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Living Without A Steady Home: A Practical Guide On How To Be A Modern Nomad

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

With access to the internet becoming easier around the world, we start to see an increasing number of modern nomads: people who leave their steady homes to travel while working through computers. Get to know a person who did that and her tips to the new nomads.

Over 10.000 years ago, during the Neolithic Revolution, humans became sedentary, as they mastered agriculture and started using what nature could give for their own development. This way of living has been predominant on Earth ever since, however, with the access to the internet becoming available to the masses, most of our everyday tasks can now be done anywhere and anytime we want, meaning that having a steady home and job is usualy unnecessary.

As so, there has been an increasing number of people who decided to leave their houses, pack their bags and travel around the world earning money through their online job, something that just requires an electronic device and a stable internet connection. These people are called modern – or digital – nomads.

We talked to Fernanda Kiehl, who has been having this free lifestyle with her husband, Tiago Ferraro, for almost eight years and gave us tips on how to achieve this path.

the beginning of the journey

Fernanda and Tiago are both from São Paulo, Brazil, but they met and got married in London, where she was a press officer and he worked in the sales department of a multinational company. Their stable life seemed to be leading them to the traditional path of buying a house and having kids. However, the couple decided that, before they made those decisions, they should travel around the world and take a sabbatical year.

In December 2014, after saving enough money for this adventure, they started what, at first, was a 2-year trip. The two of them spent most of that time in Africa and Asia, but in the end, due to a lack of proper organization, the money ended. At this time, they went back to London, where they attended a tourism fair which showed them that a lot of people were living like nomads and earning money by creating digital travel content. This inspired them to open their own company on that subject.

THE FINANCIAL PREPARATION

Although they decided to start their own business, Fernanda and Tiago were facing a hard time as they didn’t properly plan the expenses on the 2-year trip. So, to actually open the company, they moved to a tiny apartment in Italy, where they started to work and study 24 hours a day to finally see the result of their enterprise.

About that decision, Fernanda confessed that this was the major mistake they made as they became nomads and if she could go back in time, she would have planned better the way they dealt with money. In her opinion, this is something that every new traveler should take seriously into account so that you don’t have to worry if the trip can be continued in the middle of it.

For financial preparation, some important tips are:

  • have a detailed spreadsheet with your earnings and expenses;
  • pay off any debts you already have;
  • have an emergency money fund, as unforeseen events happen.

Now, since 2018, besides creating content for their blog – Monday Feelings -, the couple also helps other companies in that area: Fernanda manages social media and Tiago is a photographer. Recently, they also began producing independent documentaries that have been shown at festivals in Brazil and Europe.

THE PSYCHOLOGICAL PREPARATION

“Being fearless is something that made our journey easier”

– Fernanda Kiehl

Tiago and Fernanda would make very light decisions and were ready to try new experiences, always supporting each other. According to her, this can turn you into a more flexible person, as you lose control of a lot of things.

Another thing that also helps in having a serene moving life is planning ahead where to go and stay. Part of the amusement of being a modern nomad is to always be in different places, but the uncertainties of the future can lead to panic and anxiety. This means it is important to have at least a few weeks planned ahead, knowing where to go and stay. Also, meditation and keeping regular online contact with your friends and family help relieve the stress.

If you are a very materialistic person, being a nomad can also be harder. Leaving most of your things behind works as a lesson on becoming an unattached person and it will also teach you to value your life experiences more. Fernanda and Tiago usually travel with one suitcase for personal items and another one for their equipment, in addition to a handbag. They are minimalists with their clothes, but, in case it is necessary, anything that is missing can be bought anywhere they are.

Distributing time between working and exploring

Important warning: don’t fool yourself by thinking that being a digital nomad means only traveling freely. You have to keep working, as that is how you will get the money to keep the journey going. The routine of this kind of life is delicate and you might work more than actually get to know the place you are at. In some cases, exploring the locations can be a job as well, if you, like Fernanda, create travel mediatic content.

Discipline is crucial. You can work in the morning and visit the city in the afternoon, or work all day and use the next one for touring through the town, for example. Choose the routine that best fits your lifestyle. Doing that way, the couple was able to visit over 50 countries, from the common travel destinations to places where most people don’t go and know almost nothing about – these being their favorites, as she told us they adore getting in contact with different cultures. During the interview, she listed Iran, Thailand, Italy, and the Brazilian countryside as places that have a special part of her heart.

at last…

Remember to not romanticize the nomad life. According to the interviewees, it is gratifying, but it demands working hard and being disciplined. The picture of a person with a laptop on the beach is a lie! It is a normal life, but with a “geographic freedom”. If you want to make sure that being a modern nomad is for you, try going on shorter trips at first, and remember to be very organized – and you can also check out Fernanda and Tiago’s life as digital nomads on their Instagram.

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The article above was edited by Marina Lopes Fiel Fornazieri.

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Juliana Sanches

Casper Libero '25

A journalism student with a passion for books and words since a young age. I adore creating art and am very interested in culture, entertainment and music :)
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