Is digital nomad life for you?
4 important considerations.
I have been traveling for the past 30 years, even before it was popular and digital… First as a backpacker and later as a speaker and writer I have visited more than 100 countries. I help other entrepreneurs adapt to the location independent lifestyle, for example by pointing out the ten most common mistakes.
Living outside ‘the system’ is not always easy. I even got ‘fired’ from my home country The Netherlands for traveling too much. I lost all my rights, pension, insurance etc.
On the other hand: I experience freedom like never before; officially I don’t ‘exist’, I have no (housing) expenses, no obligations and don’t even have to pay taxes. Being a pioneer is exciting, and especially as a speaker I always have new ‘out-of-the-box’ stories and inspiration to share.
Moving around gets tiring sometimes, though. I haven’t stayed longer than 6 weeks in one place in the past 10 years. After a few weeks the added value of a different place just gets too strong. So I move from tropical island to city, to nature, to city etc.
When you see the typical ‘working with my laptop on the beach’ pictures from digital nomads, you may be fooled into thinking this lifestyle is a dream. Be aware: for some it is a nightmare! Four important things to consider:
- Is it for you? You have to take responsibility for your own life, both for things that go well as for things that don’t work. You can no longer blame your boss or anyone else. You also need to be able to focus and work when you need to: there’s so much distraction out there: parties to attend, places to visit… 😉
- Are you in it for the long run? You need entrepreneurial skills to set up a sustainable business to really become a location independent entrepreneur and make it your new lifestyle. This is different from the many ‘backpackers with a laptop’ who also call themselves ‘digital nomads’; they often have to return home after a year or so and look for a ‘normal’ job, because they run out of money.
- Minimize: get rid of ballast like clothes, books and other stuff that ties you to a location. It takes energy, brain power and money to maintain physical stuff. Make all your papers available online. Love letters, photo albums and insurance papers can travel with you in the cloud as opposed to staying in a box in a storage or attic somewhere.
- Before you take the plunge, quit your job and sell your house; schedule a trial period. Home swapping or attending a digital nomad camp or retreat will give you a taste for this life. You will meet like-minded people and can exchange experiences and expectations.
If it’s not for you, don’t worry. You can also choose to focus on making your current life more interesting. The grass may seem greener on the other side, but if you water your own lawn, it will be just as green!
Want to find out more? My best tips can be found in ‘Digital Nomads’, how to live, work and play around the world.