How I Used My Media Arts Degree to See the World
July 12th, 2016 | Natasha Englehardt
Written by Anne Dorko
With the rise of location independence, full time freelancers, and digital nomads, it’s no wonder you might be asking…
“What degree do I need to have lifestyle freedom and travel the world?”
My name is Anne Dorko, and I haven’t had a true home since the beginning of 2012. After a few years in office environments, I was tired of the economy; exhausted by company politics and bureaucracy.
With that, I took off on an indefinite road trip with the sole goal of seeing all 48 contiguous states before returning. I succeeded. Since then, I’ve been around the world, quite literally. I was able to go on a solo bicycle tour from San Diego to Salt Lake City. I’ve bartered skills in exchange for glacial helicopter rides, apartment leases, and language classes.
Everyone asks: How? The answer is complex, but here’s what you need to know if you want this for yourself.
The Skills Required
Let’s go back to the beginning. I attended Platt College for its intensive courses. I focused on web design, which I knew nothing about going in – unless you count creating MySpace profiles. I couldn’t tell you the difference between HTML or CSS, but I knew that design sounded interesting.
Under the excellent tutelage of long time teachers like Fred Winton, I grew into my own as a web developer.
What I learned during my time there was invaluable. After four years of hacking it the hard way, here’s what you need to become a successful digital nomad:
1. A skill that doesn’t need your physical presence. Web design, development, and copywriting is an obvious example.
2. The ability to focus your talents into a project to completion. The assignments we tackled at Platt prepped me for the real world more than I could have guessed.
3. A curiosity to learn more. The teachers at Platt always pushed my boundaries. When I wasn’t challenged by a task, they showed me how I could take things to the next level.
Bringing It Together
There’s no one direct path to success.
The skills you learn at school, or in any environment, all work together to shape you into who you are. The real trick is learning how to take what you have and apply it towards your goal. Nobody is going to offer you the chance to become a digital nomad, you have to find a way to make it work for yourself.
But the part that makes it all work is having a skill to leverage in your favor. Web design and development has been crucial for me as I go along. Everyone needs a website, or help with the one they already have.
I cannot emphasize enough how much this skill has turned heads and gotten the attention of the right people. Becoming a web designer is not the only path to being a digital nomad, but it is one of the most effective.
Anne Dorko is a digital nomad with a passion for helping others. She is the founder of Without Boxes, a project to equip people with the right tools and real world examples for achieving self-sufficiency and working around society’s boxes. She’s been coding with WordPress since 2007, living nomadically since 2012, writing professionally since 2015, and can’t wait to see what happens next!