I am a digital nomad – that is a person who travels and who runs their business online. Digital nomad’s are business owners and freelancers who are reliant on technology, internet and laptops.
I’ve been a Digital Nomad for about 5 years now. Life is an adventure, I love to travel and discover another little part of this huge world that we live in.
I am currently in Chiang Mai, the ‘hub’ for those of us who run an online business – the digital nomad capital of the world due to the low cost of living and you get a lot for your money! Chiang Mai is a culturally vibrant city and has everything you could possibly need and more at a fraction of western prices. The food is absolutely delicious, fresh and cheap! If you’re a vegetarian as I am you’ll be in food heaven. I’ve found some great cafes where I can get my health kick juices in the mornings for only £1!
Let’s start with the pro’s shall we!
- Freedom – have computer will travel! Yep it really is that easy, you can in theory work anywhere in the world as long as you have a laptop and of course wifi (more on that later).
- Extra time – although I go through periods where I am working all day and all night i’ve learnt to structure my days more now and give myself a cut off point. I tend to work for a few hours in the morning and a couple more in the evenings giving myself the afternoons off. I invest most of this time in my yoga practice – wherever I am in the world I always join a local yoga studio.
- You learn to let go of things you don’t need (and become less materialistic). My life possessions include one suitcase, one bag and a few bits in storage in London (only a small suitcase and a couple of bags).
- Exploring new territories – new countries, cities, cultures, people, sights, tastes, cafes, shops, temples, markets etc.
- Self awareness and self development – having to adapt to different environments and people means you’re constantly growing and evolving as a person.
- Learning new skills and the development of existing ones – such as organisation, planning long trips, researching places to stay, riding a scooter, apply for and extending a visa, driving on the other side of the road, languages, patience, grounding, getting on with strangers, trust and communication.
- The travelling expands your horizons – giving you a greater outlook on the world.
And the cons!!
- When the wifi is poor – your business is dependent on having good wifi, it’s your lifeline. This is a number one priority for a digital nomad.
- Lack of security – it can be unsettling not having a place called home and once in a while it’s good to stop and live in the same place for a few months. You have to learn that home is inside of you and draw on that security from within you.
- Missing friends & family – this is a hard one to deal with, thank god for Facebook and Skype!
- Finding somewhere to live – living in a multitude of guest houses whilst travelling, in sometimes less than desirable living conditions such as having to share a room or bathroom with strangers isn’t ideal. As I will be in Chiang Mai for one to two months I am renting my own, very big one bedroom apartment.
- Fear – being a nomad, living in uncertainty and doing a lot of travelling your life becomes riskier.
- Travelling without a safety net – no one has control of our lives ultimately, but when you are living nomadically you are far more aware of that fact. Traveling without a home base makes you far more vulnerable because you are completely at the mercy of your current circumstances. You are traveling without a safety net or back-up plan. Instead, you must face life head-on in the moment and respond accordingly.
- Being self reliant – you are solely reliant on yourself to earn a living and manage your workload and clients. If you get sick or something happens to you this puts you at risk unless you have someone else who can do your job.
A nomad of course doesn’t stay in one place for long, they keep moving. So where to next? I spend part of my year in Ibiza and I am one of the founders and organisers of a non profit association called Healing Ibiza. I will be back on the ground to help and assist with our next event – a 2 day festival on the 11th and 12th of May. And then I will be back in London for the summer to run more social media workshops.
Are you a digital nomad? Would love to hear from you, please leave a comment or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.