I want to introduce the gorgeous and inspirational Danielle Ditizan From likeridingabicycle.com
If this girl doesn't inspire you, there is something wrong with you. What a life.
From Hobo to Digital Nomad: My Journey to Success by Doing What I Love
For the past five years straight, I have been traveling this earth without a home base. Yes, I’m a true nomad – I have no home base at all, and prefer to find mini homes along the way. So I must have had a ton of money when I started to make this work, right? I mean, five years is a long time.
When I began my travels I had $6,000 in credit card debt, and not one penny in the positive. To boot, my credit card was maxed out, so even using it and racking up more debt was simply not an option. No, I had to find a way to either make some money, or figure out how to live without. I really hadn’t a clue how I would do either one.
After a short trip to the States off $100, I headed to Australia on a working holiday visa (yes, I had to borrow the money to even get my visa and to get a flight to Australia. I was that broke.) So at that point I had not only my credit card debt, but some extra debt to my mom who, although she loved me and wanted me to be happy, had little faith in my path ahead.
All that would come to change over the years.
At first I worked as a bartender and waitress in Australia, slowly but surely hacking away at my debt. The country is extremely expensive, but fortunately also pays very well. I stayed in hostels and lived off instant noodles to keep me going. Although I was making good money, nearly all of it went towards that pesky debt.
Soon I grew tired of Australia, and decided to do a working holiday visa over in New Zealand. There I continued to hack away at the debt, working this time in an office. Finally, one day, the debt was no more. I was free.
Just one problem: while the debt was gone, I was still left with a grand total of zero dollars. This was going to require some more resourcefulness on my part – a resourcefulness I never knew I had until it all began.
The first step was learning to hitchhike and wild camp. My biggest need at the time was to find a way to live my dreams – the life of a nomad – even when I had no money. Cash was not something I ever wanted to halt me in my quest for happiness, and being on the road I was the happiest I’d ever been – debt or not. I figured it out slowly, and became confident hopping in cars with strangers and finding somewhere no matter where I found myself to safely hide my tent away for the night. I even learned to dumpster dive – though I’ve seldom actually done it – so that I had the full package: I could get around, find shelter, and eat without any money. In fact, I once hitchhiked from the very west to the very east of Canada – and back again – on a whole $20.
But gradually things have shifted. This began when I hitchhiked with my boyfriend at the time to Mexico. We were completely out of money, and man, we needed work. But finding work under the table for a person who doesn’t speak much Spanish is easier said than done. He succeeded, finding work at a surf shop for a measly $2 an hour. Mexico may be cheap, but it isn’t that cheap that you can live off such an income.
It was time to think outside the box. What could I do to earn proper money so as to continue my travels? I had a flashback to my sedentary days when I worked briefly in a law office, much of my job being transcription work. Though I didn’t have much hope that I could find online transcription work, it was worth a shot. I sent out over one hundred emails to companies who hired transcribers remotely. I recall that day, saying to my boyfriend, “Sorry I’m so busy today. I’m sure this won’t work out, but you never know unless you try, right?”
Within a couple days a few transcription agencies had responded, asking me to do test files. After acing them, it all began: I now worked online.
Of course, transcription is not the most entertaining of jobs. Sometimes you’re typing great content that is fascinating – like when I secured a job transcribing podcasts on the history of Disney. Most of the time, however, the content was dry, and would suck my soul just listening to and typing it.
An evolution had to occur once more; I had to continue to make money to travel (even if it was only a tiny bit, as I had the resources behind me to live off barely anything, but I had little desire for going back to living off absolutely nothing). Over time I’ve worn many hats – from doing online surveys for a pitiful quantity of money to working as a virtual assistant to a popular travel blogger.
Finally, these days, I earn money from my own blog and from working to secure advertisements on multiple blogs. Oddly enough, I make a bit more than minimum wage back home, but I work for myself and live in a tent; my expenses are minimal, with zero bills at all, making minimum wage seem like a god send. I even get to do awesome things like the Stratosphere rides and jump in Vegas as well as skydiving and the like, all in exchange for reviews on my blog that I built up over time!
It was all a massive journey, and I stumbled and fumbled my way here. Did I know I’d be doing what I am now when I began? I hadn’t a clue! But somehow I made it, and am content with my life and my work. If you do what you love, you will be successful, for success is not measured in money or social acceptance, but in what makes you happy.
And I am very happy.
By Danielle Ditizan – Like Riding a Bicycle