How To Start Life As A Digital Nomad – Hacks, Tips & Inspiration From People Who Live Location Independently

How To Start Life As A Digital Nomad - Hacks, Tips & Inspiration From People Who Live Location Independently

Imagine being able to work & adventure, whenever & wherever you choose. For many this seems like some kind of pipe dream. When we started out on our journey we didn’t have a clue how to start life as a digital nomad, we certainly came up against a lot of restrictions & doubt – not just from ourselves but from others who didn’t believe that living location independently was achievable.

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Fast forward 18 months & we are sitting here at our laptops, surrounded by the magestical mountains of Snowdonia National Park, in North Wales. We are living proof that living life on your own terms is possible & it’s not just us, countless others are doing it too.

Recently we travelled to the UK’s biggest holiday & travel event  Destinations London & had the absolute pleasure of speaking alongside Larch from The Silver Nomad & Shiree at SAF Coaching – hosted by the fabulous Lyn of Wanderlust Magazine, together we shared our stories of how each of us, driven by our passion for travel, have made adventure part of our every day. We answered questions on ‘How To Start Life As A Digital Nomad‘ & shared our hacks, tips & tricks on exactly how we all live location independent lifestyles.

On Stage At Destination - The Holiday & Travel Show, London Chatting How To Start Life As A Digital Nomad
On stage at Destinations – The Holiday & Travel Show, London talking ‘How To Start Life As A Digital Nomad’

Introducing Lyn of Wanderlust Magazine – Host of the ‘How To Start Life As A Digital Nomad’ Panel

Lyn & her late husband, Paul Morrison, met in the corporate world, but had a deep passion for travel. Having decided to spend the winter of 1992 in South America, they were bored on the flight there with nothing to read, & so schemed out their ideal travel magazine on the back of a sickbag. The idea stuck so they bought a notebook in Quito, worked on a business plan in the Galapagos, &, on their return to the UK five months later, they launched Wanderlust magazine from their spare bedroom. There were no other travel magazines at the time, & all the “experts” told them there was no market for one, but they felt there must be other people who felt about travel in the same way they did. Sure enough, 2,000 people subscribed before the first issue was even printed in November 1993.

Lyn of Wanderlust Magazine - 'How To Start Life As A Digital Nomad' Host - Train To The Clouds
Lyn of Wanderlust Magazine – Host of ‘How To Start Life As A Digital Nomad’ Host – Taking a train to the clouds

Wanderlust gradually grew through word of mouth &, despite many more travel magazines launching in its wake, it has stayed as one of the UK’s leading travel magazines, with numerous awards under its belt. In 2008, The Times lauded Lyn as one of the “50 Most Influential People in Travel.” In 2012, Lyn was presented by an Outstanding Contribution Award in the British Travel Press Awards. In 2014, Lyn was awarded one of the ‘Top 60 Most Influential Women in Travel in the Last 60 Years’ by the AWTE.

Lyn is still editor in chief of Wanderlust, across all its channels. She has a passion for wild places, wildlife & wine, & so her favourite trips combine all three. She has had a massive brown bear lie down just a few feet from her in Alaska, been “kissed” by a grey whale in Baja California, & spent a lively night in a sailors bar in the Azores. She believes in travel as a force for good, benefiting local communities, wildlife & the natural world.

Larch from The Silver Nomad – A Digital Nomad of 20 Years

Digital Nomad Of 20 Years - Larch Regularly Travels Solo
Digital nomad of 20 years, Larch regularly travels solo – check out her ‘Awesome Travel Solo Tips

Larch lives a semi-nomadic life. Her life changed 20 years ago when a silly accident left her with restricted use of her right arm & neck & she was told she would never work again.

She turned her life around, retrained herself & set up as a self-employed website designer. This allowed her to work wherever she was in the world.

Her passion for travel led her to start up her travel blog  to inspire over 40s to explore new destinations & expand their horizons. In 2019 Larch qualified as a CAA Drone Pilot which she combines with her travels.

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Shiree – Location Independence Coach at SAF Coaching

Shiree has been traveling full time for 5 years now. She has lived in places like the U.S, Australia, New Zealand & is currently living full time in Bali, Indonesia.

Shiree Francis - Location Independence Coach at SAF Coaching
Shiree Francis – Location Independence Coach – check out her training programmes here

Shiree has dedicated her time to provide other women around the world with the skills, tools, confidence & trainng needed to achieve the freedom & independence that millions of others have achieved. She wants to show people that anything is possible.

