Want to travel the world while you work? Become a digital nomad.
June 23, 2021
6 minutes to read
Opinions expressed by Contractor the contributors are theirs.
The proliferation of digital innovation over the past two decades has been nothing short of staggering. New technologies and solutions are being introduced at a breakneck pace. This has given rise to entirely new constructions and lifestyles in the business world.
At the heart of this evolution you will find freelance and online entrepreneurship. Dig a little deeper and you’ll discover a growing trend that millennials affectionately call “digital nomadism.” And while it’s not good for everyone, it could be something that fills your career with deeper meaning and purpose.
Digital nomads are best described as self-employed workers who voluntarily embrace a place-independent working lifestyle that allows them to travel the world and conduct business remotely through connected technology.
Related: 8 Ways To Make Money As A Digital Nomad
The advantages of being a digital nomad
There’s a reason millions of people around the world gravitate towards digital nomadism. Some of the main advantages and benefits include seeing the world and finding more meaning and purpose.
Despite the fact that it’s easier and cheaper than ever to travel the world, it seems that very few people take the opportunity to venture out of their own backyard. It has a lot to do with the oppressive work schedules and the lack of paid time off. As a digital nomad, you don’t have to compromise. You have the possibility of integrating work and travel.
Above all, digital nomadism infuses meaning and purpose into life and work. No longer are you stuck pecking a keyboard in a cold corporate cubicle. The world becomes your office and life takes on a sense of excitement and worth that you have never experienced before.
Each individual derives something unique from being a digital nomad. While there are some common reasons people embrace this lifestyle, this is by no means an exhaustive list. You will undoubtedly discover your own set of pros.
The disadvantages of digital nomadism
Not everyone is made to be a nomad – although it comes with the convenience of modern technology.
People often forget that digital nomads have to work. And when you’re in a foreign country with a lot of new sights, sounds, smells, and experiences, cutting back a few hours of work can lead to serious FOMO (fear of missing out on something). You constantly feel like you’re trading between work and adventure. This back and forth of emotions can be brutal on your state of mind.
Again, your experience will not be the same as that of the next person. While you are likely to face one or two of these sticking points, you can also expect your own personal challenges. You have to counter the positives and make your own decision about how practical this lifestyle is.
Related: Everything You Need To Know About Digital Nomadic Visas
If you decide to dip your toes in the water and find out what it’s like to be a digital nomad, you have to be ready. Here are some suggestions for thriving in your new chapter.
Choose the right destinations
Be aware of where you are traveling. At the start of your digital nomad lifestyle, it’s best to stick with easy countries and regions that aren’t undergoing big changes.
For example, it is a good idea to start with English speaking countries or countries where most of the inhabitants speak English as a second language. This ensures that you can always communicate with someone.
Use the right apps and software
Your smartphone is your most powerful resource as a digital nomad. In fact, without your smartphone, it would be almost impossible to make this lifestyle work. With the right apps and the right setup, you can conduct your business safely, securely, and efficiently. Here are two specific recommendations:
- Evernote. This powerful app has so many different uses. It can be used for taking notes, storing photos, organizing projects, and dozens of other tasks. Best of all, it keeps everything in one place so you don’t have to use dozens of apps to search for important information.
- Google Translate. There are different translation apps on the market, but Google’s version is simple, intuitive, and free. You can speak or type and get instant translations. You can even take a photo of a sign, menu or newspaper in a foreign language and have it translated into English immediately.
There are some apps you can use to improve your daily workflow and productivity. Go ahead and find the ones you like best.
Find community and companionship
The worst thing you can do as a digital nomad is to isolate yourself. Soon loneliness will set in and you will want the warmth of the house. Fortunately, most of the world’s major cities have pockets of travelers and digital nomads who share similar ideals and lifestyles.
Make sure you find a community as soon as you arrive at a new location. If you are staying in a hostel, it is quite easy. The hostel manager can probably direct you to different activities and meeting groups.
Disconnect and enjoy
By definition, digital nomads are very connected. There is hardly anything like too much bound. But if you want to maximize your travel experiences, the best advice is to disconnect and savor your surroundings.
Just like you set work hours, it’s highly recommended that you set time off work, email, social media, and digital devices. It allows you to be fully present in the moment. Digital images are great, but mental snapshots last much longer.
Related: 5 Tips For Surviving As A Digital Nomad
Live and work on your terms
Millions of people consider themselves digital nomads. Millions more will embrace this lifestyle in the years to come. The opportunity and the benefits are clear – just like the challenges. It is up to you to determine whether or not this matches your personality, career and aspirations.
Ultimately, digital nomadism is all about living and working on your terms. It’s about building a career without sacrificing the opportunity to see the world, learn about diverse cultures, and build powerful relationships.
If it’s good for you, then by all means go for it.