Digital Nomad Jobs: How I Get Paid While Traveling Full-Time

Digital nomad jobs are ways to make an income while traveling full-time. Starting out might be confusing, but I guarantee, it’s easier than it seems to escape the rat race.

Ever felt trapped at your desk, fantasizing about ditching the 9-to-5 grind and catching a flight toward a life of independence and freedom?

Well, that was me six years ago—except I actually did it.

After securing two (low-paying) remote jobs, I quit my stable office job and bought a one-way flight to Southeast Asia.

Fast forward a year and things were going well. I thought I had it all figured out, so I scribbled down everything I learned about remote work, becoming a digital nomad without “remote” skills, and packed it into a guide for anyone crazy enough to follow along.

Turns out, a lot of you were just as nuts—over 100,000 people worldwide read this guide and started plotting their own escapes.

This confirmed what I felt all along– local independence through a remote income is the ticket to a lifestyle of freedom, and people were catching on!

Fast forward to today and I’m still living out of my bags, traveling full-time while working from my laptop. I’ve traveled to over 50 countries across six continents, living a life far richer in experiences and adventures than I ever could have imagined if I’d chosen the safety of the familiar.

The digital nomad landscape has changed since 2018. So, I continue to update this post every year to offer no BS advice on how to actually become a digital nomad with remote work and travel the world full-time.

How Do Digital Nomads Make Money?

Things have changed since 2018. These days, there are tonnes of ways to make money online and you don’t really need “remote skills”.

If you’re looking for a quick answer, below are some of the most common approaches, but I will dive a bit deeper into the best methods below.

Active income methods are ways that Digital Nomads can earn an income directly from the hours that they work, much like a conventional job. Popular pathways include:

  • Find a remote role – the “safest” option is to convince your current employer that you can do your job from your laptop. Alternatively, find a role that can be performed from anywhere. (good website suggestions below).
  • Online tutoring & teaching – My first online job was teaching Chinese students English online. This is harder these days but still possible if you get an online TEFL certificate.
  • Freelance work – skills like graphic design, software development, coding, or writing are often a great starting point if you have these unique skills that can be completed remotely on a gig basis.
  • Side gigs – research in-demand gigs on use sites like Fiverr or Upwork. There are literally hundreds of thousands of one-off jobs online like copywriting, spreadsheet work, translations, resumé help, etc.

Passive income methods are ways to earn a long-term, sustainable income tomorrow from unpaid work you do today. Examples include:

  • Build a monetized blog – one of the best ways to make money as a digital nomad that still works today.
  • Start a YouTube channel – requires much more work and time than a monetized blog.
  • Create an online course – one of the best ways to earn money online, but will require expertise in an industry, as well as a large follower base.
  • Publish an ebook – write and publish an eBook on Amazon Kindle Direct.

Online entrepreneurship is the ability and readiness to build a business online. While riskier and certainly not a quick ticket to living remotely, the entrepreneurial path can result in the most success.

  • E-commerce & dropshipping stores – a popular path that even I tried before just getting a remote job. Requires a lot of time, commitment, and start-up investment.
  • Build a brand or app – a very difficult path but can be extremely rewarding.

Update: These days, many gigs and freelance roles are being replaced by AI. However, there is an opportunity in this. If you know how to use it, you can use it to your advantage.

Pros and Cons of the Digital Nomad Lifestyle

Becoming a digital nomad is the dream lifestyle choice for so many. But, before you go and apply for all of the remote jobs online, remotely while traveling the world does has some downsides, as crazy as it sounds.


  1. Flexibility & freedom: Having the freedom to choose where and when to work is an unbelievably liberating freedom. I value this above all else which is what has led me on this journey.
  2. Ditching the commute: Long gone are the days when every worker needs to sit in traffic or on congested public transport on the way to work. Becoming a digital nomad means that you can swap out the commute time for you time.
  3. Travel: The opportunity to explore new countries, landscapes, and cultures while earning a living is an incredible privilege of life as a digital nomad.
  4. Reducing the cost of living: Choosing where you want to work means that you can work from countries that enjoy a lower cost of living.
  5. Lower your fixed costs: As a digital nomad, you can lower your everyday fixed expenses including mortgages, electricity bills, phone plans, and insurance. For example, I use HeyMondo (previously I used SafetyWing), which for $44 each month replaces all of my personal insurances I once paid in my home country.
  6. More jobs: Since the pandemic, the remote work market has exploded. Plus, as a remote worker, you are now not limited to jobs in your region. Instead, you have access to a global job market.


