"It's not a calming choice to walk away from what you grow up being told is normal, but at the same time if you are excited enough about that flexibility to build life on terms you find compelling, the latter is a very rewarding option"
It's easy to talk about uprooting and travelling - after all, that is the fantasy that a lot of millennials chase these days. When we think of living the life of a digital nomad, we can't help but romanticise the idea of travelling whilst working. Spending your year exploring new places and jetsetting around the world - all whilst having a job that only lets you travel even more. But what are the down sides? And is this lifestyle really completely free of its cons?
What is a digital nomad?
A digital nomad is basically a freelancer who spends most of their time travelling, working online, and discovering new places. You're the type of person to crave new experiences, you love adventures, and you enjoy meeting new people. All you need is your laptop, an internet connection, and a constant work supply to pay for your travels. Naturally you'll also need the initial capital to cover plane tickets, but once you start earning money, you can basically keep doing this forever.
The perks of being a digital nomad
I mean this in both the physical and mental capacity. When you want to travel, you get to work online, pick up and take the business with you and you can go wherever you please. You're the own boss of your business, and you manage your time and schedule the way it suits you.
2. A minimalist lifestyle
Let go of things you don't need since you're perpetually travelling. You learn to live with the things that are absolutely essential for you and do without the excess. You learn what's important to you really quickly, and are able to quickly adapt to new environments.
3. Self awareness and independence
The freedom of travelling comes with greater self-awareness, independence, and an overall greater outlook on the world. Travelling changes your perspective; maybe it allows you to appreciate home more, it allows you to see things better and do things in different ways.
4. Learning new skills and developing existing ones
Whether it's your organisational skills, self-discipline and time management, or learning how to communicate in a different language to a perfect stranger, these are the things that you learn about yourself and pick up while travelling. You become a people person, and an independent one too!
When you're done with this project, you're onto the next one. The times are changing. Each time you finish a project, you're granted a new adventure... Why would you say no?
The not-so-pretty side
One of the biggest challenges for digital nomads, not many are entirely self-sustainable. Lack of funds is a common complaint, and digital nomads get by with cooking meals everyday or wearing their set of clothes on repeat. You learn though, how to make your lifestyle thriftier, and gradually developing a better set of values.
2. Dependence on WiFi
Because this is your life now, you travel and see things and you blog about them. You venture out and you need to log on Instagram your #instastories #fromwhereistand. The internet and laptop is all you've got, and all this comes with the dependence on WiFi - without which... You could end up really frustrated.
3. Lack of security
You need to start learning that your home and 'safe place' is within you, not dependent on your physical surroundings. Eventually, you learn what it means to be happy within yourself.
4. Missing friends and family
For some reason it can be tough to say goodbye, especially when you know that you're living in a place for short periods of time and not being able to do anything about it. Like setting an expiry date to your friendships and relationships, you wonder when you'll get to see your loved ones again - and that's not the greatest feeling in the world to live with.
5. Fear of living in uncertainty
Coming down to it, you don't always know where you're going to live next. One moment you could be living out of a caravan and the next you could be bunking in a shared dorm with 5 other people - you never know. And once you enter this lifestyle, it'll be tough for you to step back into a traditional work situation. Not just because of the way your own preferences have changed, but also because employers may not be understanding or appreciative of you having taken this lifestyle - what if you choose to do it again? You'll have to decide if this is what you want for the long-term as it'll be hard to get back into the traditional grind of 9 to 5.
Ultimately, recognise that this mobility is a privilege
Maybe take a month or two, try travelling, seeing the world, do whatever you want. See if this lifestyle is really cut out for you. And then decide.
There are far too many people who won't be able to experience this lifestyle. Maybe they fear change. Maybe they simply enjoy being in one place. But no other generation has had the freedom to carve out their own lifestyle the way we do now and this is something we ought to appreciate more.
As Adrianna says,
Be sure you are an independent self-starter who will get up and do stuff even when your circumstances change.
If you need an office environment, a schedule (working hours) or other people (a boss) then you'd might like to think twice about flying solo!
Let's go on an adventure 🌏
If you're still set on becoming a digital nomad, read our blogs on what it's like to travel with your partner or travel with your best friend. Explore all the possibilities, just like Alex and Thijs have done on their journeys.
When you're out jetsetting and seeing the world, you can also explore our catalog or download our mobile app to explore all there is to do around you! Hashtag #ExperienceLeezair and find us on Instagram, we'd love to hear your stories ☀️️