Want to Be a Digital Nomad? Five Careers That Let You Work From Anywhere

One of the reasons that I love my job is because the view from my office is always changing.

Sometimes it is palm trees swaying in the breeze on a street in a small coastal village in the Algarve region of Portugal.

Sometimes it is trees and rivers and tranquil lakes rushing past the window of a train speeding through the wilderness of Northern Ontario, Canada.

Sometimes I look out to see the historic row houses of a small town in Northern England.

I have worked in libraries, planes, buses, coffee shops and park benches. I have even polished off an article in the backseat of a stranger’s car while hitchhiking. I have traveled thousands of miles across this beautiful world, all the while continuing to build my dream career as a freelance writer.

I've Worked From the Algarve, Portugal
I’ve Worked From the Algarve, Portugal

Why Spend Your Life Handcuffed To A Desk?

One of the most common excuses I hear people give as to why they “can’t travel” is that they need to “focus on their career.” They have a good point of course, building a career is very important. However, what if you could do it while also seeing the world?

The Digital Nomad lifestyle is a new phenomenon which wouldn’t have been possible only a few short decades before. These days, if you are creative, clever and hardworking you can fashion a full time income online which will allow you to make money WHILE you travel and have your cake and eat it too.

I’m not promising that you will become super rich, so if this is your goal you should probably go for a more conventional career such as a doctor or a lawyer. However, even if you are just making an average salary, it can go a long way when you spend part of the year in Thailand where your accommodation is only $10 a night! Being a digital nomad gives you the freedom to live anywhere you want, for as long as you want, so that you can make the most of your online earnings.

I've Worked From Newfoundland, Canada
I’ve Worked From Newfoundland, Canada

Five Jobs You Can Do Anywhere

Are you wondering what jobs you could do online from anywhere in the world? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Freelance Writer

If you love to write, have excellent communication skills and a never ending flow of creative ideas, why not give freelance writing a try?

Writing is one of my favorite things in the world besides chocolate and the Back to the Future trilogy, so how stoked am I that I get paid to do it all the time?! As a freelance writer I get to write a diverse range of interesting articles and blog posts for tons of great clients and I have the luxury of making my own schedule and logging in from anywhere in the world.

You could end up writing blogs, news articles, web copy, travel stories, reviews, eBooks, creative writing, or all of the above! I can’t lie to you though, it wasn’t easy to get started. Don’t expect to quit your day job and make a full time income right away. I had to build up my writing business on the side for almost a year while working a full time job until I was able to make the leap into doing it full time. I gritted my teeth through the crappy little jobs where I had to write lots of boring stuff for little pay in the beginning and now I am very glad that I did! Once you get established, you will have many interesting and challenging writing jobs to keep your creative muscles in great shape.

Resources for Freelance Writers

Creating Your Dream Job: How to Become a Travel Writer Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

Odesk.com is where I found my first writing gigs and met my first clients, some of whom I still work with today! Create a profile and start applying for as many jobs as you can!

With entertaining and educational blog posts such as Ernest Hemingway’s Top 5 Tips for Writing Well and The Eminem Guide to Becoming a
Writing and Marketing Machine
, Copyblogger.com is one of my favorite sources of inspiration.

I've Worked From New York City
I’ve Worked From New York City

Web Designer

Do you have an artistic talent, excellent computer skills and the ability to turn an idea into something visually stunning? Perhaps your location independent career could be traveling the world as a freelance website designer.

These days a business doesn’t exist until it has a website. Someone has to design, code and maintain the millions of websites which are being created every day. If you have decent skills at webdesign, Photoshop, HTML and programming and you can create a beautiful and functional website, your expertise could be in high demand.

Resources for Freelance Web Designers

The Roadmap To Becoming A Professional Freelance Web Designer

Instant Shift – a great blog for freelance web designers with plenty of cool links

SEO Consultant

SEO stands for search engine optimization and it is the art of improving a website’s ranking on search engine results by tweaking keywords, inbound links and content, and sorting their guest posts service providers. Many companies will hire an SEO consultant to go over their website and improve it so that they will receive better rankings. In order to get into this field, you will need to be as knowledgeable as possible about all of the current SEO techniques and understand how search engines work. Search engines are also constantly changing and evolving, so this is a career where you will never stop learning.

Resources for Freelance SEO Consultants

How to Become an SEO Consultant

20+ Essential Resources for Improving Your SEO Skills

Teaching English Online

Teaching English as a Second Language Abroad was one of the careers featured in our previous post Five Careers That Will Take You Around the World and it can be a great opportunity to work abroad in schools in China, Korea, Japan, Europe, and all over the world.
However, if you want to have even more freedom and mobility you could teach English to your students over Skype from anywhere in the world. There are many websites online offering you the chance to teach English lessons via video-call.