  1. Routine: All this newfound freedom makes establishing a productive routine difficult. This is something you’ll want to consider when starting out as a digital nomad.
  2. Constant change: They say that change is as good as a holiday– but moving around a lot does take its toll.
  3. Lack of stability: People like comfort and familiarity, but that’s not why we pursue this lifestyle.
  4. No fixed address: If you’re like me and move around every few weeks, you will find that receiving parcels and registering for government services can be tedious, although there are workarounds.
  5. Time zones: Depending on your work situation, time zones can severely limit or hinder your travel plans as a digital nomad. Jobs or remote sources of income that don’t require a set schedule are great for travel, while if you still need to clock on the 9-5, you’ll want to find a work location that won’t turn you into a vampire.

How to Become a Digital Nomad by Getting Your First Online Job

In today’s economy, getting a reliable online job isn’t as hard as you might expect. Even when I first started in 2018, I considered it a distant dream but was shocked at how easy it was even then.

Again, let me reiterate that although it might seem more attractive for many to start off by creating a brand or eCommerce business, this is actually a much more difficult venture.

Trust me, I’ve been there. I’ve failed multiple times.

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Google: “How do I become a digital nomad?!

I spent a lot of time and money in these sorts of ventures and I found that to get things running the way I wanted them, it just needed too much money. Money that I wanted to spend traveling.

But even with passion, the main problem with starting your own business is that it takes time and money to set up. Although the rewards are greater in the long term, this route definitely won’t get you on the road any time soon.

For that reason, if you are like me and just want to fast-track your way to becoming a digital nomad, then I recommend looking for purely remote online work and then chasing any entrepreneurial dreams after that.

Let me tell you how to do that.

Best Websites to Find Digital Nomad Jobs

Here is a very comprehensive list of websites that you can use now to find remote positions and fast-track your way to becoming a digital nomad.

  1. Flexjobs – find companies offering remote positions (currently a promo code FLEXLIFE for a much cheaper signup)
  2. Upwork – huge database of remote job listings
  3. Outsourcely – connecting startups with digital nomads
  4. – a remote job board with good variety of opportunities
  5. DailyRemote – smaller remote job board
  6. Remote4U – find remote chat operator positions
  7. Remote Ok – another small but good job board for remote positions
  8. We Work Remotely – good board for skills like design, programming etc.
  9. FindASync – niche job board for companies that use asynchronous communication
  10. Pangian – one of the fastest-growing remote work communities
  11. Just Remote – good board for customer service, PA, or writing jobs
  12. Remotive – tech roles, writing jobs etc.
  13. – filter by remote
  14. Working Nomads – everything from data entry to remote managerial positions
  15. Crossover – smaller database
  16. Talent – search for remote
  17. Dynamite Jobs – work from home and remote job board
  18. 100Telecommute Jobs – remote job board
  19. Remote Jobs – remote job board
  20. Jooble – good for finding remote jobs in Mexico

This is quite a large list, with tens of thousands of online jobs available. In my experience, the best sources out of these are Flexjobs and Upwork.

What are the Best REAL Digital Nomad Jobs for Beginners?

I guess beginner isn’t the right word. We’ve all had a job before, the only difference with digital nomad jobs is that you are able to work from your computer while traveling.

As you’ve seen, there are thousands of online opportunities out there. You just have to know where to look. Below I’ll introduce some options that got me started as a digital nomad. This is a similar path that many are taking because it’s reliable and consistent, and will hopefully get you on the plane quicker, even if you don’t have any “remote skills”.

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Remote work allowed me to complete my 2-month divemaster course in Koh Tao, Thailand

1. Teaching English Online

My first online role and probably one of the best digital nomad jobs for beginners is online ESL Teaching.

You’ve probably met plenty of people backpacking that do this to support their travels. This is because there is such a large demand for native English-speaking online teachers. If you read my story below, this is exactly how I became a digital nomad!

When I started, the best company to work for was DaDa. They were a Chinese company that employed thousands of English-speaking teachers and had over ten thousand students. This company jump-started my digital nomad work and onced offered up to $24 USD per hour to work your own schedule.

