What’s It Like to Be a Digital Nomad?

If you or someone you know has ever begun asking about living as a digital nomad, you likely received some funny looks from people. The life of a digital nomad is one of those things that either appeals to you completely or not at all. To some, a nomadic existence sounds like heaven, but to others, it seems like a special form of torture. The following will discuss what it is like to live nomadically in the modern era. We will also tear down some of the more common misconceptions.

As it turns out, a nomadic lifestyle is not as out of the ordinary as you’d think. For 99% of human history, we have been nomadic animals, following the herds of animals we hunted or relied on foraging in different locations based on the seasons. The agricultural revolution and building permanent homes is a very recent development in the story of humanity.

Visas are Not Always Caught Up With the Times

Traveling the world and working from your laptop requires a knowledge of how visas work. You need to be careful that you’re following the appropriate guidelines for the visa that you have been given upon entry as nearly every visa to every country has strict rules about what constitutes working in that country and what does not. Some countries even have developed visas specifically for digital nomads. Many of these visas require you to show that you make a certain amount of money per month with your remote work, and then you will be allowed an extended stay.

Multiple Income Streams are Common

You might think that digital nomads do one thing and do it really well, but the truth is that most of them have multiple different sources of income. A digital nomad might write, film videos, edit videos, and rent out real estate properties all while managing their own daily social media and blog posts. For example, Rainier from NNNDigitalNomad.com works as a real estate agent while he travels in addition to running his blog. As more and more jobs make the switch to remote or virtual working options, it’s going to become easier to find sources of income that suit you and your skills.

You May Have to Get Rid of Almost All of Your Possessions

This is probably the toughest one for many people considering the digital nomad life. Sure, you can leave a few boxes of books at your mom’s house, and let your brother babysit your chest of souvenirs and sentimental items, but by and large, you are going to need to be able to carry all of your possessions at one time. This means a suitcase, a backpack, and maybe one more bag.

Not to mention some of the unusual things you need for a life of constantly moving around will take up space in those bags. You might want a travel pillow and vitamins and a french press because not every place in the world can serve coffee in the quantities you’re used to. Spend a few weeks in India and the little baby shots of coffee are going to have you go through caffeine withdrawal. Spend a few weeks in Vietnam and your eyes will be bulging out of your skull from what is maybe the strongest coffee in the world. As you travel, you’ll discover more crucial items you never would have thought about taking with you always, and including these items in your pack means even less of the objects you’re used to having with you.

Much More Work Goes on Behind the Scenes Than You Know

Contrary to social media posts depicting digital nomads lounging on luxurious beaches, digital nomads actually do work. In truth, they do a lot of work, and almost always, it is highly specialized. Starting your own gig-based business from the computer isn’t for everyone, typically when starting up the business people work around the clock. The posts you see typically represent what life is like for a digital nomad a few years into their new careers. The type of work that best supports digital nomadism often revolves around shorter contracts, meaning that many digital nomads are constantly, all of the time, looking for new jobs.

Of course, the beautiful experiences of traveling the world and living and feeling new cultures and ideas are amazing. But as you can see from the above information, digital nomadism isn’t for everyone. There’s a lot more that goes on in the life of a digital nomad than what you see online (truly, there’s more going on in every lifestyle than what you see online).