Become nomads and travel the world with family without being tied to a job, house, or city? How is that possible? The idea never occurred to us that we could actually do it as a family and honestly it seemed absurd. Only rich kids with wealthy parents could do that. We were pretty sure that was obvious.
Yet in 2020, in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, here we are planning how to become a nomadic family. It was a bit of a journey to get to this point, but ultimately we arrived here because we wanted to enjoy life when we were young and give our kids experiences beyond the cul de sac.
C'mon, spill the beans already! How are you guys planning on becoming nomads?
Well, we're going to attempt what I've dubbed being hybrid digital nomads. By hybrid digital nomad, I mean some of our income will come from digital sources while the rest will come from other sources. In other words, we are not relying on digital work for 100% of our income.
One of the things we wanted in a nomadic lifestyle was security. We wanted to know before we started traveling if we can sustain this lifestyle. By diversifying our sources of income we're confident we can - this is what I mean by hybrid digital nomads.
So, on to our income sources. *Drumroll please*
Our income in no particular order comes from the following:
Let's break this down in more detail.
All of our online income exists from skills we've already learned. Bridgette is a certified elementary school teacher and the demand for online teachers is growing so the plan is for her to start teaching online. The pay isn't any different than an in-person teaching position and in some cases, it is more.
If you want to become a digital nomad all you need to do is get an online job. These jobs will pay enough to fund a nomadic lifestyle. But there are drawbacks to this method so we plan on phasing this income source out as soon as we can. Relying on a full-time online job limits the flexibility that being a nomad requires, particularly when you need to be online at set times.
Another source of online income is freelance consulting. Phillip is a real estate agent in Texas and has several certifications in real estate financial analysis and modeling. He'll continue using these skills and contacts he's developed to offer consulting advice on real estate investments and development projects.
The idea is repackaging the skills you already have in your toolbox and finding ways to utilize them remotely. You don't have to be stuck to a desk or worksite to use the skills you've gained over the years. Your skills are in high demand by someone - you just need to find them.
Our final online income source is blogging. We're just starting out blogging - this is our first blog post - so we have no idea how much of an income source this will be. But, we will keep you updated on how it goes and share what we've learned along the way so, hopefully, you can duplicate our results.
Our main source of income that is not from digital sources is from real estate. Just because we're nomads doesn't mean we don't own real estate, nor does it mean you shouldn't buy a home before becoming a nomad. If you purchase real estate, you need to view it as a small business that generates income, not a home that you'll fall in love with (unless of course, that's what you want - then go for it!)
I'm sure you're saying to yourself right now "If I could afford to invest in real estate I would be a nomad already - only the rich can invest in real estate." That's not true. It depends on where you're investing, but you can start flipping homes for as little as $30k and, if you live in the United States, you can invest in rentals with as little as 3.5% down as long as you live in it for a year.
Our plan is to focus on flipping homes early on to build cash and then move to more long term rentals that generate a monthly income.
Real estate investments might seem like a high unnecessary cost at the beginning but it will pay dividends in the future. It is a fantastic source of passive income that gives you the freedom to travel and not keep you tied to a job. The great thing about it is, you don't have to stop investing in real estate just because you're traveling - you can continue to grow your portfolio and income.
As an example, a couple in England starting investing in real estate in 2013 and by 2019 (only 5 years!) they owned a catamaran and were sailing around Europe working remotely. They are still adding to their portfolio and teaching others how they can invest in real estate too! Real estate, I believe, is one of the easiest ways to create income and work remotely, particularly in the United States because of real estate subsidies.
Our last method for income is from trading stocks. While this isn't for everyone, anyone can do it. Typically, we stick to mutual funds or ETF's as they are easy to understand. You can find investments that pay dividends which can be a source of income. However, when we get dividends we normally reinvest them. This source is more of a long-term investment for us not necessarily an income source - but it is there if we need it.
This is a model of financing your travels is a model I think anyone could duplicate. Income does not need to come from the same sources as ours. You can replicate the model and match it to your strengths and your budget. It's a flexible framework you can utilize to become a nomad yourself.
We're just starting on this adventure and haven't become a nomadic family at the time of this writing. These income sources are sure to change but this is how we're starting our journey.
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Until next time, Happy Coddiwompling!