I traveled for 2 years solely on English teaching income and in the process hiked in the Himalayas, became a certified dive master, sailed the east coast of Australia, bused around India, lived in a van in New Zealand, drove a Tuk-Tuk around Sri Lanka and had plenty of time for volunteering while backpacking through The Philippines, Borneo and many other places in Asia.

How to get An Online Teaching job

The truth is, while it’s no longer as easy as it used to be, teaching English online is still one of the most common ways people start off with remote work.

Generally speaking, most companies are looking for:

  • Identification
  • Resume
  • Working towards or a completed TESOL / TEFL Course*
  • Some sort of teaching experience (tutoring is enough)
  • At least a high school level education
  • Be a native English Speaker
  • A laptop

Tip: For online English teaching, you will need a 120-hour TESOL/TEFL certificate. One of the best-regarded and cost-effective ways to get your English teaching certificate is to do it online with MyTEFL. I highly recommend this online course because it is cost-effective and recognized everywhere as being high-quality.

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Throwback: sometimes we had to teach in the bathroom to limit background noise

The Best Online English Teaching Companies for Digital Nomads

As mentioned, the company that I used to work for is no longer operating. However, the best place to look for online English teaching and tutoring is now:

Update: Unfortunately, due to recent regulatory changes in China, teaching English is now not as straightforward as it used to be but still a viable way to secure a relatively easy online job.

What it’s like Teaching Online While Traveling Full Time

Teaching English online is one of the easiest digital nomad jobs. It’s also really easy to learn and quite fun once you get going.

Because you develop your own fixed timetable, you will receive a fixed income each week. This is essentially the same as a regular job – you just don’t need to commute to an office and can work from a hostel, hotel, or restaurant.

Teaching online requires nothing more than a laptop and a headset. I used to teach students from 4-14 years old. The in-house teaching application was similar to Skype or Zoom, with both your and the student’s webcam visible. There was no need for extensive lesson planning or creation as all of the teaching material is supplied and tailored to your student.

These days, there are several different options depending on the company. Some require 1-on-1 teaching, while others expect you to teach an entire class. The age groups also vary depending on the company.

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Making friends in Ahmedabad, India

2. Freelance Writing Jobs for Digital Nomads

My second job as a digital nomad was to write articles for an SEO company. These are essentially just articles designed to rank highly on search engines. They can range from product reviews to quick DIY guides to basic “mini-essays” on a popular topic.

However, there are also loads of basic copywriting jobs available as well. Having SEO knowledge helps a lot though since most publications are looking for writers who know how to rank on Google. The great part is, that almost anyone can learn it over the course of a few weeks.

SEO knowledge is a great tool to have for those looking for how to become a digital nomad since it’s nowhere near as technical as coding or other software jobs!

There are several companies out there that require content writers. The company I worked for is quite small and no longer exists.

Also, these days, most freelance writers use generative AI like ChatGPT to speed up their workflow. While I’m not a fan, many companies will let you use it, which can save a lot of time.

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Back when I was a content writer: beats the old office

How to Get a Writing, SEO, or Copywriting Job

With the increasing cost of your clicks, well-optimized content is getting more and more valuable. As a result, there are loads of companies looking for people to write content for them. Even with tools like ChatGPT out there, companies still prefer real, human-written content to connect with their customers.

The only thing you need to get one of these digital nomad jobs is a knack for writing and a basic understanding of SEO. If you’ve written articles for university or school, these are great for a starting portfolio.

I also recommend finding and completing online courses on Udemy. I always check this site for new courses since sometimes there are crazy deals to up-skill your remote employability. I’ve even found some free ones that have helped me out massively with this blog!

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Waterfalls in the Philippines

3. Blogging

Blogging isn’t exactly a job that you’re hired for, but a really good avenue to building a reliable, passive income. I started this blog in 2019 and now make a multiple six-figure income passively from this site. It’s my full-time job, my business, and my ticket to continued remote work and ultimately, freedom.

I’ve written a comprehensive guide to starting a travel blog, which will also be helpful for other niches as well.

How to Earn Money from a Blog

Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money from blogging. As an example, here are my top-earning partners in the travel space.