I have never done this myself, nor talked to anyone who has, but it sounds like an amazing gig and it seems to pay very well. If any of our readers have had experience with teaching English online, please share it with us in the comments!

Resources for Online English Teachers

Language Spirit Online English Teaching

ESL Job World Online Listings

I've Worked From London, England
I’ve Worked From London, England

Voice Talent

Do you have a strong and clear speaking voice? Are you always entertaining your friends with your spot-on impressions of celebrities? Can you capture the intonations of several different accents? There might be a remote career for you in voice talent! From podcasts to internet radio to commercials to company voice mail messages, there are many people out there who will pay you for the sound of your voice. For example, a few of the voice jobs which I came across on a quick search today included someone looking for a Tim Curry impersonator, someone to sing German verb conjugations, someone to record words for an educational children’s app and someone to provide the voices for an Australian corporate cartoon.

In the past, a voice talent career would be difficult to take on the road because you needed tons of heavy equipment and recorders to get a quality sound recording. However, these days you can find high quality microphones which will fit in your suitcase and produce excellent sound.

I think this would be a super fun job for someone in the acting/improv/radio field who wants to travel for a while.

Resources for Voice Talent

How to Become a Voice Talent From Your Home

Odesk Voice Talent Jobs

Elance Voice Talent Job Listings

I've Worked From the Rocky Mountains, Alberta, Canada
I’ve Worked From the Rocky Mountains, Alberta, Canada

Any Other Ideas?

If you dream of leaving ordinary behind and taking your career on the road with you while you follow your dreams, these five careers give you the flexibility and freedom to work from anywhere at any time.

These are just a few examples of careers which are well suited to working remotely while traveling. Have you done any other work online which has enabled you to earn money while you travel? Please share it in the comments!

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.

Related Articles


  1. Awesome post! These are great, actionable options for working remotely. So often, I find posts about the whole location independent, digital nomad lifestyle that are just hidden sales pitches. Thanks so much for writing something that’s really helpful for your readers.

    1. Hi Micki,

      Thanks for your comment and we are very glad that you found this post helpful. Please spread to word to anyone who you think might be interested!
      I know what you mean about the hidden sales pitches. I have seen many blogs that say, “You Can Be a Travel Writer/Digital Nomad and travel the world, all you have to do is buy my Ebook/sign up for my course, etc.”
      I know that they are just trying to make a living, but I think that this sort of basic information for getting started should be available to all. I hope I can help someone else get started on following their dreams by providing them with the key pieces of information that they need.

  2. Thank you so much for this useful post! I read through your entries on how to get a job as a travel writer, and I found them especially useful, but I was still struggling with the whole “day job” thing and how to pay the bills I have right now. This is really helpful to me because if I can get a job at one of the links you posted, it will still be related to writing, so I can build my portfolio while making enough money to pay the bills. Thanks again, I’m glad I found you on Facebook as well and I’ll try to refer my friends to this blog.

  3. Nice post! I love the voice talent idea, I think that would be fun around the world.

    I think teaching English could be expanding to just teaching online. My husband teaches online classes in web design and development for a college where we used to live back home. He did his time in class, built up trust of his dean and now he can work whereever.

    As for freelance writer, that’s a shoo-in, but other freelancers too. I’m a graphic designer, my brother is a software developer and we’ve met all types of consultants on the road, from marketing to accounting to a soccer coach, all who work anywhere but at a desk in their home towns.

    I have a feeling this list is going to explode in a few years. Telecommuting is the next generation. I’m excited for it!!

  4. Those are some great ideas on how to make money from anywhere around the world! Currently, I’m a freelance writer and you’re right, I can write from Cape Town, where I am currently or when I visit my family back in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Sometimes, my partner and I go away for the weekend to visit friends in another suburb or state, and we bring our laptops with so that we can still write in between those times when everyone is sleeping or busy doing something else!

  5. This is some great options! I never really considered the teaching English online. Now I will have to look further into this option because you can only bid on so many jobs and work so much each day as a freelancer before it gets to be rather cumbersome! Hopefully the teaching of English will work for me so I can get back on the vacation trail again and still make money!

  6. Hi Kelly! I go here through Twitter, I think (I have like 25 tabs open), and I wanted to thank you for this good advice! Freelance writing hasn’t turned out to be the dream I thought it would, so I’ve been floundering around for other options that don’t take a ton of additional schooling, like programming, etc. So, thanks!

  7. You forgot internet marketing niche, not only SEO. Thousand people make profits online and have a full time income. And someone teaches you how to do.

