21 Jul Digital Nomadism: Is it For You?
Lots of people work for themselves or work from home and wonder what it would be like to take their work on the road, but not everyone is cut out to be a digital nomad. It isn’t just a question of “could you”, but rather a deeper question of would you enjoy it and would it make you happy. This question has genetic roots, as we explored in the Travel Gene article, and grows into branches of job type, background and personality at play. While it may be idyllic to some, living this style of life can actually be a nightmare for others.
There a lot of factors to consider:
What is your travel background? Have you traveled for long periods of time or just shorter trips?
What kind of traveler are you: budget, luxury or somewhere in the middle?
How mobile is your job? Just because you can work from home doesn’t mean you can work from anywhere. What factors would be concerns if you were abroad?
Is your job fixed or freelance? If it’s freelance, how easy or difficult might it be to connect with the community in order to sell your products or services?
What kind of personality do you have? With a shifting community, you may feel like an outsider. Do you thrive with a large, stable community or are you comfortable with a smaller, more dynamic one?
Then, of course, there is the fun part: visas, work permits, international banking and paperwork.
So, what qualities define the kind of attitude needed to love the life of a digital nomad?
When you take your work to another country, you encounter unfamiliarity at every turn. From community interactions to business culture, living arrangements to wifi connections, changing schedules, language barriers and inconsistencies, adaptability is key. Adapting to your surroundings requires flexibility in planning and in understanding the world around you. It also demands spontaneity in problem solving and risk taking.
Resourcefulness doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but while living and working abroad it’s a crucial trait. Whether making friends, finding clients, or just navigating mundane daily activities, a digital nomad has to be resourceful. Simple tasks can require unusual problem-solving skills and creative new ideas to get what you need done.
Working abroad, whether for a boss back home or for individual clients, requires a great deal of self-discipline. You’ve got to accomplish your work despite the temptation to explore and celebrate the current destination; you’ve got to set deadlines and push yourself. This isn’t something everyone is cut out for, especially while new sensory experiences outside of daily routine tempt you. In my experience, to succeed at running your own business you have to rival the most demanding boss you’ve ever had.
Succeeding in this lifestyle isn’t like slipping into a warm pot of honey; there’s nothing easy about it. It has ups and downs, moments of euphoria and freedom, and moments of stress and frustration. Determination is the key to pushing through the hard moments, and keep you moving forward no matter what happens. You know that if you work hard enough, consistently enough, you will succeed.
Ability to Cope with Stress
Determination isn’t the only thing you’ll need to deal with the challenges. Keeping your cool is an important factor as well. Are you rattled easily? How do you respond to stress? Coping well with stress means you don’t let it debilitate you, that you can identify a good moment to take a necessary break and don’t burn yourself out during stressful times.
Organizing tasks and managing your time are both important for your business goals while living abroad. You set your schedule and are responsible for accomplishing the necessary tasks to succeed; being organized is the best way to juggle the ever-changing schedule of plans, tasks and calendar. If staying organized isn’t your thing, don’t fear. There are a slew of great apps for keeping you on top of your to-do list, appointments and activities.
The world can get really lonely when living abroad without a community. Networking is important, not just for the social connections, but also for the business network. It forms a safety net of community; helping you expand your business, collaborate with interesting people, and build lines of contact if you find yourself in need of help.
Is Digital Nomadism for you? Share your thoughts and experiences below.