- Daisy Dyke has visited 59 countries around the world, including Greece, New Zealand and Brazil.
- She often works in exchange for living accommodations during her travels.
- Dyke detailed her experiences living abroad and mused on misperceptions of digital nomads.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Daisy Dyke, 31, about her travels abroad and how she’s afforded her trips. Her username is @daisytraveldiaries on Instagram and TikTok, where she posts about her experiences and shares travel tips. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
I’m from the south coast of England and was raised in a very small village near Blandford, where maybe only 2,000 people live.
Growing up, I was obsessed with nature documentaries, and from a young age knew that I wanted to travel and explore.
In 2011, when I was 18, I took a gap year and moved to Australia by myself. While I was living in the country, I got a job, made friends, and found a place to live.
After about eight months of traveling, I went back to England and attended the University of Liverpool. I chose Liverpool because it was one of the biggest, busiest, and furthest-away cities from my hometown.
After three years of school, I graduated with a degree in psychology. At first, I didn’t know what I wanted to do in my professional career. All I knew was that I wanted to explore the world and find out ways to do that while making money.
I learned that I would have to work if I wanted to travel the world
Before Brexit, it was super easy and common for British people to work a summer in Europe.
In 2014, I flew to Greece and worked as a waitress at a resort on Zakynthos. To find the job, I literally Googled “summer jobs in Europe.” I applied, had my interview, and was hired.
The company I worked for paid for my flights, housing, and food. I also got paid a salary on top of that. It was perfect.
While I didn’t walk away with savings, the money I made was just enough to cover alcohol and day trips.
In 2014, I went home for a few months and worked two full time jobs to save up money. During the day I worked in an office, and in the evenings and weekends I worked in a bar.
After saving up £2,500 ($3,113 today), I left the United Kingdom and flew to South America where I spent two and a half months backpacking around Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil.
I spent almost all of my savings.
Sometimes I worked multiple jobs
After traveling throughout South America, I flew straight to New Zealand to start working on a holiday visa. It depends on the country, but this visa allows you to live and work abroad for up to two years.
I knew I wanted to travel for a couple of years and would need to work while doing that.
I arrived in New Zealand with not that much money. After some time, I managed to make some friends and got a gig working for my accommodations at one of the biggest hostels in Queenstown.
That meant that all of my rent and bills were covered. I just had to volunteer 15 hours a week doing random things like changing dorm beds or cleaning rooms. While I had that job, I also had another at a bar that offered good pay.
After about five months of living in Queenstown, I had saved up enough money to move on.
People have a misconception that digital nomads don’t work
As of 2023, I’ve visited 59 countries.
When I first started, I did not consider myself a digital nomad. That changed in 2021 when I flew to Mexico.
I started teaching English online and was making around $1,500 a month. I then spent six months applying for remote jobs, and eventually got a fully remote job with a digital nomad travel company that paid me $2,500 a month. That was enough to cover my housing and traveling fees.
In 2022, I started working for myself. I create travel content for brands, offer coaching and master classes on living and traveling abroad, and also host group trips.
Right now I’m in Colombia on a digital-nomad retreat. There are 18 of us traveling around the country together and living in a hostel. About 80% of us are employed by companies with set working hours.
During the weekdays, everyone gets their job done. But after work and on the weekends, we go out and explore.
For my birthday this year, my friends threw me a surprise birthday party. I went up to one of their rooms, and 20 people who I had only met a couple of weeks ago did a countdown to my birthday. It was beautiful. Everyone was hugging, jumping and doing shots.
I think people look at our lives and think it’s just one big holiday, but don’t believe everything you see on social media.
We all work hard. We just happen to do it from beautiful locations around the world.