5 Steps I Follow to Become A Digital Nomad

by | Jan 9, 2020 | Digital Nomad | 0 comments

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Today, every blogger know to man talk about becoming a digital nomad.

I’m no exception to them.

But, wait for a minute.

I don’t want to talk about traveling around the world to earn money to become a digital nomad.

I mean, I want to do the real thing, the true thing. Running an online business and make money from it.

Le’st be real. Let be honest.

It’s the way I want.

So, today, in this blog, I’ll share 5 steps I use to start a life of working from home, then traveling around the world.

Hint: This is 5 steps I used for my case. I studied myself without the step-by-step instruction from any gurus. Then I executed myself and succeed with it.

1. Understand “The Why”

1.1. The importance of why

Do you know why you want to become a digital nomad?

It’s come from the core of your heart…

It’s is a calling of nature that you can’t resist?

Or you are in a coffee shop, sorry office, too tired with the newest deadline and just want to escape by thinking about traveling around the world thing?

Each why will lead to a different result.

If it’s from the core of your heart, so why your heart call it? For a relationship, for broadening your mind, or enriching your experience?

If it’s the call of nature, so it maybe you don’t want to become a digital nomad, you want to travel somewhere nature and uniqueness in the world that you haven’t known.

If it’s just because you are bored to death so maybe what you need is just a short vacation, in a lovely place, to refresh your mind. Not every journey in the world worth relaxing, for example, hiking in Vietnam is exciting but not relaxing.

1.2. One simple question can help

To understand your why, let’s ask a simple question (like I used to ask myself):

In my 50 years plan, travel appears at which part of my life?

A life desire?

A part of my career? (For example, traveling is a part of my career. I’m a writer so I want to explore the world at its fullest.)

A value you want to achieve for a short period?

A hobby to relax occasionally?

Usually, people fall into 3 categories when referring to become a digital nomad.

  • It’s a lifestyle they want to experience for a period of time. 5 years. 10 years. I am in this category. I plan to be a global citizen and become a digital nomad for 5 years, then working in multiples cities but not travel much.
  • It’s the life you want to have for life. For example, I read some guy travel for 20 years.
  • It’s a dream that you are raised since you are a dude in college. You want to complete that dream.

1.3. What if your why isn’t strong enough

Traveling the world is a badass job. The fun thing about badass jobs is… it fucking hard.

So if you don’t have a strong why, you never make it to the end.

You may feel horrified in Africa, then deciding to take the nearest fly from home.

It’s no joke. It really happens to some guy.

I don’t judge that horrified feeling is bad. But I think a flight ticket cost thousand bucks, so it’s better if we can save those dollars for a Bali trip instead.


There’s a different problem:

  • You don’t know about your 50 years plan.
  • You don’t know what to do in your life.
  • You don’t know how to figure it out.

Your life is full of Tinder dating and weekend party, you can’t think there is anything more fun than a party till 2 am. What the hell is 50 years plan?

If you are stuck at this part, I have a related article here: 10 steps I use to create my 50 years plan.

Hint: Creating your 50 years plan will take you 1 – 5 years and will turn your life upside down. Just like the way it did with me.

But if creating 50 years plan is too hard for you (it will be too hard for 95% readers reading this blog)…

Just remember one thing: Nothing is perfect. Perfection is creating in action.

So, even you just have a guess about why you travel, i.e: bored to death, you should move to step 2.

2. Setting up a Clear Picture About Your Future 

“Why on Earth you always talk about the picture, The Lam?”

You may ask.

I’ll explain.

The human brain is moree sensitive with pictures, emotions than text and unclear thoughts.

Moreover, your subconscious mind understands pictures/ images wayyy better than unclear thoughts.

So, to get your travel come true, you’ll better come up with a clear picture.

There’s no surprise if you can’t make your travel come true if you just randomly think about it.

In the manifestation world, they usually call this step is “to make your vision board”.

What to have on your travel picture:

What I will do on my traveling? It will define your traveling style.

It differs from guys to girls.

  • Somebody goes to travel to find friends with benefits and enjoy drinking. So they may prefer big cities, they may stay at hotels, hostels near the cities center.
  • Somebody go to experience all the best services and food in the world. So they may stay at great hotels, eat at famous restaurants.
  • Someone goes to experience the local culture. So they prefer rich cultural cities, visit museums.
  • Someone goes to experience, local people. So they love to hitchhiking, stay at local people’s home and play with local guys.
  • Someone goes to experience a lifetime experience. So they have a very clear destination, i.e: Go to Kakaxilin dessert in China, study in Shaolin Temple for 1 month in China (it’s me), trekking K2 Base Camp in Pakistan, go to the south pole from Ushuaia…

If you want to travel around the world as a digital nomad, which places will you visit?

It depends on your interests.

Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East are on top of my wishlist.

