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Things No One Will Tell You About Being A Digital Nomad

“Put down the map and get wonderfully lost.”

Freedom is perhaps the most sought after state of mind. Freedom from worldly responsibilities, from the shackles of social constructs and the burden of seeming normal to the world. Freedom from the competition that chases us around when we can’t help comparing ourselves to our peers as our insecurities continue to haunt us. Freedom from our own minds, our self destructive thoughts and ways. Perhaps this is why when most people are questioned about which superpower they’d prefer, they say they’d want to fly.

And perhaps, this is why traveling is so deeply revered by this generation because isn’t that the most fascinating form of therapy? A lot of young people have started to earn just for the sole purpose of taking breaks going on short trips, treks and hiking. Others with bigger, full time commitments have started earning and acquiring money just to leave the job and go traveling around the world or in other words, globe-trotting.

Suggested read: My 40 Best Travel Tips That Will Make You The Coolest Traveler You Know

However, this is history for no longer is full time traveling not an option. Move over 9 to 5 way of life, welcome digital nomad lifestyle.

Who is a Digital Nomad? As the term suggests someone who leads a nomadic lifestyle, who roams around exploring new cultures, new cuisines, new ways of lifestyles and make a living is a digital nomad. Sounds like the ultimate dream to all of us, the creatures of routine. A nomad chooses not to face the dullness and the drabness of a monotonous lifestyle. The point of a digital nomad lifestyle is to not stick to the 9-5 routine. The point is to witness, experience and document new things as well as get in the middle of these adventures.

However, as amazing and dream-like as it all sounds, like every job, every lifestyle, everything else in the world, the digital nomad lifestyle too has its pros and cons. Here are some of the cons one will have to consider before one buys into it:

  1. Life will not be as luxurious as it seems

If you have found a job that pays you extremely well to work remote, then you may have been unbelievably fortunate. But, if you consider the practicality of the whole situation, (especially for beginners), then traveling throughout the year means you cannot be staying in a five-star hotel all the time or even most of the time. You have to lower your expectations and standards of living by simply trying to afford basic amenities like food, water, a roof and Wi-Fi.

This is the harshest truth everyone ignores before hopping onto the bandwagon: how depressing it can be to be not living with a certain standard of amenities one expects or is used to. Because let’s face it, there is a certain limit to how much you can be paid for the service that you’re rendering for there is no source of unlimited cash to pay even if you are living your dreams.

2. You are not on vacation 

Yes, it will feel like a vacation with you being in a new, and often, exotic place. However, beware that this is how it’s going to be from now on. Everyday will feel like a vacation and the aim is to not let everyday pass you by. There is no superior to assign you what you have to do exactly, there is no impending deadline looming over your head every single day and a million distractions and temptations engulfing you. So, at the end of the day without the appropriate state of mind or the motivation to go back to work, how on earth would one get back to work?

3. Finding the motivation will be difficult 

Which brings us back to the other part of the argument, finding the motivation. There is no follow-up email, no timeline and no constant updating anyone. A nomad has to live up to his or her profession by playing it solo. As for those who are beginners building their own business, the only ones they can really count on are themselves. Hence, this job will require a great amount of effort and complete dedication and discipline.

4. Self control is the trick of the trade 

Dedication means learning to exercise extreme self control. You are a tourist, but not on vacation and you will be surrounded by tourists who are on vacations. Everyday you will meet new, exciting people heading towards the bar or the beach or the bar overlooking the beach when it’s that time of the day when you need to go back to work and the only amazing sight you need to stare at is your laptop screen. There will be a museum or gallery or a fort that’s literally a 5-minute walk away, but you’ll have learn how to say no. And if you are not a person of great will power and tend to procrastinate your time, then this is definitely not the best career option for you. You will end up getting yourself sacked or worse, your bank account reaching a state of vacuum.

5. You will need patience! 

This a job whose job description requires one to not smash the laptop into pieces in frustration. A good amount of patience is a must on the qualifications required for this job. You will meet hurdles everyday where you will not just try resisting temptations, you will also not find things like toilet paper or ceiling fans- things that are an integral part of your life. Shoddy Wi-Fi connections, bad customer service, dreadful weather, language barriers, missing flights and the absolute worst of all- being a victim of theft and pickpockets.

Suggested read: 9 Inspiring And Exotic Travel Destinations For Soul-searching

6. You will have to progress very slowly

There is more to why you will need to be patient now more than ever. The key to being successful at this job means to progress very slowly. First, you need to know where you’ll be doing your work, in which place you’ll be living and which neighborhood you’ll be mostly sticking to: basically you will be getting used to having a routine of not having a routine and sort of settling in.

Taking your time out will give you more time to focus on your work and not make you feel the pressure of going exploring just because it is an unknown place. If one tries to cover too much in a short time, then not only will they be missing out, but they will also not absorb it in and hence, will be left behind when it comes to one’s work.

7. You will get lonely at some point 

No man is an island. Man is a social animal. Even if you need to be in charge of your work all by yourself, you need to find the right community who will help you get to your goal.

To be honest, as adventurous and exciting it will seem, as soon as you start feeling at home at a certain location, you will have to live somewhere else. And you will be turning up everywhere feeling homesick and lonely because you will be full of the same questions and queries: where to live, where to visit and where is the right place to eat healthy and cheap. It can be quite overwhelming.

One of the solutions is to find like-minded people with same jobs, same long term commitments, same goals who will help you stay on track. And one can find this community mostly online and they will help your broaden your horizons.

8. You will have to give up on home 

Of all things to be considered, let us discuss the most difficult aspect of this nomadic lifestyle: giving up on home.

Home is not a place. Home is symbol for whatever or whoever makes us feel secure, safe and at peace. When you become a digital nomad, your family and friends will feel more and more distant. Suddenly, you’ll feel isolated. Obviously, people are drawn to those who are physically closer or have more contact. The nomadic lifestyle will make you feel lonelier than you are. But it is important to remember that if you have to be in constant contact with your friend to stay friends, then perhaps you need to rethink your friendship. Friendship cannot be measured like that. If they really are your friends, then they will stay so.

When one starts living out of a suitcase, no place will feel like home anymore. And when you do go back home, things will not seem the same anymore but it’s not your home, it’s you who have changed. You have been through a world of experiences, emotions and possibilities. Even if that doesn’t make you superior to everyone else, it sure will make you a little depressed when you return to find that things are pretty much the same for everyone else with them living in their closed off lives.

Suggested read: 18 Travel Blogs On Instagram That You Should Follow Right Now

However, you need not feel discouraged after considering the practicality of it just because you need to be real before you commit. Remember: if you are not chasing after money, fame, honors and prizes; if you are captivated by the inconsequential, little things; if you whistle to the tune of what you want to hear; if you long to excuse yourself from the race and embark on a journey of your own- then no amount of struggle and reality will hinder you from living your dreams.

Featured image source: Instagram 

Article Name
The Struggles Of The Digital Nomad Lifestyle
As dream-like as it all sounds, the digital nomad lifestyle has its pros and cons. Here are some of the cons you should consider before buying into it.
Diksha Chakraborty

Diksha Chakraborty

"There were stars. They burned my eyes."