Everyone wants to know how to become a digital nomad now.
As we hurtle towards 2018, the population of freelancers and abundance of remote jobs continues to skyrocket. More and more people are waking up to the revolution.
Location-independence is not a passing fad. Many of the younger generation are turning their back on conventional living. Instead they are captivated by the romantic notion of a life of travel while working in some exotic paradise.
But what if you haven’t got “digital nomad skills”?
Here’s the thing, not everyone comes out of school ready for life on the road. Even if you want it, your chosen career path may not be adaptable. If you don’t know how to become a digital nomad, your travel dreams may fade away while you remain chained to the desk.
Some of us forged careers that can be done anywhere there is an internet connection. To this day I curse all those clever clogs who studied software engineering, programming or graphics design.
If you were like me and lacked such foresight as a teenager, you probably left university with a somewhat less-mobile degree. Perhaps you graduated in law or engineering. Maybe you didn’t go to university at all.
Through three years of travelling in Australia, New Zealand and Asia, I pulled pints, carried bricks, made coffees and answered phones, simply bouncing from one industry to the next with little view beyond my next payday.
To be truly location-independent, you need skills that allow you to work anywhere. There is a huge amount of people chasing that dream now, all busting their gut to get those skills.
They all want to learn how to become a digital nomad.
Many budding bloggers and wannabe lifestyle entrepreneurs are so mesmerized by the seemingly glamorous lifestyle that current influencers enjoy that we actually become blinded to one of the best ways to achieve the same for ourselves.
As one of said wannabes, I wondered how to become a digital nomad too until I stumbled right onto the perfect launching pad.
South Korea has been the kingpin of teaching English abroad for the better part of 20 years. For me, it was just the next stop on my headless chicken run from “normal life”. I couldn’t quite see where my future was going and only just got to Korea with a last-minute application.
Little did I know, I had taken the first step in figuring out how to become a digital nomad.
I spent two years teaching in Korea and now I’m enjoying a location-independent lifestyle in South America. My digital nomad life has launched at last and it’s all down to Korea.
It doesn’t matter what degree you have, whether it’s in medicine or monkey studies, you can get a job teaching in Korea. My experience leaves me in no doubt that Teaching in Korea is the perfect place to start your digital nomad lifestyle.
For starters, to get a job teaching in Korea:
- You don’t need any teaching experience. I had none whatsoever and only finished a TEFL course a month before arriving in Korea.
- You don’t need to know a single word of Korean. I couldn’t say ‘hello’ or ‘thank you’ when I landed. By the time I left, I was conversationally fluent.
- You don’t need a huge amount of savings. I arrived completely broke with barely enough to survive until the first pay check. Even if you already know how to become a digital nomad, you need some savings to back yourself up!
- You don’t need to be a great public speaker. Introverted by nature, I dreaded the thought of standing up in front of a crowd to speak. Teaching in Korea helped me conquer that.
And then by the time you leave:
- You’ll save enough money to quit your job and travel. Actually what you really do is save enough to buy yourself time. More on that in a minute. Some people save about $20,000 in a single year. I wasn’t one of them but I did save enough.
- You’ll add a crucial digital nomad skill to your resume. Perhaps you’ll enjoy teaching, maybe you won’t. In any case, once you have that experience you’ll be able to teach English around the world and pick up a few quid whenever you need to.
- You’ll develop confidence and self-motivation. This comes in time, not only from the act of teaching but also from dealing with life in Korea. It can be frustrating at times as you are pushed you out of your comfort zone. Ultimately, you’ll grow and develop qualities that serve you well in your entrepreneurial pursuits.
Teaching in Korea has bought me the time I needed to pursue my digital nomad dreams.
My savings allowed me to return home and enjoy a great month in Ireland. I lived like a King and traveled some great spots including the Causeway Coast. Korea gave me the means to get Bolivia where I’ve been living for three months. Furthermore, it provided the cushion to support myself while I pursue other ways of making money online.
Since we got to Bolivia, both Diana and I have begun to forge steady work online and we even started our own freelance agency, securing our first long-term client within a week!
Aside from the money, teaching in Korea gave me the confidence and belief I needed to take the leap for the ultimate travel adventure. Teaching in Korea enabled me to figure out how to become a digital nomad. It got me started and this is only the beginning.
Most people don’t realize is just how good your life can be after teaching in Korea.
Want to find out why teaching with EPIK is definitely worth a shot?
But why Korea? Can’t I go anywhere?
Good question. There’s lots of options to teach abroad, so why South Korea?
Thailand is more beautiful and has a wild sense of adventure to it. Spain is amazing, Italy is a dream and the Czech Republic has all the castles and great beer anyone could want. All of these countries have ESL jobs and are no doubt fantastic places to live.
But if you choose to start your career teaching English there, you may struggle to maintain it. I know people who have taught there and each and every one left enriched with experience, golden memories and awesome photos but oh how their bank accounts were ever-so-empty in the end.
Don’t you want more than just a taste of that travel life? What if you could start with a year or two in the best place to teach abroad, which would then set you up to go forward indefinitely?
Do you want to take a break from life to teach abroad or do you want an opportunity to have a fun job, save money and develop as a person while you learn how to become a digital nomad?
South Korea is that place; it’s for the forward-thinkers!
Why exactly? What is so good about teaching in Korea?
1. The Money
At the very least you will get your flights reimbursed after you arrive in Korea and a rent-free apartment for the entire 12 months of your contract. On top of that, you can look forward to a monthly wage of approximately $2,000 US dollars, tax-free. That’s right, your flight is covered and you pay no rent and no tax. Having little worries about money allows you to focus on entrepreneurial ventures and also invest in valuable courses and books.
2. The Savings
The cost of living is cheap enough that it’s easy to save at least half your monthly salary if you put your mind to it. When you leave they’ll give you more money to cover your exit flight. Plus you get some severance pay too when you complete the contract. The longer you stay, the bigger the severance.
I know of a few people who went to Korea after graduating to pay off their student debts. They stayed for a few years longer than expected and not only left debt-free but also had the deposit for a house.
Of course, if you’d rather live anywhere else, then you can. The dream is reality!
3. The Easy Life
Working for EPIK isn’t difficult or demanding. The lifestyle of a teacher in Korea is relaxed. The food is good, the nightlife is great, transport is fantastic and the people are friendly and welcoming.
Yes, of course it takes a little time to adapt and sure there is language barrier which can be tricky at times. You may have some tough days with the kids but hey, that’s life; sometimes it’s frustrating.
The fact is, life in Korea is good and you get everything I mentioned above for “working” less than 25 hours a week. Which brings me to the most important benefit of life there…
4. The Time to Work on a Side Project
…And this is how to become a digital nomad by teaching in Korea!
The schedule for teaching in Korea effectively gives you 15-20 hours per week more than you would have in a standard job at home. That’s up to 1000 hours in a year you can invest into launching your digital nomad life.
How could you change your life in 1000 hours? Here’s some ideas for you that could be the start of a new location-independent career:
- Start a blog;
- Build an affiliate niche site;
- Study an online course in website building or graphics design;
- Develop a freelance writing career on Upwork;
- Learn a language and look for translation work;
- Get ridiculously awesome at photography or video editing;
Use that time wisely and you’ll reap the benefits for years to come.
Teaching English in Korea was the best decision I ever made and enabled me to save the money to continue travelling. What’s more is it give me the time to learn what I need to make this lifestyle last.
Even if things don’t work out initially online, I have experience teaching abroad now and can continue to use that wherever I go. Should I ever need to get another job on my travels, teaching is always an option now. There’s also the option of online teaching with companies like VIPKID.
Teaching in Korea has enabled me to launch my digital nomad life
A year in Korea will come with so many more challenges than you could expect and through that you will grow and develop as a person and professional, which only serves your future ambitions better.
Personally, the experience bred a confidence and drive that was never there before and ultimately gave me the focus to create the location-independent lifestyle I desire.
While in Korea, I met so many like-minded people, all trying to figure out their life, almost all of them seeking something outside the box. Many were like me, wanting to know how to become a digital nomad so they could create an exciting life abroad. If you’re feeling stuck and would love the chance for some lifestyle design, there really is no better place to start than in Korea.
There’s no doubt about it; It will change your life.
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