Digital Nomad: About the fusion of travel and work

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Over the last few years, a new travel and work approach has risen to great popularity: the digital nomad. These modern nomads are paving the way for a new era of complete location independence. Traveling any time you want, anywhere you would like, will probably sound like a dream, but it is a dream that can become true if you are willing to take the leap. If this sounds like something for you, do read on…

Digital nomads seem to have it all: complete freedom in choosing their location, no boring 9 to 5 routines, one beautiful view after the next… All while keeping the cash flowing in with the help of nothing more than a laptop and Wi-Fi connection. It seems like such a fairy tale, but to make sure this lifestyle truly is the best way for you to combine travel and work, consider the following:

You’re going to need some discipline - lots of it

Combining travel and work together is great; you’ll get to see many amazing places without having to worry about getting back to your boss’ office on Monday, and your lunch breaks can now be enjoyed on the beach instead of in a boring canteen. However, it can become very tempting to stretch that lunch break a few minutes… or hours. If you don’t have the motivation and discipline to get your hours of work done, digital nomading is probably not for you. There will be no boss checking your productivity, nor any colleagues to motivate you. The only thing expected from you is the end-result; how you get there is entirely up to you.

managing your personal todos and schedule with sticky notes
managing your personal todos and schedule with sticky notes

Travel and work is not an endless holiday

Taking your laptop to the beach to do maybe half an hour of light work before plunging into the ocean, is how everyone is attempting to sell the digital nomad life. But, beaches are full of sand that will ruin your laptop, hot climates are not comfortable to work in and Wi-Fi doesn’t grow on palm trees. Basically, you’ll be spending a lot of time in dark hotel rooms to be able to get an internet connection, and a whole lot less time out there with the other tourists. Of course, you will be able to visit all the cool sites and beautiful beaches once the work is done, unlike with regular office jobs. But do take this into account before you start your travel and work combi to avoid any disappointment.

Owning a lot of stuff will be inconvenient

If you’re the type of person that really values their stuff and gets attached to material possessions, combining travel and work (or traveling long term at all) might not be right for you. When you’re on the road a lot, be it as a digital nomad or any other kind of traveler, owning a lot of stuff is practically impossible. Stuff just weighs you down, and chances are you’ll use only 50% of what you packed anyway. As a digital nomad, your possessions will most probably be limited to you clothes, your laptop, your phone, your camera and a whole bunch of chargers. Maybe a notebook or two if you like it old school, but owning much more is really out of the question.

If you’ve gone through all these points and still feel like combining travel and work by becoming a digital nomad is right for you, then I say go for it. There are many ways in which you can take your work on the road with you, as I discussed earlier in my post how to find location independent work online. It’s really not limited to starting your own travel blog – although that might, of course, be an option for you. You could for example work as a freelance writer or photographer, and keep in touch with your clients online. Or you could start your own business, which is actually quite cost-effective when done from a third-world country where the cost of living will be low. I’ve also met people that fund their travels by performing or selling their artwork in the streets, so if you have some kind of cool juggling/artsy skill that might work for you too.

As you can see, the digital nomad life is not for everyone. But, if you have the discipline and motivation to get your work done (even with the temptation of a beautiful location calling), and don’t mind owning a little less stuff than you’re probably used to, adopting the digital nomad way of life is a great way to combine travel and work. If taking your work on the road with you to enjoy the freedom of living, working and relaxing anywhere in the world sounds like the perfect life to you, definitely give the digital nomad lifestyle a go!

local person in Tanzania working on an outdoor computer