Is Becoming a Digital Nomad For You?

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So, having spent a few months working from home, it occurred to me (especially as winter approaches) that given the digital advances in communication, I could, in theory, be based anywhere. I started looking into if it was possible and stumbled upon a whole group of people who do exactly that. I had seen the term digital nomads before but never really understood exactly what they did. I imagined some cloud based group collaborating from all over the world, and not people physically traveling for some reason. So I have now done some proper research and can now ask is becoming a digital nomad for you?

So What is a Digital Nomad?

According to Wikipedia, they are people who make a living using modern technologies (mainly the internet) and who travel the world, or live in one part of the world, remote from their work.

As many people found in 2020, working from home has been a real eye-opener. Lots of companies were forced (some rather reluctantly) to allow their employees to work from home due to the pandemic, and as the weeks passed, many employees discovered that they actually preferred it.

I suspect that will be the first step down a path to many people concluding that, not only did they not like their office, they don’t like where they live either and realize that there’s nothing now holding them back. As younger millennials struggle to find affordable accommodation close to their work the internet allows them the possibility of moving further away. This has already started to happen with people looking to buy houses outwith the usual commuting areas for London and I am sure this is happening in other cities as well.

As this trend continues, I can see many people moving overseas to better weather and cheaper accommodation whilst still working.

This All Sounds Interesting But How Do I Become a Digital Nomad?

Sitting on the beach with a laptop does sound appealing albeit slightly impractical but what are the practicalities of traveling and working.

So, first i’ll go through some downsides so that we can get them out of the way and finish on some upsides!

1) Financial – roaming the world may sound like a great lifestyle but without enough money in the bank it’s going to be quite limiting. You don’t want to end up penny-less in Guatemala or unable to do the things you’ve always wanted to do when you arrive at your dream destination. So having sufficient cash, and finding a job which can support your lifestyle is a must.

2) Health – as some countries which are appealing aren’t going to have the best facilities it will be worth investing in some serious health insurance to make sure that you are well looked after, if the worst happens – you don’t want to find out AFTER an accident!

3) Loneliness – it may sound glamorous (trust me i’ve commuted monthly back and forth across continents) and sometimes you can almost fool yourself into thinking it but the fun starts to wear thin after a while. As many friends as you will make along your journey there will still be times when you get really lonely. So unless you are traveling with a partner – and even then sometimes you have ups and downs – plan to meet up with friends or take it easy to begin with. Try finding a remote job before you leave and see how it goes!

4) Long Term – have some long term plans too as you will not traveling for ever. So if you have a home base somewhere, don’t be tempted to sell up, hold on to it, maybe even rent it out to give you some extra income.

5) Do your research – as good as spontaneity is, try to find out as much as you can about where you want to go. Knowing local customs, some language, phone signal coverage, internet availability and how to get currency are all things that any virtual nomad would want to know prior to setting foot on the plane.

6) Expect the Unexpected – again with the preparation speech! So don’t expect everything to be plain sailing, there will be times when things will be horrible, whether that’s a lack of WiFi or finding yourself in a potentially dangerous situation will depend on how much you prepare for the journey and done your research.

OK, that’s enough doom and gloom, what about the good stuff?

1) you’re never truly alone – if you do your research, you’ll probably find that there are certain countries that are more appealing at different times of the year. Following these locations, you will no doubt bump into other nomads – use the opportunity to collaborate and learn from them. Worst comes to the worst, you will be able to connect to friends or family back home via the internet.

2) Quality of Life – there is something quite brilliant about waking up in a different place from home and if the sun is shining, the views are great (and you can get work finished quickly) then there’s nothing better! Chances are it will be much cheaper to live where you will be – making getting started much easier – unless you choose somewhere expensive obviously (again research!!)

3) experience – you’ll have a lifetime of experiences over someone who has not traveled, be more rounded, and will therefore be more employable once you eventually settle down.

Bali

OK I Want In – How do I Get Started?

The best way to get started is to join a network and find out more. Search for the Global Digital Nomad Network on Facebook and join up. There is even a Nomad Cruise which is the ideal place to connect with aspiring digital nomads, entrepreneurs and global freedom seekers. Check out their website here.

As well as specific events there are groups including Location Indie and Nomadlist where you can get all your questions answered.

Job sites to go looking for remote type jobs are We Work Remotely or Remote.co. There are some jobs which lend itself more to the nomadic lifestyle, the obvious ones include IT, Editing, Software Development, writer amongst others.

 

So now you know a little about becoming a digital nomad does it still sound appealing? Would you do it, or have you worked overseas already? Please share your experiences or tips about traveling and working abroad in the comments below.

Take care.

 

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