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Digital Nomad Diaries: How to Thrive in Remote Work from Anywhere

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Written By
By Munira Maricar
Travel Writer
Stock Alhambra in Spain

The rise of remote work has given birth to a new breed of professionals known as digital nomads. These individuals leverage technology to work from virtually anywhere in the world, embracing a lifestyle of flexibility and adventure. However, thriving as a digital nomad requires more than just a good Wi-Fi connection. Here, we share tips, personal stories, and insights on maintaining productivity, achieving work-life balance, and finding community while working remotely in different countries. 

We also explore how internships and teaching English can be excellent starting points for aspiring digital nomads.

Maintaining Productivity

One of the biggest challenges for digital nomads is staying productive while constantly on the move.

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Here are some strategies that can help:

  1. Establish a Routine: Even though you have the freedom to work from anywhere, having a consistent daily routine can boost your productivity. Set specific work hours and stick to them as much as possible. 
  2. Create a Dedicated Workspace: Whether you’re in a bustling café in Paris or a serene beach hut in Bali, carve out a space where you can focus solely on work. This could be a co-working space, a quiet corner of your accommodation, or even a specific spot in a local café. 
  3. Leverage Technology: Use productivity apps and tools to keep track of tasks, manage time, and collaborate with colleagues. Tools like Trello, Slack, and Asana can be invaluable.

Pro-Tip: Avoid working while you’re actively on the move, as it may affect your focus and the quality of your work. Try to schedule Active Travel days on instances where you don’t have any pending deadlines. 

Achieving Work-Life Balance

Balancing work and personal life can be tricky when your office is wherever you are.

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Here are some tips to help:

  1. Set Boundaries: Make a clear distinction between work time and personal time. Avoid working late into the night and ensure you take regular breaks. 
  2. Prioritize Self-Care: Incorporate activities like exercise, meditation, and hobbies into your daily routine to keep your mind and body healthy. 
  3. Embrace Flexibility: Take advantage of your flexible schedule to explore new places and cultures. Plan your work around your adventures, not the other way around

Pro-tip: Set a daily alarm for when you have to log out and turn off any work-related devices, and immediately follow up by doing something specifically for yourself, like taking a nice hot shower or cooking a great meal!

Finding Community

One of the key aspects of a fulfilling digital nomad lifestyle is connecting with like-minded individuals.

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Here’s how to find your tribe:

  1. Join Co-Working Spaces: These spaces often host networking events, workshops, and social gatherings, providing great opportunities to meet other digital nomads. 
  2. Participate in Meetups: Use platforms like Meetup or Facebook groups to find local events and meetups for expats and digital nomads. 
  3. Stay in Coliving Spaces: These accommodations are specifically designed for digital nomads, combining living and working spaces with a built-in community.

Pro-tip: Join classes like Yoga or Salsa dancing (even if you’re inexperienced!) to meet a wide variety of people and make new friends! 

Internships and Teaching English

For those looking to start their digital nomad journey, internships and teaching English can be excellent gateways.

Internship Opportunities

Internships provide practical experience and networking opportunities, which can be crucial when starting a remote career.

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Many organizations offer remote internships, allowing you to gain experience while exploring new destinations. Also, by interning abroad, you get a taste of what it’s like to work in a foreign location, where you have to not only excel at your job but also quickly adapt to new surroundings. 

Explore these great opportunities below!

Maximo Nivel 

Starting your digital nomad journey can be greatly enhanced by interning with Maximo Nivel. With over 20 years of experience in educational travel programs, Maximo Nivel offers transformative onsite, online, and hybrid internship opportunities in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru.

Maximo Nivel's TEFL

These internships provide practical work experience, Spanish language classes, and dedicated support from advisors, making them ideal for developing a global perspective and building an international network. 

Whether you’re aiming to work in healthcare, education, human rights, or another field, Maximo Nivel’s tailored internships offer a comprehensive package that includes accommodation, meals, and structured placements, ensuring a seamless and enriching experience. Embark on your digital nomad journey with Maximo Nivel to gain valuable skills and stand out in the global job market.

