Surprisingly when the pandemic broke out, I was on my last Africa backpacking country touch downs through Zambia and later Botswana where ironically I spent roughly 9months trapped inside the pandemic unending lockdowns that not only affected me as a lone nomad but also changed the digital nomad lifestyle where now we had to adapt with various new ways of working remotely.
Being used to wandering around different countries, this time around Covid-19 directly and indirectly influenced us to adapt now Slowmadism means now we had to look be in one location for a couple of months due to that countries had be forced by the pandemic to close their borders to control the virus spread though I suppose it’s hard for me to know where to call home these days but though still the coronavirus pandemic brought global travel to a standstill. Read more about traveling during Covid-19.
The pandemic is changing the digital nomad lifestyle from nomad villages we used too then to “Slowmadism,” the uptick in remote work has ushered in a new wave of nomads and with this we have witnessed many companies adopting remote work policies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and business conferences were transformed into virtual affairs with varying degrees of success thanks to help of Zoom that has been this the start of the pandemic the only mainly reliable online conferencing platform. Read about Digital nomad destinations .
After leaving for a fulltime travel and backpacking life in 2016, I had become a ridealong nomad at life on the go, simultaneously living and working while traveling full time through various Countries. What started as a trial nomad lifestyle, life eventually turned into a new lifestyle as a digital nomad and career I could never have imagined myself having and the trend has grown exponentially, thanks in part to the growing ease of remote work globally and with COVID-19 facilitating the widespread adoption of remote working practices, Despite border closures and travel restrictions resulting from the virus, several countries are stepping up efforts to attract and encourage the people who work remotely and relocate relatively freely through a range of incentives and special visas. Related article, Countries opening up for digital nomads 2021.
The threat of COVID-19 caused me, like many other digital nomads and remote workers to rethink my next move meaning where was I going to base being I could no longer travel freely like I used to due to the pandemic However, unlike most, I quickly knew how to over go on this, travel reservations and planning to pull off in my favor, and items to pack so I began to consider how life living on the road fulltime for the past seven years as a digital nomad has prepared me to handle remote work-life balance during a pandemic. Read about my Digital nomad guide to Zanzibar island 2021.
PERSONAL WORK AND ASSIGNMENTS.
As a self-employed travel content creator and website developer, I’ve been working remotely since I adapted this lifestyle seven years back. I’m accustomed to constantly designing and redesigning my work schedule based on my clients, visas, estimated expenses, travel plans, and more. As a digital nomad, I’ve learned how to optimize my workload no matter in which part of the world I am as long as I can access a laptop and Wi-Fi. During the pandemic, with different companies and individuals being forced to operate remotely, I’m finding that everyone else is being faced with challenges like adopting to Slowmadism, location long stay fatigue and many more which thanks to me each day that goes, I kill shot one off. Read more about how to remote work during Covid-19.
I have witnessed a vast majority of working individuals struggle to reinvent their day-to-day lives, having had their well-worn routines and infrastructures removed, but astound me in their ability to adapt. My days don’t look too different than those before life on lockdown. Nomadic daily life isn’t so dissimilar to that in quarantine. I’ve always worked online so living on the road fulltime has prepared me mentally even during this challenging time where the all world is waiting when the new normal will be the normal life.
THE CHALLENGING MOMENTS ENCOUNTED
Digital Nomad lifestyle or life leaving on the go fulltime through varies locations isn’t all as you may see it portrayed all over social medias by travel bloggers or travel influences, pool side sun baths in Bali, rooftop pool chills in Kuala Lumpur and Chiang Mai or other more seductive images and videos displayed out there Though it gets easier the more you do it, it’s a careful process that uproots your life time to time if executed well, while still working full time. Like me throughout the Nine months I spent in trapped in Botswana, I had to deal to uneasy visa process because I couldn’t leave the country due to closure of borders, neither could I be granted a long stay temporally permit so all that period I had to dodge around with tourist visa extensions and quite costly, Language barriers, health insurance coverage, even managing your mail, and unexpected travel delays are par for the course in the most “normal” of circumstances for example in lost three nonrefundable paid travel tickets I had purchased to exit the country because of later flight cancellations or varies countries closing there airports in the last minute before my flight so each day it became more challenging. Read more
One year now into the pandemic, a lot of individuals and companies are still operating remotely for the foreseeable future. While you might have once been confined to a cubicle, office, or even location, that’s just not true anymore. Businesses are becoming more comfortable and efficient with a virtual workforce and policies are relaxing.
