Three and a half years ago, my boyfriend and I embarked on a world trip. Nothing was planned, except our big dreams to travel the world.

Our story goes up like this:

He called me one day inviting me to meet up in Paris. We were apart for a while, but when I heard his voice there were no second thoughts. I bought my ticket train from Amsterdam to Paris in a heartbeat and ran out to catch up on the last train.

When we met, everything was sweet as candy topper fireworks, and luckily, it continues to get even sweeter with time. To my surprise, our romantic rendezvous in Paris finished in a flash after he informed me that we are heading off to Corsica.

Our traveling days were passing like a wildfire, but so were my visions to become a blogger. The absence of skills and knowledge and the shortage of time and internet connection made my dream a nightmare.

I’ve learned the hard way that before your dreams come true, you need to invest in yourself and find how to utilize your free time for self-development. That is why I have summarized the four skills you need to become a self-sufficient nomad before becoming successful and achieving your dreams.

1. Writing Skills

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Photo made by author

From compelling posts to valuable and engaging articles, solid writing is a must. It is crucial to improve your communication skills, advance in your career, and promote yourself better. So without anymore reasoning, let’s dive into the topic and help you learn from my mistakes.

  • Experience

Looking back — I see myself sitting on the train to Paris with my journal open and a pen in my right hand. I’ve never written anything personal, nothing emotional, only the same boring formal research projects as a student.

When we were in Corsica, I tried writing, and even though I was inspired, something was blocking my way. That something was my self-sabotaging mindset.

I’m a non-native English speaker, and I’m aware that my language skills are far from perfect. If you feel intimidated writing, like I was, because you are a non-native speaker — don’t be.

You might not be able to write with complex phrases and fancy idioms, but have in mind that English is the most spoken language in the world, only if you count both native and non-native speakers. Therefore, many people would resonate with your simple and easy to read expressions.

Another mistake I made was longing for perfection. I wanted to create my beautiful blog and start writing. Two times I paid annual membership on two different hosting platforms — that’s two years of me intending to write but blindly stopping myself because of the technical task that has been unmanageable without the first step.

When you want to have a blog, it is much easier to start after you have created some content for it, rather than dreaming for the opposite, as I did. From all these travel years, the only thing I have left is my yearning to write. But I’m changing that and will help you to change it, too.

  • Learning Phase

Nowadays, I’ve learned to focus more on formatting my articles and concentrate on what I want to say rather than dreaming of perfection.

I’ve learned that when an idea pops-up in your head, you should immediately write it down no matter how trivial and impossible to forget it seems. I do so, even when waking up in the middle of the night.

Furthermore, early morning is when most of the ideas would float on the surface of my mind, and it has happened that I would outline a full article only in my notes. That is why I highly suggest you learn to use your pre and post dreaming powers, as this is a time full of creativity and ideas.

My work continues 99.9% of the time with the headline. There is this free headline analyzer that I always use. It scores the quality of the headline and analyses individual words in it. You need to make your headline count if you want your article to be read. So never rush it.

Afterward, I would check out for keywords and see what the public wants to know about my topic. Answer the public — is a goldmine of consumer insight that helps me wrap my content in a way that resonates with my audience.

Additionally, like many online writers, I also use proofreading software such as Grammarly. It helps me keep my writing error-free. Even their free version is a useful tool, and for me, it serves as a personal editor.

Another thing that improved my writing is reading. Yes, I’m reading a lot, and I always write down in my notes any new sparking ideas. I’ve learned that sharing personal experience with an incentive to educate others is one of the most rewarding contents you can put out there.

There is only one writing course that I’ve taken, but wow, it made me write. I even constructed all its information in one piece that I use as a reference for myself when writing articles. The course I’m talking about is on Skillshare, and I certainly suggest you take it:

  1. Creating Content That People Love to Read (and Google Loves to Rank) by Raelene Morey

After almost four years of full-time travels, we’re finally settled, for a lasting period due to the pandemic situation. I’m using this time as an opportunity to write and share not only our travel stories but everything that my heart wants to express and communicate to others without allowing any fear to stop me.

