Have you the itch? A desire to drop everything and pursue life as a digital nomad? Are you tired of gazing at perfectly manicured Instagram handles designed to induce envy? Is it working?
It’s kind of working.
Do you want to live your life in the tropics where you can surf perfect blue peeling waves at sunrise, swim with all sorts of weird, wonderful, and wacky looking creatures, lounge around on pristine white sand beaches, hike volcanoes, and do all sorts of cool shit with like-minded people?
All while managing a clock that runs on your time?
It’s definitely working.
“Surely, it’s too good to be true?”
Sorry. It’s not.
“Well, it’s not something I could do. So, I’ll leave it for the next life and keep living this one vicariously through Instagram.”
Bullshit you can’t.
“It can’t be all Unicorns and pink flamingoes?”
Correct. It’s still real life. Not a Pixar movie—although you’ll find Nemo if you look hard enough.
It won’t be without struggle, but it’ll be a different struggle. A better struggle. And while I’ve covered many of those struggles in past articles, this one was crowdsourced to shine a light and all that is awesome about the life of a Digital Nomad.
A traditional career forces you to create your lifestyle around work. A digital nomad works around their lifestyle.
You have the freedom to work in an environment, city, or country that accommodates to your ideal lifestyle. Whether it’s surfing in Indo, snowboarding in the Alps, dancing in Latin America, or soaking up the culture of Europe—the choice is yours. Whatever it is you love to do. You can build your life and work around it. It’s a lifestyle. Hate winter? Chase summer. Easy.
Not all “digital nomads” travel. Many are “settled” or “semi-settled.” They find a spot they love and spend 90% of their time there. Or divide their time between two locations and get a little travel and culture in when they can.
You then have the nomadic traveler. These motherfuckers don’t stop. They’ve more energy than the Duracell Bunny, and their passports have more stamps than Tiger Woods has had affairs.
While the corporate world is busy planning their two-week annual vacation (or escape) to lounge, unwind and drink cocktails by the pool, the digital nomad doesn’t care for any of that because they can do it on any given weekend. What they do care about is exploring every corner of the globe while immersing themselves in experiences and all the different cultures have to offer.
You will consistently meet an abundance of like-minded people — too many — on the same wavelength, with similar beliefs, values, and goals. Some will be fleeting. Others will last a lifetime. All have the potential to be special. Unless you go to Ubud. But even Ubud has its gems. Sorry, Ubud.
Within a week of walking into a coworking space like Dojo, you’ll feel more settled than you would after six months in a new office. I’ve seen it time and time again. People’s faces light up with relief when they walk in here. And it has nothing to do with seeing me. It’s because all the hard work is done for them. It’s because they are greeted with a warm smile and introduced to those they’ll click best within a matter of minutes. That’s how great the staff and community is here.
You get to walk into a thriving community set up in a way that makes it easy to integrate into and start connecting with incredible people immediately.
The Standard of Living
Assuming you head East to Asia or South to South America with a western salary, you can expect your standard of living to go way up. Or you can save a bunch. Or even better—do both.
What do I mean by that?
Well, you can trade a box apartment in a big city for a huge room in a luxurious villa with a pool. And still only pay half the rent. You won’t have to worry about cleaning or doing the dishes because there will be staff to do it all for you. You can treat yourself to healthy and delicious meals out every day. In fact, it’s almost cheaper to eat out or order in. You can visit places and experience things on the weekends that many only dream of visiting or experiencing their entire lives.
I could go on. But I’m starting to sound like a dick. Those little luxuries you wish you had more of at home? They’re plentiful here.
The Free Time
Probably the biggest complaint we have as a species is not having enough time. If you look at your smartphone usage, you’ll soon realise it’s nothing to do with a lack of time and everything to do with discipline.
You do, however, get a considerable amount of time back if you jump ship from big city life. Personally, I save about 2 hours a day commuting. And I never cook or clean. Or do laundry. Which is nice.
It’s not a first world problem. It’s better. What you do with your spare time is up to you.
I swear to Christ anything is possible out here. That’s not to be confused with easy. Or guaranteed. We’re failing all the time. But we’re trying. So, more are succeeding. And nobody is pissing on you for your efforts.
Logic is applied. If someone else can do it, then why can’t you? Everybody has a growth mindset. There’s a solution to everything. And whenever you’re feeling sorry for yourself, a mate will soon pick you up and set you straight.
Freedom is probably top of everybody’s list. And rightfully so. Most employees have the cuffs slapped on them from 9 to 5. And even though the trade is predominantly time for money, leaving on time is often frowned upon. Yuck! The current model rarely rewards productivity. It’s a flawed model. Nobody wants the slave treatment, but too many are summoned to a life of it.
You’ll still have to work your ass off to make this lifestyle work, but you’ll have the freedom to be productive at times which work best for you.
I don’t know about you, but I prefer to work at a time that suits me, and to do so without someone looking over my shoulder.
And that’s a wrap. Christ, I can never go back. It’s no wonder the rest of the world hate digital nomads.
What’s that famous quote all over Instagram?
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
The reality is this could be the best decision you make, you could take it or leave it, or it could suck. That’s the beauty of it. You’ll never know unless you give it a go. But I doubt you’ll regret trying.
The last thing you want is the dreaded “what if” hanging over your head in ten or twenty years from now when you’re stuck at home with a mortgage, a job you can’t stand, a partner who loud farts, and three kids that hate each other. Is it?
Have I missed anything?
So, if this is something you want to experience, and not vicariously through Instagram, then get up off your ass and do something about it. Scratch the itch, bitch! And bring me a bottle of Scotch when you come to Bali. They don’t sell the good shit here.
Makasih. That means thank you in Indo. You’re welcome.