The popularity of the lifestyle of digital nomads is a result of several significant factors. The great development of technologies, the spread of the Internet and devices that have access to it, and the pandemic have created a massive transition in the way people work. Also, the concepts of the flexible work-from-home model, sustainable living and self-learning have all contributed to the strive for the nomadic lifestyle and its perks.
The digital nomad lifestyle is increasing in popularity. There are 35 million digital nomads globally as of 2022, and some predict that this number will get to 1 billion by 2035. In 2020 when the pandemic started, the number of people who shifted to remote work arrangements increased by a staggering 49% in the US alone.
Whether it’s thanks to the ever-increasing internet speed and Wi-Fi accessibility or the variety of remote jobs available, more people choose the option to work from anywhere. But what exactly is a digital nomad, and how did this idea come to be? Turns out, there are both pros and cons to this type of lifestyle. Let’s take a closer look.
Characteristics of The Lifestyle Of Digital Nomads
The barriers to starting a digital nomad lifestyle are pretty low. As long as you have a laptop, a good internet connection, and VPN software if necessary, you can get started. This has led to a growing number of people from all walks of life pursuing the remote work setup.
There are a few key characteristics that define the lifestyle of digital nomads. Firstly, they tend to be location-independent, meaning they can work from anywhere in the world. This could be from a coffee shop in Berlin, a villa in Bali or even on a beach in Thailand.
Secondly, digital nomads typically work remotely, either for themselves or for companies that allow it. This means they don’t have to commute or be tied to a traditional office space.
Lastly, digital nomads travel frequently to different locations on a whim. This could be for work, pleasure or a combination of both.
The concept of the lifestyle of digital nomads originates from the book “Digital Nomad” first published in 1997 and written by Tsugio Makimoto and David Manners. However, the phrase only began popular in the late 2000s, when Timothy Ferriss’s blockbuster book “The 4-Hour Workweek” came out. It was also in this decade that internet cafés started springing up, as well as popular websites such as TripAdvisor, Airbnb, and Couchsurfing. After that, social media platforms took the world of instant communications by storm, making it easier than ever to work away from a centralized office.
6 Benefits of Being A Digital Nomad
What comes to mind when you think of being a digital nomad? For many, the first thought is that it’s a life of freedom and endless possibilities. And while that may be true, there’s much more to it than that. Here are six benefits of being a digital nomad.
One of the major advantages of being a digital nomad is the increased flexibility it comes with. Not only can you work from anywhere, but you can also design your own schedule and take on as many tasks as you want. This is perfect for people who enjoy traveling and visiting new places, or those who simply want to have more control over their work/life balance.
If you get bored of one location, you can simply pack up your things and move to another without having to worry about finding another job or giving notice at your current one. Plus, if you work for yourself, you can take advantage of slow periods by taking a break or traveling to somewhere cheaper.
Despite the popular belief that working from home equals slacking off, studies have shown that people who work from home are actually more productive. This is because there are fewer distractions and interruptions, and you can create a space that’s conducive to concentration.
Of course, this only holds true if you have the discipline to stick to a schedule and avoid distractions. If you have trouble staying focused, it might be best to look for coworking spaces or cafes with good Wi-Fi in the area.
Another great thing about being a digital nomad is the opportunity to be completely independent in terms of decisions, place, work schedule, and living arrangements. You’re not tied to a specific location, so you can pick up and leave whenever you want. This also means you don’t have to ask for permission to take time off or work from another country.
If you work for yourself, you’ll have even more control over your time and schedule. You can take on as many or as few clients as you want, and work whatever hours you please. Of course, this comes with its own challenges (e.g., finding enough work to support yourself), but it’s definitely a perk worth considering.
If you can manage your finances well, being a digital nomad can provide you with a great deal of financial freedom. Since you’re not tied to one location, you can live in cheaper places and take advantage of lower cost-of-living expenses.
