The Cons Of Being A Digital Nomad

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.


Here’s What You Should Do When You Quit Your Next Job

The case for taking a mini-retirement

Have you ever had a job so soul-sucking that you hated the thought of waking up and starting your commute? This job may have had horrible coworkers, a boss that couldn’t seem to appreciate you, or the work itself was way too tedious and boring. Regardless of whether or not you hated the job, I am sure that the thought of quitting may have crossed your mind. Perhaps you may have already quit a job or two. The next time you quit your job, I want you to consider a new approach.


This approach for quitting your next job is to help you maximize your time between jobs. In the ideal case, before you quit any job you should definitely have some interviews lined up and ideally, you should also have some actual offers as well. However, before accepting your next job and you start the daily grind all over again, I propose that you take a mini-retirement.


Rediscover what work means to you

The idea of a mini-retirement originally came from author and lifestyle designer Tim Ferriss, in his book The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. In this book, he describes the mini-retirement as a period of time in which you are not working the typical job. This is not a sabbatical nor is it a time where you do absolutely no work either. A mini-retirement serves the purpose of self-discovery. This can be done by taking six months to a year traveling the world, taking three months to learn a new craft, or simply taking a month to read some books or exercise more.


The mini-retirement is a reset button — a very necessary reset button for anyone who has worked in a job they didn’t like for a year or more. The danger in hopping from one job to another without taking a substantial break is that you may fall into a pattern where you find yourself in the same situation over and over again. For the first two years of my career, I found myself constantly trying to climb the corporate ladder.


I never seemed to fit in with any of the teams I was working with. I was self-serving and only cared about collecting accolades and titles. I thought that if I had any large gaps between jobs in my resume, I would look like an unfavorable candidate to the next hiring manager. I was always seeking the next dream job. When I finally got into the best job I could ever ask for, I was miserable. It was only after taking a necessary six-month break from 2017-2018 that I saw what my faults were and how to fix them.


During those six months I was working as a freelance marketer but, I didn’t work for more than fifteen hours each week. The rest of my time was spent staying home, reading, writing, watching anime, and spending time with friends and family. Those six months helped me to see how important it is to take long breaks. This break, in particular, was crucial for my personal and professional development.


After that six-month mini-retirement, I decided to pivot and live in China as an English teacher. One year and ten months later, I decided to take another mini-retirement. This time I am traveling the world for an indefinite period of time. I’m financing this trip with part-time copywriting work, working remotely from whichever country I decide to live in.


How you should set up your own mini-retirement

There are several steps that you need to take to make sure you can come back to the professional world, whether you want your mini-retirement to last one month or one year. You don’t need to go on some pilgrimage around the world if you don’t want to. Your mini-retirement can be as simple as staying home and working on your own personal projects. What is important to note is that you have to create a proper plan before quitting your job.


The first and most critical part of your plan will be your finances. Whether you are in a job you love or you are in a job you really need to leave, you should be considering how you are creating and managing your financial runway. Your financial runway is an account, ideally a savings account, that is used to store cash for future monthly expenses. In the most ideal scenario, you should be saving enough money to have three to six months of your total monthly expenses covered if you aren’t working. These expenses include your average monthly expenses for food and general outings, your rent, and your bills (credit card, student loans, etc.). The best way to make sure that this actually gets done is to automate your savings.


Once you’ve established what that exact amount is and you actually save that money, then you should consider what your mini-retirement will look like. The only goal you should set for yourself when designing your mini-retirement is making it so that you learn something. I say this because there will come a time, very early within your mini-retirement, where you will feel aimlessness kick in. You will want to work, work on anything, to feel a sense of purpose and to tackle your inevitable boredom.


During my first mini-retirement, I wanted to learn what was I doing wrong when it came to connecting with my past coworkers. It was a time for self-reflection and the goal was to become a better team member in future jobs. During my second mini-retirement (the one I am doing now) my goal is to learn how to be a better writer.


You want to make sure you have a clear goal to make sure you maximize your mini-retirement. That goal can be something as simple as, “I want to learn how to cook all of the recipes in that cookbook my aunt bought me last Christmas.” Keep the goal simple and if for whatever reason you don’t accomplish it during your first mini-retirement, you can always do another one in the future!

Telling your boss you’re leaving and what to expect afterward

Once come to terms that it’s time to leave your job, saved your money, and designed your mini-retirement, the next step is to tell your boss. The best way to approach this is by sending a simple 30-days notice email (or two-weeks notice if you are really in a hurry) and setting up an exit-interview. I suggest doing this so you can leave on the best of terms, in the case that after your mini-retirement you have an epiphany and realize that you actually like the job you’re in and want to come back.


