What is a Digital Nomad?
Since the beginning of the pandemic, our personal and working lives have changed dramatically. Most people have adapted to a remote lifestyle, working from the comfort and safety of their home. Digital nomads are travelling remote workers.
“Living as a digital nomad, you’re able to see incredible places, learn from different cultures, and work when or where you want to – true freedom” Matthew Karsten, The Expert Vagabond.
Digital nomads call a different country home every month, using technology to keep them connected and working from cafes, hotels and co-working spaces all over the world. The main requirement for a digital nomad is to earn income entirely from online work, to allow yourself to travel around freely.
A Pew Research survey found that 54% of people would like to continue working from home after the pandemic ends. The pandemic has changed the way we view work, we no longer have to be in the office 9-5 to achieve our goals, giving a new freedom to office workers who may want to work from an Airbnb by the coast or in the mountains, instead of their house.
Digital nomads are no longer the stereotype of beach backpackers moving around with little plans. As the pandemic has sparked a new interest in digital nomadism, the definition of digital nomads is transforming.
Pros of The Digital Nomad Lifestyle
The digital nomad lifestyle is becoming increasingly popular, the BBC reported that the US population of digital nomads blew up from 7.3 million, in 2019, to 10.9 million by mid-2020.
So, why are so many people attracted to the digital nomad lifestyle? There are many reasons why people ditch the traditional lifestyle to live as a digital nomad.
Work life balance
The digital nomad work life is very different from the normal day to day we know. As a digital nomad you can choose when you work and when you don’t, giving you the opportunity to create a healthy work life balance that suits you. You have the ability to work on your own schedule and give yourself time for the things that you love.
As a digital nomad you can live and work wherever you want, hence the term nomad. This gives a level of flexibility in life most people do not have the privilege of experiencing; dreamed of living in the mountains of New Zealand? You can go and do that for a month or two!
Digital Nomads have the opportunity to experience the world while still working and earning. Visit new and exciting places, learn about different cultures and new skills – all while maintaining your work life balance. Follow the sun around the world or chase the snow… whichever you desire!
Some digital nomads have claimed their lifestyle helps their productivity, whether that is in their personal or professional life. In some cases, the office environment can hold people back from achieving their work goals, due to a toxic environment or office politics. The digital nomad lifestyle eliminates any negative office vibes; the world is your office. Work from your Airbnb, from a local café, from a co-working space or on the beach – wherever feels like the most productive space for you! Move and work where suits you to maximise your productivity and stay happier in your working life.
Cons of the Digital Nomad Lifestyle
The digital nomad lifestyle is not for everyone. You have to be willing to be constantly moving around, not having a stable home base. Finding stability as a digital nomad can be difficult and not having a stable ground can be debilitating. Digital Nomads may also struggle with;
Making friends and keeping company can be difficult when you are hopping from place to place. Loneliness could be considered a natural part of the digital nomad lifestyle – you are largely on your own, separated from family, friends and work colleagues.
The freedom to live as a digital nomad comes at a price. You can travel on a budget but the lifestyle requires a steady income and probably some savings. Keeping track of your finances can be difficult when you are moving around as well.
If you’re living as a digital nomad you have to be prepared to say goodbye to home comforts, cultural norms and familiar faces. The digital nomad lifestyle is about experiencing new places, cultures and things, but being far away from home can be difficult for some.
As with any traveller, cultural barriers are an obstacle for digital nomads. If you don’t know the language, or cultural specifics of a place, it can be difficult to get around, communicate with locals and feel settled in your temporary home.
Tips for the Digital Nomad Lifestyle
Wondering how to become a digital nomad? Or just be able to work from anywhere? There are tips to battle these obstacles, and to maximise your digital nomad lifestyle to the fullest.
The most important thing for a digital nomad is to have a secure job they can do while travelling, i.e. a remote friendly job. Luckily, the pandemic has only expanded the list of remote friendly jobs so there are lots of different career choices for a digital nomad; such as, blogger, youtuber, virtual assistant, programmer, freelancer, customer service, writer and more. These jobs are well suited to people who want to have the freedom to work from anywhere. Most companies today have embraced the work from anywhere policy, so this list of jobs will only grow.
Set a budget
Karsten advises you to set a budget while on the move as a digital nomad. Spend your money wisely while travelling, and avoid pointless purchases or food and drink out. You also don’t want to end up with too many possessions to lug around with you, which is why Karsten also advises you to purge your belongings to just the basics before you begin your journey as a digital nomad.
Join a digital nomad community
To combat loneliness, join digital nomad groups on platforms such as Reddit, Facebook and Twitter. Being part of an online community can connect you with like minded people, answer questions about the digital nomad lifestyle and help you meet friends on your travels. There are also apps to help you, like Bumble BFF, where you can connect with locals to hang out with or show you around.
Join a co-working space
Maintaining a work life balance is important no matter what lifestyle you lead. As a digital nomad, it is essential to keep your productivity and mood high. Joining a co-working space can give some structure to your days, and also get you out and about. There are many places to join, such as WeWork, which has offices all over the world, where you can connect with other digital nomads and also have access to all your office needs like speedy WIFI, printers and meeting rooms.
Lindsay Maisel, a freelance industrial designer who has travelled as she works, told Make It, “just because you don’t have to get out of bed is not a reason to work from bed. The commute may be gone, but mentally you need to go somewhere else to work”.
Insurance for nomads is very important. Cover your back in case of medical bills, or any potential disaster when you are far from home. There are specific insurance companies for nomads, such as WorldNomads and IntegraGlobal which will cover you so you can live your digital nomad lifestyle carefree.
Set boundaries at work
As a digital nomad, you are likely to be working in a very different way to your colleagues. It is important to set boundaries at work to accommodate your lifestyle to allow you to get work done in your own time and as successfully as possible. For example, if you are in a different time zone to your coworkers, don’t accept an invitation for an online call at 3am your time; let your coworkers know what times you are available according to your clock.
Commit to mental and physical routines
Healthy practices can help combat loneliness, homesickness and increase productivity while living as a digital nomad. Even though you are a nomad, it doesn’t mean you can’t abide by a schedule. Perhaps carving out 30 minutes every morning to meditate will help you adapt to your lifestyle; or going for a run in the evening to close your working day. Giving yourself routines can provide some type of stability in a relatively unstable lifestyle.
Unlock your phone
It is likely that your mobile service provider will cause you issues as you move around. Most service providers only offer mobile service abroad for a certain amount of time, not supporting the long-term travelers; you also will be subject to fair usage policies and at risk of getting cut off. As a digital nomad, your phone is one of the main ways to stay connected so essential that it keeps working wherever you go.
Porting your number to Devyce is the best way to avoid extra charges and make sure your phone will work whatever country you are in. By porting to Devyce, you are basically moving your phone number online, meaning it exists in the cloud, keeping you connected as long as you have WIFI or data connection; perfect for any digital nomad.
Explore Devyce plans here: https://devyce.com/pricing/