The life of a digital nomad is what many cubicle-strapped workers tend to dream of: Stay by the beach, soak in the sunset every day, eat and live local, all the while earning a decent income by working independent of location.
To make your dream come true you will need to be persistent, innovative, resourceful, and self-motivated.
One of the biggest benefits of adopting a location-independent lifestyle is that you get to fulfill your dream of traveling. If travel is of topmost priority and it is something that you truly love, a nomadic lifestyle will be suitable for you.
But the life of a digital nomad comes with its own set of unique challenges. You have virtually no home, are far away from loved ones, and have to bid goodbye to friends as soon as you find them in a foreign land. Also, earning a steady income can prove to be a challenge.
Here are a few things you need to know if you are seriously considering being a part of the digital nomad community:
1. Consider Why You Want to Hit the Road (or Air)
Many of us consider the digital nomad lifestyle to escape from our daily stresses and tensions. A temporary escape can be the solution that we crave, but we mistake it with the long-term commitment that life of a digital nomad demands.
So the first thing that you need to do is assess the real reason why you want to pack your bags and hop on the next flight to an unknown destination.
Burnout cannot make for a good enough reason to leave your office job and choose a drastically different lifestyle. Analyze your attitude towards work and money. You cannot possibly travel without sustaining the lifestyle financially. You will also have to find a job that allows you to work remotely.
With advances in technology and the varying nature of skills required by today’s jobs, finding a good work-from-anywhere job will not be very difficult. But will it give you the professional satisfaction, career advancement and financial returns you want? If you prefer a stable and predictable career, then the life of a digital nomad may not be for you.
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2. It Can Get Quite Lonely
If you are setting out alone to lead the life of a digital nomad, you should be aware that establishing and enjoying long-term relationships will be very difficult.
Since there is no fixed home base, you have no idea how long you will stay put in a place. Even if you decide to spend a year on an island in the Caribbean, the chances of forming lasting bonds are small. This is because most people you meet are also travelers like you, and will be leaving for various destinations soon.
Loneliness if often cited as a major problem by digital nomads and people who are always on the move. At some point in time, you may wish to drop down roots and settle in a place. But with a nomadic lifestyle, you will find that it is not easy.
Also, networking and socializing are important human needs. We need to meet and connect with like-minded people to stay energized, productive and happy. This may also prove to be a business need, where you need to have local contacts to grow your job opportunities. Realizing this basic need of being in the company of people you enjoy can prove to be a big challenge when on the move.
3. You Will Have to Work
As mentioned earlier, you will have to work to earn money to sustain your traveling lifestyle. Unless you hold a full-time job, it will be hard to plan or predict your work hours. In fact, it may take up way too many hours every day than you ever anticipated.
Erratic work timings may mean that you have to spend hours slouched over your laptop, working even at airports and when on a bus. A good Wi-Fi connection will make things easier with remote jobs, but a patchy one can be frustrating. Also, with unpredictable and irregular jobs, comes uncertainty regarding income.
Perseverance and determination are the key qualities you need to have if you want to generate a steady online income. You also need to be a self-starter and should be able to stay focused on your job despite the distractions that come from your lifestyle.
If you are not prepared to deal with the hiccups that come with the nomadic lifestyle, then you may have to reconsider whether this is the life for you.
4. You May Not Get to Travel A Lot
The life of a digital nomad is not one of endless vacationing. You will not be able to pack your bags and leave whenever you want because your work commitments may make frequent travel impossible. Several people who prefer to work independent of location choose to stay in places where internet connectivity is good and provides a favorable working environment for longer periods.
Traveling often will make it difficult for you to meet deadlines and work commitments. So contrary to popular perception, a digital nomad does not enjoy a never-ending beach getaway for most of the part.
The life of a digital nomad is one of maximizing every opportunity and tackling challenges head-on. As time passes, you will learn of ways of meeting your travel needs financially and enjoying every novel experience that comes your way. The hardships will be many, but the experience will enrich you like none other.
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By Brian Zeng
Brian Zeng is a Blogger at Ponbee.com. He is a digital marketing enthusiast. His interests include aiding small business growth and following e-commerce trends. He is a tech junkie with an entrepreneurial spirit and enjoys spending his time on staying updated on the various aspects of digital marketing and website design.