How Do I Become a Digital Nomad? 2024 LGBTQ+ Edition

How do I become a digital nomad? — this is the question most asked in our private Facebook group.

Photo by Andrew Neel: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-in-gray-shirt-sitting-on-bed-3954635/

The digital nomad lifestyle, where you work remotely while traveling the world, offers immense flexibility and adventure.

For members of the LGBTQ+ community, it can provide the freedom to explore safe and welcoming places while pursuing fulfilling careers. However, there are unique considerations for LGBTQ+ travelers, and this guide aims to empower you on your journey as a digital nomad.

Step 1: Choose Destinations that Prioritize Safety and Acceptance

  • Resources:
    • ILGA World: Check the ILGA World’s interactive map detailing sexual orientation laws by country
    • Equaldex: A collaborative knowledge base on LGBTQ+ rights worldwide (https://www.equaldex.com/)
    • LGBTQ+ Travel Blogs and Groups: Seek recommendations and first-hand experiences from other LGBTQ+ nomads.
  • Prioritize Inclusivity: Look beyond just legal protections. Research the social climate, the existence of LGBTQ+ communities, and events catering to the community in your potential destinations.
  • Considerations:
    • Traveling as a Couple: Some countries may be more open to solo LGBTQ+ travelers than to couples.
    • Cultural Sensitivity: Understand local customs and how to respectfully express your identity.

Step 2: Get Your Boss on Board (or Find Clients Who Embrace Your Lifestyle)

  • The Importance of Support: Having your employer or clients on board is crucial for sustainable nomadism.
  • Benefits for Employers: Tout the advantages of remote work: access to a wider talent pool, increased employee satisfaction, and potential for a global perspective.
  • Addressing Concerns: Prepare for questions about time zones, security (both personal and data), and productivity. Have a detailed plan to mitigate concerns.
  • Freelance Option: If your employer isn’t receptive, freelancing provides the ultimate flexibility. Explore platforms like Upwork or Fiverr to find projects.

If you’re not currently working in a position that allows for remote work be sure to check out our guide 5 of the most in demand skills you can have to become location independent. We also include free resources and sites you can use to find work.

Step 3: Don’t Forget About the Details

  • Workspace and Tech:
    • Internet Essentials: Prioritize reliable Wi-Fi, research coworking spaces, purchase local SIM cards, and use a VPN for secure connections.
    • Work Setup: Determine your essential equipment (chair, desk setup, lighting), what you can bring, and what to source locally.
  • Financial Safety Nets:
    • Multiple Payment Options: Have backup credit cards, emergency cash, and explore digital payment platforms like Apple Pay.
    • Know Your Bank’s Policies: Inform your bank about your travels to avoid blocked transactions.
  • Health and Wellness:
    • Insurance: Get comprehensive travel and health insurance, potentially with specialized coverage for the LGBTQ+ community.
    • Medications: Pack sufficient supplies and research local availability of prescriptions.
    • LGBTQ+ Friendly Healthcare: Identify LGBTQ+ friendly doctors and clinics in your destinations.

Step 4: Find Your Community and Connect

  • Combating Loneliness: Proactively build a support network to avoid isolation.
  • Online Resources:
    • Nomad List: Find events and connect with other LGBTQ+ nomads (https://nomadlist.com/)
    • LGBTQ+ Social Media Groups: Join specific digital nomad focused communities.
    • Meetup.com: Look for local events and meetups in your destinations.
  • Engage and Participate: Initiate events or gatherings, try new hobbies, and attend co-working space socials to foster genuine connections.

Step 5: Be a Responsible Nomad and Give Back

  • Mindful Travel: Minimize your environmental impact and support local economies.
  • Local Integration: Choose destinations that welcome the economic contributions of digital nomads and offer opportunities for meaningful cultural exchange.
  • Giving Back:
    • Volunteer with LGBTQ+ Organizations: Find local causes to support.
    • Support LGBTQ+ Owned Businesses: Consciously choose where you spend your money.

Inspiration: Best Digital Nomads to Follow

  • Nomadic Matt: One of the original travel bloggers, Matt Kepnes offers practical tips alongside his LGBTQ+ travel experiences and advocacy.
  • The Globetrotter Girls: Dani and Jess, a lesbian couple, showcase how to travel the world safely and authentically as part of the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Oneika the Traveller: A solo traveler focused on responsible and sustainable adventures, Oneika provides a wealth of resources for women, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Adventurous Kate: Kate’s solo female travel blog includes LGBTQ+-focused insights and recommendations.
  • Legal Nomads: Jodi Ettenberg specializes in food, culture, and discussions surrounding long-term travel, with a section dedicated to LGBTQ+ issues.

Top 5 Destinations to Start Your Journey

  1. Portugal: Beautiful scenery, progressive laws, an established digital nomad community, and a focus on LGBTQ+ rights make Portugal a welcoming starting point. (Click here to read our article about the different types of long-stay visas in Portugal)
  2. Thailand: Affordability, vibrant culture, and a generally relaxed attitude towards the LGBTQ+ community, especially in Bangkok and certain islands.
  3. Canada: Known for its inclusivity and vast, diverse landscapes, Canada is a safe haven with cities welcoming digital nomads.
  4. Spain: Affordable living, friendly locals, beautiful beaches, and progressive LGBTQ+ rights, especially in cities like Barcelona and Madrid.
  5. Colombia: A growing digital nomad scene, unique culture, stunning natural beauty, and improving social progress for the LGBTQ+ community.
Best countries for digital nomads

Important Dos and Don’ts

  • DO
    • Thoroughly research your destinations, considering laws, social attitudes, and LGBTQ+ resources.
    • Start with destinations known to be LGBTQ+ friendly to build confidence.
    • Connect with LGBTQ+ nomad communities online for support and advice.
    • Learn basic phrases in the local language to break cultural barriers.
    • Be open to new experiences and respectful of local customs.
  • DON’T
    • Assume all countries offer the same level of LGBTQ+ acceptance and rights.
    • Rely solely on mainstream travel information; seek LGBTQ+-specific insights.
    • Travel without proper health and travel insurance.
    • Isolate yourself – actively build community for support and belonging.
    • Be afraid to ask for help from fellow nomads and local resources.

How do I become a digital nomad: Additional LGBTQ+ Considerations

  • Visibility: Decide your level of openness about your identity in different destinations for safety and comfort.
  • Traveling with a Partner: Research visa requirements for couples and additional legal considerations.
  • Family Planning: If applicable, explore LGBTQ+ friendly surrogacy and adoption options for different countries.

The digital nomad lifestyle offers unparalleled freedom and adventure. By taking proactive steps, addressing safety concerns, and embracing community, LGBTQ+ individuals can create an incredibly fulfilling and empowering experience as they work and travel the world.

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