Digital Nomads: Up yours to the 9-5

Digital Nomads: Up Yours to the 9-5

There are so many different ways to earn a living these days, more and more people are transitioning from the traditional workplace, taking their work-space outside of four walls and into wherever the hell they want… provided there is good internet connection.

Thanks to the gods of technology, the office environment has been revolutionized, it is no longer bound to four corners and paper pushing. People are beginning to crave more flexibility and creativity in their careers. Movement, travel and creative freedom are starting to hold more value than security and material possessions. Hallelujah, the existing paradigm of working and living is finally being challenged!

Who are these courageous creatures questioning and defying the conventions of a 9-5 job, generating income while they satisfy their desire for travel and adventure? Digital Nomads.

The career of a Digital Nomad is location independent, using wireless internet to work remotely anywhere in the world. They combine work and travel, living a nomadic lifestyle. It’s a new and fulfilling way of life, a freedom of movement.  Autonomy, independence and freedom are valued.

Digital Nomads: Up Yours to the 9-5

A Digital Nomad is not the stereotypical young person in their 20’s living out of a backpack or working from a beach – one of the biggest myths around Digital Nomads. Despite what you see on Instagram the reality is – laptops don’t do well on beaches. The sand and hot weather can really screw a computer up.

However, the beach can provide the perfect environment for ‘brain work’ and creativity, even meetings and networking sessions. That’s the beauty of being a Digital Nomad, you can work nearly anywhere. Digital Nomad’s ‘offices’ range from cafes, hotels, lounges of houses they are house sitting and co working spaces. Choosing the most suitable location is of much importance to a Digital Nomad.

Choosing a positive work-space is key to your success, you cannot be stressing about money or be depressed about the weather. I look for places where the sun shines most of the year and somewhere affordable in terms of basic living costs. I prefer to pick a place where I can interact with locals and other Digital Nomads, somewhere that feels safe. An existing community is ideal because you will meet inspiring people and have a positive set up and most importantly: Great WIFI” says Dinah Cook, successful Digital Nomad and founder of WOW travelers Agency.

Co-working spaces

Co-working spaces are places are filled with entrepreneurs, creatives, consultants and other independent professionals and are known for being a gold mine for collaboration and innovation. Not only do co-working spaces provide desks, meeting rooms, fast secure internet their other services include workshops, regular activities and travel.

Co-working spaces provide a sense of community that Digital Nomads miss out on, not having the usual colleague to chat to during your coffee or lunch breaks can be lonely.

“I love co-working spaces because I meet amazing people there. Unlike corporate employees, each Digital Nomad is doing their own unique thing, and each took a different path to get there. Some are freelancers, some have their own businesses. It’s extremely inspiring and motivating, plus we all help each other with specific skills…

Digital Nomads form strong friendships with each other very quickly, because we have so much in common: a constant urge to explore and experiment; a disregard for societal norms; determination to build the life we want, no matter what; and a penchant for breaking rules.”    Says Poli Kocheva, Vlogger and Graphic Designer.

Digital Nomads: Up Yours to the 9-5

It´s not all sunshine and rainbows

So it all sounds f@#ing amazing right? Who wouldn’t love freedom, being your own boss, the captain of your own destiny? It sounds like an easy life, making loads of cash… Unfortunately, this is one the many myths surrounding Digital Nomadism.

The truth is, it’s hard work. Although there are many successful DNs out there, there are also many struggling ones. Building a constant steady income takes a lot of hard work and commitment. Success isn’t achieved over night and it can take you months or years to make enough cash to sustain yourself.

Being independent and your own boss means that you will be working longer hours than you would at your 9-5 and it tends to be rather difficult to switch off from work-mode. There are no set working hours and your clients are often in another country with different time zones.

You might find it difficult to discern between when it’s time to work and when it’s time to play and land up working your ass off when you should be chilling on the beach. It requires a bucket load of self-discipline to balance the work and leisure routine.

It also can be a little lonely and your interpersonal relationships you had back at home can become difficult to maintain. But that’s nothing a Skype call can’t help! It also makes it easier if you put yourself out there and connect with other travelers and DNs.

Digital Nomads: Up Yours to the 9-5

Earn a living the Digital Nomad way

Interested? Ok… so how can you earn a living as a DN? Well there are many different ways…

According to in 2016 the top industry hiring remotely on their website was Information Technology with 29,2% of the jobs posted by companies from this particular field, with an additional 4.51% in Mobile App development.

The second industry was marketing and it’s understandable with so many roles that can be fulfilled in marketing without a location constraint and completely online: from Content Writer to Social Media Manager, SEO or Digital Marketer.