Here’s what a recent participant had to say:

“My friend and I had an amazing time at our project in San Juan del Obispo, just outside of Antigua. We loved taking the chicken bus every day and seeing the breathtaking volcanoes from wherever we were. We taught English to kids who were so precious and ready and willing to learn; cliche, but of course they taught me just as much as we taught them. It’s been an unparalleled experience that I would recommend for anyone with a willingness to learn and absorb all that Antigua has to offer.”
Noelle OBrien

Intern Abroad HQ

Interning with Intern Abroad HQ offers an ideal gateway for those aspiring to embark on a digital nomad lifestyle. With their global remote internships, you can gain practical career experience from the comfort of your home, making international work accessible and affordable. For just $1099, you can start whenever you like, choose your hours, and earn course credit while interning with innovative host organizations overseas.

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This flexibility makes it perfect for students, graduates, and young professionals looking to enhance their resumes and develop job-ready skills ideal for working remotely.

Intern Abroad HQ’s remote internships are available in 64 career-focused programs across 14 countries. These internships not only provide valuable work experience but also help you build an international network, all while developing your professional skills in a real-world remote working setting. 

The support from dedicated advisors and the structured experiential learning curriculum ensure that you maximize your learning outcomes and stand out to future employers. Whether you’re interested in finance, agriculture, architecture, or any other field, Intern Abroad HQ offers a customized and impactful way to kickstart your digital nomad journey.

Here’s what 17-year-old Samuel Chen Chen had to say about their remote Microfinance out of Tanzania

“The guidance that I received from my Program Manager was helpful for me to navigate the process of the internship. During the internship, I enjoyed discussions with my internship mentor on the various topics related to Microfinance. This internship helped me gain valuable skills such as crafting business plans and effective communication, which have contributed to my personal and professional development.”

GoEco

Interning with GoEco offers an invaluable stepping stone for aspiring digital nomads. Through their diverse international internship programs, you gain firsthand experience of working in a foreign location, where adapting to new surroundings is as crucial as excelling in your job. 

volunteer in Europe with GoEco

Whether you’re involved in medical internships in Costa Rica or veterinary assistance in South Africa, these internships provide a unique blend of professional development and cultural immersion. Interns receive personal attention, guidance, and feedback from mentors, ensuring a comprehensive learning experience. 

Upon completion, you’ll have a professional reference and an impressive resume, setting you apart in the job market and preparing you for a successful career as a digital nomad.

Projects Abroad

Interning with Projects Abroad is an excellent stepping stone for those looking to start the digital nomad life. These international internships offer practical, real-world work experience while allowing you to immerse yourself in a new culture. 

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Imagine working on a Human Rights project in Argentina or a Medical Internship in Tanzania, where you not only excel at your job but also adapt quickly to new surroundings. The hands-on experience and professional development gained through Projects Abroad internships provide a solid foundation for a global career, setting you apart in the competitive job market and preparing you for the challenges of working abroad.

African Impact 

Interning with African Impact is a transformative stepping stone for those looking to start the digital nomad life. Through their remote internship program, you can gain invaluable experience while contributing to a grassroots NGO. This flexible program, ranging from one to six months, allows you to work from anywhere in the world while connecting with a dedicated team in Africa. You’ll develop practical skills and gain a theoretical understanding of social development, all tailored to your personal and professional goals.

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By interning with African Impact, you immerse yourself in the diverse culture of the communities and projects you support. Whether you’re focusing on education, health, or gender equality, this internship provides a comprehensive view of NGO operations, project development, and implementation. The combination of independent assignments, virtual team meetings, and personalized development plans ensures that you not only excel in your role but also adapt quickly to new environments. This experience is designed to bolster your resume, provide professional references, and prepare you for a successful career as a digital nomad, making a tangible impact while exploring the world.

This review by virtual intern Elizabeth Bassett says it all!

“Exceptional. I felt supported and encouraged to grow professionally and walked away achieving the goals I set out to accomplish.”

