I have been living and working between The Philippines, UK, Australia, Bali and Malaysia for almost two years (about 22 months). I thought I’d write an article about this life, because although I’ve been living as a digital nomad for a while and have loved it, it really does not match or feel like the images on Instagram. Here's a selection of work spaces I have called my office whilst travelling. Sometimes it's glamorous and hard to focus whilst others it's far from it!
This is important, as more and more people are entering into freelance, digital nomad living. This has the potential to decentralise the workplace and could spell big news for sustainable lifestyles.
So I thought I’d break down the pros and cons of this life, and the reality of life.
1) Digital nomad life is highly and dramatically over glamourised!
2) It’s sometimes very expensive. Even the most rigid, well seasoned budgeted traveler can face unexpected budget draining scenarios. Electronics can die in humidity. Internet is surprisingly expensive. Be ready for the bank account to drain quickly if you’re not extremely tight on your spending, or have a steady income already coming in.
3) Constantly being on a very tight budget is a strain.
It’s sometimes very lonely. When you’re working alone, although you might be surrounded by fellow hostel goers, or even your partner, it’s not the same as an office environment. Be ready to face the reality of loneliness at some point. Find a co-working space if you need!
4) Digital nomad life is not easy. It’s long hours and lots of uncertainty. If you’re looking for an easy life, this is not it. Next pay checks are not necessarily a guarantee. Accommodation costs, dinner, all are. No popping home for a feed up!
5) Digital nomad life is unbelievably fulfilling. Once you crack it, and smooth out the things you don’t like, find ways to resolve your problems and settle into work life on the hoof, it’s incredibly worthwhile. No day is the same, keeping routine at bay keeps my brain functioning, my itchy feet moving and also keeps my inspired and flowing.
6) But, at some point you may crave home comforts. That might also mean routine, as even the most seasoned
7) Planning the future of your empire is an absolutely crucial aspect of creating a digital business.
Things to ask yourself first launching into digital nomad-ism:
- Do I love security and stability? If you love routine, and stability, I thoroughly recommend you really really consider if being a global digital nomad is for you. Sometimes there is absolutely zero struture to my life, and I have to push through that to get work done.
- If you don’t enjoy chaos- pay more. Working abroad is very very different to travelling abroad. If a bus takes 5 hours instead of the taxi ride of 1 hour, and you’re travelling you can relax and trust the process and the view. If you’re working, thats 4 hours you have to make up later or lose out on (after a long bus ride). If you’ve got deadlines to meet, pay for the taxi. Pay for a better accomodation. Take out some uncertainty and stress. Be kind to yourself, again, working away is very different to traveling.
- Are you very self motivated and driven? With no boss breathing down your neck, can you keep up your work and more? Or do you get distracted..? If you find it hard to stay motivated and focussed, perhaps digital nomad life isn't for you. I am lucky that I am very passionate and driven- so if anything I work a little too hard. The reality is, you’ll often have to work 9-5 or more. You’ll have to work in the evenings if you did something in the day- etc. Be ready for long hours.
-Are you prepared mentally and finiacinally for things not to take off immediately?
If you’re about to delve Into digital nomadism, good luck! When you crack it, you’ll find yourself living the dream. However, if you do find yourself struggling do not worry! Really think about if its for you or make adjustments to make it suit you more.