  8. Was wondering if it is possible (and how difficult) it is/would be, to make a successful site that is like a journal/blog of the places I would go and just upload new stuff often including pics and videos etc and somehow market myself/my adventures in order to bring in enough money for my expenses traveling.This is an idea I have been thinking about for a while and would like to hear from someone in the know if this is even feasible and maybe some advice. The only reason I ask is because I feel that some of the highly suggested jobs of English teacher etc might be something I don’t carry specialties or know how in, and I kind of feel I would enjoy myself more, and be better at just telling the world of my adventures.

  9. Informative post and really lovely pictures. Travel writer really appeals to me. I’m pretty good at putting words into a captivating story. I’m not sure how to break into this field. With the links provided I’ll do a little research and see what I need to do. Thank you for the tips!

  10. Well, first of all congratulations on putting the work in beforehand yourself. You are now reaping the rewards of having done all those crappy jobs.

    Writing is a great option – but the hard thing is building a reputation as there are so many mediocre writers out there trying to jump on this particular bandwagon.

    Another great option for travellers is to trade the forex. I do this – and I’m also a writer (of fiction, not on a travel blog) and taught English language for years.

    Now forex requires a certain amount of application and hard work before it becomes a viable option – and, as with writing, many ill-prepared people are looking for “quick bucks”. They don’t exist – learn to trade forex slowly and safely and all you need is a computer, an internet connection and an hour a day to compound your capital.

    1. Hi Julie, I trade the stock markets using tips from the professional trader Paul Bratby whose website I have included in this post. Do you know any professional forex traders who gives out tips so I can make money online with this as well? I agree with you about trading, you have to do it slowly and safely – minimise your losses and maximise your profits. If you do decide to check out the website and sign up it is 150 US dollars a year and you can say Jonathan recommended you but it is your choice, it is an extra way to earn money on top of your forex and he has already increased his capital by about 65% since the start of May 2013. My aim in the future is to be a digital nomad and travel around Spain using the money I earn from trading the stock market and forex.

  11. That’s great way see everything, to have amazing memories when you are old and settled down!!! I’ve tried writing but it’s so so hard to make them hire you! You need to build a reputation but how can you have one when they don’t want to hire you witout good reputation? And some of the sites (most of them) don’t pay so good. Can someone tell me some good sites?

  12. I love the idea of not being chained to a desk. That’s a great way to live your life while paying for it.

    But as for the suggestion of freelance writer: it will take you some time of being “chained” to your desk before you’ll have the contacts and clients to allow you to travel safely while making money. That’s one of the things that everyone needs to consider. You will need to have a travel fund or some kind of savings to be able to go out into the world and work via the web. That is, until you manage to carve together a career out of freelancing. Right now, freelancing accounts for way less than 1% of my total yearly earnings. There is no way I could live off of that money, and I’m a broke grad student, so I rock at living off of nothing. 🙂

  13. Really, truly great articles here! So much information thanks so much Kelly.
    I love the resources links as well!

    I’ve also heard of people teaching English via Skype and it seems to pay well. Someone who I knew teaches students in Japan, although she isn’t a qualified teacher, she had been to Japan and set up her personal clientele. It’s only ‘conversational’ English and she mainly works with pronunciation.

    Also to add another possible job – how about an illustrator? On my travels I have met a couple who were illustrators – so if someone has the skill to draw, it can be done from almost anywhere 🙂

    Happy Travels!

  14. Hi Kelly, I just stumbled upon your site for the first time today. Thanks sooooooooo much for this post!! And for telling me how to do it. Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou… could I say it again?? hehe. I’m on a big mission to be location independent within a year, AND do a job that I love. Your options are brilliant!

  15. work as an engineer/ on a ship. Work a schedule of 2 months on board and 2 month vacation. Live wherever you want (anywhere!) and get paid by western standards.

  16. I love this post! I currently run my own web design company now, but after reading your article it makes think about freelance writing! I’ll venture into that once everything gets up and running the way i need it to with my web design company! Thanks for the insight and inspiration!

  17. I think for a lot of people it’s just the fear to jump in the deep end, if you’ve got a skill that involves a computer and the internet, just jump straight in! I’ve just done it, at first it’s hard to get focused in one place but once you get settled for a little while and the holiday mode switches off, it’s easy to start pitching for work!

  18. Programming is a job you can do from anywhere that can make you a LOT of money. I have make more than enough from playing online poker also as a side income. Doing various jobs on sites like fiver and fivesquid also. I think it helps to have a number of various income sources but Webdesign and Programming are the ones you will profit most from

  19. Awesome post!

    I’ve started freelance (graphic design) to have more time for surfing. But the problem what I was solving was finding a place with really good internet connection. Coworking spaces are good, but you can’t sleep there and they aren’t usually near a beach.