Some other ways of earning tom include:

Developer: Many Digital Nomads earn a living though building and maintaining websites. So if you dig this sort of stuff and you got the skills. Check out these sites for a list of jobs available: ;

Blogger: It is possible to make money blogging, there are various way of doing it, including selling advertising space on your blog, writing and selling eBooks and running affiliate promotions. Although, it is said that making a full time living from blogging alone hardly ever happens, so if you do intend use blogging to sustain your nomadic lifestyle, make sure that your content is great and you look into additional forms of income such as freelance writing or translating.

Writer: Freelance writing can sustain your new way of life and it’s actually one of the most popular forms of income generation for Digital Nomads. There are some great websites out there with useful information to help new writers put together kick ass content and connect with other writers. The Write Life is one of them.

Translator: There are many opportunities for people who speak multiple languages, translation projects are really big online. Upwork is just one of the sites where you can find hundreds of translation and other freelance work.

Virtual Assistant: VA jobs are the new thing, yeah that’s right, a Virtual Assistant- assisting clients in completing tasks ranging from travel arrangements, content writing, social media management and many more. You can find VA jobs on Freelancer

For great list of companies hiring all types of Digital Nomads check out this link, also check out Remote ok where hundreds of jobs are posted weekly

Digital Nomads: Up Yours to the 9-5


Top Digital Nomad destinations

1.Thailand, Chang Mai

The DN population in Chang Mai is massive, it has the highest population of DNs on earth and it’s easy to understand why-– the cost of living is low, the weather is sweet and the internet is fast. There is definitely no shortage of co-working spaces and there are plenty of regular networking events held.

Some great co-working spaces in Chang Mai include Punspace Nimman. Established in 2013, Punspace was the first co-working space in Chang Mai. Lots of regulars hang out there and it can get a bit loud so if you prefer a quieter place with a bit more space then Punspace’s new location Tha Phae Gate is for you. They have Hot seats, Skype rooms, meeting rooms, lockers, private offices and cool seats.

For a newer and more intimate co-working space there is Mana co-working, there is enough space for 14 people.

2. Indonesia, Bali

High quality life at a low cost is what makes Bali a prime location. There are plenty of WIFI cafes and co-workspaces. Ubud and the coastal village of Canguu are particularly popular spots. Ubud is Bali’s cultural heart and is also known as one of the top yoga and Spa destinations in Asia.

Hubud in Ubud is a co-working space surrounded by gardens and loaded with all the resources you need. Check out their video:

For the Digital Nomads who surf, Dojo Bali is the perfect spot as it is located one minute away from Echo Beach in Canguu. They offer dual high speed connections, private Skype booths, surf racks and a pool.

3. Barcelona, Spain

Filled with beautiful beaches, breath-taking mountain ranges and plenty of sun shine Spain is one of Europe’s top destinations for DNs and entrepreneurs. The start-up ecosystem is growing fast and there are co-working spaces popping up at every corner. There is a great community of DNs in Barcelona called CODINO and they hold co-working days, meetups and talks. In addition, they assist with providing co-living spaces.

4. Medellin, Colombia

Medellin, a city on the rise for DNs. The great music, beautiful people, vibrant nightlife and cultural scene attract many to this amazing place. In addition to the affordable costs of living, the weather is great all year round and the view of beautiful mountains make for amazing workplace scenery. There are plenty of awesome cafes like Cafe Velvet and Cafe Zeppelin where you can meet other DNs and entrepreneurs.

Coecoworking is a popular co-working space in Medellin, they specialize in Digital Marketing and Finance, providing support and strategies for anyone who needs it.

Casa 98 co-working space is another great co working space and they aim to make you feel at home.They boast a comfortable and professional environment and offer private offices as well.

So…. after reading all this are you craving freedom, travel and a new way of life but scared of making the leap and taking the risk? While it is a reality that will require a lot of hard work and dedication and it might take a long time before you start making money, but… think about this… Is it not more risky to work in an unfulfilling career your entire life than to go and try do something for yourself.

You don’t have to prescribe to societies conventions of a 9-5, you don’t have to be stuck in a job that you don’t give a shit about and stare at those same god forsaken four white walls every day. Some people may think that Digital Nomads are escaping reality, but how…this is a very real way of life for them, and this could be your reality too. After all… you create your own reality.


YOU could be here, contact us for more information on how to join a co-working space in Panama!

About Chanelle:

Lover of music festivals, awkward situations and ice cream,  Chanelle recently quit her PR and Communications job in Cape Town to live the intrepid life she had been yearning for. Since the age of 10, she knew the white picket fence and 2.5 children just wasn’t for her! Rather than being barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen she dreamed of being barefoot in the Amazon Jungle. This Digital Nomad is currently based in Barcelona, trying to not take life too seriously, she also works as an English teacher and a Reiki practitioner.

