Just like anything in life, work as a digital nomad becomes simpler when we leave aside some myths and unrealistic expectations.
Before focusing on the digital nomad lifestyle, I need to reverse the camera to take a selfie – so you can quickly picture me in the context. After participating in Remote Year inaugural group until the end of 2015, I keep following the dream of traveling/working or working/traveling by myself. Currently, I’m doing it from Sri Lanka. And my reality starts to break expectations …
Reality check on the digital nomad lifestyle
#1 Digital Nomads are, literally, Nerds outside the box?
Deep down, I am still a stylist who prefer H&M to Html and quite doesn’t know what CSS is – although I really enjoy the brazilian band Cansei de Ser Sexy, which uses the same acronym 😉 If you have no idea what that means… join the club! Now, seriously, I’m learning what I need on the go, while leveraging my previous experience with fashion and journalism to work on content production and marketing.
The nerds are constantly teaching me shortcuts to make online work easier. But, yes, it’s possible to leave the box without being one of them.
#2 Digital Nomads just want to collect passport stamps?
Of course we’re globetrotters, but who has energy to arrange flights, transfers, visas, accommodation, etc … after hard-working all day from our laptops? We choose not to spend our precious time commuting, so what’s the point on having all this stress to travel compulsively? The freedom of working from any address makes it more interesting to pick a place that we like and stay for as long as it feels like.
#3 Do all digital nomads have a remote job?
Having a steady job and guaranteed income every month? That seems to be perfect. But there are many free-lancers and independent entrepreneurs “nomading” around – many struggling & juggling to stay on the road.
Things are smoother for those who have financial stability and this is confirmed by the lack of adherence to Remote Year , since the inaugural class ends with less than half of the 100 people on the spots initially announced. I don’t have an exact number, but I witnessed as it decreased and I know others who left RY after me.
Most of the participants who stayed until the end either had a job, a well established company they can run on the road, or simply a lot of money to spend. Along the way, they could travel on weekends, invest in leisure activities, dine in nice restaurants and visit family from time to time (most in the United States). Of course others also accumulated good experiences while battling to ensure their own sustenance, but not without an emotional cost – higher than the program fees. I have written some posts about it and I still have much to tell here…
#4 Oh, but the idea is getting out of the comfort zone… right?
Not exactly. Let’s say we choose which discomfort zone we prefer to face: a routine that does not make us happy or the challenges of remote work.
Actually, many digital nomads try to create their own comfort zones wherever they go… even if they have to adapt to different “settings” and work spaces. That’s why I always try to cook, do some physical activity and meet cool people. I do my best to feel at home while experiencing the authentic lifestyle of the country I’m staying. But I also stay connected with Brazil’s culture and keep in touch with my family and friends there – many of my ties even narrowed with the distance and for those who let go … I can check later if it’s worth resuming!
#5 Is Digital Nomadism a trend for X, Y or Z generation?
When someone portraits the DN lifestyle as a generational trend, it raises expectations to the stratosphere …. Boom! And there are others (even use more) attractive labels, such as Global Nomads or MoBos (mobile bohemians).
Then I state a meme to sum up what I think about it all: There are two kinds of people in the world: YOU and the others. Each have particular motivations and strategies to follow this journey. That’s what really matters, not the age. We may sometimes, nonchalantly, talk about things that happened in different countries as if they took place in the neighborhood. And aggregate a network of contacts around the world – that comes with a “globalized” spam box… but, definitely, being part of a trend DOESN’T pay our bills.
I will tell you more about my nomadic experiences soon… Become VIP at Pratserie and read my posts first-hand!