But with you, it may be Europe, Australia, and Africa on your block list.

Hint: The place you want to visit usually resemble something you don’t have in your life; or you want to learn more in your life. I don’t think I have enough adventure in my life so I head to Africa and the Middle East. I want to learn more about Buddhism so I’m put my heart in China, Nepal, and India.

Which travel way do I want?

It can be…

  • By plane from each country, then walk or hitchhiking.

This is the most usual way. I will fly and hitchhiking within the country.

  • By hitchhiking and no-fly.
  • By RVing through states (in the US) or countries (in the EU).
  • By motorbike. It’s rare, but I know a guy crazy successful with it.
  • By bike. Crazy but possible.
  • By… walk. Monk may do it. Bless them. Tons of courage.

How many days do I want to spend?

It varies with different people and different goals.

With me, I intend to spend 5 years to heavily focus on traveling. Then I will travel occasionally.

Someone will have a plan to travel for 6 months after college, university, high school. On my road, I met many girls and boys like this.

Someone will have no end day. They keep going until they decide to stop.

How much I want to spend?

In short: my budget.

The answer may vary from $0 to $ infinity. Usually, it’s about $500 to $1000 in most countries. With expensive places like Australia, it can be $2000 per month.

I have read stories about dude traveled around the world without spending any money. Or spending $2 per day, about $60 per month.

Personally, I am sooo admired them. They did the impossible thing. But I will not choose to travel this way.

Because while travel for free, you must do many things to exchange food, place to sleep. Sometimes you will be given food for free. In short, you will survive by others’ kindness.

Just my feeling, but seeing myself barely survive by others’ kindness make me look down on myself. So it’s why I don’t do it.

I like to be fair. For example, if I stay at someone’s house for free, I’ll take them to a nice restaurant in town and paid the bills. It’s my way to honor this friendship.

With that intention, it cost me $1000 per month for 5 years.

3. Find a Sustainable Way to Earn Money 

This is one of the most important parts.

Without this part, your traveling will fail miserably.

(Lucky me, I got over this step).

3.1. Why sustainable?

In fact, you can tael without a sustainable way to make money. YOu can save for a few years, then go travel in 6 months, then come back and redo your life.

You can do it absolutely.

I did do it. It’s how I used to travel to India, Nepal, go to Singapore in 2017. Part of the money I earned, the rest I lent.

Because I have been through the saving method, so now I highly (and strongly) recommend a sustainable way of making money.


Because if you save and travel, you nearly can’t travel much.

Except you are son/ daughters of one of Middle East millionaire, or Rothschild generation… But I believe if you are one of them, you won’t read this blog!

You maybe like me. An ordinary people, with some dollars on saving account, with a normal job, average parents. No rich dude around here. And if you want to do something, you must work hard to earn money.

You even need a sustainable way of making money more.

Because if you save then travel, each time you come back to your home country, you must build tons of things from the beginning. It costs time. Your time is priceless.

For example, if you are a Brand Manager, you quit and travel for 6 months, when coming back, you must apply somewhere else, take an interview to become a Brand Manager again. There are almost no places keeping your Brand Manager position for six months.

There will have some exceptional, but to be exceptional, they do prepare for a long time: show their amazing working skills, get approved from companies, schools… Not everyone has this lucky.

So you must find a sustainable way to earn money on the way.

  • Earn money on your long hour flights.
  • Earn money on your sleep.
  • Earn money on your boring bus.
  • Earn money on your morning at some strange hostel.
  • Earn money on your afternoon when you feel tired of traveling.

It’s the goal.

Do that, you won’t have to spend time to start from scratch when you back home.

Doing that, you will use the time on your travel to enrich your momentum of life.

(I’ll discuss the momentum of life in an upcoming article.)

3.2. How to have a sustainable way of income? 

To be honest, I don’t have a solid answer for that brilliant question. Because human creativity is no limit.

But I have categories you can use to check.

  • The job you can do with wifi and no physical presence.

Such as talk, call phones, write emails… not customer services in an offline sale gallery.

  • The job you can do with high pay.

Normally we need at least $1000 – $2000 per month to travel the world comfortably and pay for the unexpectation.

  • The job you can maintain “hibernate” while you are traveling.

You can have a marketing freelancer job, which can “hibernate” mean stop doing tasks, stop delivering results but still keep your presence with clients (such as giving advice/ coach… through phonecalls, connect doers who are your friends…) to maintain relationships with them.

  • The job related to your long-time career.

Personally, I am not a fan of the job that can earn you money on the go but not your long-time career. Why? As I say, our time is precious, so if you can do something related to your career and the version you want to become, do it. Don’t waste time with jobs for daily meals if you can.

  • The job aligns with your value.

Why I highly recommend the job aligning with your value. Because it keeps you happy after you finish your travel. If your value is integrity, and you must lie to earn money on the go; the guilty feeling will follow you back home. You may not be happy since then.

