The life of a digital nomad can be stressful and uncertain at times; but for many, it can also be extremely rewarding and fulfilling. Many people who decide to become nomads are willing to give up all of their old possessions in order to make their travels possible.
Many people sell their homes, or rent them out as passive income -- money that’s guaranteed to come in without actually having to do any work. People have yard sales where they sell all of their old furniture and unnecessary items, not only to just scrounge up more funds for their travels, but also because the only things they can really bring are things that can fit into a carry-on bag or a backpack. Since many nomads can’t afford to be burdened by the bills of their old home, they have to give them up. Though, that’s not always true.
‘Digital nomad’ is a diverse term
Deciding to be a nomad isn’t an immediate ‘yes or no’ decision that can never be rolled back on. Some people experiment with it for a few months without cutting their ties to their past life just to see if they’ll actually like it or not. Some people do it only over the course of a few months, feeling the need to come back to their ‘home base’ every so often.
Many enjoy it when they experiment with it, and keep going after dropping those ties. Others don’t like it, and return home. Some people keep a home and go back. There’s a diverse range of what a nomadic life can be or experiences with a nomadic life can be like.
Experiencing the World as one whole
For those who do decide to go on, a world of opportunity truly opens up to them -- literally. The entire world becomes connected, and they become connected to that. It is the truest sense of globalization that I can imagine -- employees, employers, clients and all working together and for each other across as many as multiple continents while some sit on the beach in Cape Town and others in an office building in Chicago, or maybe another in a co-working place in Thailand.
Not only are some people exuberant just to be a part of such a deeply interconnected system that completely defies borders, but they can also truly live and enjoy life as somebody living in an entirely new culture. Gaining a more intimate perspective of the human condition can really change people… Many nomads attest to how much deeper of an experience it is to them than just travel.
Logistic and financial struggles
But even the most fulfilled and thrilled of those who are skilled enough to instill that sense of goodwill in their lives are still sometimes killed by the bills they have to pay or the hills they have to climb. The struggles of a nomadic life can indeed be daunting and difficult to overcome, with many not being as happy as they thought they would be with their new lifestyle.
Seeing a doctor or getting medication, for example, is a worrisome subject for many people thinking about traveling like this. Applying for visas, worrying about restrictions on travel in tumultuous countries (which yes, many nomads do indeed flock to), and worrying about getting SIM cards or livable accommodations are all things that often fall into question and uncertainty.
Trying to pay bills can be problematic with an unreliable internet connection that doesn’t allow you to email your client or jump onto that important conference call over Skype… And even if that isn’t an issue, many nomads struggle to make the money they need to get by -- especially in cities with high costs of living like Tokyo or Oslo. They spend all their time working, without a chance to really appreciate that they’re traveling or living in an entirely new place or culture. When you’re struggling to get by and can’t actually enjoy the thing you set out to do, then what’s the point? Why even do it at all?
The digital nomad life can bring a lot of immense challenges and rewards, and is always a very personal experience for whoever lives through it. For some people, it’s fulfilling and happy; while for others, it might be an undue amount of stress that they weren’t expecting. It’s all entirely up to each individual to decide how they might feel about their own nomad life.