  • SafetyWing – affordable insurance for nomads
  • ShareASale – tonnes of great affiliate programs in one place
  • TravelPayouts – earn on referrals from programs like, GetYourGuide, and RentalCars in one place.
  • HeyMondo – a great travel insurance affiliate program offering 5% off for readers.

4. Other Digital Nomad Jobs & “Remote Skils”

Of course, there are tonnes of other remote jobs out there. However, some skills tend to be more “remote-friendly” than others. Here are some great skills that you can pursue if you are looking to build a remote work lifestyle.

  • Recruiting
  • Web Development
  • SEO
  • Marketing
  • Business Development
  • Remote Customer Service
  • Accounting & Finance
  • Data Analytics
  • Web and Graphic Design
  • Engineer
  • Data entry/spreadsheet work
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The remote office isn’t always pretty, but it beats a cubicle.

How I Get Paid Remotely

These days, myself and most other digital nomads I speak to use online fintech companies like Wise or Revolut to receive their salary and payments for work.

These services physically set up a bank account in your name anywhere in the world. You can then get paid in any currency, including US Dollars, Chinese Yuan, and British Pounds.

The best part is, that you can exchange between currencies at typically FAR better rates than traditional banks. In my opinion, after using these services for the past few years is that it’s still, by far, the best and most effective way to handle pay and money as a digital nomad.

Digital Nomad Insurance

Digital nomad living is all about minimalism and reducing costs and outgoings. Thankfully, it’s possible to cut pretty much all of the insurance you might be used to and just revert to one single cover for health, travel, and personal belongings.

That’s because the two insurers I’m suggesting have single plans that cover it all. I’m still blown away by how much of a life hack this is.

Depending on your lifestyle, digital nomads can either choose a comprehensive yet affordable travel insurance like HeyMondo, or a digital nomad-specific insurance policy like SafetyWing.

SafteyWing also offers a new “Remote Health” policy plan, which is one of the most comprehensive and cost-effective health insurance for those living life on the road and working digital nomad jobs.

I’ve used both throughout the years and have written a comprehensive comparison guide which you can find by clicking the link. These days, I’m using HeyMondo’s Long-Stay insurance which came in very handy when I required bicep surgery in Thailand.

Internet for Digital Nomads

Internet connectivity largely dictates where you can go as a digital nomad. In saying that, you’d be surprised at just how easy it is to get a decent connection anywhere in the world.

I always just buy a local SIM card wherever I go and use the 4G (LTE) hotspot from my phone to my laptop. I always buy prepaid plans with a decent amount of data. I’ve been doing this for many years now and when I was teaching, I never missed a class, even in the desert of India and remote islands in The Philippines.

While I still prefer to use a local SIM card since it’s cheaper, I often use Airalo’s app to download e-SIMs before arriving in a new country to avoid hassle at the airport.

However, I always use the Speedtest app when planning a place to stay. You can also check LTE coverage maps for the telecom provider you’ve chosen to see the area to look for when you need to book a room to work.

I then use and search the location for hotels and hostels using their map feature, cross-referenced with the telecom provider’s coverage map. This has yet to fail me but there were a few times when cafes were the only option to work in some regions.

Tip for off-grid nomads: While I’m yet to try it, Starlink has revolutionized remote work for van-lifers, off-grid nomads, and sailors with high-speed satellite internet. I’m confident I will be using this in the very near future.

Essential Gear for Digital Nomads

When starting off as a digital nomad I wouldn’t say you need much more than a decent laptop and a phone to hotspot off. I’ve been using a Macbook Pro for several years now and I love it.

I’ve got a dedicated “shop” on this blog that lists all of the electronics, travel gear, and photography gear that I use. But, for digital nomad work, here are some of the things that I couldn’t do without:

  • International GaN Charger: New technology that enables fast charging of laptops, camera batteries, phones, etc in a tiny form-factor
  • A good backpack: I go with a high-end 75L Osprey since it’s pretty much my house and can use it for hiking and travel
  • Packing cubes: Essential for organising my very few possessions
  • Pacsafe retractasafe lock: Small, lightweight retractable cable lock for securing my belongings in a dorm or hotel room
  • Microfiber towel: A travel essential
  • Geopress water purifier: No more plastic bottle waste. I’ve used it to get fresh drinking water from Indian cities to backcountry trails

Related: Finding the Best Water Bottle Filter for Travel

What It’s Like Living as a Digital Nomad

This section was written well over four years ago but I’ve left it here as a good insight into what life on the road was like when first starting out. It’s sure been a journey, and it’s just getting better. For all of you looking for how to become a digital nomad to embrace the world of travel and freedom.

