Barbados Times

Barbados, Caribbean & World News
Monday, Dec 04, 2023

A 29-year-old part-time remote worker living abroad and making $4,000 a month explains how she finds work and affords her lifestyle

A 29-year-old part-time remote worker living abroad and making $4,000 a month explains how she finds work and affords her lifestyle

Michelle Checchi has been working remotely since 2019. She says her lifestyle is "much more affordable" than she'd expect to have in the US.

When Michelle Checchi, 29, left the US in 2019, she planned to be gone for only a few months — as long as it took to drain her savings account.

Today, she's still traversing the globe, working remotely as a freelance writer and video producer and making $4,000 in the typical month while working 15 to 30 hours per week, bank documents reviewed by Insider showed. 

"Instead of just feeling stuck in my one place of living, I live in an international environment that's international for me, where I am still a traveler and a visitor," she said.  

She is among a growing number of digital nomads, or remote workers who travel for weeks, months, or — in Checchi's case — "for the foreseeable future." Over 15 million Americans describe themselves as digital nomads, up 42% from 2020 and 112% from 2019, MBO Partners' 2021 State of Independence study found. Driving this trend is the growing flexibility of remote work, a longing to see the world, and the desire to cut costs.

As of June, over 25 countries had introduced digital-nomad visa programs aimed at luring remote workers and their wallets. The World Population Review said that only two countries — Bermuda and Switzerland — have a higher cost of living than New York City, where Checchi grew up. For her, living abroad has been a budget saver.


Making more money than ever


After graduating in 2015, Checchi enjoyed her job as a local news producer for four years, but she had a persistent desire to "travel and experience freedom," she said. In September 2019, she sold most of her possessions, drove across the cross, and hopped on a one-way flight to Tel Aviv, Israel.

In her first months abroad, Checchi traveled to Cyprus, India, and Nepal, where she tried to stretch out her savings for as long as possible, she said. But after about three months, when it looked like her fun was coming to an end, Checchi had a "spark of an idea": What if she found a way to make money working remotely? She began browsing Upwork and other platforms for freelance writing gigs. 

"I was thinking, 'If I'm going to get a full-time job, it's going to root me down to one place,'" she said. "I really wanted to create a lifestyle where I could maintain my location independence."

While she found some work, money was "not good" early on — a few hundred dollars here and there, not enough to put off her return to the US for long. But slowly, her workflow began to grow. After about six months, Checchi was making just as much as she had in her news job — which paid about $50,000 per year — while working about half the hours, not to mention traveling the world as she did so.

She surpassed her old salary a few months later, breaking $10,000 in income some months — including $17,000 this past June when she did on-site video production for a convention. Checchi also has over 68,000 followers on TikTok — where she posts her travel highlights and tips — though she said she only recently began to make "a little bit of money" via social media. Checchi said she used to wonder how digital nomads could possibly afford their lifestyle.

"I was really surprised," she said. "I was like: 'Oh, OK. So this can be sustainable.'" 

While she continues to do freelance content writing — "ghostwriting blogs, articles, and web copy" — she's begun skewing more toward her video-production roots. Although her clients vary, she often films and produces content for companies in the tourism industry — projects that typically pay for her travel.

Checchi said it's strange to look back at her time as a local news producer, when she felt her skills weren't transferable anywhere else.

"Now I'm like, 'Wow, there's so much that I can do with my skills when you think outside the box a little bit,' she said. 


The challenges of a nomadic life


When she's not traveling, Checchi has a home base in Tel Aviv, which she chose in part for its accessibility to both Europe and Asia. While Tel Aviv can be quite an expensive place to live, Checchi pays $871 per month to rent an apartment with a couple. She typically sublets her room when traveling for an extended period. She tends to stay in hostels and Airbnbs, which helps her stick to a monthly housing budget of about $900. That's a big savings compared to the average June rent of $3,100 for a studio apartment in New York, where she previously lived.

Airfare is her biggest expense, but given that she doesn't cross the Atlantic Ocean often to see her family, she's able to travel relatively affordably from place to place. There's also more competition in Europe's airline industry compared to in the US, which helps keep her flight prices lower. 

But it hasn't all been roses. During the pandemic, she had to return to the US and stay with her family in Staten Island, New York, for a time. Aside from that, she said, she doesn't see her family often — though she's now making an effort to return to the US every three to four months. These flight costs add up, but she said they were well worth it, and that if need be, she could seek out extra work to offset them. While her best friends are in the US, Checchi has friends "all over the place," she said, adding that traveling alone has been a "great way to meet new people."

While she doesn't think a nomadic lifestyle is for everyone, she has no plans to give it up anytime soon: "I'm living for myself at this point in my life."

Newsletter

Related Articles

Barbados Times
Close
0:00
0:00
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Italian Court's Controversial Ruling on Sexual Harassment Ignites Uproar
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
BBC Personalities Rebuke Accusations Amidst Scandal Involving Teen Exploitation
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner
×