Try freelancing. Definitely as a software engineer you could freelance while traveling. Why for side money? You could do it full time if you do it properly.
Because you are a software engineer, you need to be close to an Internet connection on a regular basis. The hardest thing for you will be to discipline yourself enough to work when you would rather be joining fellow backpackers on an excursion.
Some tips for working remotely as a freelancer:
- Decide where you're going to stay or be that has consistent Internet and power
- Look for co-working spaces
- Stick to locations that have larger city access nearby, more digital nomad friendly locations
- Figure out the schedule you'd like to work, how many hours per day or week, and when ... and stick to it
- Decide which tools you'll need to use - github, trello, etc
- Have a backup plan for working offline if power goes out
- Have a backup for all of your files and devices
- Make a seamless communication plan (google voice, whatsapp, international SIM, skype, etc)
- Create a freelancer account on a site like Elance or oDesk
- Set your hiring manager's expectations
- Decide what you'll say to fellow backpackers when approached about going on a cool excursion and you're busy working
- Have a backup plan for working hours - in other words, if you go on that cool trip that can't be missed, know when you'll make up those hours (so that you won't miss deadlines)
- Practice self-discipline daily and create your schedule ahead of time
- Make a budget - know what you can bring in and what you can afford to spend
- Practice minimalism. Spend money like a local and not a tourist.
As long as you have a clear schedule, set proper expectations, and meet deadlines, or exceed them, you can easily get gigs on freelancing sites. And, you can be off experiencing cool adventures at the same time, and not even worried about just trying to survive.
If you're employed now, you can also convince your employer to let you do some remote work experiments until you build rapport. Same rules apply.
Same with any job you seek. If you want to work for a company, ask them upfront about working remotely and set their expectations with regards to your schedule. Over-deliver and you have your ideal job for life.