A laptop on the beach, pictures of the weirdest foods and an infinite number of Facebook check-ins at airports around the world are probably among the top reasons why there are so many stereotypes surrounding the life of a digital nomad. Some see us as a bunch of hippies who lost their mind. The truth is, we are just an unusual group of people living outside the traditional roles and jobs.
But what about all those things they say about us, are they true? We’ll find out together! These are the most common questions I’ve been asked since I left my “good” office job 2 years ago, reflecting the stereotypes around our lifestyle.
1. When will you get a real job?
This drives me crazy: despite all the effort I put into my business and the tangible results, I’d still hear it soooo many times. Just because we do something innovative and different, doesn’t mean we aren’t serious. I think this is the most common question we get when confronted with people from the “old world”.
Many digital nomads, actually most of the people I know, work their a****s of to build their sustainable and successful business.
So, what are those “non-real” jobs? Well, there are many software developers, computer engineers, web or graphic designer, marketers and entrepreneurs. Some have an employer who allows them to work remotely, others are freelancers and others have founded their own startup or business. From affiliate marketers to drop shipping specialists, online teachers, any type of consultants and coaches. Pretty legit jobs, right?
2. How’s your holiday in Bali going?
This is strictly connected to the previous point: since we don’t have a real job, we are on a perpetual (and quite mysterious) holiday. I WISH IT WAS! Most of the people I know, work (almost) every day, like everybody else who’s building/runs their own business (like me) or has an employer.
The main difference is that we can work from wherever we want and at our own pace, as long as we deliver on time. This enables us to take some surf or yoga breaks or to start our day a little later, when we’re done with our healthy morning routine.
Truth being said, there are some people living on a pretty awesome passive income, but this is not the majority of us. And even they had to work super hard to reach that point. So, I’m sorry, but we’re not on holiday.
3. How can you pay for all those travels?
We’re definitely not a bunch of hippies living of air and we aren’t necessarily always on a budget. We work, as we’ve already pointed out before. And some of us make pretty good money.
Yes, we cut a lot of costs living in a cheaper place like Bali on a Western salary. This allows us to have a way nicer house, to eat out every single meal without ever looking at the price and have more money to invest in travelling and our businesses. It also allows us to save some money for the future. It’s a win-win situation!
4. How can you find a partner if you keep travelling?
Well, first of all, the more you travel, the more people you meet, the more chances you have that among them there is a possible partner. This is statistics.
Secondly, I know so many couples that met travelling, and not in the “real world”. And it was way easier for them to meet in a digital nomad environment. Because that’s where those people with the same interests and values hang out.
Thirdly, I’ve faced the same situations I had experienced in my old life. Some are looking for a commitment and some are not, some are nicer and some not, with some people there’s chemistry and with others not. But there is one big difference: it’s really unlikely you’ll go on a date with a fellow digital nomad who has nothing in common with you. Because they will at least like freedom and exploring the world as much as you do.
5. Aren’t you lonely in Bali? Don’t you wanna come back home to your family and friends?
Well, no and no (as much as I love my family and friends from home)!
While many of us actually travel solo, this doesn’t mean we’re lonely. There’s a fantastic thing called co-working space, where remote workers spend a decent portion of their days. And this is where most friendships are built. In this sense, Dojo has played a very important role in my Balinese life. When I came here I didn’t know anyone, but I easily made new friends already on my first day.
While not all people you meet become your best friends, it’s still possible and easy to build strong and deep relationships. Of course, you will most likely do it with the ones who stay longer or at least the ones who’re good with keeping in touch.
But doesn’t it happen also in the “real world” that some friendships fade? For example if one of the parties is so bad in answering calls and texts to set up a meeting? Doesn’t it also happen even if you live in the same place and not travel at all?
Is this all inconsiderate? Or is it that we found a way that gives us the degree of freedom we value? The means to explore the world, meet new people, discover new cultures? And most of all, makes us happier? Aren’t we just making the best out of the possibilities technology and globalization offer?
If you think you can cope with those questions and stereotypes but are a little afraid of taking the big step because you don’t really know how it is, come to Bali and try the digital nomad lifestyle yourself! The Happiness Planner and I are organizing retreats for you to see with your own eyes how it is: for 10 days you can work on the project you’ve been dreaming of your entire life, from Dojo, in a community of inspiring people and with the support of a coach. Workshops, masterminds and mentorship from established nomads will help you understand if this is the life you want. And create a plan to make it happen.