I traveled to 79 countries as a digital nomad. I'm not tied to one place and I find work on platforms like Upwork and Fiverr.
- Katie Macleod has traveled to 79 countries as a digital nomad.
- The 28-year-old graphic designer wants to visit 100 countries before turning 30.
This as-told-to article is based on a transcribed conversation with Katie Macleod, a 28-year-old digital nomad who wants to travel to at least 100 countries before turning 30. It has been edited for length and clarity.
I left my job as a graphic designer for an advertising agency in London in 2018 to pursue my passion for travel.
I was in Sri Lanka when the pandemic struck, making my goal of visiting 100 countries before turning 30 a bit more of a challenge.
I reduced my workload to try to hit my target. Although the pandemic hindered international traveling, I was able to stay on the road after converting a van.
As soon as the pandemic's restrictions started easing, I went to Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkey, and Jordan.
Traveling gives me freedom and being a digital nomad means adapting your surroundings to suit you. If the warmer climate is no longer serving me, I move. If a group of people no longer make me happy, I relocate.
The most difficult part of being a nomad is the lack of a routine. Surroundings are constantly changing, as are the people, climate, cuisine, and our living conditions.
That means nomads must be determined if they want to maintain any kind of routine for eating, sleeping or working out. Otherwise you can easily burnout. It might look like one big holiday, but constantly traveling can be exhausting.
Finding work and the right balance
There are plenty of online freelancing platforms like Upwork and Fiverr. I've also found that networking online and within digital nomad hotspots is also beneficial. It's also become much easier since the pandemic.
Plus, I'm not limited to working in any particular area, so there are many timezones, industries, and cultures to choose from.
I used to find it challenging drawing a line between work and travel, however, especially when my hours were flexible. Perhaps I also felt like I should be doing more work and therefore earning more. Now, I make sure that I only travel to some places for a vacation as opposed to working too.
Before the pandemic, I found that 15 to 20 hours a week was a good balance between working and traveling, and also provided me with enough of an income. During the pandemic, this went up to about 40 hours as I wasn't on the move.
I had been to most European countries with family when I was younger. My van is waiting for me at home so when I go back to Scotland. I love the Scottish Highlands and Islands, and go back the every year.
I try to go home in the summer so I can be in the van for a few weeks, or even months, at a time.
I've visited 79 countries and my goal remains visit 100 before I turn 30.
My end goal isn't that "happily ever after." Rather, I want to enjoy the adventures along the way. That doesn't mean that I ever have to settle down, but I may do so one day. Right now, I can't imagine living any other way.
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