Is the Digital Nomad Life for You? – Things To Know About Life As A Digital Nomad
Have you ever dreamed of being able to work from anywhere in the world? Create your own schedule and explore new places? That idealistic work life is called being a digital nomad and in this technologically advanced age, it’s becoming increasingly common. Although it sounds like the perfect do your own job set up, it’s not for everyone. There are multiple disadvantages and downsides to becoming a digital nomad.
Here are 10 things you need to know about working remotely:
1. It can get lonely
Forget the days of gossiping with your co-workers over lunch or dressing up for the staff holiday party. As a digital nomad, you aren’t physically working in the same place as the rest of the team. This can get lonely if you’re someone who enjoys chatting with colleagues and making friends at work. At best, you may be able to stay in contact with them over Skype or online, but if you’re in completely different time zones it will be difficult.
2. Internet connection is like air to you
Without it, you simply cannot work. This can be a challenge if you’re traveling to remote areas with little access to the internet. Being a digital nomad isn’t about being carefree and having impulsive adventures; you have to ensure that wherever you’re going will have adequate internet connection and technology access, so you can work. This is easier to find in first world countries and the big cities in third world countries.
3. Income isn’t guaranteed
Travel isn’t cheap; you must always have a paycheck coming in or savings ready to use. Basically, this means you must hustle all the time. Many digital nomads express how they didn’t expect to spend so much time working and not exploring the place they’re in. If you aren’t working, you don’t have an income. That may mean working more than 8 hours a day and working on weekends and on holidays. It’s not ideal, but if you want the freedom to visit new places you must have the income to afford it.
4. Living out of a suitcase
This can be a tough one if you’re used to having a full closet of options and lots of tech gadgets. When you’re traveling constantly, carrying all those clothes, gadgets, and sentimental items will weigh you down and become a hassle to lug around. Living minimally is the best option; pack only what you really need and use. And when you come across souvenirs in the place you’re visiting, consider whether you want to carry them around for the foreseeable future.
5. No laziness allowed
As a digital nomad, you don’t have a boss knocking on your office door making sure you’re being productive. The most you’ll have are emails from clients checking in and giving you a deadline. It’s up to you to get the work done efficiently before that due date. If you’re not a self-starter, this is going to be a challenge. You may have to assess your self-motivation and productivity skills to know if you’ll be able to keep up with a workload without someone keeping you on track.
6. Missing out on life events
Choosing to be in a different country means you aren’t at home where your family and friends are. You’ll miss out on birthdays, first steps, family dinners, and nights out with your friends. Although you can always make new friends as you travel, the ones at home won’t be nearby for hanging out with or simply chatting about the day. It’s an adjustment that many people would rather not have to make.
7. No health benefits
Unlike having a stable and salaried job, being a digital nomad means there’s no security. You don’t have covered health insurance, paid holidays, or sick days. It’s your responsibility to find adequate health insurance coverage and know what to do if you need medical help in the country you’re visiting.
8. The beach isn’t an office
Although it seems ideal to be able to work on the beach in a tropical country, it isn’t practical. While you can spend lots of your free time exploring and lounging on the beach, you still need to find a good place to get work done. Usually, this requires internet connection, a desk, and no distractions. That might mean you stay in your hotel room for half the day getting work done, and then go out exploring. Or, you could find a nearby cafe to work in while you sip on a latte.
9. Communication is key
Since your work is done online and from anywhere in the world, the only way clients can contact you is through the internet. This can get complicated with different time zones and internet connection qualities. It’s up to you to keep your clients updated on their projects and assure them that you’re on track. You should be strategic in planning your travels and letting clients know when you won’t be reachable. This can also affect your daily routine if you need to stay awake at night to talk to a client in real time.
10. People just don’t understand
Although becoming a digital nomad is increasingly common, there are still a lot of people that don’t understand it. They think you keep going on vacation and avoiding the responsibilities of life. Digital nomads are sometimes called lazy and not serious about their careers. While people in the digital space understand that none of that is true, your personal circles may not. Fielding these negative perceptions from extended family and acquaintances can be a drag.
The life of a digital nomad is exciting, fun, and adventurous. You get to embrace a new culture while building your career remotely. However, it doesn’t come without its pitfalls. It’s important to be aware of the challenges you’ll face before you jump into this lifestyle because it isn’t for everyone. The change of routine could be exactly what you need to become successful, or it could hold you back. Ultimately, it’s up to you to do your research before you make the switch and be prepared for the challenges that will arise.