Daniel Kiteski is a digital nomad and travel blogger from Macedonia on a mission to explore all countries in the world but in a different way than many travelers, by getting off the beaten track in unique ways. Before he embraced his digitally nomadic career, Daniel worked around the world in a few different jobs that afforded him exactly this opportunity. During his endeavours, Daniel worked on the Generation 2030 project supported by the UN, worked for an India-based IT company, an Indian consulting firm, a Thai tour operator, and today works as a freelance copywriter and runs his own blog, Passport Symphony. Learn more about Daniel’s various careers around the world here!
How long have you been living/working on the road, and where have you traveled to?
I’ve been working on the road for almost three years. Ever since I first started traveling during my student days, I loved it so much I knew it would be hard to satisfy myself with a 9 to 5 job. Right after I graduated, I started searching for jobs or projects that would allow me to work abroad and travel at the same time.
Since then, I visited 36 countries, including: the US, Spain, France, Monaco, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy, the Vatican, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, Russia, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Jordan, the UAE, India, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.
Please describe what you do for income.
Nowadays, I work as a freelance copywriter and a travel blogger. In the past, I also worked as a marketing advisor for an IT company, an international business development associate for a consulting firm in Delhi, an SEO advisor for a tourist agency in Thailand, and I was even cast in a few Indian movies.
How many hours per week do you work on average?
Well, I almost never worked more than 40 hours per week until I started blogging. Now I’m working roughly 30-40 hours a week as a copywriter plus I devote roughly 10-15 hours a week on my blog.
How much money did you make in each job?
Well, since I did more jobs on the road I will answer this question one step at a time.
After I graduated, I went to Russia for the 2030 project as a volunteer. The organizers provided the accommodation and the meals, which was enough at the time for a wanderlusting, adventure-seeking student. It was a great experience and I learned a lot about leadership and multiculturalism during my stay in Russia. And this was important because being surrounded by people from different parts of the world ignited my desire to travel and explore even more. When I went back home, I didn’t feel right and I knew I had to go back to traveling.
That led me to AIESEC, a worldwide student organization that provides recently graduated students with opportunities to gain some international experience. I got a job as a marketing advisor for a Delhi-based IT company named Uni Agents. The salary they provided was more than decent for Indian standards: 34,000 INR ($510 USD) plus bonuses, oftentimes getting to 40,000 INR or more ($600+). However, the job wasn’t quite what I expected from the viewpoint of professional development so after a few months, I decided to pursue other options since I had an active Indian business visa. I took a break and traveled around India for a while, to clear my head and decide what to do.
This might sound a bit racist (disclaimer: I’m certainly not) but I was surprised at how easy it was for white foreigners to get jobs in India. Only a couple of weeks later I had several offers on the table and I was even cast for a few Indian movies filmed in different locations across the country. The travel costs, food and accommodation was provided by the organizers plus I was getting 3,000 INR per day ($50USD). Not bad for being a background actor.
After the movie shoots were done, I had to decide which job offer to choose and I took one that I thought was the best for me. It was at T&A Consulting, an Indian boutique advisory firm and the most professional organization I ever worked for to this day (including my experience back in Europe). The monthly salary that they provided was 36,000 INR ($540 USD) plus very attractive commission bonuses, which were sometimes even bigger than the monthly salary. I can comfortably say that this was the organization where I grew the most as a professional and I stayed with them until the expiration of my Indian business visa.
After that, it was the time for my next adventure: Thailand and Southeast Asia. Initially, I wasn’t even expecting to work in Thailand but I randomly met a group of guys who were just starting their tourist agency providing customized private tours in Thailand. It seemed like an ambitious company and they had even developed their own mobile app. They were looking for someone to help them with their SEO and online marketing, which happened to be my specialty. I never did this full-time as I really went to Thailand to enjoy and relax but I still managed to earn around 20,000 THB ($650 USD) per month.
While in Thailand, I met a few travel bloggers and started considering the idea of creating my own travel blog. One week later I’d already bought a domain name and by the beginning of September 2017, I published my first article on Passport Symphony. At the same time, I also started getting some gigs on Upwork and similar sites and eventually became a freelance writer/digital marketing assistant providing services for companies throughout the world.
Do you make enough money to support your lifestyle?
During my first trip, I obviously wasn’t making any money but here I am, three years later earning just enough to support my lifestyle. I earn around $1,000 USD per month as a freelancer and I also started earning money from sponsored posts, affiliates etc. At the moment the income from Passport Symphony fluctuates from as low as $300 USD per month to as high as $1,000 per month which is not bad for a blog which is only a few months old. I’m really happy with the growth that I achieved, especially with the blog and I expect nothing but growth in the future.
(See also: How to Make Money Blogging)
What do you like most about your career and lifestyle?
I always say that wherever you travel in the world, the most important part of the experience is learning about the people who live there, through observation and participation. Their traditions, their culture, their history, their quirks, their cuisine. That’s what keeps me going. That’s what makes me grow as a person with every next trip I take.
What are some of the challenges you have with this career and lifestyle?
Well, the main challenge is being away from my family too long. I honestly didn’t miss home that much but I did miss my family.
Another big struggle was getting into this blogging/freelancing sphere. It’s hard when no one knows you, no one is reading your work and you feel like you keep putting serious effort in with almost no return. However, with time I learned that patience, dedication, and consistency are the most important factors for success in this (and I believe any other) field.
What is your vision for the future of your lifestyle on the road?
I don’t think I will stop until I visit every country in the world and set foot in Antarctica. But one can never be too sure. Who knows what the future holds…
Any advice for the aspiring traveler about living and working on the road and managing finances?
As you can see, I’m a living example that you can work in many different fields while traveling and still grow on both a professional and personal level. What I would say is if you’re passionate about traveling (or anything else for that matter), stop looking for excuses and go for it.
The thing is, when you travel in countries with different cultures, countries where most people speak a language you don’t understand, you have no choice but to get out of your comfort zone in order to adapt. And getting out of the comfort zone is where the real growth happens.
Another lesson this great teacher (travel) will teach you is how to reconnect yourself with your gut feeling. I believe that all humans have a gut feeling which we don’t use nowadays because life today is a lot easier than it used to be. However, I believe that certain situations allow you to actually discover that you do possess it. Traveling will give you many such opportunities and once you experience that, you won’t feel it right away, but you will grow a lot as a person; you will see a difference in your perceptions and you will see a difference in the way you face new challenges.
Just make a quick search on the internet and you will find plenty of examples of people that started working random, low-paying jobs abroad and ended up being really successful. Use their stories as an inspiration. It certainly helped me.