Being a digital nomad, or someone who works remotely and travels the world, has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Hey, I’m Andrae 👋 I’ve been a digital nomad for over 5 years and traveled to over 44 countries. I fell in love with being a digital nomad & even built my entire business around it – hosting digital nomad community retreats & offering remote career coachin to aspiring digital nomads.
Here are some ups and downs I’ve experienced being a digital nomad:
Digital nomads have the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world as long as they have an internet connection. This means they can travel to different places, experience new cultures, and still earn a living.
Flexibility is one of the things I was craving most in the 9-5. I hated that we only got 15 days leave a year, had to sit in the same office everyday and had the same mundane schedule. Being a digital nomad allows me to feel free, even if I still end up working 8 hours a day – it’s on my own terms
Affordable Cost of Living
Living in countries with a lower cost of living can be more affordable than living in expensive cities or even your hometown. Digital nomads can take advantage of this and save money on rent, food, and transportation.
Over thelast 5 years, I have lived in super affordable spots such as Bulgaria, Bali Budapest, Cape Town etc. The most affrdable regions for nomads are South East Asia, South America, Eastern Europe & Africa. Rent could start from as little as $300 a month – this is what I paid in Bansko, Bulgaria (pic on the left).
See the world
No longer do you have to wait till you’re retied to be able to tick everything off your bucket-list. Being location independent means having the freedom to work from anywhere. Immerse yourself in the local culture and live like a local, staying in different places for 1-3 months at time. I’ve been able to travel to 44 countries and I feel so grateful this lifestyle is allowing me to see the world and have so many unforgettable experiences.
Digital nomads have the ability to structure their work schedule around their personal life. They can work when they are most productive and take breaks when they need them. It is also a lifestyle choice with the overall intention of wanting a better work/life balance and breaking away from traditional societal norms. Personally I love the freedom to wake up at 8am and leisurely start my morning – not having to rush 0r commute to work is a huge plus for me.
Personal & Career Development
The challenges and experiences of being a digital nomad can lead to personal growth and development. Digital nomads often develop problem-solving skills, adaptability, and resilience. It also inspires many to change careers, collaborate or build something completely new from your purpose & passions.
In 2018 I quit my 9-5 Marketing job to build an online business I’d always dreamed of. It forced me to get out of my comfort zone, learn new skills & be extremely resilient. I can’t even imagine going back to the person I was before this change as I feel i have grown so much in my skillset but also as a person.
Working remotely and traveling frequently can be isolating, and digital nomads may struggle to form meaningful connections with others in the places they visit. Most nomads travel solo and finding like-minded people to connect with if you’re hopping from place to place can seem daunting.
This was one of the main reasons I built digital nomad retreats – to create a platform for deeper connections in a new locarion. On these retreats I’ve made friends for life – check out Work Wanderers to see what they’re about. I also recommend colivings, coworking spaces & online community groups to combat loneliness as a nomad.
Lack of stability
Digital nomads don’t have a permanent home base, and this lack of stability can be challenging for some people. It can also make it difficult to establish a routine or maintain relationships.
In my personal opinion if stability is a huge priority for you – the digital nomad lifestyle may not be a good fit. You need to get excited about the fact that you might not know which country you’ll be in next – you’ve got to embrace it. Sure, it can be scary but as long as you have consistent income coming in, enjoy this time to be free!
Dating as a digital nomad can be challenging due to their transient lifestyle, limited social circle, time constraints, and cultural barriers. However, they also have the opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds and cultures, as well as finding a partner who shares similar values and interests in travel and exploration.
I’ve see this be a challenge in my own life as well as my diggital nomad friends. Finding a partner that is your match AND a digital nomad can sometimes feel impossible. The best is to stay open-minded, communicate your expectations early on and try to align in values & lifestyle.
Check out Nomad Soulmates – an online dating app specifically for nomads.
When you’re constantly on the move, you may be exposed to new environments and unfamiliar pathogens, which can increase your risk of illness. Additionally, accidents or injuries can happen when you’re exploring new places, and it can be challenging to navigate the healthcare system in a foreign country. Depending on the severity of the illness or injury, it could also impact your ability to work and earn a living. It’s important to take necessary precautions, such as researching healthcare options in advance and purchasing travel insurance, to minimize the risks and ensure you’re prepared in case of an emergency.
I would recommend SafetyWing – travel insurance specifically designed for digtal nomads. At only $1,50 a day, it’s so worth it and it’s great as you pay monthly and can cancel at any time. Check out their Nomad Insurance here.
Since digital nomads often move frequently, they may need to purchase plane tickets more frequently than someone with a more stationary lifestyle. This can add up to a significant expense over time, especially if they are traveling to more expensive destinations or flying on short notice. Additionally, budget airlines may not always be the most reliable or comfortable option, and digital nomads may need to pay extra for amenities like checked baggage or in-flight meals. However, there are ways to mitigate this expense, such as booking flights well in advance, using airline rewards programs, and being flexible with travel dates and destinations. Additionally, digital nomads can often save money on other expenses, such as housing and transportation, which can offset the cost of air travel.
This remains one of my biggest challenges as flight prices have skyrocketed since the pandemic. The best option is to stay in one region of the world for approx. 3 months or longer and travel within it, to reduce flight times & costs.
For me, the ups have always outweighed the downs and although my lifestyle keeps adapting, I know I would never be able to return to the traditional 9-5.
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