Are You Ready to Be a Digital Nomad?
So, you want to see the world? Kyoto, Venice, Brisbane, Rio de Janeiro? Vancouver, Prague, Edinburgh, and Rome?
If you want to extend your usual two-week vacation to the beach every summer to a year-long (or lifelong) expedition around the globe, then the lifestyle of a digital nomad may be exactly your calling.
Digital nomads, by definition, are remote workers who are constantly traveling to new destinations around the world. They can be part of a program, such as Remote Year, or they can travel solo. They can join coworking spaces from city to city, or they can find their own workspaces while forging new friendships along the way. There’s no right way to be a digital nomad, and every digital nomad’s approach to remote work and travel can be quite different. However, first and foremost, digital nomads have a strong desire to immerse themselves into the world around them.
The life of a digital nomad is a beautiful one, but it also may not be exactly what you think it is. From living out of a suitcase to constantly meeting new people, see if you have what it takes to become a digital nomad.
1) Can You Fit Your Life into One Suitcase?
You probably think we’re joking, but we’re not. Digital nomads are never stagnant in one place for too long, which means that they can’t have suitcase after suitcase to lug around when it’s time to hit the road again. One digital nomad we talked to, Andrea Valera, says that she travels with one 50-pound suitcase, a carry-on, and a camera bag—nothing more.
The benefits of traveling lightly? Being able to easily remain on the move as you jump from city to city, leaving space in your suitcase to acquire new things (souvenirs, anyone?), and not cluttering up what will likely be the small room or apartment that you’re staying in. Remember, you’re probably going to be staying in Airbnbs and room-sharing accommodations if you’re traveling on a budget, which most digital nomads are.
2) Are You OK Getting Lost?
We like to think of digital nomads as being free-spirited, at least in the sense of travel. Because you’re bouncing from place to place, you’re not going to be able to keep track of every side street in every city you go to. Being OK with getting lost and feeling comfortable with finding your way back with the help of locals is one of the strongest skills that will help a digital nomad succeed.
3) Can You Be Outgoing Around New People?
Similar to being adventurous when exploring a new city, being adventurous when it comes to getting to know new people is a digital nomad must. Many digital nomads say that they make the best friends of their lives while globetrotting (there’s just something about traveling together that instantly bonds people, right?). That being said, having a positive attitude and outgoing personality will take you a long way as a digital nomad.
Digital nomad Gerardo Guijarro left behind his office in 2017 to take on a year of travel with Remote Year. When asking Guijarro about his experiences traveling the world, he made a point of telling us how the program’s use and fostering of coworking spaces played a huge role in what he found to be one of the most memorable aspects of his journey thus far: the people.
Along with meeting other like-minded remote workers while on the go, it’s also rewarding for digital nomads to reach out to the local communities in each city. Having a little bit of social courage and an open mind will take you far in this respect.
4) Are You Resourceful?
Like with any kind of traveling, you don’t find everything you need right when and where you need it. Digital nomads sometimes have to be quite resourceful when it comes to getting work done in new and different countries.
For example, perhaps your living arrangement doesn’t include wifi. Seeking out local libraries, internet-connected cafes, and portable technology that can provide you with service are some things that will not only make life easier for you, but also potentially save you your income.
5) Do You Get Homesick?
Traveling the globe for a year straight (or more than a year) is no small feat. It’s also not always the easiest thing to do, at least not emotionally. If you easily get homesick or find yourself yearning for your friends and family while traveling, becoming a digital nomad may not be the best option for you. Of course, that’s not to say that you can’t still work remotely and take time to see the world — however, you may not want to embark on a multi-city expedition with only a one-way ticket.
6) Are You Adventurous?
Do you like trying new foods? Are you good at trying out a new language, even if you end up making a fool out of yourself? When you go to a new city, can you find out all the favorite local spots in a few weeks’ time and still enjoy the excitement of major tourist attractions? Simply put: are you adventurous?
The life of a digital nomad is the life of an adventurer. For many, this is why living from city to city becomes such an addictive experience. It’s amazing the amount of life lessons, life loves, and life experiences that can all be gleaned from having an open heart and a courageous spirit.
7) Do You Love to Travel?
Last but certainly not least, you have to ask yourself if traveling is something that you truly enjoy, and not just the relaxing aspects of it. If the sound of a twelve-hour train ride to Prague is one that excites you, or talks of ten flights over of the course of three months gets you going, then the life of a digital nomad may be just the lifestyle for you.
Remember, you have one life to live — so live the life you want.
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by Chelsey Grasso for Remote