a laptop with an internet connection. So yes, it is true, that the laptop, digital nomad lifestyle is a valid one! However, it has taken me several years to get to where I am now. I also use a whole range of tools to help me run my online businesses.
How to Work and Travel Around the World
Here are some other ways you can work and travel around the world.
Work in a hostel/hotel.
Casual work on Farms.
Bartending in resorts.
Cafe or Restaurant Work.
Scuba Diving Instructor.
and so on, and so on. In fact, getting a job anywhere in the world boils down to the following.
1. Scarcity of Labour
2. Skills you possess
3. Willingness to get off your arse and try
Identify where all these things match, and you can work and travel around the world for as long as you like! Here's a look at digital nomad jobs for beginners you might find useful.
Some Final Thoughts
So, I think my point, (if I have a point), is this: When it comes to work and travel, have a long term plan, but embrace each opportunity as it comes. By all means set the goal of earning money with a blog, but keep in mind that this is a long process, and it is not the only option. Unless you have great contacts or are very lucky, you are going to need to invest a lot of time and effort into it before you see much in the way of return.
Most travel bloggers tend to earn their living through connected activities, such as freelance writing and photography rather than the blog itself, so put just as much effort into that as well. There are also plenty of other opportunities out there, especially for casual labour at certain times of year, be it working at a beach resort during the summer, or picking grapes in the autumn. Be flexible, put your ego to one side, and say yes to opportunities as they reach you. Work and travel is more fun that way!
You might also want to read: How to travel stress free and How to hide money when traveling