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Digital Nomads: Up Yours to the 9-5

More about wowtravelersworld

Born out of a passion for adventure and the power of story telling, WOWTRAVELERSWORLD is a network for conscious travelhers to connect, learn and gain strength through sharing experiences and knowledge to enrich the lives of women around the world!

20 thoughts on “Digital Nomads: Up yours to the 9-5

  1. Inge

    Yes! Great inspirational and resourceful post. Co workspaces sound like a good place to be working, instead of staying in the hostel wifi zone. Buenos Aires might just fit in with the other cities.


    1. wowtravelersworld

      Thank you, I’m glad it inspired you! Yes, there are some great co-working spaces in Buenos Aires too!


  2. Dalal

    #dreamlife I am a digital nomad in the making 😀 Very helpful article! You are right about blogging, it’s hard to make a full exclusive income out of it, especially when you are not based in the US where most of the great sponsorships happen. About Upwork, I tried to apply for translation jobs (since I speak three languages fluently), I don’t know if it’s because I am a beginner there, but the jobs I managed to score after hundreds of application were really poorly paid 🙁



    1. wowtravelersworld

      Thanks for the feedback Dalal. It’s a real pity about the poorly paid translation jobs on Upwork, I have heard the rates are pretty low but iv’e also heard from some that it can improve once you increase your profile stats. All the best on your digital journey 🙂


  3. Jen Morrow

    I am a digital nomad for IT related management services. I can work anywhere with a phone and decent internet connection, and I prefer the beach. So many jobs are remote, it is easy to transform from remote work to a digital nomad.


  4. Rhiannon

    I’m sort of maybe trying to transition into a digital nomadic life right now (working from my laptop in my parents’ front room totally counts right?!) so this article was both totally inspiring and resourceful! A lot of links and websites I hadn’t come across before, so thanks for that! Becoming 100% location-independent would be an absolute dream of mine so fingers crossed for the future!
    Rhiannon recently posted…Krakow’s Darkest Secrets RevealedMy Profile


    1. wowtravelersworld

      Yes it totally counts 😉 Wishing you all the best, you can do it 🙂


  5. Diana - MVMT Blog

    I love how comprehensive this guide is and how you highlight both the pros and cons of being a DN. Yes, sitting on the beach in December is nice, but it’s a lot more than it looks. It’s hard work. Thanks for sharing.


    1. wowtravelersworld

      Thank you for your comment 🙂 Yeah it’s really important to highlight all sides, and be realistic! It is hard work!


  6. Jenni

    After travelling for two years and blogging for one I really don’t want to go back to a 9-5 job so this is really helpful. I am thinking of becoming a VA as that’s where my skills lay so fingers crossed I can work and carry on travelling and when I do the top nomad destinations you recommend with definitely be on the list


    1. wowtravelersworld

      I don’t blame you, who wants to go back to a 9-5! I will be keeping my fingers crossed for you, wishing you all the best !


  7. Sasha

    This is such a helpful post for those of us who one day dream of being a digital nomad. It all seems so daunting but in reality, your guide makes it seem like an actual possibility. How incredible that technology has advanced so much that we can work from all over the world!


    1. wowtravelersworld

      It’s amazing how technology has changed the way we live! I’m glad the post was helpful 🙂


  8. Julianne

    Thanks for this thorough guide about being a DN! I knew that Thailand and Southeast Asia in general were hotspots for DNs, but I never considered Barcelona. Good point that it’s hard to make money from blogging alone. Thanks for sharing!


    1. wowtravelersworld

      It’s a pleasure 🙂 Yeah, Barcelona is a great hotspot!


      1. Julianne

        I may just have to move there… 🙂
        Julianne recently posted…Love Icewine? You’ve Got to Visit These Niagara WineriesMy Profile


  9. Only By Land

    A very inspirational post, I’d choose Medellin to be a digital nomad with Chiang Mai a close second. Or maybe 6 months in each place, Barcelona sounds pretty tempting too! You are right, a lot of hard work is required, I’d say months and efficient use of the time.


    1. wowtravelersworld

      Thanks for your comment 🙂 Yes, personally I would also choose Chiang Mai and Medellin, 6 months in each would be my dream! Heading to Medellin in March 🙂


  10. Chrys Tan

    This is a really great and comprehensive guide! You’ve mentioned many great places that I’ve lived and worked out off – I have such amazing memories of all of them! One of the major pains of working on the road is finding great internet speed, which has been a problem for me for the past couple of months in Latin America. Even the speed in Mexico City, where I am currently based, is a quarter or half the speed in Europe/US/Asia.


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