Experiences are different than what you imagined pre-COVID-19. It’s sometimes difficult to truly immerse yourself in a culture wearing a mask 24/7 when you outdoor from six feet away. Air travel is even more restricted and various travel plans have to be adjusted according and each country with entre travel protocols and requirements, with or without a required quarantine whether vaccinated or not But it’s all still possible only if you managed to always make research about what entre requirements each country has put in place before you travel. Read More about Countries that have opened up there borders for travel and tourism.
THE FINANCIAL MUSCLE.
This pandemic has rapidly brought on a wave of layoffs, furloughs, and reduced incomes for many of us. People who have been forced to rethink their budgets and sources of income could look to career travelers for a bit of inspiration, I remember during my stay in Botswana when I had to exchange my marketing skill for accommodation and breakfast at a home of a Botswana Tech Giant executive in order to reduce my spending expenses because I couldn’t rightfully figure out when will things go back to normal. Without being dependent on one location or potentially even one job, nomads tend to have a diverse pool of income sources, are part of the gig economy, and have the ability to pivot quickly.
Budget consciousness is a natural byproduct of choosing a life on a go lifestyle. Without any single home base, it’s difficult to ever accumulate the volume of material possessions you might otherwise. Depending on how you travel throughout the year, you may avoid the costs that come from living in one place, like rent, utilities, home repairs, insurance, etc. The desire to redecorate or nest is reduced because your flexible travel itinerary, and physically you’re restricted. “Live your life by a compass not a clock.”
First let me make this straight, this lifestyle is for everyone. At the end of the day, moving to a new destination can be very lonely – especially when you first get there where first you deal with loneliness or being away from friends/family but in one way thanks to Covid-19 that forced many people to confine or isolate themselves longtime due to fear of the pandemic which also came with huge advantages and many Mental health issues because till now we don’t know what normal means any more. We have also learnt – because we have to – to go with the flow.
The first is minimalism. We’ve all given up a lot of physical crap to get here and, from what I’ve experienced and read, most of us don’t miss it. It clears our minds. Everything that I own can be carried on to a plane which means everything has been thought out and selected on purpose. I understand the word “need” in a different way now. I place higher value on things like “experiences” and “conversations” than I do on items.
Living a less-cluttered physical life has led to an equally uncluttered mind and mental health. Experiences truly become more important than things. Instead of buying new gadgets or clothing to fill a void, exploring new cultures, taking in postcard views, and eating delicious food become the things that satisfy your soul.
Being less geographically tethered also provides your overall mental capacity with greater flexibility. While I see many people panic about transitioning to reducing their lifestyles to match their new pandemic-era incomes, I realized that I’ve already gone through the uncomfortable exercise of making peace with uncertainty. I’ve already learned to navigate unexpected obstacles and adapt to fluctuations in my resources. My resilience muscle is well toned.
So take a moment to look around. Do you still need to be paying a premium for rent in a major city? Have you always wanted to travel but could never get away? Whether you’re a full-time employee, self-employed, or planning your next move, without the restriction or demand of being in-person, this could be your moment to shift your work to fit your life, instead of the other way around.
Although some people are making the best of being grounded, this difficult period is reminding them that travel is important for boosting mental health and personal growth.
What’s A VagaNomad?
1. Wandering from place to place without any settled home; nomadic.
2. Leading an unsettled or carefree life.
Since 2016 I’ve been living as a traveling digital nomad & expat — visiting over 150 countries while “vagabonding” around the world from place to place. Read more about me.