Full-time travel is an exhilarating adventure but also an organizational nightmare.
In my three-plus years on the road, I’ve seen countless failures — people who start with high-minded online business ambitions only to return to their corporate office after six months in Southeast Asia.
Many people simply don’t enjoy moving around all the time, and others cannot deal with the insecurity of a fluctuating income. In the majority of cases, however, would-be nomads struggle to come up with the right organizational formula.
In other words, many full-time travelers fail to build a routine that will secure the longevity of their digital nomad lifestyle.
If you want to succeed as a long-term nomad, you need to build systems that work anywhere in the world. As such, the primary challenge of digital nomadism is to combine productivity with adventure.
In my first year on the road, I made every mistake in the book. Some weeks, I didn’t leave my Airbnb. In consequence, I didn’t explore the city I was in. On other occasions, I didn’t organize my workdays properly and suddenly faced an immense loss of income.
It took me more than a year to come up with suitable habits and organizational methods. Today, I can work for a few days, explore my current nomad base for one or two days, and repeat. My income is naturally variable, but not as much as before. In short, I found a routine that allows me to keep my online business going while also giving me time to enjoy the country I’m in.
On this basis, here is how to build a successful routine as a digital nomad.
Organize your days like a pro
As a digital nomad, preparation is your best friend.
Personally, two to three weeks is the longest I stay in any given location. That gives me 14–21 days to organize. I favor separating workdays and “adventure days.” As such, I decide at the start of each week which days will be work-only and which will fall into the adventure category.