Have you heard about the concept of becoming a “Digital Nomad?” If you’ve spent any amount of time on the Internet at all – and especially if you have any kind of interest in entrepreneurship – there’s a good chance that you have.
The Internet and our modern digital technologies have, in many ways, totally transformed the ways in which we not only live our lives, but do business as well. And recent global events have certainly seemed to underscore the importance of being able to work remotely, via the right digital channels.
What’s more, when you look at emerging travel trends, It really does seem to be the case that more and more people are interested in the idea of living in ways where travel becomes more of an ongoing way of life, as opposed to something to be done every once in a while – and the idea of working remotely, full-time, certainly goes along with this viewpoint.
But if you are interested in becoming a Digital Nomad, there are a variety of different things that you should probably keep in mind before diving in headfirst.
Here are a few examples of things to consider.
Only particular jobs are going to be suitable for this way of life
First things first: although digital remote working is now more common than it’s ever been, and will probably become more common still, it is nonetheless the case that only certain jobs are actually going to be suitable for the “Digital Nomad” life of ongoing travel.
So, if you’re interested in a particular career path that is likely to include employers being quite happy with you working remotely more or less the entire time, or are otherwise already a reasonably successful location-independent digital entrepreneur, this path may be appropriate for you.
If, on the other hand, you work in a particular industry – or really want to work in a particular industry – which requires you to be present, in person, at a particular location, then the situation is clearly quite different.
Although you may love the idea of being a Digital Nomad, you may find that you are not actually particularly drawn to any of the career paths that facilitate that kind of lifestyle. So it’s important to weigh these bigger picture considerations before you set your heart on the goal of becoming a digital nomad.
Life on the road – like everything else – will include both highs and lows
When it comes to things like being a digital entrepreneur, or living the “van life,” people’s perceptions are often heavily shaped by quite a limited sample size of social media pictures, and selectively edited and presented “highlights.”
But while there are undoubtedly many benefits to being able to travel from place to place as and when the urge takes you, it’s important to keep in mind that life on the road – like with everything else – will include lows as well as highs.
For every picture you see of someone typing on their laptop on a beautiful balcony, or reclining on the beach for a mid afternoon break, there will be plenty of things behind the scenes that aren’t quite so positive. Such as power outages, trouble with mosquitoes, rainy days and bouts of poor weather, transport issues, and more.
This isn’t to say that being a Digital Nomad is a bad dream or ambition to have – just that you need to be clear in your own heart and mind that the pros outweigh the cons for you.
It will be necessary for you to be quite good at maintaining structure in your day-to-day life, in order for this to work
If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t really excel at structuring your days and managing your schedule, there is a pretty good likelihood that being a Digital Nomad will not be the right career path for you.
Even at the best of times, there are likely to be plenty of different challenges that are likely to come up with regards to maintaining and structuring your day, if you’re working remotely – even just from your own familiar home environment.
When you throw in the extra complications of working out of places like hotels and bed and breakfasts, and having to structure your work schedule around travel, the ability to structure your own days carefully, and then stick to that structure, is likely to prove essential if you actually want to be able to succeed.
It’s important to be able to switch your attention from “work” to “personal time” quickly and effectively, in order to get the most from your travels
Another skill that you really need to cultivate in order to get the most out of the Digital Nomad lifestyle, is the ability to switch your attention quickly and effectively from “work time” to “personal time” and back, over the course of any given day.
For many people who find themselves working remotely for extended periods of time, this can be difficult to achieve. During “work,” personal distractions find their way in and procrastination abounds. Then, during “personal time,” The temptation to respond to some work emails kicks in.
If you’re not able to compartmentalise your attention effectively, however, you may well find yourself unable to actually enjoy the Digital Nomad lifestyle – as you will struggle to properly be present for, and enjoy, the travel component of your life.
You should make sure that the Digital Nomad life aligns with your real values and priorities, instead of just “seeming like a fun idea”
For many people, the idea of becoming a Digital Nomad is first and foremost appealing because it seems like a lot of fun, and like an opportunity to have a more exciting everyday experience.
While this can certainly be true, and is certainly valid, you should consider whether or not becoming a Digital Nomad actually aligns with your values and priorities, on a higher level.
In a couple of years, would you like a family? Would you like to stay close to your relatives? Is there a particular ambition that you’d like to explore?
If so, becoming a Digital Nomad might not be the ideal path.