Connect with Shiree on Linkedin

& Us – A Digital Nomad Couple

For those of you who haven’t visited our blog before, we are Kelly & Adam- we live in our motorhome full-time, taking our work with us with us wherever we go.

Digital Nomad & Full-Time Van Life Couple - Kelly & Adam
Watching the sun come up over Lake Garda – One of the perks of full-time van life & being digital nomads.

Driven by a love of nature & the outdoors, after a year of full-time travel together we chose to pack everything up, into our tiny home on wheels & committed to calling it our permanent home. 

Having created a life for ourselves that we don’t wish from escape from we are passionate about helping others to do the same. We share regular inspiration through Destination Addict, help other creatives with setting up & running their own digital business through SoulMadic & even have our own natural & sustainable clothing range Nature Threads.

How To Start Life As A Digital Nomad – Hacks, Tips & Inspiration

As well as sharing our personal stories in London we also covered the how & the what on living a digital nomad lifestyle…

How will a digital nomad lifestyle serve you?

If you are thinking of starting your own digital nomad journey, the first step is to really think about what you would like from this type of lifestyle. What do you love to do that you would like to include more of in your every day?

What is your niche?

If you’ve done some research into this before you’ve probably heard a lot of people saying ‘find your niche’ – this is something that all of us on the panel agree on strongly, but what does it mean?

Do what you are are good at – the thing that can only be done in the way that it is done by you. Do what ignites your soul like nothing else & sets you apart, that is your niche!

Be yourself

Being yourself is a vital part in all of this. It can be so easy to get caught up in what you ‘should’ be doing or what you feel that others are doing ‘better’but as Shiree pointed out when we were chatting people will need your skills & only you can deliver them in the way that you do.

Be your own cheerleader

The realities of this lifestyle is that a lot of people that you think will ‘get it’ don’t actually get it at all. Larch shared her experience of people in her life who still, after 20 years do not understand what she is doing & this is exactly the same for most people living in this way. You know what though? It really doesn’t matter, work hard, believe in yourself & you’ll reap the rewards of living a location independent lifestyle.

What traits do you need?

Everyone is unique & that’s the beauty but we did agree that resilience, a sense of adventure & flexibility will serve you massively – working on the road is an absolute dream but it does come with challenges for which all of these traits will help hugely.

Tools to help…

The ability to communicate will serve you like nothing else – not just with others but with yourself too. We also ran through the tools that we use to communicate with our clients whilst we are working remotely – a fav of ours Trello came up which is one of many of the digital resources we have in our tool box.

Check out everything that we use to run our digital business right here.

Digital Nomad Life – Your Questions Answered

We were also asked some great questions by the awesome audience at the end of our panel session – a lot of them related to the practicalities of living the way that we all do.

What do you do about Internet?

This answer was a little different for each of us – for Adam & I, living in our van, we use our UK mobile phones & hotspot our laptops from those. As we are covered under European roaming as long as we have phone signal we can connect. Larch & Shiree recommend purchasing a local sim to avoid roaming costs & ensure you stay connected.

The coaches – do we have official qualifications?

The story for both Shiree & I (Kelly) is no, we don’t have official coaching qualifications. Each of us have stepped into a coaching role due to the need & demand from others, we were increasingly being asked how we live the way we do & so naturally began to help others in becoming location independent / running their own digital business.

Pension & Taxes?

A question that crops up a lot, how do we do this legitimately? – well, we all pay our taxes, some of us have accountants & pensions are something that are being thought of too. What came from these questions is that just because we aren’t living ‘conventionally’ that doesn’t mean that we have totally taken ourselves out of the ‘system’.

How do we do it as a couple? How do we keep the spark?

This is a burning question for a lot of people. How do we live in a tiny space & basically do everything together. In a nutshell it all comes down to a shared passion for life & adventure, understanding the importance of your own space & having strong boundaries, not only with each other but with ourselves too. We’ve covered more of this in ’14 Tips For Van Life As A Couple’

Will We Continue To Live As Digital Nomads?

Absolutely! Larch has been doing this for 20 years now, she has paved the way for people like us & is exactly what we aspire to be like. Shiree loves to travel & will continue doing so, building her business along the way. We adore the freedom that van life has gifted us with & wouldn’t change it for the world. As for Lyn, we think we might all just have her hooked on becoming a digital nomad too!

It's an honour to be able to share our story & inspire others, alongside such amazing people
It’s an honour to be able to share our story & inspire others, alongside such amazing people

We hope that this post has given you both insight & inspiration – if you have any questions or comments at all please leave them at the bottom of this page as we’d love to hear what you have to say.

Thanks for reading & happy adventuring,

Kelly & Adam x

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