Have you ever wanted to just pack up your things, quit your job and take off on a never ending adventure?
Once upon a time mankind roamed freely, from country to country, moving from one place to another. The very first human societies were nomadic (worth noting that some still are!)
Nowadays though, people are more reluctant to seek a nomadic lifestyle. After all, there are bills to pay, mortgages, health cards – all the trappings of modern life. We’ve come to view our 9 to 5 routine as normal, and save up for the occasional trip for a week of relaxation and leisure.
But increasingly, as technology evolves and more employers embrace remote positions, there is an ever growing movement towards nomadicism once more. I mean, what if it were possible to satisfy your wanderlust and earn money at the same time?!
That’s exactly the definition of a digital nomad!
Before you jump into the lifestyle though, it’s important to full understand the pros and cons.
The Pros and Cons of Being a Digital Nomad
What is a Digital Nomad?
In simple terms, digital nomads are people who work remotely. The freedom of remote work means that they can travel freely around the world so long as they have their laptop and access to a WiFi connection.
This type of lifestyle is also referred to as location independence, and as they make their way around the world, you’ll find them working from coffee shops, co-working spaces, restaurants, hotels, even beaches!
While influencers and bloggers tend to receive the most attention in this field, there is no common career among digital nomads – there are many professions and jobs you can do remotely, from freelancing across industries, to selling products online as a digital entrepreneur.
For instance, jobs that may allow for this lifestyle could be teaching English as a second language, blogging, or even publishing an ebook. If you have professional skills in accounting, design, etc you can pick up freelance work.
There are remote positions available for almost every skill set.
So, what are the pros and cons?
Pros of Being a Digital Nomad
One of the biggest pros of being a digital nomad is having time to do the things you love. With a digital nomad lifestyle, you’re given the complete freedom and flexibility to set your own schedule. You can set your work day around events, travel, opportunities, and never have to ask your boss for time off.
Because you are your own boss!
It also allows you the creative freedom and control to accept the work that you want, which leads to a happier and more fulfilled lifestyle. Because when you’re making money from something you love, it doesn’t feel like work anymore!
Control, freedom, and flexibility; these are the pros of the digital nomad lifestyle.
Cons of Being a Digital Nomad?
No lifestyle is completely picture perfect, no matter how much Instagram wants you to believe this is the life of your dreams. In fact, life as a digital nomad can get quite lonely.
When you’re working in a typical 9-5 job, you’re surrounded with people – coworkers, clients, etc, and you form relationships within your work place. However when you’re working for yourself, and constantly on the go, there’s not the chance for these traditional friendships to form.
And while traveling freely is an exciting prospect, you do need to learn how to manage your time properly while you’re on the go. And this can be incredibly difficult. One problem digital nomads encounter is being disciplined with time.
It can be incredibly distracting exploring a new country, and the more you travel, it may be tempting to put off the work you need to do, so you start to lose clients and fall behind. It’s important to establish a work-life balance so that you can fund your digital nomad lifestyle.
If you’re a sole trader / independent contractor relying on freelance work, a definite downside is that there is no security of a steady paycheck in this type of work, and by the same token no benefits such as social security (you have to save for your own retirement) or health.
That said, many companies nowadays are embracing remote positions, so it will be great to see more and more full time opportunities arise in this space.
You’ll also have to be highly organized (not that this has to be a con!) and be able to meet deadlines across multiple timezones as you’re traveling, and be prepared for when the internet in another country doesn’t want to go your way.
How To Become a Digital Nomad
Pros outweigh the cons? The next step is to start planning out your path to becoming a digital nomad. Most people would save some income, especially when you’re just getting started in establishing your monetization strategies / client base.
Start reading through a digital nomad’s blog to get an idea of how they got started and get tips that you may try yourself.
It’s a great idea to start surrounding yourself with the type of people who live the life you want to!