Just like anything in life, working as digital nomad becomes simpler when we leave aside some myths and unrealistic expectations.
Before focusing on the digital nomad lifestyle in general, I need to reverse the camera to take a quick selfie – so you can picture me in the context.
After participating in Remote Year’s inaugural group until the end of 2015, I keep following the dream of traveling/working (or working/traveling) by myself.
I’m currently in Sri Lanka, checking how reality breaks some expectations…
Reality check on the digital nomad lifestyle
#1 Are Digital Nomads a bunch of nerds outside the box?
I’ve never been nerdish at all. I gave up on a career as a stylist, that required lots of commuting, but I still prefer H&M to Html.
Honestly, I don’t know well what CSS means – although I really enjoy the Brazilian band Cansei de Ser Sexy, which uses the same acronym 🙂
So, If you have no idea what that means… join the club!
Now, seriously, I’m learning whatever I need on the go while leveraging my previous experience with fashion and journalism to work on content production and marketing.
Of course there are some cool nerds around. I admire how they know the shortcuts to make online work easier. But it’s possible to leave the box without being one of them.
#2 Do digital Nomads just want to collect passport stamps?
We like to be globetrotters, but who has the energy for arranging flights, transfers, visas, accommodation, etc … after hard-working all day from our laptops?
We don’t want to spend our precious time commuting, so what’s the point on having all the stress of travel compulsively? The freedom of working from any address makes it more interesting to pick a place that we like and stay there for as long as we feel like.
#3 Is there a remote job for each digital nomad?
Having a steady job and a guaranteed income every month? That seems to be perfect.
Anyway, there are many freelancers and independent entrepreneurs “nomading” around – mostly having to juggle & struggle to stay on the road.
Things are smoother for those financially stable and this is confirmed by the lack of adherence to Remote Year , since the inaugural class ends with less than half of the 100 participants initially announced.
I don’t have the final number of people that make it for the whole year, but I witnessed as it decreased among my 7 months with them, and many more have left RY after that.
Most of the participants who completed the first Remote Year 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 take side trips, invest in expensive leisure activities, dine in nice restaurants and visit their families (mostly in the United States).
Of course the others have also accumulated cool experiences while battling to ensure their own maintenance, but not without emotional cost – that I consider higher than the program fees.
#4 Oh, but the idea is getting out of the comfort zone… right?
Not exactly. Let’s say we can choose which discomfort zone 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 requires adapting to different “settings” and workspaces.
That’s why I always cook, practice some physical activity and hang out with locals. I try my best to feel at home while experiencing the authentic lifestyle wherever I stay.
Also, I try to 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.
If some relationship gets snoozed… time will answer if it’s worth resuming it. Or not.
#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 other ‘attractive’ labels, such as Global Nomads or MoBos (mobile bohemians).
Sorry if I’m using a meme statement for what I think about all this:
There are two kinds of people in the world: YOU and the others.
Each person has particular motivations and strategies to follow this journey. That’s what really matters, not the age.
We may tell you things that happened in different countries, nonchalantly, as if it took place next door. Or aggregate a network of international contacts that comes with a “globalized” spam box as well… but surely being part of a trend DOESN’T pay our bills.
I will tell you more about my nomadic experiences soon… So become VIP at Pratserie and read my posts first-hand!