Digital Nomads
February 4, 2014 by Laura LeBleu

Think back to when you were a kid. What did you dream about doing when you grew up? Did it involve being stuck at a desk for eight hours a day? Did you have aspirations of sitting in traffic, listening to a chorus of honking horns?

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that your childhood dreams were full of adventure, or of having fun with your future family, or of simply having the freedom to make your own choices. And now we’re shining a spotlight on a new breed of professionals who are doing just that!

Introducing Digital Nomads—people who ditched their desk to pursue a life less ordinary, taking work with them as they go. Digital Nomads are proof that a life of adventure and professional success are not mutually exclusive. They run thriving businesses, write popular blogs, build amazing websites, and more—and they do it on the go, from all corners of the globe.

This video is a salute to Digital Nomads everywhere! They are living our belief that work is no longer a place, and we hope that their stories inspire you to create your own way of working that brings you maximum joy.

So, no matter where you are, what you do, or how you do it—live life free! And happy working...always.

P.S. Are you a Digital Nomad? Or aspire to be one? Then enter our Digital Nomad contest! Just tell us how you escaped (or plan to escape) the 9-to-5 for a chance to win a Digital Nomad Survival Kit, with an iPad Mini and more. To enter, visit the contest form on the right side of this page.

Laura LeBleu

Word Wrangler

Laura LeBleu is oDesk's official word wrangler, bringing with her more than a decade of professional copywriting experience. She feels a strong kinship with both clients and contractors, having been on both sides of the coin as a longtime freelancer and owner of Cheeky Monkey Copywriting. She lists triathlons, Scrabble, and the em dash among her life's hobbies and minor obsessions.

  • Nancy Jacildo

    I want this but I cannot afford the gadgets. I'm on a fixed income and a single mom of 3 students. I've been planning to setup my own network but I'm handicapped financially. And I'm growing tired of my daily work routine at work. Been in the BPO for 5 years.

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  • meteor Red

    i would love to know how "Digital Nomand"s people earn enough to eat?
    where can i learn more about it?

  • Marie Viplekenn

    I am proud to be a digital nomad! I used to work in an office and my boss, after migrating to the US, still hired me as her online personal assistant. I became comfortable working at home and this is how I came to know about oDesk. Now I am juggling with more than five part time jobs and earning more than what I had earned during my time in the office. No hassles in fixing myself, No commuting almost 2 hours everyday, and No pollution.

    Being able to be with my loved ones while still working is the greatest perk of being a digital nomad. I can work my own time and still be with the people I love.

  • Marlaina Moulding

    I hadn't really considered myself a digital nomad, or even one who would thrive as one. My husband's career, his cause and purpose is what we decided to build around and his path requires a lot of moving and traveling, which in turn has required a flexibility in what I do. At first, I tried the traditional work, but with the constant moving, it was very difficult to progress forward in companies, so I quit working completely. I was grateful to be able to stay at home with my children, but I also needed to be able to do something for me, outside of family roles, that I could be proud of and feel like I am accomplishing something. I am able to do what I want and work around my schedule, and as my husband's career shifts and changes and grows, mine can as well.

  • Tiberiu Hegedus

    I remember myself finishing studies and starting preoccupying about the
    "responsibilities of life" in starting to have a job, maintain myself.
    One of those moments got to know Odesk, that was 3 years ago, and
    despise the discouragement received from the people around me I was
    dreaming on "the perfect job" so I decided to give it a try. Today, the
    only job I have being "responsible" is the designer job I have on Odesk.
    Love the flexibility that this job gives me. I can travel anytime, pass
    time with my family, be where and when I want to be. :D

  • Robert Mihaly

    In a country that is hit by an economical crisis it's wonderful to spread your skills to a worldwide market. More chance to find employers and more freedom at the same time. And on the top of all that you can work from your home and don't have to spend your days in an office with shouting bosses. I would never give it up for a 9 to 5 again. I love it!

  • Clariness Tapales

    I have been stuck inside the walls of a call center company for over six years. And as a single mom, I had no choice but to deal with the daily heavy traffic. I can't believe how I was able to waste 2-3 hours of my day just by commuting to and from work. I never had anything in mind but negative thoughts because first of all, I had very little time for my son, and two, I was paid very little, too.