2. Photography Skills

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Landscape in Canada captured by the author

No matter the industry you work in, images are a vital part of our world. Photography is a way to express, connect with your audience, and inspire them.

It is possible to seal the entire personality of your business in such a small piece of art. But only if you possess the technical and creative skills to capture it.

  • Experience:

For seven months, we traveled back and forth around Europe. We visited sixteen countries with two low-resolution cameras on our cheap smartphones only.

We traveled through many world natural heritage sites, national parks, and biosphere reserves. We visited Lake Skadar — the largest lake in Sothern Europe and exceptional natural beauty such as Plitvice Lakes and Krka National Park — Croatia’s two most popular destinations for nature lovers. At the end of the day, all we had were one or two images to show our friends and parents.

A few months later, we embarked on our Asia trip, where we visited seven countries in eight months. We leveled up ourselves with a DSLR camera. Nonetheless, the lack of technical knowledge and photography skills were still there.

During our second journey, I already knew how important photography is and had learned to use Adobe Lightroom to bring life into my photographs and make them more vibrant. Unfortunately, only after coming back to Europe, I understood the importance of shooting .raw over .jpeg from the youtube channel of Jared Polin.

His channel is all about photography skills and tips, and it is full of high-quality information that can help anyone learn and advance on their photography journey. I have chosen my second camera with his help and learned how to utilize its perks through his reviews. His tutorials also help me chose my lenses and learn more useful photography tips, big up Jared.

  • Learning Phase

You do not need a degree to become a good photographer — this is what I learned through this process. Photography skills develop mainly by taking pictures and by learning the use of camera hardware and software.

Another takeaway is that it is hard to learn on the road, especially if you are camping every night in remote locations. Most of the time, there is no internet connection at all, and you have to exclude the convenience of fast e-learning.

That is what brought me to eBooks. Whenever there was good wifi — I would download free pdf files of eBooks. Then, I would read them all day while on the passenger seat or before going to sleep. Sometimes, I would even wake up in the middle of the night and keep on reading.

Though I have an e-reader, I was reading the eBooks on my phone — it’s easy, it’s simple, it’s always within my reach. The more I read, the more I wanted to read. Here is a link to a website that you can start with — I read all their free eBooks, and the knowledge I gained through them is invaluable.

Thirdly, if you are new to photography and image editing, here are some courses on Skillshare that I’ve taken and can recommend for:

  1. Travel Street Photography: Telling Visual Stories with Powerful Street Photos by Sean Dalton
  2. Photo Editing: Cinematic Styles in Adobe Camera Raw by Elizabeth Weinberg
  3. The Art of Timelapse and Hyperlapse Photography by Ian Norman

Nowadays, wildlife, landscape, and travel photography have become not only my hobby but a way of documenting my life. If you would like to see more of my wildlife photography, please refer to these two articles here and here. If you are interested to see some of my landscape and nature photography — this is the article.

Last but not least, I’m also selling some of my photography on shutter-stock. Though I’ve not made a fortune with my three hundred photographs, it still makes me happy to know that they are in use to someone.

3. Video Editing Skills

Video shot and edited by the author

Video is one of the most popular and highly effective forms of content in the world of digital marketing. This analysis by Marketing Charts estimates that the average person will spend approximately a hundred minutes a day watching online videos in the upcoming year.

Video content is one of the soundest ways to increase your traffic and generate engagement. Here’s how I developed mine.

  • Experience:

Guess how many videos we have from our Euro-trip? Well, you guessed right. Zero. Nada. Rien.

Our first trip fits in a folder of less than 15GB, and it has not even one footage. That was another lesson of the school of hard knocks, but we took it with our heads up. Instead of whining about what it could’ve been, we decided to concentrate on what it can be, and so as I mentioned above, we bought a DSLR camera.

