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Digital Nomad Quest Sharon Tsung How to Become a Digital Nomad

In 2014, I had a decent paying job in marketing, but I was burnt out. I was getting tired of the same routine of getting up, traveling and spending most of my days in the four walls of the office, repeating the same process again the next day.

This fear I was feeling was thrown into even sharper relief because I recently returned from a month-long solo trip to Europe that opened my eyes to a world I was missing out on.

As I struggled to get back into my daily office routine, I wondered, what if there was another way of life that was more fulfilling? I started imagining a life without financial constraints. I realized that what I really wanted was the freedom to pursue my dreams and see the world without breaking the bank.

With that vision in mind, I started working backwards and thinking about the steps I needed to take to get there, starting with creating more income streams to comfortably fund my travels. And in 2016, after nearly a year’s worth of planning, I quit my 9-to-5.

Over the next two years, I traveled the world as a digital nomad and built multiple passive income streams.

When I returned from my travels in 2018, I decided to take the 9 to 5 for four years. But after a recent layoff, now at age 31, I’m officially “retired” from the day job. I now devote my time to my six current income streams that bring in six figures a year, including my site Digital Nomad Quest and my YouTube channel.

Here’s how I set myself up for success.

I prepared my finances for a year and a half

I’ve always been a big saver, but once I locked down my travel plans, I focused on maximizing my income and minimizing my expenses.

I spent 2015 studying how to create passive income. I took on two additional part-time remote positions on top of my full-time job, which allowed my nest egg to grow rapidly.

And at the same time, I started blogging and selling digital products like resume templates and printable planners on Etsy to prove to myself that I could be successful at creating passive cash flow.

As of May 2016, I had saved enough money to cover a year abroad, and with that distance part I’m making enough to help me pursue gigs, passive income businesses full-time. So I left my daily work and started a new journey abroad.

I traveled alone for two years, living month to month in new places while exploring and meeting people from all over the world. I have ventured through Europe and Asia to places including Greece, Romania, Portugal, Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand.

By the end of my journey, I had built passive income streams through multiple methods that supported me through my journey. These include my Etsy shop, fulfillment by Amazon sellers, creating custom clothing to sell on Merch by Amazon, affiliate marketing, advertising income from my blog (where I write about my experiences), and rental income.

Thanks to diversified investments in the stock market, some cryptocurrency, and real estate, my net worth grew while I was traveling. This journey finally showed me the time and freedom that passive income can buy.

My perspective on work and what I value has changed

As I travel the world, I am struck by how many different ways there are to work. I realize that many of the opportunities I was able to pursue were more accessible because I grew up in the United States.

In some cities, the average salary ranges from $600 to $1,000 per month. It made me realize my privilege, but at the same time, many people who earn less are more present and in the moment than I ever was.

Many people I met in my travels prioritized their loved ones and the things that made them happy. Meanwhile, many people I knew at home were too busy chasing a very set idea of ​​corporate success that wasn’t bringing them any joy.

I realized that there is no right answer to how you should live your life. Everyone’s values ​​are different and everyone has a different definition of success.

I decided to come home and build the life I wanted

I felt like I had “made it” when I built my passive income streams. My income covers my minimum day-to-day expenses, including airfare, accommodation, food and entertainment, which means I can potentially continue this lifestyle abroad for the rest of my life if I want to.

But I was not satisfied with the cash flow alone. I wasn’t happy chasing numbers, wondering how to achieve the next monthly passive income milestone.

I was in Chiang Mai at the time, and I knew many digital nomads who were quite content to continue down this path. That might be a good life for others, but I realized it wasn’t what I wanted. I was still young, and I wanted to live life to my fullest potential. I want to learn, create and contribute something to the world

So I moved back home to the Bay Area in the spring of 2018 to be around loved ones, build skills, and create something impactful. I started teaching people how to improve their finances, build passive income side hustles and invest through my YouTube channel, Instagram and blog.

And after my two year journey of seeing the world, talking to people from all walks of life and building passive income, I finally realized what financial freedom means to me.

I learned that own financial independence is part of the ultimate goal

Initially, financial freedom for me meant being able to travel the world. But at a certain point my priorities changed and I wasn’t done with hitting an arbitrary number. I had to redefine what my driving purpose was.

Now, to me, financial freedom means being allowed to pursue my business dreams instead of waiting for the right time. It’s the freedom that allows me to take care of my health and well-being rather than the stress of paying my next rent check.

It is the freedom that allows me to spend time with my loved ones rather than working long hours in an office. Ultimately, financial freedom allows me to live a life that is true to me.

Sharon Tseung is the founder of Digital Nomad Quest. You can know more about her through her Instagram, YouTube channel, or her website,

Sharon is an investor and creator who teaches people how to build passive income, become financially free and design their best life through her YouTube channel, Instagram, TikTok and blog. She enjoys talking about investing and side hustles. Previously, he graduated from UC Berkeley and worked in marketing for 10 years at Google and other companies. She quit her job and traveled the world as a digital nomad for two years, cultivating multiple streams of income through online and real estate.

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