Involvement Volunteers International (IVI)

With over 35 years of experience and a focus on projects with genuine needs, IVI provides opportunities in healthcare, education, and more. Interning abroad with IVI provides a glimpse into working in a foreign setting, where you need to excel in your role while swiftly adapting to new environments. The hands-on experience and personal attention from mentors ensure that you leave with a sense of accomplishment and a professional reference that sets you apart in the job market.

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IVI’s flexible and affordable placements in over 20 countries allow you to immerse yourself in diverse cultures while making a real impact. Whether you’re involved in public health, nutrition programs, or other community projects, you will gain practical experience and insights into the local needs and operations. 

This not only enhances your resume but also prepares you for the dynamic lifestyle of a digital nomad, where adaptability and global understanding are key. With IVI, you get the perfect blend of professional development and cultural enrichment, setting the stage for a successful career on the move.

Volunteering Solutions (VolSol)

Interning with Volunteering Solutions (VolSol) is a fantastic gateway for those aspiring to embrace the digital nomad lifestyle. Engaging in VolSol’s varied international internship programs provides firsthand experience of working in a foreign environment, where it’s essential to excel in your role and swiftly adapt to new surroundings.

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Whether you’re interested in journalism in Thailand or medical internships in countries like India, Nepal, or Ghana, VolSol provides opportunities that immerse you in different cultures while gaining valuable work experience.

These internships offer more than just professional growth; they also allow you to explore new destinations, meet like-minded individuals from around the world, and fully immerse yourself in local cultures. The combination of hands-on work and cultural immersion prepares you for the dynamic and adaptable lifestyle of a digital nomad, making VolSol an ideal choice for those ready to take their first steps into this exciting way of life.

Global Vision International (GVI) 

Interning online with Global Vision International (GVI) is an excellent stepping stone for those looking to start the digital nomad life. These virtual internships provide you with the flexibility to gain practical work experience from anywhere, helping you land that purpose-driven job you’ve been dreaming about. By participating in GVI’s programs, you can contribute to real sustainability projects, all from the comfort of your own home.

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The GVI virtual internship program is designed to be highly customizable, allowing you to choose your subject area, project focus, duration, and pace. This flexibility ensures that the experience aligns with your personal goals and lifestyle. 

With courses endorsed by the University of Richmond, you’ll not only gain practical skills but also earn valuable certifications to boost your resume. Throughout the internship, you’ll receive support from dedicated supervisors and mentors, helping you navigate your project work and enhance your career prospects. This experience prepares you for the dynamic and adaptable lifestyle of a digital nomad, making GVI’s virtual internships an ideal starting point for your journey.

Read a Virtual Intern Review here:

“I really enjoyed my Global Public Health Virtual Internship with GVI. I got to interact and work with people all over the world, worked through great content in the online modules and I got to work with and learn from people doing real-life work in my future career. Most importantly, during my internship, I was able to complete 4 project briefs which have given me great insight into the public health world and as well as very valuable experience before I graduate from university.”
Samantha

Teaching English

Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) is another popular option for those who want to start a digital nomad life. With a TEFL certification, you can find teaching opportunities in various countries, allowing you to immerse yourself in different cultures while earning an income.

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You can also learn how to teach English online, which means the possibilities are endless – all you need is a good internet connection! Starting out as an English teacher is also a great way to open up more avenues to expand your skills and become a valuable remote worker in a larger variety of fields. 

Explore the following reputable programs below to help get started on your Teaching English journey. 

Maximo Nivel 

Maximo Nivel’s TEFL certification programs are your gateway to teaching English abroad and becoming a digital nomad. Offering both onsite and hybrid courses in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru, as well as online options, Maximo Nivel provides flexible and comprehensive training that equips you with the skills needed to excel as an ESL teacher. With a job placement guarantee and lifetime job-finding assistance, they ensure you can secure a teaching position and start your international career with confidence.

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Their accredited TEFL courses are recognized worldwide, opening doors to teaching opportunities in Latin America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. By completing their rigorous 150-hour course, you’ll gain practical teaching experience and the confidence to lead an English classroom anywhere in the world. Maximo Nivel’s experienced trainers and continuous professional support make it one of the best choices for aspiring English teachers looking to travel, work, and live abroad.

