Becoming A Nomadic Family

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It is strange to think how it wasn’t that long ago that I was sitting in an office building pulling my hair out over project proposals and budgets. Our life as a nomadic family now is far different from that lifestyle of the past.

These days, my work involves writing blog posts, keeping my blog active on social media, pitching to magazines and brands, and preparing for upcoming conferences and webinars. It’s a huge change from my life prior to becoming digital nomads!

This post was updated on May 17, 2020.


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Children of a nomadic family swinging on a beach in Lombok, Indonesia
Swinging on the beach in Lombok, Indonesia (November 2019)

How to make money while traveling

One of the biggest questions families have before embarking on our family gap year is how to make money while traveling. Both my husband and I are blessed with skills that make remote work possible. But even considering that option was a big step for us.

In the past, families who wanted to travel around the world would need to save up hundreds of thousands of dollars to support their family travels. This was the conventional way of doing things. And even our family fell into the trap of thinking that affordable world travel is not possible for families. But after talking to families who are nomadic, we know that we can support our travels by working remotely.

For our family, answering the question of how to make money while traveling involved a bit of soul searching and self-assessment. There are plenty of options for families to make money while on the road: selling a product online, consulting and freelance work, or getting remote working jobs. The possibilities are endless for families who want to become a nomadic family! The first step is identifying what your skillset is.

A member of a nomadic family visiting the Grand Canyon
Looking out into the Grand Canyon (October 2018)

Getting remote jobs that can support a nomadic family

Before quitting my job, I toyed with the idea of staying on with my job. I had already done remote work with them when I would have to travel for projects. And it wasn’t unprecedented for team members to be based in different locations. But the more I discussed the option with my company’s HR team, the more I realized that the constant changing of locations for our family would make it logistically more complicated for my company. In the end, I decided to quit my job.

For my husband, though, his company offered him the option to stay on remotely. This is a godsend for our nomadic family. My husband’s employment affords us a steady stream of income as we consider other options for making money on the road.

Finding remote working jobs is a great gig for those who want to turn their family into a nomadic family. FlexJobs posts hundreds of jobs that can be done remotely. And joining only costs $14.95 a month, or $49.95 a year. Consider the skills that you have. And then figure out a way that you can do it remotely.

A laptop and coffee mug for nomadic family sitting on a blue table outdoors
Working while on the road (April 2020)

Creating our own lifestyle as a nomadic family

One perk of being a nomadic family is that you have the freedom to pursue your own business. Rather than finding remote working jobs, you can essentially create your own digital nomad jobs! My husband runs a web development side business. And as we travel, we supplement his income from his work with profit from his side business.

As for me, I do part-time freelance writing, which brings a few hundred dollars each month. And revenue from affiliates on this blog also brings a few dollars each month. Additionally, I teach English part-time online through VIPKid, which also brings in a few hundred dollars each month.

Whatever your skills and talents, consider how you can turn it into a business. It may not be as profitable as making money with an employer, but it will certainly be meaningful remote work to bring you money while you travel.

Pretending to be Wilma at Bedrock City in Arizona (October 2018)

Resources for families wanting to become a nomadic family

For families who are interested in this kind lifestyle, having access to resources is extremely helpful. One of the easiest ways to learn more about how to become a nomadic family is to join one of the many Facebook groups available online.

I like the group, Digital Nomad Families, which is specific to families. But I also like Digital Nomads Around The World. This group is more generally targeted to people who are location independent.

In terms of books, Tim Ferris’ book, The 4-Hour Work Week is a good one to read. His book will get you started on thinking about what a location independent lifestyle might look. Daniel Prince’s book, Choose Life, is also popular among families who are working nomads (although I haven’t read this book yet). Taking a read through these books can give you ideas of how to redesign your life towards a more remote-based lifestyle.

A man in a blue shirt, part of a nomadic family, looks out over a balcony to see yellow and pink medieval buildings and a castle in the background
Visiting Trento, Italy (June 2019)

Connecting with other families

The most important part of our journey to becoming a nomadic family has been connecting with other digital nomad families. I love seeing how they make their work life fit their travel lifestyle. During our trip, we have spent time with friends in Utah, Colorado, France, Mexico, and Indonesia. They have all found ways to be working nomads in their respective fields. The work varies – graphic design, web development, online marketing, blogging, freelance writing. But these friends of ours have all been able to use their talents to create digital nomad jobs and live like a nomadic family.

As we continue to figure out how to make money while traveling, creating connections with other digital nomad families will continue to be important. Networking and community building is such an important part of the travel experience. And I’m sure it will also be important in helping us connect as a nomadic family in the future.

Do you have a talent or skill that lends itself to remote work? How are you using it to help you towards your travel goals?

Becoming A Nomadic Family | The Wandering Daughter

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I'm a travel-loving mom of three from Seattle. Join our adventures as we explore the Pacific Northwest and the world!

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