Katie Macleod has traveled to 79 countries as a digital nomad. The 28-year-old graphic designer wants to visit 100 countries before she turns 30. She explains how she finds work through freelance platforms. Something is loading.
Thank you for your registration!
Access your favorite topics in a personalized feed on the go. download app
This article is based on a transcribed conversation with Katie Macleod, a 28-year-old digital nomad who wants to travel to at least 100 countries before she turns 30. It has been edited for length and clarity.
I left my job as a graphic designer for an advertising agency in London in 2018 to pursue my passion for travel.
I was in Sri Lanka when the pandemic hit, making my goal of visiting 100 countries before turning 30 a little more difficult.
I reduced my workload to try to achieve my goal. Although the pandemic hampered international travel, I was able to stay on the road after converting a van.
Van life Macleod converted a motorhome during the pandemic. Katie MacLeod
As soon as the pandemic restrictions started to ease, I went to Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkey and Jordan.
Traveling gives me freedom and being a digital nomad means adapting your surroundings to your liking. If the warmer climate no longer serves me, I move. If a group of people no longer makes me happy, I move.
The hardest part of being a nomad is the lack of routine. The environment is constantly changing, as are people, climate, cuisine and our living conditions.
This means that nomads must be determined if they want to maintain any kind of routine for eating, sleeping or working out. Otherwise, you can easily burn out. It may seem like a great vacation, but constantly traveling can be exhausting.
Finding work and the right balance Macleod has traveled to 79 countries to date. Katie MacLeod
There are many online freelancing platforms like Upwork and Fiverr. I have also found that networking online and in digital nomad hotspots is also beneficial. It has also become much easier since the pandemic.
Also, I’m not restricted to working in any particular field, so there are many time zones, industries, and cultures to choose from.
However, I used to find it difficult to distinguish between work and travel, especially when my schedules were flexible. Maybe I also felt like I should work more and therefore earn more. Now I make sure I only travel to certain places for vacation rather than for work as well.
Before the pandemic, I found that 15-20 hours a week was a good balance between work and travel, and also gave me enough income. During the pandemic this went up to around 40 hours as I was not on the go.
I had been to most European countries with my family when I was younger. My van is waiting for me at home so when I get back to Scotland. I love the Scottish Highlands and Islands and go back every year.
I try to get home in the summer so I can be in the van for a few weeks or even months at a time.
I have visited 79 countries and my goal remains to visit 100 before I turn 30.
My end goal is not just “happily ever after”. On the contrary, I want to enjoy the adventures along the way. That doesn’t mean I’ll ever have to settle down, but maybe I will one day. Right now, I can’t imagine living any other way.