Look Beyond The Posts
If you’re thinking about becoming a digital nomad, know that it is certainly possible. The hard part isn’t becoming a digital nomad, the hard part is sustaining the lifestyle. If you find yourself comparing your current life to that of Instagram influencers who post about the #workandtravel lifestyle, know that they are struggling too. If they aren’t struggling, it is because they have struggled to the point of understanding what there is to anticipate and how to prepare for it.
If you want to become a digital nomad, let’s first start by discussing the difference between a digital nomad and a remote worker. A remote worker is someone who works for one company. They are someone who has a stable income and they work from one fixed location (usually their home office). A digital nomad is a type of remote worker that travels while (usually) working for several clients. Their income isn’t stable and they have to juggle several hustles to maintain their picturesque lifestyle.
A Digital Nomad’s Unique Challenges
The first challenge you should deliberately try to solve is that of your finances. Your journey as a digital nomad will not be feasible without a proper financial plan set in place. This plan must consist of a budget for your trip, however long you plan on making it, and a budget for your life after your trip. In the event of an early failure, you want to make sure you have an emergency-savings account ready. This will be for a flight back home, a month’s worth of basic necessities and for your accommodation while you lick your wounds. Save two to three months of your current income before even thinking about purchasing your first plane ticket.
Next, you will want to tackle the issue of overwork. As a digital nomad, you will end up working for work’s sake. It is important to create a set routine, at least for your work schedule. This routine will be designated for working only and for checking your email. Outside of these hours, you want to close your laptop, put it in your room and then leave.
Don’t have your email app on your phone and have all notifications from social media off while exploring the country you’re in. The digital nomad lifestyle can quickly seem like a regular nine-to-five, only with sandy beaches, if you don’t take the time to stop working and actually go out for a swim.
When faced with boredom, you’re going to want to find a muse. I prefer using writing for tackling boredom, as it inevitably comes every day. The pictures and videos you see of digital nomads online only capture seconds, if not minutes, of their actually daily life. Most of it is finding a balance between not working too much and not dying from boredom. If you focus on creating something — a podcast, vlog, or a blog — you find a way to tackle your boredom. You may even use your muse to help fund your travels, if you take the time to grow it.
Lastly, the most difficult challenge you will face is loneliness. I’m lucky that I have a partner who is willing to work and travel with me, some digital nomads aren’t as lucky. If you want to become a digital nomad you have to know that you’re going to get lonely, a lot. Even if you meet people and make meaningful connections, those connections will be short. You won’t be able to stay in one place for too long, due to visa restrictions. This will make it so that you have to always meet new people.
If this is an issue for you, video calls with your friends and family may help, but only to a certain point. Anticipate lots of loneliness and start your journey with the goal of self-discovery as a focus. If you do this, the loneliness and boredom that comes from this lifestyle will be welcomed and it will provide you with opportunities to learn more about yourself.
Why I Don’t Regret The Decision Of Becoming A Digital Nomad
I don’t regret taking the chance to become a digital nomad because I have learned so much. I have learned how to be more responsible with my money. I have learned how to manage my time better and how to commit myself to write every day. Also, I have seen so much that I would not have seen if I stayed in a comfortable job. Even if failure were to occur, I now know how easy it is to try this again.
If you want to become a digital nomad, know that failing is okay. No amount of preparation prior to your adventure is going to prepare you for the challenges you’ll face. I am certain that your unique story is going to have challenges that aren’t mentioned here. Embrace them.
The challenges you encounter will make for great stories. Take the chance and just know that there are cons to this lifestyle. Do your research, prepare as best you can, and then just give it a try. It’s worth it.