Thoughts on being a digital nomad

Life of a Digital Nomad So this whole becoming a digital nomad really seems like it’s becoming a thing, and I have a couple thoughts on it. For the ones not familiar with the term “digital nomad”, it is in reference to individuals who use technology to earn a living, providing them with the ability to live a nomadic lifestyle. In my opinion this revolution probably started shortly after 2007 when Tim Ferris released The 4 Hour Work Week. Although the title sounds gimmicky, I can assure you it does make a pretty damn good case for how and why you should live a digital lifestyle. Even though this book has been out for almost 10 years, it doesn’t seem like digital nomads have really become a thing until recently with social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat putting these lifestyles on full display.  As this lifestyle has been gaining substantial growth over the past couple of years there have been a handful of observations I’ve made from personal experiences and from afar.

You don’t have to sell everything you have and live below your means to be a digital nomad

A lot of the digital nomads I follow online have gone the route of selling everything, moving to a country with a low cost of living like Thailand and work just enough to get by.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but just realize that’s only one option.  Personally, I enjoy having a steady paycheck, being a homeowner (sometimes), having a 401k and benefits.  Do I have ALL the freedoms of a “true” digital nomad?  No, I still have to work 9-5 EST which limits where I’m willing to travel, but working remotely I still have a pretty wide radius as to where my office will be on a day to day basis.  And although I don’t get the 100% freedom of a true digital nomad, I’m pretty content with with the security I get in return.  Once again, these are just some ways to become a digital nomad, find a lifestyle that gives you the balance you’re looking for and go with that.

Entrepreneurship is NOT synonymous with digital nomad

Ugh, Shark Tank, I love you but you’re doing a disservice to so many of your viewers.  We have some how managed to trick everyone into believing that being an entrepreneur takes nothing but a good idea and a check from an investor.  Once you’ve got those things apparently you could consider yourself an entrepreneur and be on your way to making millions as you travel the world.  Just because you want to be a digital nomad, doesn’t mean your automatically going to become a great entrepreneur.  And the converse is even more true, just because you want to be an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you’re going to live the lavish life of a digital nomad.  To be a real entrepreneur you actually have to have skills and have to execute because ideas are just a multiplier of execution.  This is something I can speak of from first hand experience and have no problem admitting that my execution of being an entrepreneur is shit.  That doesn’t mean I won’t ever start my own business one day, but if and when that happens I see it being a partnership and not something I do solo.

You have to be self motivated

If you aren’t self motivated, being a digital nomad is going to be pretty damn difficult.  Not only will you become bored to tears within a week of starting your new lifestyle, but your income will suffer greatly.  Yes having freedom to work whenever you want is a huge benefit, but it’s also a huge responsibility.  You have to be able to get your work done without anyone telling you to or your life as a digital nomad will be short lived.

Who says you have to be nomadic?

It’s freedom, not just the time, being the ultimate driving force as to why digital nomads choose to live the life that they do.  They choose this lifestyle to create more freedom, with more freedom they have more options on how to spend their time, and they often spend their time traveling.    That works great if your a 20 something year old and don’t have a family to tend to.  But what if you’re married with several kids?  Sure you can still travel, but maybe your ultimate goal is just to spend more time with your kids, pick up a new hobby or volunteer and not be obligated to sit in an office from 9-5, 5 days a week.

The common denominator

No matter how you choose to spend your time, there is one thing I feel that is crucial to being a digital nomad and that is remote work.  Having the ability to work remotely removes so many restrictions on your life.  Time is the most valuable commodity we have because we can never get it back, we can’t own it, and we can’t create it.  The best we can do is to free up the amount of time that is dedicated to things that MUST be done.  By working remotely you no longer have to spend time commuting, getting ready for work or getting distracted by colleagues at the water cooler. We are so fortunate to live in a time where location is not the determining factor as to what you do with your life.  Internet, laptops and wireless technologies gives practically anyone in the world the ability to do the type of work they truly want without ever having to step foot into a real office.