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The Digital Nomad Experiment Conclusion (But It’s Not Over)

This summer, Lee and I rented an apartment in Portugal for 3 weeks in an attempt to learn more about the working/travelling lifestyle of a Digital Nomad. We wanted to see if we could pull in a full time income from my freelance writing work, while still enjoying the beautiful Algarve coast surroundings.
In short, the experiment was an absolute success, and we learned a lot along the way.

The lessons that we learned will help us as we continue to craft a lifestyle which is the perfect balance between travelling and working. Some of the things that we learned on our adventure in Portugal is that:

– When you are a Digital Nomad, and you are making your living from freelancing, blogging or another online source, the accommodation that you stay in can really impact how efficiently and comfortably you get your work done. We rented a holiday apartment in Portugal, which had high speed internet and all the space we needed for a comfortable work day.

– I learned how to stay disciplined and get my work done, remembering that we are not on holiday, and even though it is hard to sit inside on the computer on a sunny day in the Algarve, it is the work which allows me to be there so I had better stop day-dreaming, focus, and get it done!

Chilling on the beach in Portugal
Chilling on the beach in Portugal

– We discovered how difficult it can be to predict or control the flow of freelance work, and sometimes you have to make hay while the sun shines, which means taking time off when the work is slow but working hard when the workload is heavy.

– We also realized that the experiment wouldn’t have worked if we hadn’t stayed for a long enough time. If you plan to travel and to work as you go along to fund your travel, there is no point staying in a location for only a few days because if you are working you won’t have enough time to enjoy it. Three weeks in a small town on the Algarve coast was just enough time to still be able to work, but have enough time when we were not working to thoroughly explore our surroundings.

However, one of the most important things that we learned from this adventure in Portugal is that we absolutely love the lifestyle of being able to work wherever we please. Lee and I are both adventurous souls, and we have discovered that being able to make money anywhere we can find an internet connection is the ideal solution for us at this point in our lives, because our aim is to wander the world and see as many different things as possible!

Do you have big dreams to travel the world? Dive right in and follow them!
Do you have big dreams to travel the world? Dive right in and follow them!

So what’s next?

We left Portugal, and are currently back in my home country of Canada. For the past month we have been living in Victoria, BC and catching up with family and friends. Our next Digital Nomad adventure will begin in August, when Lee and I take off again to travel across Canada from west coast to east coast! Stay tuned for the Digital Nomad Experiment II – Working Across Canada! This will be a new challenge, because we will be working as we travel and experiencing many different locations as we go along. As we go along, we will be blogging about what we learn and sharing it with you.

Here’s to many more adventures!

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About Kelly Dunning

A Canadian freelance writer with a love of art, culture, literature and adventure, Kelly loves exploring foreign lands and expressing her experiences through the power of the written word.

2 comments

  1. Good post! Thanks for sharing your experience.

    This is the reason why I teach building an online business platform is better than freelancing or remote working.

    Happy travels!

    -Rich

  2. I am total agreement with this and I am practicing that lifestyle now with my mate. We are not married yet, but we are learning the power of the internet, especially if you want to live a more nomadic lifestyle. I relocated to the westcoast recently, and everyone was harping on the fact that I didn’t have a job here when I came, but I work online and that IS my job. People are just getting used to the internet being a solid source of income, and not to mention a great one that keeps you from commuting and spending money unneccesarily. Kudos to the both of you!!

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