What’s it really like to be a digital nomad? My new interview series will give you some insights.
I’m starting a new section on the blog today: interviews with digital nomads.
The digital nomad lifestyle is envied by many people who feel unfulfilled in their day jobs and are dreaming of seeing the world while making an income at the same time.
The first interview is with Nimrod Dean Kuchel (aka Dean). He’s been living as a digital nomad for the past four years and has been to over 88 countries so far.
Dean runs a Facebook group called Digital Nomads Israel, which is how I got to know him.
I went to a couple of group meetups and met a really lively, super friendly guy, who’s very keen on spreading the word on the digital nomad lifestyle to anyone interested.
He sees himself as an ambassador of this lifestyle and happily gives his advice to aspiring digital nomads.
I interviewed Dean to learn more about how he makes a living remotely, how much he works, and what advice he’d give to new digital nomad.
What made you decide you wanted to be a digital nomad?
“My love of travel is in my genes – my mother is a tour guide, so from a very young age, that gave me a love of travel, cultures and people, but I didn’t even know digital nomads existed, until I found myself living as a digital nomad completely by chance.
When I was looking for work, I wanted a job that would let me fly all over the world. I wanted a job where I could be in one place this week and in a different place next week.
Eventually I found a job. I had difficulties getting a work visa in the US, so they told me that until the visa would get sorted, I could work remotely.
When I finally got the visa, I’d already been working remotely from Portugal, Spain, Ireland, England… and I said: “No way I’m going back to a normal 9-5 office life”.”
How do you make a living working from anywhere?
“I work as a customer success manager. I give my services to several tech companies that are either remote-friendly, or I convince them that they can become remote-friendly.
I have a lot of freedom with regard to location and how I organise my schedule.
I also give lectures about life as a digital nomad, which is another source of income, and recently organised a Digital Nomad Conference in Tel Aviv.
One of the things I’m most interested in is creating passive income for myself. I do that by investing in the stock market, real property and other ventures.”
What do you wish you had known before you became a digital nomad?
“It was fun to discover everything by myself, I wouldn’t want anyone to show me the shortcuts.
What I would have wanted is to be more organised, for example when it comes to taxation. It’s a very complex area with many advantages and disadvantages. I think digital nomads need to think about it right from the start.
I would have been happy to get advice on health insurance too, and anything bureaucratic.”
What’s your favoutire thing about this lifestyle?
“It’s a feeling of freedom that I truly appreciate. I control my time and my location. It means I can be wherever I want, get to make friends all over the world and visit my friends all over the world.
I always say I travel for three things: People, places and photos.
Photos, because I love photography; places, because I love to travel and people, because that’s really the most amazing things about travelling.
Our generation can travel around the world, open up to new cultures and make a living at the same time.
I also love that I can save money as well while I’m travelling, because my expenses as a digital nomad are relatively low. I like the minimalist lifestyle that’s often a part of being a digital nomad.”
How many hours a day do you work?
“It varies; sometimes for 5 hours and sometime 16!
It depends on how many clients I have.
Today I work at least 9 hours a day, but that’s because I’m trying to accumulate capital, so I work on several projects.
I don’t see all of it as work, because I really enjoy what I’m doing and it brings me a good income, but I still sit in front of my computer for 9-10 hours a day, and I do it with joy.”
What’s one piece of advice you’d give someone who’s starting out as a digital nomad?
“Just do it!
People are afraid and ask a lot of questions… so stop asking questions, just say yes and go for it.
It’s natural to be afraid, but remember that anything that a novice digital nomad does, had already been done before by thousands of other nomads.
Careerwise, my advice would be: Before you go and take a course to learn new skills for online jobs, ask yourself how you can take your passion and turn it into an income source.
If someone likes to surf, for example, they would tell me that it’s not an online job. But I disagree. Create a course, create content, build a community around it, sell surf gear. The same goes for other areas, you can turn them into remote jobs.”
What are your plans for the future?
“After four years, 88 countries and over 200 flights, I’m slowing down.
Instead of visiting 30-35 countries per year, and changing my location every week, I now try to spend 2-3 weeks or even a month in each place.
I decided to slow down so I can enjoy my travels more and relax a bit. Four years on the road is a lot.
I also wanted to find a relationship, which wasn’t easy for me when I was living at a fast pace. I now have a relationship and hope we can travel together. That’s one of my personal future plans.
Professionally, I want to create more passive income streams, enter into the world of online courses and devote a lot of my energy to the digital nomad community.”
More about becoming a digital nomad
Digital Nomad Jobs (Where to find freelance jobs and remote positions)
More about Nimrod Dean Kuchel
Digital Nomads Israel is the Facebook group Dean started that turned into a vibrant community.
His website is called “Where is Dean” (in Hebrew)