  • The job can run when you are not online.

I will make an example. If you are a freelancer, when you submit a piece of writing for your clients, they will need time to check. You can travel while they, in another country, open your file and check. It’s how the job can still run when you are not online. If the clients can’t check the writing when you are offline, it’s not the job you look for.

  • The job can bring income when you are sleep.

This is the highest level of job – passive income. I believe this is the goal of every high achiever known to man. Since Warren Buffet, Bill Gates to The Lam recommend this job. However, only about 5% of people get this level. It’s freakingly hard.

Jobs examples:

  • Teaching online.

You can earn money by teaching all the things a human can think of. Even teaching how to take care of dogs is ok (and even crazily profitable!).

Most will teach English online if they are native speakers. Or teach their mother tongue.

This is the most simple way to earn money. Most realistic way. Don’t mention someone making money by teaching how to make money without a real job.

The only problem in this way is income may not high as you expect. A teacher can make $20 online on average. So to make $1000, you must teach 50 hours. Teaching 50 hours per month is not exhausting but it will put a burden on your mind, making you are not relaxed enough to enjoy your journey.

If you record your lessons online, you can earn $1000 without real talk 50 hours. But you must master sales and marketing to find customers per month. At this point, it turns to be a real business and will go along with other headaches.

  • Coaches.

Life coaches, business coaches, manifestation coaches, writing coaches, wealth coaches, memories coaches… and every form of coach’s human can think of. I believe coaching is a great job. But it’s not easy to do the real thing. Being a coach in any field need a great mind, sharp thinking, intelligent, down to earth and fast action. Not everyone has that gifted, it’s the reason why you look around and see many “fake” coaches. Not that they are a bad guy. Just they are not smart enough.

  • Freelancer (writers, designers, coders…)

It’s a great job too, and it has many of my categories listed above. However, just notice that during your traveling, there’s always some unexpected things, sometimes ridiculous things happen, costing your time, so you can’t complete your job on time.

I remembered this night in Varanasi India), I saw a young girl angry, walking around the hostel asking for Wifi. She was frustrated. It was 11 around pm. Said to be a social manager, she needed wifi badly to log on Twitter to check something. Wifi didn’t work, cafes were closed and almost no one on the street. Poor her, the hostel manager couldn’t do anything with unworking wifi. It was an insanely cheap hostel at $3 per day. So I felt empathy for her, but I thought we couldn’t ask more at $3.

Be aware of that scenario and tell your clients first. It always happens.

  • Selling digital products.

This is my way. I set up company, open stores and sell printables, ebooks, digital prints. I sell information and fun. I operate that company from anywhere in the world. All payments, taxes is paid online through banking cards.

I believe this is the most effective, down-to-earth way to earn a sustainable income while flying on the air. But it is not easy. You are no longer freelancer anymore, you are a business owner. You must deal with website bugs, writing blogs, design pictures, running ads, maintaining company, controlling cash flow… Each small task can drive you crazy. And you are lonely with your one-member company. I told myself many times that I just keep working. Nothing sweet comes easy.

  • Investing in stocks and forex.

This is the way everyone loves. Talking about. Selling about. You will see some “gurus” offer to teach you how to invest in stocks with crazy wins, i.e: “Wins $1000 in 10 minutes!”.

But, in fact, it’s one of the hardest ways on Earth. I never meet anyone who success in investing and say “It’s easy”.

Most say that it’s crazy hard, tell me “You’d better put your money in an index fund”.

I believe there are still monsters can beat the market, constantly earn $1000, $10,000 per month in 5 years, 10 years. It’s just rare. Rare real winners but tons of fakers.

  • Investing in an index fund.

The only problem: this way is sooo slow. You have to put a hundreds thousand dollars to earn $500 per month. I mean, how to earn hundreds thousand dollars in your 20s?

4. Learning While Executing

Assume that when you reach that point, you’ll already have…

  • A clear why you travel.
  • A clear picture of how you travel.
  • A clear way to make money sustainably.

Now it comes to the brutal part: execution.

Truth is 90% of people fail at this part. And the dream is only the dream, forever.

4.1. What is execution?

Don’t overcomplicated about execution.

It’s not setting up your company. It’s not hiring a place in a co-working space. It’s not thinking about co-founder and shareholders (you haven’t started yet!)

It is action. Just that.

For example, if you want to become a digital nomad as a forex trader (a hard game but well, you’re couraged!), then you start reading articles about forex (a ton!), is called execution.

You started creating a demo account on a broker website – it is called execution.

4.2. How to execute the right way? 

The right way to make your travel come true is executing a little bit, then learn.


Why I put the title is “Learning While Executing”?

Why not “Learning Then Executing”?