You don’t need to be too specific when letting your boss know your future plans. Your reason for leaving can be as simple as, “I’m doing this to focus on my mental health,” or “I am taking a break from work to reconsider what I want from my career.” If you are a great asset to your team, your boss and your HR representative will try their best to keep you. Stand firm and let them know that you put a lot of thought into this decision and won’t be swayed. Even if there is ill-will between you and the boss (or any other member of your team) take the high ground and be as polite as possible throughout the entire transition period.


Once the news that you are leaving spreads across the office, your coworkers will inevitably ask why you’re leaving and what you are planning to do next. How much information you want to tell them is up to you, but I personally tend to be vague unless I have a strong connection with whoever is asking me. Most people won’t understand why you’re leaving if you tell them that you’re quitting to take a six-month break to work on yourself. Save yourself the time and let them find out on their own after you leave.


After your last day at work, your immediate challenges will be:

  • dealing with boredom,
  • avoiding work for work’s sake,
  • and immediately going into a new job.

You will not be the only person that has ever taken a mini-retirement. One way to help yourself stay true to your decision and keep pushing forward will be to research what other people have done or are currently doing during their own mini-retirements. Reading The 4-Hour Workweek or watching videos on Youtube are two resources to leverage. And remember, if at any point you feel like you want to end your mini-retirement early, that is okay too. You are in complete control.

What to do when you want to go back into the professional world

Now while reading this, I am sure at some point you asked yourself, “This sounds great and all, but what do I do after the mini-retirement is over? How do I get my next job?” Use what you’ve learned and the story of planning your mini-retirement in your resume. It certainly makes for a more interesting story if, during your mini-retirement, you made an adventure of it and traveled. However, if that isn’t what you did that is fine too.


Showcase the positives of the mini-retirement. What did you learn? How did it make you a better person? What did you come away with? If you can answer these questions and use them to create a narrative, the hiring manager interviewing you will be more keen on what you have to say. If you want to know how to actually write this in your resume, there are resources on LinkedIn that you can use if you research, “how to explain resume/career gaps.”  There are a ton of career experts who have written about this topic and their information is free!

If you’ve read up to this point, I want to thank you for your time. Please share this article with someone you know who may need their own mini-retirement. If you have any questions, you can send me a tweet or a message on Instagram. I hope this article helped you consider the idea of a mini-retirement. You don’t need to wait until you’re 65 years-old to enjoy some much needed time off.


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“If You Can Make It Here…”

Why I Left NYC To Travel

Frank Sinatra’s cliche line is true up to a certain point. Yes, New York City is one of the best cities in the world. Perhaps it is also the best place to grow your career, regardless of the industry you are in. Yet, how do you know for certain that it is the best city? How can you be certain that you can make it anywhere if you are only successful in NYC?


The best way to know if you can make it anywhere should be to leave the Big Apple and see if you can. New York will always have a special place in my heart. I lived there for almost 24 years. It was (and still is) a source of hope for my family, who immigrated from the Dominican Republic, seeking a better life. After more than two decades in one place however, I have to wonder, “Is this all that there is?”


There is an argument to made for leaving NYC. It certainly is the best method for appreciating the experience of living there, which is a great privilege. I do find myself constantly comparing everywhere I have seen to the unique life I had in my hometown. These comparisons also show me that NYC isn’t as perfect as I thought it was.


A city doesn’t need to be a visible rat-infested slum of a subway system, for example. In two of the most populated cities in China, Beijing and Shenzhen, the subways are so clean that one could sit on the floor while waiting for the next train. Without diving into the complexities of exchange rates, a city doesn’t have to be so damn expensive to live in either!


You could live in Chiangmai, Thailand for under $1,000 a month. This is impossible to do in NYC, even in the Bronx. One of the fanciest condos I have ever lived in charges 6,000THB or $192.80 a month in rent. And one doesn’t need to leave the United States to see how ridiculously expensive NYC is. A quick visit to Florida, Georgia, or Texas can also highlight why living in New York is an unnecessary expense and burden on one’s pockets.


Because of my current experiences gained while traveling, I will only be in NYC for small moments at a time now. A week or two is enough for me to visit family and friends. This is all because my suspicions were correct. If I could make it anywhere, that meant I didn’t need to only make it in New York City. I could leave and actually set out to make it, all across the world. And if I find that after traveling, New York City is the best place on earth. Then I will have an even deeper appreciation for the place I grew up in. I suspect it isn’t though and there is only one way to find out.

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