Have you heard of the term digital nomad and are interested to know more about it? In this article, I’ll tell you about this lifestyle and whether it is easy to adapt to it.
The term digital nomad refers to a person who lives a nomadic lifestyle while staying connected digitally. They usually earn their livelihood working remotely using technology as they travel from place to place.
While many confuse them with telecommuters and freelancers, digital nomads are people who travel domestically or abroad while working. The frequency of changing locations varies from person to person. Usually, they work from coworking spaces, coffee shops, and even camp trailers.
The post-Covid era marks the remarkable rise of digital nomads across the world. As the pandemic started, companies had to switch to remote work. However, digital nomadism was not possible at that time due to the lockdown and travel restrains.
Once the pandemic was over, many of the remote workers were not willing to return to the office. Many of them were also not interested in becoming a part of the 9-5 office schedule anymore and chose to become digital nomads.
How Does a Typical Digital Nomad Lifestyle Look Like
The lifestyle of digital nomads will vary depending on the profession of that person. But, typical digital nomads will have certain characteristics in common in their way of living. They are location-independent and move from one place to another. For better mobility, they live a minimal life.
Digital nomads typically have online remote jobs that involve flexible schedules. Many of them work in co-working spaces or co-living spaces. Those travel and live in a recreational vehicle (RV) from there. These people also plan their travel and monthly expenses properly.
Apart from these, they need to face many challenges and cultural shocks compared to a regular professional who is not a nomad.
Here are some popular digital nomads of the present time that have a prominent presence on social media. You can follow them and have a better look at what the digital nomadism lifestyle looks like:
Chris the Freelancer
This popular digital nomad influencer is a web developer who travels the world. He lived in many cities on four continents and has a YouTube channel that you can follow to know about his lifestyle.
He is a travel blogger who lives the life of a digital nomad while pursuing his career. He has his own travel website, and you can follow him on X (formerly Twitter) and TikTok.
Gone With The Wynns
Jason Wynn and Nikki Wynn are an explorer couple and documentarians. They used to travel on their RV, and now they have their own boat to live on. You can find out about them on their social media accounts on YouTube.
Steps Necessary for Adapting to Digital Nomadism
The lifestyle of a digital nomad — which includes working while traveling to numerous places — might sound adventurous and fun. However, this is not something you can start doing right away. You need to follow a step-by-step workflow to become one.
Do Your Research
First, you have to determine whether becoming a digital nomad is the right career choice for you or not. Check out how it actually feels to become a digital nomad. Consider the pros and cons of adapting to this lifestyle to find out whether it suits you or not. You can also talk to a digital nomad if you personally know someone.
Make a Budget
Once you decide to become one, you have to determine a budget. You must calculate the expenses of transportation, housing, food, internet, insurance, and any other necessary items. Also, make an emergency fund.
Have Sufficient Jobs Lined Up
Before you start to explore your life as a digital nomad, make sure you have enough gigs at hand. Having a good clientele before leaving is as important as ensuring the jobs can offer you the expected earnings.
Choose a Destination
Now, you must choose a starting destination to become a digital nomad. Criteria like tax, economy, internet connectivity, open internet, infrastructure, banking system, tourist destination, and culture should be considered while choosing the destination.
See if it needs you to learn a new language and if you have time for that. Another important point is the time zone. If your job involves working for an Asian company, but you choose to live in the US, it will be hard to have a healthy work-life balance.
Enhance Your Skills
Getting into this profession means you need to work away from your family and colleagues. So, you should have the basic skills to be able to manage all the tasks by yourself. You must be tech-savvy to fix technical issues that might delay your on-time task delivery.
As a digital nomad, having insurance coverage is a must-have. Those who are planning to work in international locations need to make sure they have international insurance coverage. If your job provider does not have an insurance policy, you need to purchase on your own.
Manage All Necessary Equipment
Being a digital nomad who travels across the world means you must have certain tools and devices handy. The most important one is a laptop, along with noise-canceling headphones and a webcam. You will also need a cellphone with a SIM card that works internationally.
Prepare for the Worst-Possible-Scenario
While staying away from your home, you might face some emergencies. To handle such situations, it is crucial to have multiple backup plans. You might not continue to become a digital nomad due to some reasons, and you must be prepared for that as well.
Jobs That Fit Well With Digital Nomad Lifestyle
Jobs that can be done remotely and jobs that do not involve any geographic constraint can be opted for as digital nomads. Also, you need to make sure that your employer or client is okay with you having this particular lifestyle.
