Ways To Live As a Digital Nomad in 2020

The Broke Backpacker was founded by Will Hatton in 2011 as a way to express his love of travel and share his top tips for backpacking on a budget. Since then, it has evolved into a full-time business with an ever-growing team of writers, designers, and contributors.

Starting a blog is one way to make a living as a digital nomad but it is not the only one. In this blog post, we shall take a look at a few ways you can make a living as a digital nomad and travel the world forever!!!!

Will Hatton the broke backpacer

Start a Blog

Starting a blog can potentially allow travelers to turn their passion into a full-time job. The formula sounds simple enough – you travel, you blog about it and then the cash rolls in to fund your next trip. Great!

However, as you may have already have guessed, sadly it isn’t quite so simple. Firstly, travel blogging is an incredibly saturated niche and it is very hard to get a foothold. Finding a monetization strategy is also difficult. Basically, unless you (1) have a unique blogging angle (2) are ready to work very hard and (3) be very, very, very patient, then blogging may not be the best course of action.

If you want to know more, then there are some great posts elsewhere on the site telling you what you need to to do in detail. Start with this one and Good luck.


Start an Investment Portfolio

Starting an investment portfolio sounds like daunting, complicated, grown-up stuff right? Well, the truth is that investment is a skill set which can be learned and refined like any other. Furthermore, what if I told you that learning to invest was actually a lot easier than learning to blog and is potentially far more lucrative?

Remember, Warren Buffet is one of the richest men who ever lived despite not ever actually doing or creating anything. Instead, he made his fortune entirely by investing.

Trade Cryptocurrency

Did you know that there are already millions of BitCoin millionaires in the world today? Many of them are still under 30 and many of them are now living happily, traveling the world just like you long to be.

Trading Crypto has attracted a lot of criticism with naysayers pointing out the volatility and shady foundations of blockchain technology. However, others say that BitCoin and other Crypto-currencies are only going to increase in value over the next few decades – getting in now may, therefore, be the wisest thing you can do.

Freelance Writing

The Writer’s Museum
image source: Flickr

Freelance writing is a great way for those who love to write but don’t want the hassle and bullshit of running a blog.

This one can be a very tough space to break into but may be ideal for those who can easily knock of 1000 words on any given topic in a short space of time (like me). What’s great about this one is that you can write your drafts on a long-distance bus, in the airport, on the beach or in a fashionable coffee shop in Melbourne.

Finding those first few freelance writing jobs can prove tough but if you prove yourself, the work should then keep on coming.

Web Design

I have a few friends who lead very nice little existences in Thailand and Nepal working as expat web designers. Web Design is pretty well paid and nowhere near as hard as it looks.

There are loads of great online courses out there which will teach you web design and even give you a qualification at the end of it which you can then tout around to prospective clients. The tricky part is of course finding clients and then keeping them happy as they are placing a lot of faith in what you do.

Still, web designers routinely charge anything from $400 for even a basic website which they can create in a few days. With this business model, you only need to get a few gigs a month in order to keep you bumming around South East Asia or India.


Transcription work is the bread and butter of the online workplace and most of us have had a stint doing it at some point.

The gig is essential that you get sent over an audio or video file and you have to type it up. It can be typing minutes from a business meeting or writing the subtitles for a 1980’s WWF wrestling match.

It is pretty laborious and not especially well paid but anybody can do it and there is a never-ending work-stream. We recommend doing this on whilst trying to launch yourself in a more satisfying and lucrative space as it will eventually drive you mad.

Freelance Photography

Now get shootin’! | source: Guitar Photographer (shutterstock)

Over the last 5 years of travel, I have accrued thousands of travel pics and the vast majority of them sit idle on my hard drive never to be seen again. But it does not have to be this way! Nope, one way you can make a living as a digital nomad is by becoming a freelance photographer and selling your travel snaps to blogs, website and if you are lucky, publications.

Obviously, you need some photography talent and some semi-decent gear to get started but even mediocre pictures have a sale value as long as they capture a unique event or place. For example, up to date pictures of Niamey in Niger are in short supply on travel blogs and so I just flogged a couple desolate been a decidedly average photographer. 

There are now several online market places where hot snappers showcase and sell their shots.

Online Teaching

TEFL is perhaps the original and best way to work your way around the world for native English speakers. However, for me the downside has always been that you have to commit to one city or town for months at a time which kind of defeats the object of traveling. 

Thankfully though, the advent of online teaching has revolutionized this and now you can teach your students to speak the Queens from anywhere in the world as long as you have good Wi-Fi. 

Your options for getting started are to either set yourself up as a freelance or work through an agency. Freelancing means you can work when you want and charge your own rates but finding pupils can be hard. An agency provides you with a steady income and workstream but of course, you need to get accepted and then keep them happy. 

We are not going to recommend any particular agency over another so suggest having a look on Google, Reddit and in various TEFL Facebook groups.