What is a digital nomad? Let’s define digital nomad and what one does…
The number one question many young people are asking today is, how does one become a digital nomad? But first, lets look at what a digital nomad is and the pros and cons of living the digital nomad Lifestyle.
Define Digital Nomad
According to the urbandictionary the definition of a Digital Nomad is:
One who derives income remotely and online, rather than from commuting to an office. This enables the digital nomad to not need a permanent home base, and she/he can travel anywhere at any time.
Actually, it goes a little deeper. There are different types of digital nomads. For example, the definition says digital nomads do not need a permanent home base, which is true. But you may choose to have a home-base. Maybe even two.
That is the beauty of being a digital nomad today. There are no rules. Since Learning Spanish in Latin America I have lived with other families.
If you’ve heard of, or read the book The 4 Hour Work Week you’ll be familiar with the image of a laptop and a palm tree. The idea of working on the beach and not having to move all day is an obnoxious image to paint of that of a digital nomad.
Who are Digital Nomads
Digital nomads are business owners and freelancers. They’re reliant on technology, mainly the internet and their laptops. Frequenting co-working spaces, cafes and shared offices in major cities around the world.
People want to work in more flexible ways than they’ve been working ever since the industrial revolution… Peter Wall
Having arrived at this lifestyle myself. After a lot of trial and error. I’d say, working from your laptop whilst on a beach is definitely possible. However, this one of the biggest misconceptions of the way digital nomads operate.
It’s sad that this is how the digital nomad lifestyle is portrayed to the public
These images are merely snapshots of a moment in the life of a digital nomad. They can entice you and make you feel you’re doing something wrong in life. Is this possible? Yes, of course. Just don’t expect it to be productive or even sustainable.
Little did I know I had been operating like a digital nomad since 2013.
Here are some of my first experiences living as a digital nomad.
I never realised there was a whole cult-like movement around this way of living. I never considered myself a digital nomad. However, I find it fascinating and up to now have learned a lot through the way this community operates.
Let’s look at some of the Pros and Cons of the digital nomad lifestyle.
Pros of being a Digital Nomad
Be your own Boss
Do you like the idea of being your own boss? We need to understand that Digital nomads have the responsibility of running a business. Just like any other functional business you find on the internet. This is why good internet connection is a crucial.
Work Online Earn from Anywhere
Running businesses online can allow the freedom for you to be wherever you choose. This is a crucial difference from that of a street business. Working from anywhere is an attractive component to most young people today.
Being a digital nomad gives you freedom to work from anywhere. Location Independence on the other hand gives you total freedom. Meaning, you can afford to be anywhere at any given moment time.
Meaning both time and money are not a limiting factor for you.
All this is made possible by having nothing tying you down to a location. Having the resources to be wherever you need to be, even in an emergency.
Pros of being a Digital Nomad
Others carry backpacks along with a large suitcase. Digital nomads are forced to become selective of what they carry. This is a big challenge for most people.
No Rental Agreements or utilities
One of the greatest pros for some. Why get tied up in long contracts when you can use airbnb or find a sublet from a fellow digital nomad.
🎒 Learn what digital nomads like to carry around the world with them!
Other digital nomads have a home-base. Having a home-base allows you to find a balance between being a nomad and living a sedentary lifestyle.
Meeting other Digital Nomads
It’s always a pleasure to hear stories from other digital nomads. If doing solo travel and/or living like a digital nomad, you’ll find it rewarding to meet with others. Most use a Facebook groups and forums like this one.
You can also find large communities of digital nomads in places like Chaing Mai, Thailand and other parts of the world like Medellín Colombia.
If you’re interested or just want to learn more about being a digital nomad in Latin America you can join this group.
Cons of being a Digital Nomad
Having no Homebase
Although not even an issue for the traditional nomads. Packing and unpacking your life from time-to-time can feel like a drag.
That also depends on how much of a minimalist you are. At the worst of times, digital nomads have to think about their birthplace or hometown. Other digital nomads loathe the idea of having a home.
Having a fixed home is counterintuitive to the nomadic lifestyle. This is where location independence and open mindedness can bring you a balance.
Heavily Reliant on Wi-Fi
Digital nomads rely heavily on their internet connections. It’s like needing oxygen to breath in the eyes of a digital nomad. Not to mention, that connection must be of a decent speed. Having said that, this is where working smartly comes in.
I like to plan a bulk of my work that gets done offline. This is where location independence thinking can save you from being a slave to your connected devices.
Are you health conscious? A true digital nomad won’t rely on their birth country to seek medical help. This means looking after you. Everything down to what you eat, what activates you do and even the way you travel.
Digital nomads have to learn minimise risk. Some type of insurance is imperative. I use the nomads insurance but I never want to have to actually use it. It’s there as a safety net for flight delays more than anything.
If you’re inside a new culture and spend a long period of time alone. You have the option to learn how to connect with locals. I visited to Latin America to learn Spanish at a school in Guatemala.
If a digital nomad has no interest in learning the local language, it’s like removing themselves the culture. Especially If you consider how much more you can learn just by knowing a few local phrases, but it’s not a necessity to be a digital nomad.
Cons of being a Digital Nomad
Self Discipline is a Must
A tall order for most. Remember digital nomads still have businesses to run and there are daily sacrifices that have to made.
This is where the concept of working smartly comes in again. So whilst sipping your Pina Colada by the side of the pool with your laptop, be careful. This is blurring the lines between work and leisure time.
If you can’t distinguish between the two, it may just catch up with you. You could begin to feel like a slave to your laptop or smartphone.
Being a digital nomad today comes in many shapes and sizes.
But there is still one thing that they all have in common. Digital nomads have the skills and ability to sustain an income online.
If you live at your parents house for 3 months of the year. Or, still visit the same dentist back home. Yes! You can still qualify as a digital nomad.
Are you a digital nomad or are you thinking about becoming one?
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