    I like the concept of this coworking space + surf house: http://www.thesurfoffice.com

    Another option is to find a nice house near beach on airbnb.com

  20. Very smart and brave girl you are.
    Recently I have joined Odesk and got some free lance translation and transcription jobs. And I have quite a lot of fun. Everything is going pretty slow,so I am probably not ready to be a digital nomad yet, but hopefully I am on the right track.:)

  21. Sharing is caring…sweet little website you’ve got and I love the name. Good ideas, and sincere attitude. I’ll be back to visit periodically. You’re an inspiration :-).

  22. Great article! I’m currently a junior in high school and have been shopping around for careers, majors, colleges, and all of that fun jazz. I’m definitely looking into writing – it’s something I enjoy doing, and the thought of living in one place to build my future career has scared me away from a plethora of jobs, ha, ha. So I’m wondering, firstly, how long it took you to get on your feet in your career so that you could work from wherever you wanted to, and secondly, how you advertised your skills in the beginning to get the attention of businesses and build your reputation. That couldn’t have been easy.

    1. Hi Reagan,

      Glad you enjoyed the article! To answer your questions – It took me approximately one year to get from just starting out with the freelance writing income in the evenings and weekends alongside my full time job – to having it as a full time income.
      I advertised my skills online on freelance websites such as PeopleperHour.com, Odesk.com and Elance.com. One writing contract at a time, I slowly built up my reputation and created a name for myself. 🙂

  23. Hello, i feel that i saw you visited my weblog so i got here to return the choose?.I’m trying to in finding issues to enhance my site!I suppose its adequate to use some of your concepts!!

    1. Nice to see someone talking about work and job and posting photos just visiting places , suntanning etc at the same time . Total bollocks for naive teens!!! You have to work hard and very hard to have it paid . no matter if you work from office or a beach.
      Honestly I am fed up with reading and watching webs like this

  24. Nice to see someone talking about work and job and posting photos just visiting places , suntanning etc at the same time . Total bollocks for naive teens!!! You have to work hard and very hard to have it paid . no matter if you work from office or a beach.

  25. Nice to see someone talking about work and job and posting photos just visiting places , suntanning etc at the same time . Total bollocks for naive teens!!! You have to work hard and very hard to have it paid . no matter if you work from office or a beach.
    Honestly I am fed up with reading and watching webs like this

  26. The well-known Hollywood companies can’t dictate specifically whatthe general public want or can get as they did previously. Whenever you add to that distribution online and, media, internet sites, from gossip to entire films. It is a completely new world. Some of it wonderful, some not.

  27. It seems to be like pleasant put up, nevertheless it just one side of your medal. Nice reading anyhow, I often appreciated great brain teaser and solid amount of good information.

  28. I’ve worked as an English teacher for more than a year, the caveat is that some companies require a stable internet connection and when you’re only using Wifi dongles or free cafe Wifi this is a bit tricky. I am not sure of the internet connection in other countries though but from the places I’ve lived public Wifi is almost always shit.

  29. Lots of great tips in here and fuel for thought for people feeling trapped where they are. It’s key though to build up a base of clients/gigs before you take off though to have at least a baseline income established. Unless you’re leaving with loads of savings that is. Then start out in cheap places, not in London, Sydney, or Tokyo!

  30. Any kind of programmer or developer, be it iOS, Android, Javascript, Ruby on Rails, etc. can make good money working remotely. Really all you need is your laptop and a good wifi connection. If you’ve got the skills, I think it can pay a lot better per hour to do freelance development compared to writing.

  31. I just recently found your blog and I am inspired by it. I have been traveling and teaching English online for about two years now. I have been toying with the idea of starting a blog and I think yours has inspired me to do so. Thank you!

  32. Hi. I’m from Ottawa. Other than a part time college ESL certificate, I’m not alk that educated. But I am trilingual. So how can I travel and work oversees when everyone asks for an university degree?

  33. Hi, I am a high school student from Greece. I have read your posts and I admire your life!!! 😀

    So, I have applied for physics at some UK univresities.I discovered about my passion for nomadic life, staying in one place for few months and then moving again. I hate an ordinary life , 9-5 in an office or laboratory with family blah blah blah.Sick and tired!
    However I ADORE maths and I want a career with maths and physics.
    I think geology let you work and travel but the places you go are miserable. My dream is to be a digital nomad who uses maths and research
    However I want to travel a lot, independence and freedom.
    Any help?

  34. Hi, I enjoyed reading your tips on various topics a lot. Can you comment how you organized to get paid for your work whilst you travelled ?

  35. hello!,I like your writing so so much! proportion we keep iin touch extra approximately your post on AOL?
    I need a specialist on this area tto unravel my problem. May be thyat is you!

    Takiing a lookk ahead to peer you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *