I’m Louise — a blogger, udemy instructor and YouTuber who’s been nomadic for two years now with my boyfriend, Ed. I’m obsessed with thrifting so always unearth some second hand clothes in any city. You can follow me on YouTube here.
1. How and why did you choose to go nomadic?
I’ve always loved travel and intended to be an entrepreneur, I just didn’t realize the two could overlap so closely!
My boyfriend is an app developer and he lived in a few different countries to save money on London rent, before decided I’d quit my job and join him on the next leg (Thailand).
While we were looking for advice on where to live we discovered what we were doing was called being a “digital nomad” and hundreds of other people were doing the same. Quite a revelation!
2. What was it like leaving your home country?
Very easy! We only left for 3 months the first time, and we generally stick to about 4–6 now. We go home for a few weeks in between to see our families etc and plan our next adventure. Both our families have been very supportive so we haven’t had any difficulty with people wanting us to stay or stunt our growth.
I’d been to Thailand before and traveled a lot so we didn’t have much uncertainty about what to expect. My main concern was not knowing how I’d earn money but I had a lot of savings so knew I had plenty of time to work that out (although in the end it only took a few weeks thanks to the amazing community in Chiang Mai!).
3. What are your biggest struggles? Fears?
My fear is never wanting to stop! At some point we will want children and I think that’ll likely involve settling back in England to be near our families. I’m just hoping everything will align and we’ll be tired of traveling at about the same time we want to have a family. Sure, we could travel with a baby but I’d prefer to be stable and part of a community.
4. How are you funding your lifestyle and what projects are you working on?
The bulk of my income comes from Udemy courses. I’ve made about 20 (either where I’m the teacher or I’ve filmed other people and been their ‘producer’). They bring in a passive income that I can easily live off (about $1500p/m).
Then I do a bit of freelance PR, run a fashion & beauty youtube channel/blog and co-run with my boyfriend a B2B startup.
5. What is the estimated monthly cost of living for one of your favorite locations? What lifestyle does that afford?
We love living in Chiang Mai. We’ve moved around a lot but it’s one of our favorite places.
We spend about $600 on flights, $180 each for a lovely condo (with facilities including offices, a music studio, gym and table tennis), then around $700 on living expenses.
We eat out 3 meals a day in fairly premium places ($1–8 per meal), drive a moped ($80p/m), go to the cinema/bowling/bars several times a week, and basically do whatever takes our fancy without thinking about the money.
I am naturally very thrifty (in fact my whole blog centres around it!) but I love that out here we don’t need to think. We can order anything we want on the menu, or stop on the way home for ice cream. It’s only small things but I’d never do it back in London as it’s so expensive. Being extravagant is very foreign to me, and I love it!
6. What is your top tip for someone who aspires to earn money online and travel?
Save up a few thousand and move to Chiang Mai. Everyone you meet here will be doing a different business and will be happy to show you how. It’s inspiring and exciting and makes becoming nomadic very accessible.
Building up your income might take a few months so I’d recommend a financial buffer, but if you have a skill you can freelance in (e.g. web design, coding, legal advice, accounting, PR, writing) that’ll take the heat off financially. A lot more jobs can be done remote than I realized, so you’ll probably surprise yourself with how many sale-able skills you actually have.
Any final thoughts?
Finally, it’s not as scary or final as you think. Whatever job you were doing at home you could do again, so you’re not closing any doors by leaving. As long as you’re being productive (starting a business and learning new skills) it won’t look bad on your CV to take a few months out.
Chiang Mai is very western if you want it to be (we eat burgers, pizza, mexican, watch english films, go bowling etc), and home isn’t that far away. Trying out being nomadic doesn’t need to be a huge life changing decision, just take a few months to give it a try and see what you find!