Because you only know what you really need to learn when you begin executing.

Many stuck at this part. They do tons of planning, analyzing, debating but no executing.

(You can easily notice it. They can be already sit in your working space!)

Then they go for Wealth Traning Courses, Freedom Traning Courses… and any course known to man… without executing anything.

They still think they are in the “learning” phase.

Then while begin executing, they’re paralyzed to see how hard it is… then they take another course and continue… learning.

I’ll give you a harsh truth: Learning too much without executing will lead you nowhere.

Learn is to absorb knowledge. Without doing, knowledge will evaporate in your brain.

Tada! You waste money and memorize nothing.

It’s why you MUST start first. Then find proper courses to learn later.

When I start, I come up with a small blog.

To my surprise, I start in 2017, till 2018, after 1 year of writing, this blog earn me… $10 as readers buying my upcoming books. $10 was not even coming from the exposure of the blog online. It came from my personal friendship.

But because I started this small thing, I deeply understood what I needed to learn ASAP.

It’s how to monetize my blog.

Then I learn “6-figure Blogger” by Alex and Lauren.

Each word from Alex and Lauren touched my heart. I found myself on it. I had a strong understanding of the course than someone who never starts a blog.

Now when I started again with cgiff.blog, I knew what I should do from the beginning to monetize the blog.

4.3. My course I highly recommend

Here are all the courses I learn to prepare for my trip if you are interested.

If you want to become a digital nomad in what forms of jobs (marketers, freelancers, online business owners), I believe you should know what those courses teach you. Strategy, marketing, partnerships are the three things you can’t live without.

5. Create Momentum Until You Success 

I’m on this part.

I did handle all 4 steps above. Right now I’m on implementing the final: Create momentum.

5.1. Why momentum?

Because momentum keeps human generating money, revenue.

The concept “momentum” had appeared on the most famous book of all times:

In chapter 2, they said all great companies keep the momentum for a long time.

The momentum is also a rule of nature. Do you notice the most effective animal on Eart? They follow each other strictly to form a strength can light up a stone. It’s how they find food.

No matter what job you do, if you can’t keep momentum with some disciplinary action, you can’t make it enough to become a digital nomad.

Example of momentum:

One example is the momentum I created for myself.

I set the rules that I…

  • Created 24 digital printables a month.
  • Establish 2 blogs per month.
  • Up 5 pictures on Pinterest per day.
  • Send emails to my readers 2 times per week.

I’ve just keep posting on Pinterest for 3 days, my views increased from +150 per week to +1.2k!

A few days after, it soared to 3.2k!

I did nothing extraordinary. My pictures on Pinterest were not beautiful, comparing to other Pinterest arts.

I just kept posting without judging myself. Then the results came and I couldn’t be happier!

To do all of these things while I run 3 different blogs is crazy. I have to do a heavy amount of work.

But I keep doing until the day I hit the mark $2000 per month by selling printables.

When that day comes, I’ll tell you. Wait for me!

5.2. How to create momentum?

Momentum doesn’t need Bachelor in Quantum Physics to create.

It just needs simple action, completing in 30 seconds.

The short way to create momentum is…

  • Decide what you will do to get the job you want.
  • Do it daily or weekly.
  • Keep doing.

That’s all.

The task you do on a momentum doesn’t have to be a killer task. It doesn’t have to be the next big thing.

It can be a simple thing, such as you want to teach English online to make a living.

  • So let’s begin by joining a Teaching English Free group on Facebook.

Hint: There’s tons of free group on Facebook about anything on Earth. If you want to teach how to fly out of the Earth and find no group, just create one and invite your friends (me included)!

  • Then make a simple momentum: answer 5 questions a day on these groups.

Or comments 5 times a day on the groups. Or add friends 1 people who are struggling at learning English. No sale here! Just add friends and start a friendship. You can’t hurt anyway.

Do it for 1 month. 2 months.

High chance that someone you add friend will inbox you, asking: “Do you teach English?”

If they ask, you know what to do. Just say yes!

If you don’t believe in your ability, just offer to teach 4 – 6 lessons for free. Free can’t hurt your friends.

Then start with the second students.

Then the 3rd, 4th…

Then the 50th and you can think about asking your boss for a short leave, starting packing up your clothes, flying to South East Asia, teaching on the beach!

Just that simple. But you have to take ACTION. There’s no momentum without action.

5.3. Books I highly recommend:

Talk about how important momentum is, I highly recommend the book

If you notice, both books above heavily focus on momentum. Same core, different way of saying.

None of the books write that you can succeed, achieve what you want by being a non-discipline people, being unpredictable, creating no momentum.

(If you don’t trust me, just go and check).

Good luck with your journey.

May God bless you all.

You’ve read 5 steps I follow to prepare for becoming a digital nomad.

Which part is your favorite? Hit reply and share it with me!


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