For me, it’s coming up to a year of full-time travel. So far it definitely feels like the kind of lifestyle that I want to pursue for a long time.

Evidently, when first starting out with digital nomad jobs, you don’t earn a lot of money. However, it definitely is doable in areas where your dollar goes further like in South East Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, or Central/South America.

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Exploring ancient Pagodas in Myanmar

Photography and writing are my passions. Digital nomad jobs and the overall backpacker lifestyle allow me to pursue this without the stress of diminishing travel funds.

In my opinion, working digital nomad jobs is a more rewarding and balanced life. I spend most of my days exploring jungles, temples, beaches, and waterfalls. I consider work as a necessary side component of life, rather than the be-all and end-all that is the 9-5.

In the meantime, I now have time to focus on my own project; We Seek Travel, and get as many travel and landscape photography opportunities as possible. Ultimately, I’d love to fully support myself on a digital nomad lifestyle without the need for an occupation (more on this later). However, for now, sticking to digital nomad jobs and remote work is essential in keeping me on the road.

Time breakdown: In total, I’d say that I currently spend about 15% of my time awake working, 15% on my blog, and the rest on enjoying travel and taking photos. In contrast, when I was working a full-time job, the split was more like 65% working, 10% commuting, and 25% for enjoying life.

Tips for Saving Money While Traveling

With online digital nomad jobs, It’s entirely possible to not only fund your travel but save money at the same time. When I first started remote work, I was sure to limit my work hours to fund my needs.

I didn’t want to find myself working all day every day. But, sometimes it was necessary to save a little bit more for flights, cameras, or a broken laptop.


There are thousands of opportunities to volunteer your time while traveling. Not only will you be giving back to the countries that have given you so much, but you will also often be rewarded with free food and accommodation for your time.

Since these are the biggest, and sometimes only costs when it comes to travel, you will essentially be able to save all of your online income while volunteering.

The goal is to volunteer in the morning or day and work digital nomad jobs in the afternoon or night. The beauty of this is that it benefits everybody. The communities you are helping get much-needed support while you can have a rewarding experience and save money at the same time.

A great volunteering organization with projects around the world is All Hands and Hearts. Check them out.

House & Pet Sitting

One of the best ways to cut costs and actually earn some extra money while traveling and first starting off as a digital nomad is to sign up for house & pet sitting.

Basically, loads of people all over the world are looking to travel but first need someone to take care of their house or pets while they are away. For those looking to become digital nomads, this is a perfect niche to fill, especially when first getting started.

The best globally recognized service is Trusted House Sitters. They get loads of requests and you are able to publish an account whereby people in your area can request you to sit for them! You will need to sign up and pay a yearly fee to become a registered sitter. However, you will easily reclaim this money within a week of paid house sitting (not to mention the free accommodation).

The best part about this is that you basically get free accommodation and continue to work online as a digital nomad to save and earn loads more money!

Increase your working hours

Whether you’re teaching online, writing, or coding, it’s usually pretty easy to pick up some extra workload. The companies and jobs I’ve listed above are usually pretty happy to have you working more hours.

The great thing about this is that it acts as a pause from travel. Take a couple of weeks on a tropical beach or among the rice paddies to stop moving around and just work. You’ll be surprised at how much you can save when you’re not spending money.


This goes without saying. Full-time travel can be extremely cheap. It can also drain your funds fast. Typically, I spend under $10 a day on food and always try to sleep for under $15 a night.

Sometimes, adventures, transport, and other things will cost more. However, these are essential for the travel experience and can’t be avoided.

What can be avoided, or put better, limited, are nights out. This is probably one of the biggest money drainers there is for backpackers. Although I’m not a stranger to a beer or two, I do this as a lifestyle rather than an escape from real life. Therefore I try to limit big nights out and definitely don’t party every day.

In saying this, if you find yourself in Myanmar, you can find bars that sell pints for 850 kyats ($0.56 USD).

