If you have ever thought about traveling the world for an extended period of time, you have probably run into the term “Digital Nomad”. A digital nomad is someone that works online, while traveling the world.

For many people, being able to travel the world while you work is the ultimate dream. It’s no longer a pipe dream that can only be lived by people like Anthony Bordain and other travel show hosts. In 2021 there were already 35 million digital nomads globally, and that number continues to grow.

It’s also not just a youngster’s game any more. The average digital nomad age in 2023 is 34. Today we have an interview for you with one of those digital nomads: Rudie Venter.

Hi Rudie, tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

Sure, my name is Rudie and I’m a digital nomad. That means I work remotely while traveling the world. I’m a freelance writer and content marketer, so all I need is my laptop and an internet connection to get my work done. That gives me the freedom to travel the world, while I’m working.

That sounds amazing! What inspired you to become a digital nomad?

After completing my degree I decided to take a few years off to travel. At that stage there was something called a “working holiday visa” for South Africans to go to the UK for two years. The visa was specifically for those who would want to work a couple of months to save some money to go traveling in the UK and EU. That was back in 2004 and once the travel bug bit, I was hooked and after my visa expired I had to find some way to keep traveling while still gaining experience and growing in my career.

That’s really interesting. What are some of the challenges you face as a digital nomad?

Over the years, it has become much easier to be a digital nomad. When I started traveling the internet was not as prevalent as it is now, but that is probably my biggest challenge is finding a reliable internet connection in the countries I want to travel to. Without the internet, I can’t really do my work. Other than that, deciding where to go next is always a challenge. Hahaha

How do you stay productive while traveling? Isn’t the challenge always going to be doing things other than work?

Work keeps me centered. I know it sounds weird to say, but I enjoy taking time to sit down and be productive. I have been a ghostwriter for psychologists for many years and because I enjoy writing it’s a kind of creative outlet. Mentally things start to get weird for me if I don’t create. Because of the type of work I do, it helps scratch my creative itch and I get paid to do it at the same time.

I use project management tools like Asana and Monday to make sure that when I sit down to work I know exactly what I’m going to do for the next four hours. That leaves about 20 hours each day to see the sites and experience the culture of the country, or city, I’m currently in.

How often do you move to a new country or city?

That very much depends on how much I like it there. When I went to Vietnam I loved it so much that I ended up living there for six months the first time I visited. SOme other places, that I won’t name, had me in and out of there in less than 48 hours. Hahaha

So how do you earn a living? Are you a copywriter?

Yes, in a sense. I have a degree in psychology, but one of my first jobs when traveling was working in a sports bookies as a cashier. That immediately got me interested in the psychology of gambling, and that led to me finding work in iGaming. I’m also a ghostwriter for a few practicing psychologists that need help with their content marketing. I write blog posts and email newsletters for them.

How do you think being a digital nomad has impacted your career?

It has given me a lot more freedom than many of my peers in traditional jobs have. It took me a bit longer to reach a certain level of income than it would have if I just got a traditional job, but I wouldn’t have been able to see half the places I have seen over the past decade. The biggest impact it has had on my career is that it made me fully aware of the fact that I’m the one in control of my career and work-life balance.

How much would you need to earn to be a digital nomad?

That very much depends on where you want to go and where you want to stay. If 5-star hotels are all that you are interested in, then you are going to have to earn a big salary. If you are happy with AirBnb and the odd backpackers here and there it can be extremely affordable to travel and work remotely. It also depends on the country or city you want to go to. South East Asia has much lower cost of living compared to most of Europe. You can use sites like Nomadlist to get an idea of how much you would need to live anywhere for any period of time.

Finally, what advice would you give to someone who wants to be a digital nomad?

If it’s something that you have thought about or something you think you might want to do, just do it. If the digital nomad lifestyle is not what you are looking for, then you can always go back to what you had before. Being a digital nomad is all about freedom of choice, and choosing to not be a digital nomad anymore is also a valid choice. You’ll just never know if you don’t try.