Are you a 'Digital Nomad'?

Periodically, a new term crops up in the sailing world. 'Digital nomad' is just such a term. Digital nomads are people who make a living working while travelling, and of course, sailing is the ideal way to become a digital nomad. These people don't wait until they retire. They rewire early and use their acquired skills to work while underway. Not a bad gig.

I know quite a few cruisers who are working from their boats. Many barter traditional skills, like sailmaking and canvas work for anyone with a sewing machine. Some write magazine articles and books or sell their services in website development and systems support.

But there's a new breed out there. Entrepreneurs who do distance consulting, accountants, bankers and others who provide their services to regular people - nonsailors that is. There are so many professions that are not dependant on face-to-face or onsite employment. The work can be done anywhere at any time. Some examples of these kinds of jobs are copywriting, search engine optimization, social media marketing, translation, data entry and analytics, graphic design, programming, teaching online, stock, commodities or currency trading, blogging, and market research. Financial services is particularly effective as you can make money for yourself and for others while you're at it. All you need is a good connection to the internet, which takes a bit of planning when you're underway.

Alex and I did that to a degree. We sold books on Amazon. We did online courses for NauticEd and webinars for SSCA and GLCC. I wrote articles for magazines and did copywriting for Time Inc. I continued consulting in pharmaceuticals via telephone, and later Skype, for a short while. But it became harder to get copywriting or marketing planning jobs the longer I was out of the pharma market. So I stopped wasting my time.

Interestingly, as travel is the main reason people become digital nomads, there is even a conference for digital nomads on a cruise ship that crosses the Atlantic. Some people are teaching others how to become digital nomads. It's a brave new world out there. But it's also interesting that many people discover that, eventually, they need to return home. That's something I know I would need to do.


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