I left my full-time job to become a digital nomad
Do you spend your Monday through Friday, clocking into your 9-5, wondering to yourself, “Is this it?” I totally feel you. If you’re feeling stuck in your job, and dreaming about making money doing something you love, all while traveling the world… then stick around.
Picture this, I was fresh out of design school and had just landed my first full-time gig, in downtown Toronto. Six months later, I was working around the clock, hardly sleeping, eating crap and completely miserable. Every morning I would wake up and think, “what’s the point?” It was at that moment that I realized I needed to quit my job and actually do something that I enjoy.
I started to write down my dream job and lifestyle:
A job that allows me the freedom to work where ever I want
More than 2 weeks of vacation per year
Work with amazing people who are encouraging and supportive
Design brands and websites for people who are chasing after their dreams
Have the flexibility to work when I feel inspired, and not just work from 9 to 5
Be able to enjoy my sunny afternoons (preferably on a beach)
All while earning more than my previous full-time salary
This little exercise helped me realize that my dream was to become a digital nomad. Essentially, a freelance designer who worked from my laptop while traveling the world. Once I knew what my dream looked like, I started to make a game-plan.
Pick a date to quit my full-time job
Start to pick up more freelance design work
Save up $10,000, as a safety net, for when I quit my job
Quit my full-time job
Surround myself with amazing people to cheer me on
Save up $15,000 to travel for 3 months
Buy my one-way ticket to LA
Plan my first 3 months of travel
Land some design gigs to ensure consistent work
Pack up my life in 1 suitcase and a backpack
Get on that plane!
I wasn’t worry about what I would do after the first 3 months, because I knew I’d figure it out.
It took me exactly 1 year to go from, leaving my full-time job to getting on that plane to live my digital nomad life.
It was the best decision I’ve ever made!
But let me tell you… It was NOT EASY! In that first year, I worked 70+ hours a week, doing all the design jobs that I could get my hands on. It was exhausting and there were so many days when I was just an anxious ball of pure stress. I was freaking out about how I was going to pay rent next month, not to mentioned the idea of “saving up” for my travels felt utterly impossible.
But I did it! When I finally left Canada, my first stop was Palm Springs for a week long conference called Designer Vaca! (The best way to kick-off my digital nomad journey!) Then a I travelled to Japan for a couple weeks with a friend, then 3 weeks in Australia for a design market tour, for Sceen’ry Travel Journal (a magazine I designed for). After that I moved to Bali for 2 months!
It had been 1 year exactly, from the first time I realized how truly miserable I was in my full-time job. And now, I found myself living in Canggu, Bali, working away on a website project, in my bikini, beside the ocean. In that moment I could genuinely say “I LOVE my job”, I was ACTUALLY living out my dream as a digital nomad! Insane.
It’s so crazy to see what can happen in 1 year when you truly put your mind to it!
If you need some encouragement to chase after your business/career dreams then I highly recommend these AWESOME podcasts from my blog post 10 Business Podcasts You Need In Your Life!