Why do people choose to live exactly as digital nomads? For some, it's simply a way to earn a living. For others, it's a way to live a more nomadic lifestyle, free from the constraints of a traditional 9-5 job. It's a way to combine the best of both worlds - the freedom of travel with the stability of a regular income. Whatever the reason, let's explore the pros and cons to this offbeat and unconventional lifestyle!
But first, you might wonder what exactly is a digital nomad? Well, a digital nomad is a person who is able to work remotely, often using technology, in order to live a nomadic lifestyle - traveling to different countries and often working in local coffee shops, public libraries or co-working spaces.
PROS OF BEING A DIGITAL NOMAD
As one can expect from a digital nomadic lifestyle, there's not a lot of material things you can bring with you. Because you're frequently mobile and not staying in one place for a long time, you're actually forced to free or de-attach yourself from a lot of responsibilities and material things most people have.
In a way, it can be incredibly freeing! You don't have to burden yourself with property, 9-5 jobs, or the usual family and social commitments or responsibilities. No house, no cars, no material possessions and likely no parental obligations - nothing that roots you to one spot for an extended period of time. All you need is internet connection, really. Talk about a minimalist and nomadic lifestyle!
Being a digital nomad allows you to live a bold, new life! With the ability to work from anywhere in the world and to set your own hours and schedule, you'll be your own boss, work by your own rules and have some fun at the same time!
And I'm sure you've heard how many people become digital nomads and travel to different countries to "find themselves". This lifestyle is said to allow you to improve your quality of life by letting go excess material possessions and learning something new about the country, the world, and yourself. Getting out of one's comfort zone and exposing oneself to a different country's culture and way of life will make one see the world in a bigger picture!
You can get to meet local people and other digital nomads, maybe pick up a hobby or learning that could completely change your life! And also, being a tourist in most countries also allows you to avoid multiple taxes as well.
However, one should note that being a digital nomad has its respective drawbacks as well. It's definitely not a lifestyle for everyone.
CONS OF BEING A DIGITAL NOMAD
As we mentioned earlier, being a digital nomad forces one to detach themselves from a lot of things. And this can be challenging for most; not everyone can bear to be away from loved ones for very long. Being in such a different part of the world, away from what one may have grown up with, can make one feel a sense of loneliness and helplessness.
Missing out on holidays, vital events and milestones of family, friends or close relatives can make one feel isolated, guilty and depressed. Not to mention, some aspects of traditional work, such as human interaction and face-to-face networking, can be crucial for some peoples' career progressions.
Being one's own boss can also prove to be detrimental. Digital nomads can succumb to laziness and procrastination (thanks to the sights and attractions that each country can offer) or on the other hand, devote too much of their time working with risk of burnout. Even organizing a daily routine will be such a chore, while adapting to a new country's environment, culture, people and climate can be daunting to do every time.
A healthy work-life balance is recommended, of course, but this is easier said than done. You will also need to plan ahead and study the prices for usual expenses like food, accommodation and transportation.
Traveling all the time and staying in different countries can expose one to a lot of risks. There is financial risk (expenses and income can vary month to month, scams can also occur), health risk (COVID, or other local communicable diseases) and security risk (likelihood of political turmoil or terrorism).
In conclusion, being a digital nomad offers many advantages, such as flexibility, independence, and the opportunity to explore new places. However, it also comes with its fair share of challenges, such as the need for self-discipline, loneliness, and the lack of stability.
Ultimately, whether being a digital nomad is a suitable lifestyle choice depends on individual circumstances, preferences, and priorities. As with any major decision, careful consideration of the pros and cons is essential to make an informed choice.
With the right mindset, planning, and support, being a digital nomad can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience, allowing individuals to live life on their own terms and achieve a healthy work-life balance.
It is definitely not a decision to be made lightly, so please choose wisely!
ONE MORE THING: When it comes to being a digital nomad, such people are often from wealthier countries who move to poorer countries to travel and work remote. It's also expected that these poorer countries have immigration policies that make it more enticing for foreign citizens to move in.
And we can't blame them for taking advantage of these policies and privileges to live in exotic locations. Take for instance, the huge digital nomad community in Bali, Indonesia. Warm weather, beautiful beaches and affordable prices - what a great deal, right?
But if you're planning to pursue this lifestyle, we ask that you be self-aware and recognize the privilege you may inherently possess. And with privilege, there is definitely class disparity and struggles you may observe outright when in these countries.
Because you may stand to benefit with moving to these countries (be it from arbitrage, class, privilege or travel incentives, etc.), consider ways you can "give back" to the local community. Find opportunities to support local businesses - food/products/services or charities, especially when these communities are hit by natural disasters or calamities.
Ask yourself if you're truly taking the time to appreciate the culture and people in the country you are traveling in or are you just in for a 'good time'?
Of course, living in other countries can be amazing, provided you take inspiration from the first digital nomads. Getting off the beaten path, truly living among the locals and speaking the language can help you develop a lot of empathy, learn from other cultures and ultimately, find yourself.
While you’re here, check out MiTravel: we’re a small team trying to reimagine how group travel planning is done. Check out our MiTravel Planning Board to begin planning your next digital nomad work trip. Happy planning!
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