International TEFL Academy

The International TEFL Academy (ITA) is a leading institution that can help you start teaching English and embark on a digital nomad lifestyle. Offering internationally accredited TEFL certification programs, ITA provides comprehensive training through online and in-person courses worldwide. Their curriculum covers essential teaching methodologies, classroom management skills, and practical teaching experience, ensuring you are well-prepared to teach English as a foreign language anywhere in the world.

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ITA’s extensive job search guidance and lifetime job assistance support are key advantages for aspiring digital nomads. They boast a vast network of global contacts and a robust alumni community, which can help you secure teaching positions in various countries. The academy also offers personalized job counseling, resume and interview coaching, and access to their exclusive job boards, making the transition to an international teaching career seamless. With ITA’s support, you can confidently navigate the job market, find teaching opportunities in diverse locations, and enjoy the flexibility and adventure of a digital nomad lifestyle.

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

Volunteering with International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) offers a unique opportunity for those aspiring to become digital nomads and work abroad as online teachers. IVHQ’s extensive network of affordable teaching volunteer programs spans Africa, Europe, Asia, Central and South America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and the Pacific. These programs provide invaluable hands-on teaching experience, whether you’re a seasoned educator or a first-time volunteer, and allow you to work alongside local teachers to enhance English literacy and vocational skills in various communities.

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One of the standout features of IVHQ’s programs is the discounted online TEFL certification through TEFL HQ, available for just $399. This 100-hour course equips you with the necessary skills to teach English effectively, both abroad and online. 

As a certified teacher, you can confidently pursue remote teaching positions that support a digital nomad lifestyle. Additionally, IVHQ’s teaching volunteer opportunities often lead to greater cultural exchange and understanding, enriching both your life and the lives of the students you teach. With programs in diverse locations like Peru, Bali, Costa Rica, and Ghana, IVHQ provides the perfect stepping stone for those looking to combine travel with meaningful work and set the foundation for a flexible, location-independent career.

GoEco

GoEco offers award-winning teaching English abroad programs that are perfect for those looking to start a digital nomad lifestyle. With a wide range of programs in countries such as Nepal, Thailand, and beyond, GoEco provides volunteers with the opportunity to teach English to children and adults in under-resourced communities. Volunteer teachers are actively involved in making learning fun through group conversations, games, songs, and dynamic classroom activities.

teach English abroad with GoEco

Volunteering with GoEco also allows for immersive cultural experiences. For example, you can teach English in Buddhist monasteries in Nepal, work with women’s literacy programs in Sri Lanka, or assist in education in Cambodia. These experiences not only enhance your teaching skills but also provide a deep understanding of local cultures. 

Additionally, GoEco offers programs in stunning locations such as Cape Verde, the Galápagos Islands, and Bali, allowing you to explore beautiful destinations while making a positive impact. By participating in GoEco’s programs, you gain valuable teaching experience, contribute to global education, and embrace the flexibility and adventure of a digital nomad lifestyle.

Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad offers a variety of teaching programs across the globe, allowing volunteers to make a significant impact by helping children and young people access quality education in countries with limited resources. By joining a teaching abroad placement, you can work in elementary schools, high schools, or colleges, supporting local teachers and gaining real classroom experience. This firsthand perspective on global education challenges is invaluable for aspiring digital nomads who wish to teach remotely while traveling.

Volunteer to teach children with Projects Abroad

The teaching opportunities with Projects Abroad are diverse and tailored to different interests and expertise. Whether you want to teach English, basic computer skills, or physical education, there is a program for you. For example, you can teach English in Costa Rica, volunteer with monks in Sri Lanka, assist in educational outreach in Nepal, or support sports coaching in Tanzania

These placements offer flexibility with short and long-term options available year-round. The structured support from Projects Abroad, including guidance from local teachers and staff, ensures that you are well-prepared and can make a meaningful contribution. This experience not only enhances your resume but also provides personal growth and a global mindset, essential for a successful digital nomad career.

