Digital nomads

Have your career without giving up travel

Travel writer Kelly Dunning rubs in the good life by sitting in her “office” on Koh Lanta, Thailand.

Have your career without giving up travel

I wake up to the bright sunlight streaming through the wicker slats of our simple hut on the island of Koh Phi Phi, Thailand. Brushing back the mosquito netting, I pull on my bikini and slip into my sandals. With a bottle of water and my laptop I head down the dirt path to the beach. It’s mid-morning and the air is already warm, but the sandy shore is almost deserted. I spread a towel, stretch out my bare legs and dig my toes into the sand. Then I flip open my netbook, tether a smart phone WiFi connection and get to work.

I’m a freelance writer and today my office overlooks the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea.

You Don’t Have to Sacrifice

I’ve heard so many students say they wish that they could travel the world once they graduate, but they just can’t afford it and need to focus on their career instead.

Listen; If your heart skips a beat every time you are walking through the SUB and you pass the student travel agents, don’t hold yourself back from travelling the world because you think you need to get a “Real Job” as soon as you graduate.

The truth is there are so many ways that you can travel the world and build your career at the same time.

Work from Anywhere

Google the words “digital nomad” and you will come across a slew of inspiring blogs from people who have unplugged from the traditional cubicle and are working from exotic locations all over the world. A Digital Nomad is someone who uses portable technology to do their work with no obligation to any particular location.

I can write whenever I want, wherever I want, which gives me the freedom to travel the world for long stretches at a time while still earning an income. I didn’t quit my day job right away; it took me almost a year of building up my writing business on the side until I was able to make the leap into doing it full-time.

Since then, I’ve never stopped moving for long; writing from cafes, hostels, public libraries and even once writing an article in the backseat of a stranger’s car while hitchhiking. At the moment, my boyfriend and I are backpacking around Southeast Asia, a very financially sustainable place to travel because the money I earn goes very far. A dinner for two costs as little as five dollars and one night’s stay in a decent hotel or guesthouse costs around fifteen dollars. Believe it or not, I’m actually saving money while having the time of my life snorkeling, sunbathing, hiking, touring ancient temples and eating spicy street food.

Writing isn’t the only profession you can take on the road with you; there are many other digitally nomadic jobs including web design, graphic design, SEO consulting, photography and much more. Check out websites such as and to find freelance work.

Go on a Working Holiday

You don’t even have to work online to travel the world, as there are so many careers that you can take abroad.

Doctors, nurses, teachers, childcare providers and other professions will always be in demand all over the world. Any country that has a significant tourism industry will be hiring bartenders, chefs, tour guides, hotel staff and other hospitality specialists. Teaching English abroad is a popular choice and most positions pay a wage which ensures that you not only have a decent standard of living in the country you are teaching but can also save money to pay off your student loans.

You’re already at university working towards a career, so start researching and find a way you can do that job in your dream destination. Why not consider a working holiday visa, which allows young people between the ages of 18-30 to work and travel for up to 12 months in another country?

There are working holiday visa opportunities for Canadians in many countries, including Australia, the UK, Chile, France, Ireland, Belgium, Austria, Holland, New Zealand, Japan, Italy, South Africa, Norway, Spain, Sweden and so many more. All you need to do is to apply for the visa, book your flights and search for jobs in your country of choice. It takes some time and effort to make it happen, but there are plenty of online resources out there to help you along the way.

Don’t give up those dreams you have of seeing faraway places. When you take the initiative to create your own working adventure, your dream destination will be closer than you think. M

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