Entrepreneurs

These millennials spend their days on the beach and still make money. Here's how

It's a Friday afternoon in Bali, Indonesia as Nick Sarafa, an American from Michigan, sits behind his laptop at a co-working space.

The space, which offers free open seating for its members, is far from typical: A few minute walk from the beach, it has no proper doors and its ceiling is covered by bamboo. Members take off their shoes before entering and work barefoot. Across the street is a parlor offering one-hour massages for $7.

Sarafa is a software consultant who has worked with various firms and has lived in Bali for the last two years.

"Most people don't understand that I can wake up, open my computer and have a full day's work from anywhere in the world," Sarafa said.

He is part of a growing movement, called "digital nomads," driven by millennial entrepreneurs, designers and developers.

"Most of the people I've worked with, I've never shaken their hand," he said. "I'm building my work around my lifestyle. Not the other way around."

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Unlike many of his peers, Sarafa's major life decisions are less about renting an apartment versus buying a home, and more about where his next destination will be. Digital nomads usually spend anywhere from a few months to several years in a country, and then they move on.

The popularity of the nomad lifestyle has sprouted new platforms like the Nomad List, which ranks cities around the world based on just four criteria: cost, internet, safety and fun. Currently Budapest, Hungary is the top ranking city.

Two other digital nomads, Cassie Torrecillas and Shay Orlena Brown, are making a business out of their lifestyle. They started The Bucketlist Bombshells, a company that helps millennial women build online businesses while traveling the world, by providing online courses that teach skills like website design and digital marketing.

Torrecillas and Brown originally from the U.S. and Canada and have been living abroad for four years now, and have spent the past year in Bali.

"We're more productive here. When I'm back home in the States, specifically in Orange County, I'm always in my car," Torrecillas said. "By the time I get home, it's 9 p.m. and I'm so exhausted, I still feel like I haven't gotten enough accomplished."

Skeptics may argue that digital nomads are just taking a permanent vacation — at a steep cost. But many of these roving techies would argue it's the opposite, and they're actually being smart with their funds.

Torrecillas and Brown said they each pay just about $500 per month to live in a shared villa with a pool. They have daily housekeeping and have fresh coconuts and almond milk delivered regularly.

Meanwhile, Sarafa said he pays roughly one-third the cost of most major U.S. cities, and eats out for most of his meals. He also noted he goes surfing or does yoga every day.

"I've never been happier, or healthier in my life," he said. "I am around people who motivate me to work harder and be a healthier, or a more productive version of myself."