Today we have a guest post from Jess Signet of Tripelio.com. Be sure to go check out her site, especially her posts on Mongolia and Morocco, both of which feature some great content and photography. Both bucket list destinations for me, for sure! Enjoy the post. —Dan
There are so many articles out there all claiming to document the realities of life as a digital nomad. Some flippantly brush over the challenges and gush about how it’s the life of their dreams, while others re-iterate harsh and overdramatized warnings about the struggle of being location independent.
While there are elements of truth in every post, the one type of article that seems to be missing is a pragmatic, honest and practical guide, detailing the potential problems you can face and offering realistic solutions on how to overcome them. Fortunately, that’s exactly what this article is!
1) Get Over the Novelty
With the sudden rise in travel bloggers, freelancers and digital nomads, you could almost be forgiven for thinking this way of life is nothing more than a fad. While that may be the case to a greater or lesser extent, it doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s become a legitimate career choice and is possible to dedicate your life to pursuing it.
Unfortunately, however glamorous this lifestyle may look to you as a young adult in your twenties, the question is, will you still feel that way in 40 years time? A career is usually lifelong and, particularly something that requires so much work, can get old quickly. If you can’t see your flare for adventure and travel lasting until you’re old and grey, then this might not be the career for you.
2) Stick to a Schedule
Once you’ve had an honest talk with yourself—and really considered whether you genuinely want to do this or whether you’re just attracted by the allure of endless holidays and slacking off by the beach—the next thing you have to consider is scheduling.
What many people fail to realize is the life of a digital nomad is double the work of any other job. This is because you’re simultaneously trying to balance a full-time job, alongside long-term traveling. If you can’t say no to that exciting waterfall excursion or that extra beer on the local bar-crawl and your work ends up suffering, then I suggest you chose a different job now. There is no calling in sick as a digital nomad, if you can’t stick to your schedule, then it’s time to reconsider.
3) Overcome the Loneliness
This point is mentioned in almost every post about working remotely that there is, but it can’t be reiterated enough. There are no work colleagues, no close friends or family to run to when things get tough, and any friends you make along the way will be gone again before you know it.
However, social media can often help ease the sting of this loneliness. Facebook and Skype are fantastic tools that allow you to stay in contact with loved ones, no matter where they are. Just be sure to schedule a regular allotted time to make contact; otherwise, you’ll find that variations in lifestyle and time differences could soon begin to get in the way.
There’s also a great resource called Find A Nomad that allows you to link up with like-minded people nearby. This is a fantastic solution as who else will understand the loneliness you’re suffering better than a fellow nomad!
4) Prioritize Security
Internet security is a regularly overlooked and often shunned endeavor. But trust me, if you’re a digital nomad, then it’s important! Because of travelers’ tendency to rely on public WiFi networks—which allow anyone to see all of your data and personal information—hackers are starting to specifically target unsuspected nomads in order to intercept their bank details and commit fraud under their name.
This is not something you want to happen, as it can easily mean the end of your career. While many travelers already use a Virtual Private Network to access Netflix, having a VPN on all of the time can dramatically increase your online safety. This is because it creates a secure connection which, as well as hiding your IP address, encrypts all of your data.
5) Embrace Uncertainty
Finally, but perhaps most importantly, if you want to really succeed as a digital nomad, then you have to be the sort of person who is strong minded and able to handle stress well. The reality is that you will always be in a state of uncertainty, in everything from where you’ll be in a few months to where your next paycheck is coming from.
While you can undertake relaxation practices, such as meditation and yoga, if you’re the sort of person who craves certainty and security, then this may not be the life for you.
If you have any other challenges that you’ve face as a digital nomad or have had experiences with those already mentioned, be sure to leave a comment below and share your ideas with fellow travelers.
About the author: Jess Signet is a digital nomad who loves to explore the globe. Digital nomad life is fun but can be tough and she hopes this article will give you a few tips, whether you’re a new nomad or have embraced location independence for a while. You can find Jess on Twitter at: @Jessstravels.