A Cruising Couple | April 14, 2016 9:00 PM ET
5 Things To Consider Before Becoming A Digital Nomad
Photos by A Cruising Couple unless otherwise indicated
Have you ever dreamed of a location independent lifestyle? Of being able to work anywhere your heart desires, all while exploring exotic destinations and one-of-a-kind adventures? If so, you’re not alone.
More and more people are opting to trade in their cubicles for work they can do anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection. Whether it’s running your own business, finding freelance gigs or taking a remote job, there are countless ways to make money while you travel if you have a laptop and Internet.
But while being a digital nomad can seem glamorous, it’s often not as easy as travel bloggers and other digital nomads make it out to be. We can speak from first-hand experience. Though we’re grateful to travel when we want, where we want, being a digital nomad is more than drinking beer on the beach every day (even if that’s what our Instagram makes it look like.)
Before you decide to dive into the world of becoming a digital nomad, here are a few considerations to keep in mind:
1. Being A Digital Nomad Takes A Lot Of Work
It’s not easy running a business or meeting deadlines when you’re also trying to make the most of unique experiences. Often you’ll have to make a choice. Do you work on that project that’s due by the end of the day? Or do you join fellow travelers on a once-in-a-lifetime hike to a waterfall?
We’ve lost track of how many times fellow travelers have given us a hard time for working too much. After all, what’s the point of traveling halfway around the world if you’re just going to stare at your computer instead of being present and immersing yourself in the local culture?
Of course, it all comes down to balance, but often that is easier said than done. After years of being digital nomads, we realized we needed a home base. Somewhere we could work hard without the constant stress of trying to grow our business while still allowing us the flexibility to travel whenever we like. We’ve now found that balance, but it took two years of juggling work and constant travel first.
2. Being A Digital Nomad Can Be Stressful
Most digital nomads will tell you that the only way to be successful is to travel slowly. You simply can’t move to a new place every few nights and expect to fit work and travel into your itinerary. There are only so many hours in a day.
But even when traveling slowly, it can be extremely stressful not to know where you’re going or sleeping next. This is especially true if you’re someone who craves a bit of routine and stability. Do you want to rent an apartment in Thailand for a few months and then see where the wind takes you? Or do you need to have a plan lined up for the year? Everyone prefers different levels of freedom and flexibility. While we used to love hopping on a bus to anywhere, now we prefer to have a long-term plan.
3. Living Out Of a Backpack Is Amazing … And Difficult
There is something truly beautiful about simplifying your possessions and fitting everything you own into a backpack. Often we get caught up in consumerism; it’s easy to find ourselves surrounded by junk that only takes up excess space and energy.
Photo via Flickr/Vasile Cotovanu
You might be surprised by how little you need when you have to carry everything you own on your back. Only having what you need and what truly brings you joy can be a refreshing and eye-opening experience.
That said, sometimes you’ll miss your orthopedic mattress. Or your dogs. Or your Vitamix. Not everything you love or appreciate will fit into your backpack. Perhaps that’s why often the best part of traveling is coming home at the end.
4. Being A Digital Nomad Can Be Extremely Lonely
Sometimes you’ll meet amazing people in your travels — fellow digital nomads, entrepreneurs, inspiring locals and travelers of all ages and backgrounds who will teach you amazing life lessons. But other times the life of a digital nomad will be extremely lonely. Your friends and family will think you’re on a constant vacation, and because of social media, they’ll claim you have the “perfect” life. You’ll feel like an outsider in the local culture, and wonder the point of being so far away from your loved ones. You might miss weddings or baby showers or funerals.
Traveling is one of the most valuable investments you can make, but sometimes, relationships will end up taking the toll.
READ MORE: Working on the Road: An Inside Look
5. At The End Of The Day, Being A Digital Nomad Is Pretty Amazing
While we currently have a home base in Costa Rica, we still consider ourselves digital nomads. We travel whenever we want (aka when we can score cheap plane tickets), but rarely take a vacation. Our laptops come with us wherever we go, and that means work follows us from the tropics to the Arctic and everywhere in between.
While it’s not as easy to be a digital nomad as some might think, we are extremely grateful that we can combine our passions for travel and online marketing to do what we love from anywhere in the world.
Taking the leap to become a digital nomad can be scary, but at the end of the day, the only way to see if it’s for you is just to go for it!
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