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To be or (Not)to be… a digital nomad

With advancements in Wi-Fi Internet and the availability of laptops, a digital nomad lifestyle has been gaining popularity since 2014.

The world has become a global village especially as cheap airlines have appeared and visas have become easier to obtain with online applications. Life is a constant changing landscape of exciting and new destinations where new friendships could be formed and cultures experienced. You can see the world at a more leisurely pace than that of being a tourist.

No commuting to an office in chaotic traffic either by bus or train or having to own a car – unless they choose to hang out in a coworking space and then it is up to them how far away the venue is. It may be a question of how far do they need to walk to the beach instead of the cafe, a comfy bed can become a pseudo office or a hammock under a swaying palm tree.

The Digital Nomad Myth

The biggest misconception is that a digital nomad is perpetually on holidays. People tend to put travel and vacation in the same pigeonhole of spending big bucks. But the truth is that most digital nomads spend less than a contemporary would whilst living in their home environment. Nomadic folks don’t tend to stay in luxury digs as holiday makers do, as they opt for cheap alternatives such as backpacking venues, AirBNB places, home-stays or taking up house sitting jobs. No matter where they are, they do have to work to have an income stream. So while someone on holidays purposely leaves their work for a number of days or weeks, a digital nomad never actually stops working. Travel to a digital nomad is totally different to that of someone having a holiday. Time is never an issue (apart from visa restrictions) so they don’t have to jump from place to place to fit everything in that they want to see in one destination in one week.

The challenge

When living abroad for any length of time, there are numerous hurdles to overcome such as:

  • Maintaining health insurance with global coverage.
  • Learning how not to upset the locals and their sometimes draconian laws.
  • Obtaining the necessary visas for the countries they may wish to squat in for a while and keeping their passport up-to-date.
  • Time zone differences – can be favorable for some when working for people in different time zones, whilst disastrous at times when they ring home in the middle of the night.
  • Finding reliable Internet connections in some countries.
  • Work and leisure times can become blurred.
  • Learning the local lingo, especially for those that are linguistically challenged.

Bottom line

Everyone’s time clock is set differently; night owls can flourish working in the moonlight and sleeping all day, early risers can get their stuff done by lunch time and then go exploring, or daytime souls can work, play for awhile and then go back to work.

Digital nomads don’t have to worry about the cost or maybe the wearing of uncomfortable work clothes – pajamas, swimmers, even cross-dressing of the kinky kind can qualify as work gear in a digital nomad’s life. Material possessions disappear on the importance scale, as it literally depends on how much can you carry on your back. Hence there is more money to spend on “experiences”, rather than objects or bills incurred by sedentary living. Freedom is the ultimate goal, as digital nomads can set their own hours of work, how they work and where. They can run off and have a surf, do some yoga, even indulge in a long lunch with too much to drink and not worry about going back to work in the afternoon, if they feel so inclined and do not have a deadline to adhere to.

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