With zero filming or editing skills, we traveled throughout Asia, shooting randomly on all sides. No tripods, no stillness, no special effects. The result? Well, three minutes video compelling only to my mother.

I knew I had to work hard to get any filming or editing skills, and so I did.

  • Learning Phase

In the beginning, my work was done — on a laptop with bad graphics, a low memory card, and a slow processor. That made my life a nightmare when editing photographs or footage, but it never got me to give up. It taught me patience.

I had to choose software and learn to work with it. Cutting all fluffiness, there were only two options for me — Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro — I chose the latter.

No matter how bad is your hardware, just work with it and never give up. Speeding up or improving your computer might be a good option.

Apart from Jared’s YouTube channel, where you can learn a lot about video, too, I took Philip Bloom’s Cinematic Masterclass — that class was recommended to me by a videographer I met in Colombia. He advised me to check it out, and I’m forever grateful for his tip.

Philip Bloom has created 6+ hours of episodes that help you learn through real-world examples. He uses various cameras and lenses and hands over his invaluable filming skills to the audience. Each module is packed with useful information and is a resource I look at again and again.

There are two teachers that I follow and learn from on Skillshare, too. Here are their courses I recommend with the most crucial information for any newbies:

  1. Video Editing with Adobe Premiere Pro for Beginners by Jordy Vandeput
  2. Adobe Premiere Pro CC — Essentials Training Course by Daniel Scott

Though I’m far from a film producer, I now feel confident and have the skills to create videos and motion graphics that can convey my very own story-telling.

I even managed to pitch a job interview for a junior video editor with zero professional experience and a modest portfolio. My deepest gratitude to the teachers mentioned above, and I bet their lessons can do the same for you.

If you want to see more of my videography journey, you can check out this beautiful video that I’ve made from our vacation in Mont Blanc, or maybe join me for a short trip around Canada.

4. Design & Illustration Skills

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Business logo made by the author

If you think design skills are only for designers, you are wrong. Simple design skills can improve your creative thinking and help you lay-out your personality into compelling visuals. It is significant to be multi-skilled and express yourself through various channels, and design is definitely one of them.

  • Experience

My experience with design is very vague. Like I mentioned earlier, two times, I wanted to create a blog. Unfortunately, my design, user interface, and user experience skills were zero. Both of my subscriptions elapsed since I could not handle the outlook of my dream website.

Furthermore, as a full-time traveler and yoga teacher, I wanted to have my logo that resonates with my personality and our life motto. Professionals charge pretty high, and my designer friends never took me seriously.

These unpleasant circumstances fired up my desire to learn design, get the skills and create everything as I please.

  • Learning Phase

I’m an Adobe user, and hence, I’ve installed almost all of their software. But what now? Photoshop and Illustrator have been incredibly intimidating for me. I needed to find a good teacher, and I was lucky to land on a Photoshop beginner course on Skillshare with a professional teacher.

The top teacher I learn with is Daniel Scott. He is an Adobe certified trainer, and his tutorials are abundant in useful information. Moreover, his courses cover the tiniest details and teach the core skills you need to have as a beginner or an intermediate student.

He has uploaded 27 courses on Skillshare. You can find some of them on YouTube and many more on his website BYOL. With all the information and knowledge that he lays down for almost no money, he is a rare gem-stone in the world of online teaching, my hat’s off to him.

I have already completed seven of his courses. I created my logo, transformed it into a motion design, and almost got a job as a video editor. I plan to finish all of his courses in two to three months and finally design the website I dream about before all traveling restrictions are over and our wings open.

Practice makes perfect. I’m pushing my boundaries of learning and developing myself daily. I know that investing free time in self-improvement is one of the best things to engage oneself. So wherever you are, I’m sending you my eternal support and experience to encourage you in doing it, too.