This is perfect for people who want to save money and invest it in another project on the side. Of course, it’s important to make sure you have enough cash coming in to cover your basic needs before you make the switch.
One of the inevitable side effects of being a digital nomad is that you have to appropriate a more minimalistic lifestyle. This is because you can’t take everything with you when you’re constantly on the move.
This can be a great way to declutter your life and get rid of material possessions that you don’t really need. It’s also a more sustainable way of living since you’re not generating as much waste.
Of course, minimalism isn’t for everyone, and it’s definitely possible to live a nomadic lifestyle without embracing it fully. It’s just something to keep in mind if you’re considering this type of lifestyle change.
Support From Online Communities
If you’re feeling a bit isolated or lonely, one of the great things about being a digital nomad is that there are online communities you can join. These can provide you with a support system, advice, and even friends from all over the world.
Some popular online communities for digital nomads include Nomadlist, Remote Work Hub, and Coworking Visa. There are also numerous Facebook groups dedicated to the topic. Our very own networking community at CEO Hangout is open to freelancers, self-employed entrepreneurs, and of course, remote working enthusiasts who are living the digital nomad’s life.
4 Drawbacks of The Lifestyle of Digital Nomads
There’s no question that the lifestyle of digital nomads is appealing. After all, who wouldn’t want to be able to work from anywhere in the world? However, there are a few drawbacks to this type of life that you should know about before making the switch. Here are four of them.
Aggressive Self-Promotion Stereotypes
One of the biggest problems with digital nomads is the stereotype that they’re all a bunch of self-promoting, entitled hipsters. This is because a lot of people who choose this lifestyle do so in order to escape the traditional 9-5 work world.
Unfortunately, this means that they often end up promoting their lifestyle more than their work, which can be frustrating for people who are trying to build a career. It also creates a lot of pressure to appear “perfect” and “successful” all the time, which can be exhausting.
However, you can always flip the coin and beat these stereotypes by keeping your feet on the ground. Be real to your audience and clients in terms of what the lifestyle of digital nomads entails. Honesty will always give you extra points in client relationships.
The second big challenge that digital nomads face is the temptation to procrastinate. Since you’re not tied to traditional office space, it can be easy to let work slide in favor of exploring your new surroundings or taking a nap.
Of course, this isn’t always a bad thing – after all, part of the appeal of this lifestyle is that you can take a break whenever you want. However, if you’re not careful, it can lead to some serious productivity issues.
To avoid this, try to establish a routine and stick to it as much as possible. Make sure you have dedicated work time and space, even if it’s just a corner of your apartment. In addition, avoid working in bed, which can be a recipe for disaster.
One of the most difficult things about being a digital nomad is being away from your loved ones. While this can be exciting at first, it can also be draining after a while. This is because you never really have a chance to settle into any one place or routine.
This can lead to feelings of nostalgia and longing for a more stable life. It’s important to remember, though, that this is just a phase and it will eventually pass. In the meantime, try to find ways to create more stability in your life, such as maintaining regular communication with friends and family.
Poor Internet Connection
Another big challenge for digital nomads is their dependence on a reliable Internet connection. This can be difficult in some parts of the world, especially if you’re traveling to remote or rural areas.
In addition, even in more developed countries, the quality of the internet can vary greatly from one place to another. This can make it hard to stay connected and productive, which can be frustrating. Also, many public Wi-Fi networks have security walls for VPN software and for certain websites which will be a problem if you have no other options.
To avoid this, it’s important to do your research before you travel. Find out what the internet situation is like in your destination and make sure you have a backup plan, such as a portable hotspot or satellite phone.
The digital nomad lifestyle has both pros and cons, but the pros heavily outweigh the cons for the vast majority of people who have tried it. If you’re looking for a more flexible, productive, independent, and financially free life, then becoming a digital nomad may be right for you. Just be prepared to deal with some of the drawbacks like aggressive self-promotion stereotypes, procrastination, nostalgia, and poor internet connection in some places. So, are you up to the challenge?