    And then came a time when I decided to resign. While I was waiting for my job offer from another call center, I made use of my time by browsing online and there I found oDesk. I have been blessed to find and get hired on a job on that same day. And since then, I never left home. And never in my whole life will I exchange the comfort of working from home through oDesk.

    I get the chance to spend more time with my kid, meet with friends, go to the salon every weekend, and even travel every end of the month! Basically, oDesk has given me the chance to be a nomad, being the wanderlust that I am, it's been the best-est gift I have received in my entire life-- the freedom to work anywhere.

    • Yhang Rhea

      Was with BPO company as well before going solo. I had to relocate taking half of what i earn to pay rent.

  • Alma Ayon

    My partner and I have been traveling on a tandem bicycle around the world. We've been digital nomads for the las three years and we are currently on our way to become certified teachers of "Cultivating Emotional Balance" and we'll continue traveling around the world offering workshops and developing an online community of students.

    We like to motivate people to consider a life lived freely, to go and do and be and feel as one chooses. What would it take to succeed in this? Many presume living a materialistic lifestyle will provide the ultimate basis for freedom. Certainly there are many levels which support a flourishing existence, each an area for growth and development. If you would like to learn more about living lucidly, please contact us.

    You can find us here: http://dreamlike.us/

    • Shoshana Deutschkron

      Hi Alma, It sounds like you're having an amazing adventure! Thanks for sharing it. Your mission of motivating people to consider a life lived freely is exactly what we tried to convey in this video. We hope you and everyone you teach succeeds! Shoshana (oDesk's Director of Communications)

  • Tsvetelina Georgieva

    Being a digital nomad is the next step in my journey to ultimate freedom- I`m not quite there yet, but one foot is already off the ground.

    I started freelancing 2 years ago after running like hell from an 8-to-6, 6-days-a-week job that was sucking any self-respect and joy of life out of me. It took some time before I was able to even consider what I`m doing now working. Being in charge of my own time and choosing which projects to take instead of just having them dumped on my desk, had so little to do with the reality I was used to that I constantly felt I`m on a holiday and it just so happened that I could do something fun and get paid for it.

    Naturally, as I brushed up my skills (smirk) and got higher paying clients with bigger projects, I started feeling the full weight and responsibility of working this way. And I love every minute of it! I don`t mind the fact that I`ll probably work till 3 am tonight, because I`ll have all of tomorrow to do nothing but walk my dog and watch The Walking Dead in preparation for the mid-season premiere.
    Ah, and the traveling... I`ve gotten more miles under my shoes for the last 2 years than I had for the 7 years before that, yet I`m still not a true nomad. I`ve visited so many places, caught up with lost friends, made tons of new ones, but it seems home still has a strong hold over me. Or maybe it`s my dog. I can`t stand not having him around for more than 10 days. But hey, who`s to say that a few months from now the cutest pit bull on the planet won`t have a passport and some rocking photos of us playing catch along the Amazon river?!

    • Shoshana Deutschkron

      What a wonderful story Tsetelina! So glad you broke free, and I hope "the cutest pit bull on the planet" has his passport soon. Shoshana (oDesk's Director of Communications)

  • Karen May Castrillo-Villasenor

    Being a Digital Nomad for over 6 years now gives me the freedom of life! The reason is just simple, I get to work as I am! No need for fancy dresses, make ups and more than an hour of preparation just to look your best when going to office. Not getting stuck on traffic jams and spend most of your time out from work enjoying the benefits of life. I can even work with my Pajamas on or watching sunset on a beach while working! I can go anywhere my heart desires. What more to ask for. With Odesk, being a Digital Nomad is never far from a dream.

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  • Yhang Rhea

    I have been a digital nomad for nearly 3 years now - Giving me freedom to be on the road, to take vacation without filing vacay leave, to be with my family whenever I want and as long as i want to, and to enjoy long lunch dates and shopping trips with my partner.

    Aside from that, working with the right clients gives me a higher sense of morale and allows me to be as creative as I can be. This set up also made me break free from office politics which is highly prevalent in a corporate setting. ODesk has been a great instrument for me to be able to achieve this level of freedom and fulfillment.

