5 Digital Nomads Who Inspired Me

Being a digital nomad can be a little bit lonely — sometimes it can feel like it’s just you and your laptop in the great big world out there.

So, I find it helpful, encouraging and inspiring to follow the blogs and writings of other digital nomads who are also living and working from anywhere. Reading these other stories and approaches to life can give me ideas and often makes me appreciate my own journey in a new way.

This lifestyle has really grown over the past few years, and there are so many other digital nomads doing exciting things all over the world. I could probably list 50 people and barely scratch the surface. However, to get you started here are 5 inspiring digital nomads who are top of my list:

1. Cody McKibben

When I first started looking into the nomadic lifestyle 8 years ago, Cody was one of the few people I found online who was really living it. All those years ago he was working from his laptop around the world and had a blog called “Thrilling Heroics” where he wrote about the digital nomad lifestyle. I fell in love with his stunning photos from Southeast Asia and wanted to do what he was doing.

What does he do? His job title on LinkedIn is “International Man of Mystery” and he also describes himself as “Chief Adventurer.” However, professionally he is an online business startup coach and a digital product launch advisor. Over the past years he has been involved in many projects, including SovereignMan.com, South East Asia Backpacker Magazine, Untemplater.com, In Search of Sanuk, Bangkok Tweetup and TEDx BKK.

Cody is an example of someone who was in the location independent entrepreneurial lifestyle when it was just starting to gain traction and who has stuck it out over the years, growing and achieving more and more. He was even called the “Pioneer of the Digital Nomad Movement” on Virgin.com. He has been traveling the world slowly for over 7 years and he has been featured everywhere from International Living Magazine to the New York Times.

He is passionate about helping others to break free of the conventional template that is laid out for how we live our lives. He works to assist others to become entrepreneurs, building their own online business and do good for others. He’s certainly an inspiring person to follow if you are interested in the digital nomad lifestyle.

2. Jodi Ettenberg

Jodi used to be a lawyer. She saved up some money and quit her job in 2008 to travel the world for a year. She planned to return to the law after that, but that never happened. Instead, she ended up creating an amazing blog that told captivating travel stories through food. The blog was only meant to be a personal blog to keep her family updated, but it turned into a thriving location independent business.

Through the lens of authentic local street food, Jodi writes beautiful long form blog posts that evoke the unique culture of her destinations. She also offers great resources for budget and long term travel and the digital nomad lifestyle. When people ask her what she does, she jokingly answers “I eat soup for a living.”

Seriously, her writing is beautiful and honest and heartfelt and you can get lost in reading her blog for hours. What inspires me so much about Jodi is that even though she has had obstacles that make her lifestyle difficult, such as celiac disease and issues with chronic pain, she continues to approach her life with curiosity, enthusiasm and gratitude. I’m so glad that she shares her stories with the world.

3. Benny Lewis

Benny Lewis is a really impressive guy. He couldn’t speak any other language other than his native English until he was 21, but now he has figured out a way to learn other languages incredibly quickly in a matter of weeks rather than years. He is now fluent in SEVEN languages and he can have basic conversations in many more.

His confidence with languages has opened up a world of possibilities for him and he is able to make friends with people from all over the world. It has really opened up new worlds for him. On his website, Fluent in 3 Months, he offers strategies and advice for his readers to help them learn languages more quickly.

This fun-loving Irish guy is an inspiring example of the possibilities that the digital nomad lifestyle can offer. He has a wonderful approach to life and an enthusiastic attitude about the world, which comes across clearly in posts like this one: 29 Life Lessons Learned in Traveling the World for 8 Years Straight.

4. Chris Guillebeau

Another one of the digital nomads who was first on the scene when I got started years ago — Chris is also considered a pioneer of this movement. His website is called the “Art of Nonconformity” and it is a home for “unconventional people doing remarkable things.”

Chris is passionate about sharing the idea that you don’t have to live your life the way other people expect. He believes that work should be fun and meaningful and his first book The Art of Nonconformity was translated into more than 20 languages. He has also published The $100 Startup, which was a Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestseller. He has also spoken at a number of events including SXSW, Evernote, Facebook, LeWeb, Google, GrowCo and Carnegie Mellon University.

I would highly recommend reading his books and checking his blog often for inspiring messages and tips related to the digital nomad lifestyle. For example, this post on How to Conduct Your Own Annual Review is great. If you work for yourself, you need to be able to take a step back, look at your own performance and progress critically and make goals for yourself. He lays out a very practical strategy for making goals and then outlining the actions required for each goal.

5. Hannah Dixon

Hannah is a very cool and inspiring digital nomad. She has been traveling solo on and off since she was 16(!) and has been on the road for 8 consecutive years. She started working online as a Virtual Assistant and she is now an online business manager who also trains aspiring virtual assistants.

She is a very effective project manager, helping companies to prioritize and manage their teams so that they can achieve the best results. She has a team of more than 100 professional virtual assistants and she offers a VA matchmaking service, uniting companies with the assistant who has the right skills for the job.

She is also building Digital Nomad Kit, which is an online resource for virtual assistants that will be available soon. Plus, she does all of this from awesome locations like Budapest and Bangkok. She has had some pretty fascinating badass experiences, like learning how to be a dog musher in Austria, working on a farm with slightly insane nudists in Slovenia and hitchhiking through Central Europe in the depths of winter.

I love the way Hannah offers honest, practical advice about the digital nomad lifestyle. She writes,

“I can’t stand all these photos of beautiful and ripped nomads on the beach with their laptop and a cocktail in hand. It’s BS. Firstly, sand gets everywhere, it’s not ideal to take a laptop to the beach. Then there’s the glare, then the wifi issues….I could go on.

It’s a farce I’m telling you. Being a nomad is not always this idyllic thing, it’s a lifestyle choice and like any lifestyle, never without difficulty. Hard work will get you places. Literally and figuratively. There is no such thing as an overnight success or a sufficient ‘hack’ that will have you landing in this awesome lifestyle.”

These are just five of the many amazing digital nomads out there who inspire me with their creative approach to career and lifestyle. Who inspires you?

I hope you enjoyed this article. I’ll make sure to write another one with some of my tips and tricks to lead the optimal digital nomad lifestyle and the perfect way to get started.

Thanks for hitting the “Clap” button if you enjoyed this article. This will tell me to write more!

Keep Nomading,

I’m a co-founder at Candy Banners, a digital advertising studio and Stinson Design, the leading presentation consultants in North America. Previously founder of social game Predico and on the board of ad tech company Viewor.
Follow my adventures on Instagram @timgrassin