There’s a FAT line between perception and reality in the world of Social Media. This is particularly fat for aspiring digital nomads looking to set up shop in the tropics. Most desire a life without struggle—a feat which may seem attainable if you take the bait from carefully crafted Instagram accounts enducing jealousy while enticing you to quit your job, pack your bags, and set sail for the good life.
Since this is the world we live in, there are two things you should know when crafting your ideal life as a “digital nomad.”
- All those beautiful pictures you see on Instagram omit the struggle.
- All those selling you a dream and packaging it as simple are full of shit.
Life as a digital nomad is not all sun, sex, and sangria. This might come as a surprise—but at times—it can be really fucking hard. And failing to acknowledge this will make it harder. If you have pre-conceived notions that this lifestyle is easy, consider me your guardian Angel for a minute because personally, I have nothing to gain from giving you a reality check to help ensure your dream doesn’t turn into a nightmare.
“I’ll teach you everything you need to know so you too can experience total freedom and earn $100K a year while working just 10 hours a week.” Sound familiar?
Turn your bullshit radar way up! While I’m an advocate for this lifestyle, know that pretty much everything you read is embellished. 50 working hours per week is standard, and many do double that.
“Awareness is a beautiful thing. Heightened expectations are not. The lifestyle of a ‘digital nomad’ is not that of a fucking Unicorn.”
It’s about the process, not the destination. Come to terms with that now, and you’ll save yourself a lot of unnecessary stress. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to assume you’re starting over and want the freedom of being your own boss because, well, that’s the most difficult.
Prepare yourself for some struggle in the following areas before you set-off to increase the probability of realizing your dream;
Don’t just trust the Universe. Faith is great—blind faith is not. You need money to live, and you’re going to run into many health problems if you haven’t planned adequately. How much you need is up to you. But figure it out because once you do, every other area of your life will thank you for it. Many decisions will play to your ego so be careful not to let your ego fuck you. i.e. Likes are a terrible metric to measure progress.
A worldwide epidemic which doesn’t get easier when you opt for a transient lifestyle of travel and work. While booze can expedite the process, real friendships don’t just blossom after a heavy nights drinking. You need to be social, to put yourself out there, and put in the required time and effort to make real connections to ensure you don’t settle for the rent-a-friend mentality. When you do that, you’ll meet some incredible people. Attend networking events, parties, organize dinners, join co-working spaces etc. Whatever you have to do to ensure you surround yourself with people you love to be around. Your business won’t just fall into place and neither will your social life. Both require work, and…
Discipline is what will regulate your social endeavors from ruining your financial situation. Without it you won’t reach your goals.
It’s very easy to procrastinate on the important stuff because the allure of a party or boat trip to a remote Island is too tempting. FOMO is very real. Of course, it’s important to have fun and balance your lifestyle, but if you keep choosing fun over work, there will be no work until you convince someone back home you’re responsible and they should hire you. As things begin to tick away in the direction you want, your level of freedom will increase. In the meantime, don’t substitute short-term pleasure for long-term happiness.
Work hard. Have fun. Chase your dreams, but acknowledge the struggle in the process to increase the likelihood of your dreams becoming reality.
Also published on Medium.