Not sure about becoming a location independent? Continue reading for the real ups and downs on choosing a nomad lifestyle.
Driven by the desire for independence, millennials are choosing to forego the career paths taken by generations before them. And why wouldn’t they? Globally, the job market is nowhere near as stable as it was 30 or 40 years ago.
There has been a growing disenchantment not only with the job market, but the education system, too. Students are leaving colleges and universities crippled with thousands of dollars of debt which doesn’t take years, but decades, to pay off.
Attitudes towards work also changed, with more prospective employees choosing jobs that provide the flexibility and freedom to create their own schedules, based around their lifestyles.
At the forefront of this trend are digital nomads, independent contractors and entrepreneurs who work remotely. More importantly, these workers make location freedom their goal. Ubiquitous internet enables digital nomads to do their work from any location that has an adequate connection.
It’s a lifestyle that more and more are choosing over the traditional 9-5 grind. No longer are we forced to pledge allegiance to one company for our entire lives, or rack up thousands of dollars of college debt.
Why should you consider becoming a digital nomad?
You see, for years, we’ve been indoctrinated with the idea that success in life looks a certain way. We’ve been conditioned to believe that success means owning a house, a car, and all the other fixtures that come with prosperity. The prevailing wisdom of previous generations says that upward mobility can only be achieved through loyalty to a single company and that moving occupations will most likely not improve your chances of professional success.
To be very honest, I don’t think that could be further from the truth.
With the generational shift comes a yearning to experience more of the world, and to not be confined or tied down to one single place.
For modern-day nomads, few things are more enriching than soaking up new cultures and widening their worldview. Can you picture anything more satisfying than enjoying pad thai while watching the sun go down on the Thai coast? Or savoring soulfully prepared street food in Mexico for a few dollars? These are the perks of adopting a lifestyle where you’re able to choose your next destination. Few would argue that you can put a price on the experiences that travel brings – and that’s what makes being a nomad so special.
What makes the nomad lifestyle so attractive?
Let’s talk a little about the idea of being a working nomad. There’s an allure that comes with the freedom of being able to work wherever you want, whenever you want. Perhaps the biggest pay-off being a nomad is that it allow you to craft a life that you don’t need to take a break from. The boundaries between work and play become blurred. Leisure intersects with occupation to create a lifestyle that isn’t considered cumbersome, but rather enjoyable, and if you’re really lucky – fulfilling. Time freedom, location freedom and financial freedom are the three major benefits of choosing this path.
How do you become a nomad?
Global travel is no longer the preserve of the elite and privileged. Instead, it’s more accessible than ever before.
It’s not just digital nomads that are driving this location-independent revolution. Qualified yoga instructors, language teachers, divers, photographers are all monetizing their passions by offering their skills to willing customers. That’s a core part of becoming a nomad – being able to offer a skill, or service. This is one of the most important factors in the nomad equation, if you will – choosing a skill you’d like to get paid for and honing it until you’re able to get people to pay for it. There are countless resources, free and paid, where you can sharpen your craft with insights from experts around the world.
Yoga nomads like Sara sell yoga courses to customers online, while also teaching at workshops and retreats around the world. Lucy, an accomplished diving instructor, has made Playa del Carmen her playground as a digital nomad.
The beautiful thing about becoming a digital nomad is that the barrier to entry nowhere near as high as the conventional job market. If you have a skill or a product, there is most likely a market for it. Using online marketplaces to find prospective clients is the quickest way to get on the digital nomad bandwagon. The possibilities for nomads are endless, and once you’ve got your foot in the door, you’ll be amazed at the jobs that await you.
Once you’ve built up your skillset and you’ve found ways to sell your services, you’ll need to take the leap of faith and free yourself from the fear that’s keeping you tied down. This is one of the most daunting aspects of taking up a nomadic lifestyle, especially if you’ve been conditioned to believe that material wealth equates to success. Packing up inevitably means parting ways with a lot of the stuff that you’ve acquired over the years, so get ready to get rid of a lot of stuff!
Trading your material possessions for a nomadic lifestyle is massively underrated. It’s actually liberating – and for many people, signifies a change to a minimalist lifestyle with a focus on what really matters, that is, living in the moment and experiencing the world around you.
What are the downsides to becoming a digital nomad?
The nomad lifestyle is not all five-star travel, or glitz and glamour. For starters, it means giving up a whole lot of your possessions for living out of a suitcase. Such a transient lifestyle may not be for everyone, particularly if you’re averse to severe bouts of homesickness. Digital nomads effectively never have the opportunity to put down roots and create a semblance of stability, which is massively important for some sort of routine. Another factor which affects nomads is the culture shock that can be overwhelming, particularly when traveling in unfamiliar countries. Just dealing with new surroundings can be a huge task, but having the added stress of having to create an income while traveling in new lands is an even bigger challenge.
A few ways to overcome the crippling culture shock include finding companionship and embracing new cultures wholeheartedly. This will ensure that you don’t survive as a nomad, but rather thrive in your new environment. There may be days when you feel listless and lethargic, but if you stay stimulated by your surroundings, you’ll fend off all the negative energy that comes with the shock of a place you’re not used to. Self-awareness is your greatest asset as a nomad – knowing when you’re feeling down and anticipating those feelings of anxiety can help you to break through your slump.
Are you ready to become a nomad?
There has never been a more exciting time to take up the digital nomad lifestyle. We are well and truly in the nomad era, and more and more people are choosing to take up a calling that goes beyond the confines of their office cubicles and 9-5 jobs.
Make no mistake, becoming a nomad is no different to starting any new path. It takes a lot of legwork and requires some sacrifices. But when you merge your passions with your professional talents and get to experience parts of the world that you’d never thought you’d see, becoming a nomad can be one of the most rewarding life decisions you’ll ever make.