Apart from these, freelancing jobs are also the perfect choice for this lifestyle. However, freelancing jobs are not as stable as full-time remote jobs, so you need to be careful before becoming a digital nomad depending on these jobs. You can find freelance jobs from dedicated websites like Upwork and Fiverr.
Now, check out this list of professions digital nomads can go for:
For a place to become a digital nomad destination, basic amenities should be available at an affordable cost. The weather should be pleasant, and the banking system should be supportive and liberal. It should have strong internet connectivity without any restrictions. Here are some popular countries for digital nomads:
Pros of Being a Digital Nomad
Find below the reasons to become a digital nomad right now:
Facility to work from any location of the world with an internet connection
Work on a personalized schedule to maintain work-life balance
Stay in lower-cost living destinations for cost-saving
Opportunity to explore diverse locations and their cultures
Increased problem-solving skills
Exposure to new perspectives and personal growth
Potential financial advantages and tax benefits
Cons of Being a Digital Nomad
Here are the reasons why you may want to avoid a career as a digital nomad:
Possible health and safety concerns in unfamiliar environments
Difficulty in accessing reliable and secure internet
Frequent travel and logistical hassles
Visa and legal issues in foreign countries
Uncertainty in terms of job and income
Isolation from your family and social circle
Lack of a consistent social network
Limited access to specialized resources and equipment
Time-consuming planning for administrative and other tasks
Difficulty in work-life boundary maintenance
Digital Nomadic Lifestyle vs. 9 to 5 Job
If I consider myself, I used to earn $ 3,500/month as a content developer in a 9-5 job at a US-based company. Then, I chose to become a digital nomad and work for different tech magazines and software development companies as a freelancer from different locations.
Now, I earn around $4000/month. Here is a mock expense breakdown for both lifestyles:
9-5 Job Lifestyle
Monthly Income: $3,500
Monthly Expenses: $3,300
Expense Breakdown —
Digital Nomadic Lifestyle
Monthly Income: $4,000
Monthly Expenses: $3,000
Expense Breakdown —
Accommodation (Airbnb or co-living spaces): $1,000
International and local transportation: $700
Travel insurance and basic medical expenses: $250
Mobile phone and internet connection: $50
Work-related expenses: $200
Leisure activities: $200
As I have become a digital nomad now, I do not have to live in an expensive city where my office is situated.
Also, I have the freedom to travel to different tourist destinations without waiting for my leave applications to get approved. I can also decide to stay in a location for as many days as I want to.
Who Is the Digital Nomad Lifestyle Not Suitable For
After reading till now, you might feel interested in becoming a digital nomad. But it is better to hold your horses and go through this section as I will discuss the personality and lifestyle styles for whom this particular lifestyle is not suitable at all.
If you are someone who wants to live a routine life with the predictability of a daily schedule, this lifestyle is not for you. The reason is the life of a digital nomad involves constantly changing environments and routines, which will cause stress and discomfort in your life.
Homely and Family-Oriented Individuals
Do you want to stay in the comfort of your home environment, being close to your family members and friends, You should not choose to become a digital nomad. Also, this lifestyle is not for you if you have a social commitment towards children and elders of your family.
People Needing Specialized Equipment or Resources
If you are in a profession that requires extensive resources or specific equipment that is not easily portable, you can forget about adopting this lifestyle.
Highly Risk-Averse People
Being a digital nomad means there will be lots of uncertainty and risks in terms of finance, logistics, and personal safety. If you are a risk-averse person, you are not a good fit for becoming a digital nomad.
Individuals Who Don’t Enjoy Planning
Digital nomadism requires you to plan for accommodation, work schedule, and travel. Unless you are the person who loves to plan on these things, this lifestyle is not for you.
People with Health or Mobility Limitations
The nomadic lifestyle is not for people of ill health or immobility. It involves lots of physical activities such as frequent travel and accommodation changes, which is not feasible for the above-mentioned people.
Individuals Struggle With Cultural Differences
If you choose to become a digital nomad, you might experience cultural shock when you stay for a considerable amount of time in an exotic city. People who are not ready to accept cultural differences should get rid of the idea of being a digital nomad.
Author’s Opinion on Digital Nomadic Lifestyle
As a digital nomad myself in the field of content development, I could say that this lifestyle is perfect for those who want to enjoy the scenic beauty of nature while maintaining a work-life balance. For anyone who wants to adapt to this lifestyle by ditching their desk, the most important thing is to have the necessary skill set and confidence.
I have explained the necessary steps to become a digital nomad with the pros and cons of this lifestyle. You can follow this guide before opting for it. Also, check out this list of productivity apps for remote workers.
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