I actually hate the term Digital Nomad. It evokes images of hysterical Instagrammers, who do everything for the perfect selfie and blog about the “10 Best Co-working Spaces in Chiang Mai.” Or “How to live on $10 a day in South East Asia, while working online ” It makes me itch.
Unfortunately I regularly come across these wannabe travel bloggers on my travels and it seems to get worse. Almost like a virus. Luckily I still meet a lot of cool and interesting people as well!
The lifestyle is not the Instagram nonsense
Let’s just say that I have embraced the lifestyle, but I am not selling it that way. I just don’t want to be associated with it. That is why I am not really writing about it.
Nevertheless, there are readers who are genuinely interested in this way of life and ask me about it. So it’s time to devote a blog post to it. The reason for this is this email I received yesterday (translated from Dutch):
After a long search I came across your blog about trading. It’s really cool to read that you have made the transition from ‘a boring job’ to full-time trader and traveler successfully, because I also want to make this move.
How did you make this switch? (gradually or did you just quit your job?).
A small explanation why I want to take this step:
Since the crypto hype of late 2017, I have become interested in day trading. The kick (excitement) of a good trade, financial independence and the associated freedom have remained with me like a dormant virus. This has ensured that from that period on I started looking for correct information about day trading and especially technical analysis.
What I am currently facing is the switch from a (boring) full-time office job to full-time day trading. Currently after half a day at the office, my head is not clear enough / my mindset is not good enough to make good trades.
Can you tell me some more on how you made the switch?
Thanks in advance and I would love to hear from you.
After asking permission to use this email for a blog post, I answered these questions extensively and you can read them below.
The idea of trading and investing just came to me. I really didn’t like my job anymore and was looking for ways to generate an income myself .
Well, I don’t know if you’ve ever googled stuff like that, but if you’re looking for “working from home” or “making money over online” you will find sooo much crap!
Love at first sight
I almost gave up the search because of all the scammy junk I found. But then I came across an advertisement from a broker where you could start trading with a demo account. You can also read this in this post about me. Once I started doing that, I was hooked. I went crazy and became obsessed with the concept of making money by buying and selling different assets.
Charts full of stuff
It’s been a while, but I was active on all kinds of forums, read books, followed blogs and made contact with other traders on Skype. In the beginning my charts were completely covered in indicators and I jumped from one to the other. From RSI to Stochastic, from SMA to EMA etc.
This will be recognizable for many traders.
I learned a lot from this process, but it was only when I heard about price action trading that I saw the light. Trading without indicators appealed to me enormously, so that’s the road I ended up taking and I never really looked back. The only indicator that I still use today (for example for short term scalping) is the Ichimoku Cloud.
Step 1: Quit your job
During this entire process I was still working. In the evenings I was only learning about trading. I stopped watching TV and stopped gaming. On Sunday evenings I did my charting for the upcoming week. At that time I only traded Forex, so I usually picked 10 pairs with interesting charts and I did my technical analysis on them.
My advice would be to go with the higher time frames (4H and 1D) if you still have a job. In addition, opt for Forex or crypto since those markets are open 24/5 and 24/7.
Time management with alerts and pending orders
After analyzing I placed alerts and sometimes pending orders on levels that looked interesting. In the following week I looked at my charts two or three times a day to get an update. And that way I was able to handle it pretty well. Of course it also helps that Forex is a 24/5 market, so you can also trade in The Netherlands after work.
So to answer your question; my advice would be to take the higher time frames (4H and 1D) if you still have a job. In addition, opt for Forex or crypto since those markets are open longer. Forex is a bit easier and more forgiving than crypto to chart and analyze.
It became too big, so I had to choose
My strategy developed and partly due to the revelation of good risk management and the concept of risk to reward ratio, I started making consistent profits. Once you get to that level, you can scale up and you will quickly reach the level where you earn more from trading than from your job.
I also started trading stocks and indices and the European and US action often takes place during working hours in The Netherlands.
That was the turning point for me and the moment I quit my job. I had two important conditions for myself:
- Minimum 1 year salary as a buffer (in my case I had put that money in an index fund)
- At least double my annual salary by trading
Of course that is scary because trading is anything but a steady form of income, but what is 100% certain in life? If you continue to do the same crappy job every day, you can be 100% certain that you will not get any happier. And I also thought to myself if it wasn’t going to work out, then I would have at least tried it and I can always start over.
From that moment on I had all the time in the world to trade and it was a wonderful feeling. There were still some discipline problems in the beginning, because what do you do in the summer when you close a trade in the morning and have made $1,000? It is very tempting to go out and take the rest of the day off.
So those are the things I have had to train myself in. What really helped me with that was contacting other traders. In the company of like-minded people you feel a bit more pressure and responsibility.
I am currently working on a video course and want to link a community to it. Maybe even a live trading room. Sign up to my list at the bottom of this page to get notified.
Step 2: Sell your shit and go on an adventure
And there you are. No more job, do some trading in your underwear every day, making good money, buying new toys… living the dream right?
I soon found out that once you’re out of that rat race and the grind, you have much more space in your head to really think about stuff. What is important in life and what makes me happy?
This video illustrates my point:
My conclusion was that I was NOT getting happier from a bigger house, a faster car and more buying more stuff. If I want to drive a Lambo, we do a weekend in Vegas and rent one for a few hours. I don’t need to collect or own things. That’s just ballast weighing you down.
No one will say on his deathbed; “Fuck, if only I had bought more things, my life could have been so much better.”
Digital Nomad Lifestyle
Anyway I went exploring and found out that there was a whole subculture of traveling adventurers, working online and traveling the world. That appealed to me enormously so I made the decision to become a Digital Nomad .
A lot of research preceded this. In particular from a tax perspective and the bureaucracy is terrible. The Netherlands is really lagging behind in that respect compared to Estonia and their E-Residency initiative for example.
I won’t bore you with the details but let’s just say they don’t make it easy to free yourself.
In short, I sold my house and all my things. Everything I have now fits in a 40 L carry-on backpack. Laptop, phone and a few clothes. That’s it.
I don’t need anything else, because I mainly stay at Airbnb’s. Usually for a month and then I travel on, but sometimes I stay longer if I am happy. Never regretted it. The only things I sometimes miss are friends and family, but that is a small sacrifice for ultimate freedom. And the funny thing is that the time you do have together is much more intense.
This concludes my detailed answer to the email. If you have questions about how to make the switch to the Digital Nomad lifestyle, ask them below.
Let me know if you find these type of blogs interesting. If so, I will write more about it. If not, I’ll focus on trading. 😉