By Ceci Amador
Does wanderlust constantly take over you? Are you regularly checking airlines pages for cheap fares, discounts, or getaways? If so, then we have great news for you; there should be no stopping you now and you can thank technology for that.
Technology has made it easier than ever for people to work on the go, so while in the past your job might’ve held you back from traveling as much as you wanted to, that is not the case today. Wifi, laptops, smartphones, virtual offices, and digital mail have provided professionals with the gift of mobility. If your job is part of the knowledge economy, your office could be anywhere in the world: your favorite coffee shop, a hotel, a coworking space, your home, an Airbnb, the airport, you name it.
And lo and behold, digital nomadism was born.
What is a digital nomad?
It’s more like who is a digital nomad? But before we go into how to become a digital nomad, let’s set the record straight on what a digital nomad is.
People often interchangeably use remote worker to describe a digital nomad, but this is not entirely accurate. Remote workers are professionals who work remotely but that typically stay in one given place; they are sedentary. Digital nomads, on the other hand, are professionals who are nomadic in nature, meaning that they move around from place to place regularly.
Now that that’s settled, let’s dive into the pros and cons of becoming a digital nomad.
The Good and the Bad
Albeit great as it is, the truth is that the digital nomad lifestyle is not for everyone, and don’t be fooled by images of people working from the most beautiful beaches in the world. Though that makes for a great picture, it makes for a terrible workplace. Trust us, we know because we’ve tried it and were highly disappointed.
On that note, let’s start with some of the top downsides of digital nomadism.
Close your eyes, pick a destination on a map, book your flight, pack your bags, and let’s go. If only it were that easy. The truth is that when you become a digital nomad, you’ll have to deal with a lot of bureaucracy, in some cases you will have to apply for a visa, in others you will have to submit tax waivers, or figure out where you will need to pay taxes. What about your insurance, does it cover you internationally and how do you even file claims when you’re abroad?
Though it is possible to work while you travel, it might be harder to find the motivation to want to do it. Who wants to spend a couple of hours checking emails or on a meeting when you could be swimming in the ocean, hiking a volcano, or going on an adventurous tuk tuk ride? It’s not only hard to motivate yourself to work for these reasons, but also because the digital nomad lifestyle makes it hard to establish and stick to a routine.
3. Isolation and loneliness
Digital nomads tend to lead isolated lives. Although they tend to meet people often wherever they go, they’re often traveling alone and embarking on activities and adventures by themselves. Eventually, this can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, especially if they work from a hotel room by themselves or go to a country where they don’t speak the official language.
But, don’t be disheartened just yet. There are plenty of good reasons to become a digital nomad.
What are the main benefits of Becoming a Digital Nomad?
And we mean this in the fullest sense of the word. You set your own schedule, you work from wherever you want, you work as much as you want (especially if you’re a freelancer), you take as many days off as you want, you get the idea.
2. You get to know the world
Not only will you have the opportunity to visit new places, but you will also have the opportunity to learn a new language, to get to know different cultures, to meet new people, to discover new hobbies, to try new things, the list goes on and on.
3. You’ll become more resilient
As a person and as a professional, you’ll learn to be more resilient. You’ll be more resilient with your financials, your time management, with how you deal with day to day troubles and issues (cancelled flights, late trains, learning how to express yourself in another language, etc.). Digital nomadism provides you with a journey of self-discovery, where you’ll get to know yourself like never before.
How I can become a Digital Nomad?
For starters, you will need to have a job or professional career that allows you to travel while you work. Some companies are OK with this, others are not, so before you book any flights, make sure you have your company’s permission to become a digital nomad. If they aren’t ready to lead a remote workforce, then consider applying to new jobs or building your freelancing career more information you can recive on Largest Remote Work Conference.
There are a plethora of jobs that allow people to work remotely from anywhere in the world.
What are the most popular jobs for digital nomads?
- Marketing and SEO managers/specialists
- Programmers and developers
- Writers, editors, translators
- Data entry and quality assurance
- Graphic designers
- Customer support
There are plenty of others, but these are some of the most common ones.
Once you have taken care of that, there are a few other things you need to figure out before heading out on your first digital nomad experience, more about this on Running Remote Conference.
Important Steps Before You Become a Digital Nomad
- Get your finances in order, make sure you have a credit/debit card that can be used internationally and that you can pay with transfers. How will your clients or company pay you? How will you access that money?
- Get insurance that covers you internationally, on something as simple as a cold to anything major like surgeries or ER visits.
Make sure you have a valid passport for at least another 6 months and that you have obtained the appropriate visa or permission to visit whichever countries you plan to visit.
- Figure out what you want to do with your belongings and housing. If you don’t plan on coming back often, it might be best to get out of your lease and ask friends and family if you can leave your belongings with them (a storage box might also be a good option).
- Invest in the necessary technology, make sure you have a laptop in good condition, an unlocked smartphone so you can purchase sim cards in your country of destination, a headset if you’ll have to attend virtual meetings often, etc.
Once you have the above matters settled, you’re ready to pick a destination. When deciding where to go, keep various housing options in mind, the official language, and transportation. We recommend against fully remote destinations as it may be hard to find adequate connectivity, which could make it hard for you to work effectively.
Last but not least, set a budget! When traveling, it is easy to get carried away, so make sure you have a budget and you stick to it.
Our last word of advice, plan for the unexpected!
Ceci Amador — Senior Associate Editor of Allwork.Space, Content Specialist at AllianceVirtualOffices.com — is based from wherever her laptop is. She enjoys traveling and visiting new flexible workspaces. If you’d like Ceci to check out your workspace, feel free to reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org (and send a plane ticket).