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River Wildlife Spotting on the Kinabatangan River, Borneo

How I Started Out as a Digital Nomad

When first looking to chase online work, it can inevitably be a little hard trying to find a place to start.

For most, it’s not exactly as easy as having a digital nomad job fall onto your lap. For me, it took several years of ultra-low-budget travel, nervously watching my dwindling funds until I realized I needed to pursue online work to sustain my travels.

Read: My Story

Cementing My Passion for Travel

I started off as a naive backpacker on my first year-long trip around Europe in 2015.

To save up for this trip, I worked tirelessly, saving every single penny and locking myself into an obsessive money-saving mindset.

I managed to secure 50-hour weeks digging trenches for a large-scale Australian telecommunications project called the “NBN”. On the weekends I’d also do some childminding for extra cash.

Safe to say, the hard work paid off. Together with my girlfirend Haylea, we backpacked around Europe for a year on the back of 6 months of work.

I was hooked.

But, I knew that dedicating half my life to working and saving money for the moments of freedom wasn’t sustainable.

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Hiking in Norway on my first long backpacking trip.

But, I didn’t see any other way. So, I flew back to Australia and finished my Bachelor degree while working several jobs to save more money for future trips.

I reduced all non-essential spending in my home country to near zero and picked up extra work wherever I could. I refused to buy a car and biked everywhere.

I worked as a babysitter, cleaner, Muay Thai instructor, laboror, gyprocker, bricklayer, trench digger. I did anything I could and took on any work that came my way to save money for short 1-2 month stints of travel.

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Throwback to Muay Thai days in Australia

Landing My First Digital Nomad Job

In 2018, I used my degree to land an office job. I didn’t see a passion in HR and recruitment, but I was able to earn more money for travel doing this. And I wouldn’t have to break my body digging holes to do so.

Yet, I was unfulfilled. And, worst of all, the corporate commitment meant far fewer travel opportunities. Was this what growing up was like?

I was miserable and the only thing that kept me going was the idea that sticking through the grind would mean I could travel more in the future. I knew that I didn’t fit into the conventional framework of the 9-5 life and that typical Western ideals of wealth and success didn’t resonate with me.

On my daily commute, I listened to audiobooks like The Alchemist and The Celestine Prophecy, and immediately began to question what the goal really was for me.

I needed a purpose. What was my personal legend?

I began researching everything I could about things like “how to make money online”, “how to become a digital nomad” and “how to get digital nomad jobs”.

Most of the answers then just confirmed what I knew. That, to work online you need to either convince your current employer or start an online business.

In my desperate pursuit of location independence, I had already tried starting an online dropshipping business and an online anti-piracy service. These failed miserably because I wasn’t prepared to dedicate thousands of dollars to them, when I wanted every dollar to go towards travel.

Then, I found an ad looking for remote online English Teachers.

My girlfriend Haylea and I applied immediately and within a week we were offered a contract paying $20 USD per hour to work 12 hours each week, completely online. I hadn’t even started my TEFL course but told the recruiter that I had.

This seemed too good to be true. $20 was easily enough to get us through a day backpacking in Souteast Asia and we would be paid that for every hour of work!

And, when you want something, all the universe conspires to helping you achieve it.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Seeing how easy becoming a digital nomad was shifted my mentality instantly. I quit my desk job and bought a one-way ticket to Thailand. A few weeks later I found myself training full-time and even fulfilling my bucket list dream of fighting Muay Thai in Thailand.

A Life of Travel and Freedom

My goal was always to fund continuous travel. When I achieved it after just a month of searching, I was shocked at how easy it was to become a digital nomad.

For two years, my low-paying remote jobs gave me the freedom to focus on my passion for travel, photography, and adventure writing.

These low-paying jobs were a stepping stone for me to start this travel blog.

Note from the original edition of this guide:

“While I didn’t start We Seek Travel to make money, it’s a project that I’m personally passionate about and if it can allow me to fulfill my dreams of full-time independent travel then I’m going to give it my all.”

Here I am, 6 years later and my dreams of traveling full-time from photography and passive income sources are now a reality. This blog is now my largest source of income and it continues to grow every month. I still have the same passion for raw, budget, and adventure travel and still typically still live off less than $50 per day, no longer by necessity but by choice.

Interested in more guides, take a pick from my digital nomad resources below.