I don’t want to interfere in your “private life”, but I have a simple question or two for you. Have you ever broken up with someone before? (Oops! I apologise if I made you recall a past relationship). How did the “break-up” process feel?
“Excuse me, if I made you think this is about past relationships and not about the Digital Nomad lifestyle. Before you close this page, give me a moment to let you know why I asked those questions.
I am assuming you are a mature person, probably 18 years and above. I also assume you have dated someone before in your life. Now, if all this is true, I can say that you agree with me that break-ups are very difficult moments for a lot of people. Depending on how close and emotionally involved you were with the other person, it may have taken quite some time to get over this situation.
Our careers and lifestyles are not too different from our relationships. Leaving a highly paid job with all the amazing “perks” to live thousands of miles away in a foreign land will not be that easy. This is because our lifestyle as well as our career involve other humans. Plus, the more time we put into our career, the more difficult it can be for us to quit or switch to another lifestyle. Like any toxic relationship, you are willing to leave but you’re afraid to do so as you don’t know how the next chapter is going to look like and if it will be better or not.
In that case, all you may need is a strong proof to convince you that you are making a good choice by leaving. Not only that, you also need some motivation to “push” you to take that bold step. I am here to give you just that — the benefits and advantages of the Digital Nomad Lifestyle and reasons why you may want to give it a try.
Freedom, Freedom And More Freedom
If there is just one thing that the lifestyle of a Digital Nomad can offer you among many other things, it will be FREEDOM. Remember my initial question about break-up? Do you remember how free you were after a failing relationship? It almost seemed like a heavy load has been lifted from your shoulders. That is exactly how I felt when I finally made the switch from the “desk” employee to a Digital Nomad.
Your life becomes totally transformed. Suddenly, you do not have to answer to your “boring” manager or seek permission to take a break or use the office toilet (can you imagine?). Not only that, you have the freedom to go wherever you want in the world without worrying about meetings on Monday. Even when you finally get to a new country, you are no longer limited to a particular place to live, what to eat or what to wear. All of these choices are now 100% in your hands to make. You choose to do what you want and where you want to be, all the times. Not because you have to do it but because you want to. Seriously, I could just end this post here and still makes total sense.
Explore The World
If you have been living a regular “home-office-home lifestyle” for some time now, you may not know much about the world around you. To put things correctly, you really don’t know much about the world outside where you currently live.
Okay, you read the news everyday and follow how things are going on around the world. You go on holiday and see some beautiful hotels in other countries. But, most likely you haven’t experienced other parts of the world like Digital Nomads do. As the experience of living somewhere is very different than taking a vacation in the same place.
Luckily, all that changes when you become a Digital Nomad. You travel to any part of the world to feel how living in other countries feels like. Once you do that, you either confirm some of the many things you may have heard about a country and its people, or totally realise that all that you heard (or maybe most) are rarely true. You are given the opportunity to learn a lot of languages and live with a lot of people that will reshape how you see the world. Indeed, the Digital Nomad Lifestyle really opens your eyes to a bigger world outside the places that you already know.
Yes, we Digital Nomads work, and often work hard, sometimes harder than in an office job. But on our days off we don’t have to visit every birthday party, mow the loan, clean our houses and fix the long waiting tasks. We go and climb mountains, volcanoes, see one of the world wonders. We go and explore new cities, in my case I go and look for abandoned houses to explore. There’s a whole new world in front of your doorstep, a world which needs to be explored.
Build And Grow Your Network
Have you heard of the popular saying that, “your network determines your net-worth”?
How many people do you know by name outside your current workplace and personal relations (friends and family)? In a world where we prefer to be behind screens to communicate, we are gradually missing out on healthy relationship building. Even at the workplace, we don’t get to communicate freely and randomly outside meetings.
The Digital Nomad lifestyle opens up the way for a huge opportunity to network. From your airport arrivals to your hotel or hostel check-ins, you will meet a lot of people. You may need directions to places you would like to visit or tutorials on speaking the local language of your foreign country as a Digital Nomad.
And not only that, Digital Nomads are just like any other people, they are humans which like to connect with other like minded humans. This has lead to real Digital Nomad hotspots around the world, such as Ubud in Bali, Chiang Mai in Thailand or Lisbon in Portugal. We, Digital Nomads, see each other in several countries, most likely more than you see your neighbour.
Some of these networks you build could lead to great business opportunities later in your life, as well as, not to forget, great friendships and often partnerships.
Learn How To Live A Happy “Lean” Life
A few years ago, a popular term that came up was “minimalism” — the way of life where one choose to be very simple, modest and own less “stuff”. Suddenly, almost everyone thought of how “nice” it would be if they owned just a few “stuff” and jettison all the things they really didn’t need.
Yet, it seems like our environment and society didn’t allow us to be as minimalistic as we would like to be. If you agree to the fact that gathering and owning too much “stuff” will not necessarily make you happy, you will love the Digital Nomad lifestyle. As a Digital Nomad, you probably travel the world with just a backpack that contains everything you may need. No need for that 60-inch television and oversized walk in closet full with designer clothes that does not add much to your life but bills. You will learn to survive and be much happier and free with just a few, necessary things.
