Life The Travel Ten

10 Truths About The Digital Nomad Lifestyle

July 13, 2015

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Digital nomadism is a relatively new {amazing} concept.  Truthfully speaking it’s pretty hard for people to wrap their heads around, simply because we have been taught a very specific way of life for generations.  Live a great childhood full of adventures, playgrounds, bicycles and ice cream then grow up go to school, become serious enough to get good grades, get into another great school, graduate said school become super serious and become a real functioning adult “putting in their time” to earn more money to have fun again.  I don’t like this plan, why do we have to become a serious adult with a “real job” in the “real world” just so we can make money so we are able to have fun again?  Can’t we earn money while having fun?  I think we can and my husband and I have chosen the increasingly popular, but still relatively misunderstood lifestyle of the digital nomad.  Working from our laptops and wifi around the world.  For a long time travel has been something for people with time and money and it’s always a vacation.  We now live in a world where you can still have time, money, and travel while working to experience this amazing world we live in.  If you are contemplating this lifestyle or just want to know a bit more about it here are some truths we have discovered from our time as digital nomads.

IMG_59891) Everyone thinks you are always doing cool things and on vacation.  This one is tough because like I said it’s hard for people to understand that while you are experiencing a great new culture or new location you sill have to work to be able to sustain the lifestyle.  You will get a lot of “what are you doing today?” type questions and a lot of the time your answer will be “working”.  Don’t feel bad for working because it’s essential to maintaining this great lifestyle, just try your best to help people understand that this is not a vacation even though it looks like it.  You may be working from your balcony overlooking the ocean or in a coffee shop down the street in Bali and that is still a great day.  Don’t worry it’s pretty cool working from your hammock, going surfing on your lunch break or go for a quick ride to nearby waterfalls to clear your head.

IMG_52482) Long term travel is hard work.  Not only do you have to sustain your income but it’s also very time consuming to book your consistent travel.  Finding flights and accommodations within budget takes time even if there are a ton of really helpful websites out there.  Keep some time open for this sometimes daunting task.

11380800_662906820507893_385595945_n23) Your mindset on locations will change.  It’s hard to change your mindset but you are not vacationing, you are living in another place and there is a difference on your outlook.  The more you travel the more you understand about yourself and what places you want to visit which is different from what places you could live and work for a period of time.  Your view will also be different than the thousands of people online that say place “X” is the best place they have ever been.  Be open to this change, understand what you want and you will make better decisions on locations and be happier in the long run.

IMG_53314) You will not like everywhere you go.  With your changing mindset and understanding what you want out of a location nothing will show you that more than if you arrive in a place and realize there is no AC, after you have been hiking up a hill for 20 minutes in 100+ degree heat.  You have a quick breakdown and realize AC is absolutely essential to living on the road for you.  Maybe it’s not AC thats your breaking point, maybe it’s a hot shower, a normal western toilet or a desk.  Whatever it is you will find out everywhere is not as perfect for everyone and you might not like Thailand as much as everyone else raves about it, and that’s okay.

IMG_53355) Finding strong wifi can be difficult.  So you have researched a location, booked flights and picked a hotel based on a good wifi connection just to arrive and find out that “good” to other travelers was the ability to check instagram or send a few emails and your “good” might mean ability to host a webinar and not cut in and out constantly.  Coffee shops are also notoriously unreliable because you never know who is going to be streaming a full length movie and using a ton of bandwith.  Wifi sometimes will make a location go from a “must visit can’t wait to get there” to a “vacation only” spot just be aware of that and do as much homework on the wifi as you can.

IMG_9621.JPG6) You don’t have to be rich to to be a digital nomad but you can become rich from being a digital nomad.  Digital nomadism can be used as a means to grow your wealth.  This will be mind blowing to most but absolutely true.  We’ve been asked numerous times “How much did you have to save to do this?” or told “I would like to do that but I would have to save up for a long time”.  The truth is, it’s an excellent way to save money and grow your wealth.  Going over the finances could be a whole different blog post, however, there are a few main reasons I say this.  First, if you choose a region like we did (SE Asia), living here is so much cheaper than living in America.  We eat out 90% of the time, often at nice restaurants, stay in some amazing places, usually have daily housekeeping and carelessly spend money on lots of non-materialistic items yet our living expenses are still significantly cheaper than they were stateside.  Stuff here is cheap.  The second reason is due to the fact that entrepreneurship and self employment with a bit of hard work can pay a lot better than a corporate job.  Of course you need to be smart about this, it will take a some ingenuity but after escaping the earning ceiling that corporate America assigns to you, the sky is the limit.  This dangerous duo of lower costs and higher earnings can help lead you to financial freedom.

11232829_635047726625701_661174578_n7) You will miss a flight/bus/boat/train.  If there is one lesson I have learned it’s to be flexible.  You, at some point, will miss something that was vital to your day.  Be flexible, yelling at people who do not speak english or being a jerk never gets you anywhere.  Be nice, stay positive and ask other for help, who knows you might make a friend out of it and it will always turn into a great story down the road.  The best stories never happen when everything goes as planned.

IMG_52708) It can be lonely.  Most people you encounter are on vacation so they come and go or you are moving so quickly you come and go and it’s tough to meet people to form relationships with or experience things with.  Understand that if you are solo traveling you will be dining alone frequently and your constant companion will be your selfie stick {they actually take great photos}.  You will meet amazing people and have great days or nights with them but almost always you leave or they leave.

11351692_1462152677415167_1351650798_n9) You can spend as much or as little as you want.  If you are in a rough month and need to pinch a few pennies you can go to India, the cheapest country in the world to live in and vice versa if you are rolling it in and want to pamper yourself or just blow some cash head to Switzerland alternatively the most expensive country to live in.  Either way you have the ability to spend as much or as little as you want.

11378545_1464003810582191_1310975003_n10) You will grow as a person.  You have heard it time and time again but it is worth mentioning.  Traveling is full of surprises and will teach you many things you cannot learn from staying in your comfort zone.  If you let it, travel can change you forever but mostly in a good way. So even if you go out there and experience things that nobody told you about, it’s because the positives far exceed the risks and challenges. In the end, you take away much more from the experience than you could have imagined.

This lifestyle is vastly different from the one we lived in Alabama and we are absolutely in love with it.  There are positives and negatives and digital nomading as a couple enters you into some uncharted waters but ultimately we have grown closer from it.  If you are thinking about becoming a digital nomad look at yourself and think what you want out of life.  This lifestyle is not for everyone, I know a ton of people who are happy as can be living stateside and that is great! But if you are itching for something more, something difficult but exhilarating and something that stretches you this might be your lifestyle.  Remember if you take the plunge give it time but there is no shame in saying it’s not for you, ultimately the best thing in life is to be HAPPY.

Get out there and experience life,

HFDE,

Liz

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