Digital Nomads For Dummies
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I believe that the digital nomad lifestyle can be right for everyone. After all, who doesn’t want the ability to do what they want, when they want? A better question might be to ask yourself how nomadic you want to be and for how long.

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Becoming a digital nomad doesn’t need to be an extreme decision where you quit your job, sell your stuff, and book a ticket to Bali the same day. Your version of location independence can follow one of the examples in this book, or it can be something you design.

But, for now, here are some of the pros and cons to help you decide.

Exploring the potential benefits

Becoming a digital nomad could be the best thing since sliced bread. These are some of the benefits:
  • Community: Imagine if your friendship circle included thousands of people from 200 countries — that’s possible when you travel the world.
  • Cost savings: Digital nomads can save money in many ways, such as lowering their cost of living and increasing their savings rate through geo-arbitrage (earning in a strong economy while living in a low-cost area), buying fewer material things, and changing their tax base.
  • Creativity and innovation: Immersing yourself in new cultures and places is a good way to gain inspiration in your work. Researchers have found a correlation between travel and increased innovation.
  • Earning potential: Many digital nomads use their newfound freedom, flexibility, and time to build multiple income streams. Many salaried digital nomads are high earners, while freelancers can earn more working for themselves than for an employer.
  • Family: Tim Urban, of the website Wait But Why, calculates that by the time you turn 18, you’ve already used up 98 percent of your time spent with family. But when you’re a digital nomad, you don’t have to wait until the holidays to see your loved ones. You can visit them anytime! Nomad parents can also spend more time with their children when traveling together and doing homeschool or remote learning.
  • Freedom: As mentioned, freedom of all shapes and sizes is the top reason people want to become digital nomads. You have micro freedoms, such as how to spend every minute of the day. And you have macro freedoms, such as changing your country of residence, taxation, or citizenship.
  • Fulfillment: Digital nomads are happy campers! According to MBO Partners, 85 percent of digital nomads report being happy and satisfied in their lifestyles. Up to 90 percent say they will never go back to a traditional office job.
  • Fun: Being a digital nomad is really fun. Whatever you like to do, you can do more of it when you live a digital nomad lifestyle.
  • Health and wellness: With more time and control over your workplace, schedule, and environment, you can make healthier choices as a digital nomad. Eliminating your commute also reduces stress and increases well-being.
  • Network: Digital nomads have more opportunities to meet people from different cultures, backgrounds, and industries compared to when they worked in one place.
  • Productivity and focus: Researchers agree that remote workers suffer from fewer distractions compared to working in an office.
  • Time: Digital nomads can save up to 3,000 hours per year that were previously spent on commuting, meetings, office distractions, and household chores.
  • Travel: Undoubtedly, one of the biggest draws of the digital nomad lifestyle is being able to travel. Imagine being able to work with a view of the Eiffel Tower. That’s possible when you can work from anywhere!

Recognizing the potential drawbacks

Every decision in life has pros and cons. (Even eating cupcakes.) For all the benefits of a location-independent lifestyle, there are some downsides:
  • Burnout: Although the majority of digital nomads are happy and satisfied with their lifestyles, remote work and travel burnout is still a thing.
  • Dating and relationships: Living nomadically can complicate relationships, whether you’re single and dating or living with your significant other. Friendships and partnerships at home may suffer the longer you’re away. And, although you may meet more people while traveling, you might not see them again.
  • Being unsettled: Not having a fixed home can wear on you over time. If you’re planning to be a temporary nomad, this isn’t much of a concern. But many long-term nomads eventually find somewhere to settle so they have more stability and community.
  • Loneliness: Everyone experiences loneliness sometimes, whether you’re a nomad or not. But traveling alone and working alone can make you feel even lonelier at times. In a Fiverr study, 30 percent of respondents said lack of community and human connection were their biggest struggles.
  • Productivity and motivation: Many digital nomads are self-motivated, with only 7 percent of “anywhere workers” citing motivation as a challenge. However, it’s still a factor, especially when combined with occasional loneliness and isolation from working alone.
  • Risk of failure: Failing in business in a foreign place can be a scary prospect, especially if you don’t know the culture well or have a local support system. It’s important to keep a stash of emergency savings in case you end up between jobs or need to cut your adventure short and fly home.
  • Uncertainty: Uncertainty is the flipside of the excitement and the adventure of a nomadic lifestyle. There’s a fine line between living outside of your comfort zone and living in anxiety. Manage uncertainty by being as prepared and organized as possible.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Kristin M. Wilson has travelled to over 60 countries during her 20 years as a digital nomad. She reaches 130,000 subscribers on her “Traveling with Kristin” YouTube channel. She’s also host of the “Badass Digital Nomads” podcast, recorded weekly from wherever in the world Kristin currently calls home.

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