It Will Make You Stronger, Smarter and More Creative
The Digital Nomad lifestyle is full of adventures and surprises. Depending on where you live, a lot of things will not be as they are in your home country. Perhaps, you have running tap water and electricity 24/7 (or maybe whenever you want it). However, as a Digital Nomad you might have just arrived in a place where you have less frequent tap water or unstable power supply.
What do you do? You learn to survive by adapting to new ways of doing things. In the end, you will be challenged enough to think and behave in a smarter and more creative way to solve almost every problem you may face in life.
It Teaches Time Management
Working in a corporate world as an employee can be very tiring. You mostly work around 40 hours a week with only little time for yourself. You may have being told that when you become a self-employed person, you will work less and have more time for fun, right? I am sorry to disappoint you, that isn’t true, at all. At least not when you start out.
Instead, you will work harder than you were doing in the corporate world (sometimes double the amount of hours each week). Yet, Digital Nomads get to work these long hours on projects they care about and still make enough time for fun and meeting new people because they learn how to manage and balance their time. Since you are in control of your life, you determine what best to spend your time on and what that means to you.
It Teaches Financial Management
I personally didn’t know how much money I was “wasting” until I became a Digital Nomad. From the entertainment subscriptions that didn’t mean much to my life to the shopping for things I really didn’t need. I am sure you can relate. We all have something we “waste” money on.
When you become a Digital Nomad, you realise that you could simply live without those things. As a Digital Nomad, you may not earn as much as you were earning when you were in the corporate world. So, why would you want to “waste” all your money on things that do not benefit you?
You will learn to spend money wisely and efficiently on meaningful things. You spend money on the things which are important to you. In my case, kite equipment, chai latte and fresh orange juice. I can’t start the day without. Find out where you want to spend money on what makes you happy.
You Will Get More Focus And Be More Productive
Digital Nomads are very focused for a lot of reasons. First, remember all the time you wasted at meetings that did not produce any meaningful results. What about all that time you spent on your commute to work every day? Thankfully, you do not have to go through all those as a Digital Nomad.
Instead, you might have that great coffee, lunch or dinner meeting planned with your fellow Digital Nomad. Time you most likely end up talking about how to improve and develop your business to a higher level. And as you have this meeting planned, you focus on finishing your tasks before your meeting. Therefore you become more productive.
Another thing is that you move away from all the “noise” and distractions from your office and social gatherings to a more serene environment where you can get more work done in less time. Hopefully, you have no more annoying neighbors and unplanned visits from friends and family.
You Will Be More Flexible
The Digital Nomad lifestyle is a life of flexibility. Since you have the freedom to be anywhere you want to be, you are in total control of your life. You become less fixed and more flexible. You change from having a fixed shape like ice into having a shapeless form like water, ready to fit into almost any container. You become more spontaneous and a fast learner. A lot more than you were in corporate world. Whenever you make a mistake, you do not need someone else’s permission to fix things, like in a regular job. You just fix them.
As a Digital Nomad, you will probably not like bureaucracy. You get to move faster and quicker in making decisions. Lastly, as a flexible Digital Nomad, you do not have strict working hours or a regular place of work. You take the work with you everywhere you go, whether you’re in any form of public transport, your bedroom or a coffee shop.
You Will Be Happier And Enriched
All the above benefits help you achieve one major advantage as a Digital Nomad: happiness. Real happiness is when it is not tied to a particular person, place or thing. When you are free to make your choices and take control of your life, you are more happy because you will make choices that will benefit you, and not someone else. You worry less about things you don’t have and rather focus on what you are working on and the impact you want to make in the world.
The experiences and adventures you face every single day as a Digital Nomad will build you into an enriched human being with more experience and creativity.
What more can I say? There is so much I can write about the advantages of the Digital Nomad Lifestyle. Most of it will depend on your personal experience although almost all that I have said above apply to almost every Digital Nomad. I am very happy to be a Digital Nomad and I can’t wait to see you become a Digital Nomad too.
Of course the Digital Nomad Lifestyle isn’t only good, it has its downsides as well, but more about that in another blog post article. Let’s stay focussed and do one thing at the time.
If you want to see if the Digital Nomad Lifestyle is something you would like? Feel free to reach out or join one of our upcoming Workations for Digital Nomads, Location Independent Entrepreneurs and Lifestyle Seekers.