African Impact

African Impact offers a range of teaching volunteer programs that provide an excellent pathway for those looking to start teaching and embrace a digital nomad lifestyle. These programs allow volunteers to make a meaningful impact in under-resourced communities across Africa while gaining invaluable teaching experience. By working with local teachers and facilitating education for children and adults, volunteers contribute to sustainable development and create real, measurable change.

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African Impact’s programs are diverse, offering opportunities in various countries such as South Africa, Zambia, and Zanzibar. For example, you can volunteer in Cape Town to support early childhood development, teach English in Zanzibar to both children and adults or assist in sports and community development projects in Zambia

Additionally, African Impact offers a TEFL internship, allowing you to complete the practical teaching hours required for certification while making a significant difference in local communities. This combination of practical experience and cultural immersion makes African Impact an ideal choice for aspiring digital nomads looking to teach and travel the world.

Involvement Volunteers International (IVI)

Involvement Volunteers International (IVI) provides an excellent pathway for those looking to start teaching and become digital nomads through their extensive teaching abroad programs. IVI offers volunteer teaching opportunities in numerous countries, allowing you to gain classroom experience while making a meaningful impact in local communities. Whether you are an experienced teacher or a first-time volunteer, IVI’s programs enable you to engage in cultural exchange, learn new skills, and inspire students of all ages.

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IVI’s teaching programs focus primarily on English conversation and language instruction but also offer opportunities to teach subjects like art & design, sports coaching, and more. Volunteers can work alongside local teachers or independently, providing personalized attention and creative learning experiences for students. With placements in diverse locations such as Bali, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Fiji, Vietnam, and more, IVI allows you to explore different cultures while contributing to education. 

Additionally, IVI offers an internationally recognized TESOL course that equips you with essential teaching skills and enhances your confidence in the classroom. This combination of practical teaching experience and TESOL certification makes IVI an ideal choice for aspiring digital nomads seeking to teach and travel the world.

Volunteering Solutions (VolSol)

Volunteering Solutions (VolSol) offers a wide range of teaching volunteer programs that provide an excellent opportunity for aspiring digital nomads to start teaching and explore the world. Whether you’re a qualified teacher or a first-time volunteer, VolSol’s teaching programs help you develop new skills, engage in cultural exchange, and inspire students of various ages.

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VolSol’s teaching volunteer opportunities are diverse and flexible, with placements available in countries like Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Vietnam, Thailand, Ghana, Peru, Cambodia, Kenya, and more. Volunteers can teach English, math, and other subjects, assisting local teachers or leading classes independently. 

VolSol also offers an online TEFL course in partnership with TEFL UK, equipping volunteers with the skills needed to teach English effectively and qualify for digital and international teaching jobs. With flexible start dates and durations, VolSol’s programs enable you to immerse yourself in different cultures, enhance your resume, and start your journey as a digital nomad while making a positive difference in the lives of underprivileged children and communities.

Global Vision International (GVI) 

Global Vision International (GVI) offers extensive volunteer teaching programs that provide an ideal foundation for those looking to start teaching and become digital nomads. Available in diverse locations such as Cambodia, Ghana, Nepal, Madagascar, South Africa, and Costa Rica, these programs allow you to teach children and adults in various subjects including English, environmental education, and business skills. As a volunteer teacher, you’ll support local teachers, provide one-on-one tutoring, and run extracurricular clubs, gaining valuable skills in communication, leadership, and cultural literacy.

teach English abroad with GVI

GVI’s specialized programs, such as women’s empowerment and early childhood development, let you tailor your experience to your interests and career goals. The practical teaching experience enhances your resume and prepares you for a range of career options. With comprehensive pre-departure and in-country support, including mental health resources and skills training, GVI ensures a successful and transformative volunteer experience, making it an excellent choice for aspiring digital nomads looking to make a difference while exploring the world.

Staying Productive and Connected

Thriving as a digital nomad involves balancing productivity, work-life harmony, and social connections. By leveraging routines, dedicated workspaces, and community resources, you can create a fulfilling and productive remote work lifestyle.

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Additionally, starting with internships or teaching English can provide a solid foundation for your digital nomad journey. Embrace the freedom, explore the world, and enjoy the unique opportunities that come with working from anywhere.