    It was a rough start. I had to save up to get my own laptop, invest in a decent internet connection, pocket wifi device, etcetera, not to mention build a reliable looking profile. I had to take small projects to get decent reviews, deliver more than what is promised, deal with scamming clients, and almost every negative stuff. Gladly, like anyone who's passionate with what (s)he does, everything will eventually turn out well.

    Freelancing may give you additional burden of filing your taxes and taking care of your finances, but time and location freedom is priceless. I can literally pack up and choose to live 3 cities from where I currently reside without the fear of losing my job! I will never ever go back to 9 to 5 kind of job again.

  • Guest

    I have been a digital nomad for nearly 3 years now - Giving me freedom to be on the road, to take vacation without filing vacay leave, to be with my family whenever I want and as long as i want to. Aside from that, working with the right clients give me a higher sense of morale and allows me to be as creative as I can be. This set up also made me break free from office politics which is highly prevalent in a corporate setting. ODesk has been a great instrument for me to be able to achieve this level of freedom and fulfillment. Freelancing may give you additional burden of filing your taxes and taking care of your finances, but time and location freedom is priceless. I can literally pack up and choose to live 3 cities from where I currently reside without the fear of losing my job! I will never ever go back to 9 to 5 kind of job again.

    • Yhang Rhea

      Sorry forgot to register. Full story up

  • antonia battilocchio

    I'm actually a so called digital nomad, and I enjoy it very much. All my
    knowing is shared through the web, and I continuously learn through the web. I love oDesk, because it let me going on with this kind of life I chose.

  • Antonis Galanis

    I would like to work like this. I hope this idea will be embraced by more people in Greece to, where i live. Your gift could kick start this for me, and who knows where this will take me...

  • Valerie Urso

    I started freelancing from the road in 2012. Since then, I've been able to travel the country and work from anywhere I have an internet connection. I've worked in San Francisco, LA, Boston, NYC, many many smaller cities and from a slew of planes, trains and automobiles. Next stop: Egypt, where I was born but haven't been in over a decade. Taking this show on the international road, fingers crossed, this fall.

    I would love a digital nomad kit to take my work to the next level. Right now my set up is a laptop, external webcam, headset and mouse, and my smartphone. I work in marketing and write, so I can do just about anything from my computer. I've lived out of a backpack and small carry on for months, so I'm always looking for ways to consolidate gear and travel lighter.

    Oh, and a big shout out to folks like Chris Guillebeau, Sean Ogle, Alexis Grant and others like them for blogging about their nomad experiences and inspiring me to escape my cubicle. If you're looking for tips, information and community, check out their sites.

    • Shoshana Deutschkron

      Hi Valerie - You have a great story. Make sure you submitted it into the contest itself, which is on the right side of our digital nomad page: https://www.odesk.com/blog/category/digital-nomads/ Shoshana (oDesk's Director of Communications)

  • http://www.ingeniousinternetincome.com/ Steve Eason

    I've attempted the escape already however I've had to reformulate the plan a few times. Currently I'm still working on that ultimate goal but for the time being I keep plugging away at how to achieve it. I continue to plan and look forward to the day when I can break free. My first attempt was my blog, Ingenious Internet Income. I've since written two books under that name and brand on Kindle and I continue to broaden my reach.

    • Shoshana Deutschkron

      The team here at oDesk wishes you good luck Steve! Shoshana (oDesk's Director of Communications)

  • Mikel Calderon

    When I work for someone, I feel like they control my life, I have to ask for permission even to take a sick day off, and granted, the job market is really hard right now. Everyone is looking for candidates who already have years of experience, and frankly, it is depressing to try and fit your self into a hole that is not your shape. I'd love to become a digital nomad and be self sufficient, being able to provide for my family, without sacrificing precious time together. Being able to achieve this goal would mean freedom to make the impossible a way of life.

  • Emma

    I will love to become a Digital Nomad and be able to work and spend time with my newborn and my husband . I would love to be able to travel or being free to work from any place I want without commutes or 9-5 everyday!

    • Kamiel Choi

      It all depends on our "needs" - do we want to live in a big house, do we want the security of a pension plan, do we need to eat meat and other expensive foods, do we need a motor vehicle, and so on. Think of it this way: One extreme is bare survival, and people do that eating tubers and whatnot. The other extreme is complete comfort. Somewhere in the middle there is a balance and everyone can find it