We’ve already gone through the advantages of a nomadic lifestyle, and now it’s time to paint the full picture and discuss the disadvantages of a nomadic lifestyle. Life, in general, puts a cost on every decision we make. If the nomadic lifestyle were purely advantageous, everyone would be doing it. Here’s our list of the disadvantages of a nomadic lifestyle that might explain why nomads are a minority:
- Being alone. Usually, a nomadic lifestyle forces you to take a lot of leaps by yourself, as the chances are that it wouldn’t be easy to find a constant companion that follows you everywhere you go. For some people, being alone quickly brings a feeling of Loneliness, a powerful and scorching feeling nobody enjoys. Avoiding loneliness is easy for those who are settled down by entering a stable relationship, meeting family members, or developing our circle of friends. For nomads, it is more challenging, but fear not, there are still some great ways to create a social life on the move. However, you should be accept the fact that as a nomad, being alone is something which is unavoidable even if your social skills are outstanding. (Edited after reading Franc’s comment)
- Constant ups and downs. Since the nomadic lifestyle doesn’t offer the guaranteed stability a regular lifestyle does, you’ll meet with both good and bad surprises on a daily basis. This emotional roller-coaster is boosted by the fact that everything is new and you lack information. If you take life too seriously, it can be a problem; a nomad needs to know how to ride through the ups and downs, because both are guaranteed frequently.
- Lack of private space. Most people feel the need to be able to say, “this is home” – a place to feel comfortable and secure, store all your stuff, create and design. Constantly changing locations means you don’t always have that private home-base, and although occasionally you’ll find something more stable for a few months, it will never be home, since you know you will leave it soon.
- Excitement levels. Travelling too much can dull you to new things. After a year of being stuck in the pressure of work, a week’s vacation in India is eye-opening. But when you’re constantly moving around (especially if you’re focused in one region, e.g. Europe), your excitement levels aren’t quite what they were. Yet another snow-capped mountain, just one more lava field. The wow element gets turned down, and even the most jaw-dropping spectacular can seem boring and mundane.
- Money. There’s a certain illusion (steamed books such as the 4 hours workweek contributed to it), that a location free lifestyle actually holds greater riches than being a corporate slave doing a 9 to 5 job. From my experience, in the majority of cases, you would be much better off financially staying in the same place. In general, your finances are held up by the two pillars: revenue and expense. As for expenses, it’s true that you can save money by choosing to stay in low cost countries, although due to information gaps, you will probably spend more than a local. The real problem comes down to actually earning money while changing locations. Even in today’s global and internet connected world, it’s hard to form a real connection with clients when you can’t attend physical meetings with them; it’s also hard to be fully committed and focused on a revenue stream while changing locations constantly; time’s wasted. Instead of holding up the dream that the nomadic lifestyle will be improve your financials, realize that it has its costs. But then again, for nomads, happiness comes first.
- Losing everything, again and again. It’s like birth, death and rebirth, and while we’re on this philosophical tangent, why are we so afraid of death? Maybe it’s because we’re scared of losing what we’ve worked so hard to attain. The nomadic lifestyle is similar; every time you move, you are losing your home, your favorite “known” places, your social circles, all to be recreated time after time.
- Reaction of your non-nomadic environment. There are typically two reactions you will encounter when you reveal your nomadic identity. Envy is the first, and with envy come all the questions that are trying to prove your model wrong (you have to be wrong, or they are wrong). The second reaction is from people thinking that you’ve totally lost it. Some nomads actually thrive when receiving the envy reaction (“you have an amazing life”), but when you get addicted to envy, you will later on need to hide or lie about the disadvantages, in order to keep the dream alive. Worse, you will be at a risk of lying to yourself about how happy you are. Ego doesn’t fit with the lifestyle.
- Missing out. As your family grows older, and your friends start having kids, you’re not there to accompany them in those moments, and maybe you’re going to regret missing the precious moments in the future. I wish I spent more time with… we tend to think that only our lives are changing, but even the people we leave behind change, grow and die, and you have to learn how to accept this fact of life. If it’s important to spend quality time with your parents, don’t go away for years at a time. Come home every six months. Find solutions.
- Not meeting your perfect match of relationship and career.When it comes to jobs, the nomadic lifestyle can be disadvantageous for the perfect career, too. The period spent travelling can look like a black hole on a resume, and can be difficult to explain to a potential employer. Although fulfilling workcan happen for you while you’re moving around, you’re worse off than if you stayed at home. This disadvantage of the nomadic lifestyle doesn’t just apply to your perfect job with its perfect salary, but the perfect special someone, too. Since you’re travelling and most other people aren’t, it dramatically reduces your chance of finding your better half, and it’s something to be taken into account. Your pool of potential applicants is reduced, and your chances drop. However, if you do find someone to share the journey with, they’re probably amazing, and great candidates with whom to share your life. Sometimes finding the right person and settle down in a life full of love is much better than staying on the road. But then again, the road is fun!
- Attachments. For a nomad, attachments are very negative since they stop us from moving. Attachments can be sweet and addictive. An amazing relationship, a great home, the right job. You have to keep on moving, and you have to give them up, if you want to continue in your nomadic lifestyle.
Got you depressed? Good. Always take into account the advantages and the disadvantages of a nomadic lifestyle, before you decide whether this is worth the trouble of the undertaking.
copyright by @2adventurousnomads